Frequently Asked Questions

1. How and when should I make a reservation to attend Summerstart?

Making a reservation to attend Summerstart is an online process and completed directly through the New Student Services/Family Outreach website. The reservation system will open on Monday, June 4th at approximately 3:00pm. Because the system is online, it is accessible 24/7 for students to submit a reservation. Here are some special notes about making a reservation:

  • Typically, if you make your reservation within the first couple days of the system opening, you are highly likely to get the exact date and advising group you want.
  • We highly recommend that students have the experience of making their own reservation to help establish familiarity with campus resources and make choices about their advising group. Students will need to have activated their Universal Account to make the reservation.
  • During the reservation process, there will be an opportunity to indicate if a student is attending with family members and to complete an online payment for Family Orientation fees. If you are bringing family members, please be prepared to complete the online payment at the time of your reservation.
  • Summerstart is a two day program. Student participation in both days of the program is required in order to receive appropriate academic advising and register successfully for Fall classes.
  • Students and family members should keep in mind that due to federal privacy laws, we may not be able to share certain personal student information with a parent or family member – e.g. Western ID #, WWU login-in information, etc. – should a family member be using a student’s information to make a reservation or if they have difficulty with the system (i.e. get locked out due to incorrect information).

Back to top

2. What are the High Credit Freshmen sessions and how are they different than a regular session?

The Summerstart sessions for High Credit Freshmen are for freshmen entering with 60 or more college credits earned or expected to be earned while in high school, or who have up to 105 transfer credits fulfilling many, or possibly all, of Western's General University Requirements (GURs). It is not recommended for students with fewer than 60 credits, and students with fewer than 60 credits will not be allowed to reserve a space on those dates. All Summerstart sessions offer the same program schedule; the only difference is in the type of academic advising received for students with higher credits coming into Western who may need advanced course advising.

Students may review their Admitted Students page on the Admissions website to confirm the amount of anticipated transfer credits indicated on your application. The Admitted Students link will be available in mid-March. As a reminder, High Credit students are expected to provide official transcripts from the institution providing the credit.

High Credit Freshmen who cannot attend either of the designated sessions must call the New Student Services / Family Outreach office directly at 360.650.3846 to make a reservation on an alternate date.

Back to top

3. Is there an advantage to attending an earlier Summerstart session?

No - availability of classes is similar across all Summerstart sessions. Choose the session dates that work best for you and your family. Each Summerstart session, as well as the Fall Advising & Orientation session (for freshmen who cannot attend Summerstart), a certain number of common classes for first year students have had blocks of seats held to help make all the Summerstart and Fall registration experiences as equitable as possible.

Do keep in mind, some classes (e.g. upper division courses, courses in a specific major, etc.) may be filled as continuing and new transfer students have registered. Students should still have a variety of course options and advisors will assist in developing possible schedules.

Back to top

4. I cannot attend any Summerstart session - do I have another option?

Yes! Although Western highly recommends attending Summerstart, there are new students who are unable to attend for various reasons. New Fall freshmen who are unable to attend Summerstart will participate in academic advising and class registration during Fall Advising & Orientation.

Similar to Summerstart, you will meet with faculty, staff and student advisors to develop an appropriate class schedule and register for fall courses. Spaces in common freshman classes are also held for students who attend Fall Advising & Orientation. You are not at a disadvantage for registering if you need to attend Fall Advising & Orientation. Click on our Fall Advising & Orientation website for dates, information, and a general schedule of events.

If you would like the opportunity to reserve a space in a cluster of courses designed and intended for first quarter freshmen, we recommend you check out the Freshman Interest Groups (FIGs). These classes provide 10-12 credits of GUR and elective credit.

Back to top

5. How much does Summerstart cost?

STUDENTS: There is no fee for students to attend Summerstart - the cost is covered by the one-time $280 enrollment fee. Additional fees during the program may include:

  • Parking: Parking fees are anticipated to be $4 to park in the Commuter Lots (South end of campus) and $10 to park in a designated Residential Lot (near the North end of campus).
  • Placement Test Fees: If you determine you need to take a placement test, additional testing fees may apply (for example, the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment or the Spanish Placement Test).

PARENTS/FAMILY MEMBERS: For parents/family members, there is a cost to participate in the Family Orientation program and the fees are listed below:

  • $65 per person: covers both program days, all materials, access to workshops and sessions, and meals during the program (lunch and dinner on Day 1, and breakfast on Day 2). We do not offer a “one day only” rate; the $65 fee will be applied if a family member attends one day or both.
  • $90 per person: covers all of the above, plus overnight housing accommodations in a designated residence hall (typically a shared, double-occupancy room, with bed and bath linens).
  • Children Under 18: If you are a family member bringing a younger sibling or child (under 18), we will not charge you the “per person” full program rate – however – you will be billed at the time of check-in for a bed space if staying overnight in the residence halls ($36.80 per person) and you can purchase meals directly at the point of sale in the Dining Commons. While we do have to charge for bed space and for meals, it will help cut costs a bit and young family members get to share the campus experience!
  • Parking: Parking fees are anticipated to be $4 to park in the Commuter Lots (South end of campus) and $10 to park in a designated Residential Lot (near the North end of campus).

REFUNDS - PLEASE NOTE: As we are obliged to cover costs for housing, dining and family orientation fees, refunds are not available after the reservation deadline, 5:00pm, Thursday, July 26th. Please contact the NSSFO office if you have any questions.

Back to top

6. After I make a reservation, do I get any confirmation of my reservation and next steps?

Yes! First, in order to make a reservation, you must ensure your Universal Account is activated. If you have not done so, please make sure your Universal Account is activated and you can access your WWU email account.

Reservations are made via the New Student Services/Family Outreach website. After your reservation has been processed, students will receive a confirmation email sent to their WWU email address as well as a packet of confirmation materials sent via postal mail to the student’s permanent address indicating your program date and further information about check-in, parking and other important details. Parents/Family members will not receive this information as it is only directed to students, so if you have family members attending with you, please consider sharing this information with them as well.

Back to top

7. How do I make a change to my reservation?

Once you have submitted your reservation, you cannot go back into the system to make changes (e.g. change in session date, adding family members, change advising group, etc.). Any changes to your reservation must be made by contacting New Student Services/Family Outreach directly at 360.650.3846 or

Adjustments may not be able to be made after the reservation closing deadline – Thursday, July 26 at 5:00pm. The Refund deadline is also Thursday, July 26 at 5:00pm; after this time, refunds are not available. All efforts will be made to accommodate changes requested prior to the deadline, but this cannot be guaranteed.

Back to top

8. Tell me more about Housing at Summerstart

Overview of Accommodations (Student & Family Housing)

Students stay in Nash Hall, Mathes Hall and Edens North. These are corridor-style residence halls with gender-specific floors and community bathrooms. Students can expect to have one or two roommates.

Family members stay in Edens Hall and Higginson Hall. These are two-bedroom, suite-style residence halls that sleep two to a bedroom and all four people per suite who all share a private bathroom.

Typical rooms are furnished with standard residence hall furniture. Bedding and bath linens are also provided but guests should bring their own toiletries. Additionally, each building use for orientation is equipped with an elevator and wireless internet.

How are Students & Family Members Assigned Rooms?

Students and family members stay in separate residence halls, and the specific rooms are assigned at check-in. Students are pre-assigned into roommate pairings prior to their arrival.

Family members within the same reservation are typically housed together in one suite. Individual family members can expect to have another Summerstart family member attendee of the same gender, as a roommate or suitemate. A limited number of single rooms may be available by request at check-in.

For each person (students, family members, siblings etc.) staying overnight for Summerstart, we require collecting specific information for planning and safety purposes. This information includes: first and last name, date of birth, W# of student and if there are any special housing accommodations requested.

Housing will confirm and collect this information in the “Summerstart Overnight Housing Survey” which can be found in the confirmation email students receive from the New Student Services/Family Outreach office. Please note, the confirmation email will be sent to the students’ email only, but the survey is intended to collect information for both family members and students staying overnight. It is preferred students complete the Summerstart Extended Stay Reservation Request survey PRIOR to their arrival at Summerstart to expedite the check-in process. For those unable to complete the survey beforehand, the housing staff will work with students and their family members at check-in to collect necessary information.

Can I stay with my friend who is attending my same Summerstart session?

Students are pre-assigned into roommate pairings prior to their arrival. Therefore, rooming with a specific friend is unavailable. Students stay in the same residence hall, so it is easy to connect with specific friends throughout Summerstart while also meeting new people!

How do I make a request for accommodations, such as an accessible room or gender-inclusive housing?

If you or a family member needs special housing accommodations, such as a wheelchair-accessible room and bathroom, you may do so in two ways:

  • Submit the request through the “Summerstart Overnight Housing Survey” link contained in the confirmation email; OR
  • Contact the Guest & Housing Operations office ( to share and discuss your request.

Can I stay more than one night? (Extended Stay)

If space is available, students and family members (who are staying on campus for the night of their Summerstart program) can request an extra night for an additional cost. An extended stay cost is NOT included in the orientation fees for Summerstart.

Due to space limitations and sequential Summerstart sessions, we can only house students/family members for one night before or after their Summerstart session. The cost is $36.80 per night/person for a double-occupancy room, paid online prior to stay. Cost includes bed and bath linens, but no meals.

The Summerstart Extended Stay Reservation Request survey will open on June 4th and remain open until 10 business days prior to each session or space fills up, whichever comes first. After the request is submitted, a member of the Guest & Housing Operations office will contact you regarding housing availability, confirmation and payment. It is recommended to submit the Extended Stay Reservation Request at least 10 business days in advance of your Summerstart session.

If the student is participating in Western Outdoor Orientation Trips (WOOT!), leaving the night after their Summerstart session, they do not need to request an extra night through this survey as it is coordinated through the WOOT! program. However, if student needs an extra night on campus after they return from their WOOT! trip, they do need to submit a request through this survey & prior to the departure of their WOOT! trip.

Back to top

9. Where can students and/or family member stay off campus?

For a list of accommodations near Western, go to Visit Bellingham

Back to top

10. I cannot attend any Summerstart session - can a parent or friend register for classes for me?

No - Summerstart is designed to teach students about WWU's course registration process in a setting with direct support of faculty, staff and student advisors so that you are able to register effectively on you own in the future. Students who do not register for classes during Summerstart must attend Fall Advising & Orientation in September to complete their academic advising and class registration process. Please refer to the Fall Advising & Orientation website for information about that session.

Back to top

11. How important is getting cleared for measles prior to Summerstart?

Very important! You will not be allowed to register for classes if your measles vaccinations/immunity documentation has not been received prior to your registration appointment at Summerstart. Options for providing proof and additional information are available from the Student Health Center. If you have any questions regarding the measles immunity requirement, please visit the Student Health Center website or call 360.650.3400.

Back to top

12. How do I know if I have to take the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment?

Most freshman will need to complete Western’s Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning (QSR) as part of Western’s General University Requirements (GURs) and may need to complete the MPA in order to register for coursework that will satisfy this area. Students, who plan to register for a course at Western that has a mathematics prerequisite, must first take the ALEKS Math Placement Assessment (MPA) twice. The MPA also serves as a prerequisite for courses in other departments such as Astronomy, Chemistry, Computer Science, Decision Sciences, Economics, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Geology, Physics, and Science Education.

Please refer to our Preparing for WWU webpage for more information to help you determine if you need to complete the assessment prior to Summerstart.

Back to top

13. How do I know if I have to take the Spanish Placement Test?

If you are planning to take Spanish in Fall quarter, you should take the exam, which is offered during the Summerstart program. If you are planning to take Spanish, but not in the Fall, do not take the exam during Summerstart as you will be asked to retake it again later. The WebCAPE Spanish Placement Test is a multiple-choice computerized exam that tests a student’s knowledge of Spanish at different levels of difficulty. The exam discerns a student’s solid knowledge from partial knowledge, which allows the assignment of a score that will predict accurately a student’s ability to succeed at a particular level of Spanish course.

The exam measures knowledge, rather than experience, so students will place into the appropriate class based on their language skill rather than number of years/classes completed. The Spanish Placement Test is a 45-minute test and will have a $5 fee charged to the student account.

For more information, visit the Spanish Placement Test website.

Back to top

14. What else should I bring with me to Summerstart?

  • Confirmation Checklist you will receive via email and postal mail – it has a campus map, parking instructions, and a parking code to use in the lots.
  • Valid photo ID
  • Your Universal Account username and password
  • Copies of any college transcripts (if applicable)
  • Comfortable clothing and shoes; we also recommend watching the weather forecast – will you also need a raincoat/umbrella…or maybe sunscreen?
  • A water bottle – bottled water is NOT sold on campus, but water bottle refill stations and water fountains are available.
  • If staying overnight on or off campus: Personal toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, prescriptions, etc.); note that bedding and bath linens are provided in the residence halls.
  • A pen and notepad

Back to top

15. Where should I park for Summerstart?

Students will receive confirmation information via their WWU email as well as a mailing sent to their permanent address. This information will include a campus map, instructions for parking in specific lots, and a parking code to use in the lots. For general information about parking, you can explore Campus Maps for a printable map, including Accessible Parking notations.

Summerstart parking (discounted rate) is available in the C Lots (Commuter Lots) on the south side of campus. Parking on north campus near the Edens/Higginson residence halls (3R Residential Lot) is available at the regular daily parking rate. You must purchase a parking permit to park on campus. Parking enforcement is done by license plate readers, so you need to know your license plate number to complete the permit purchase.

You obtain a parking permit by one of the following options:

  • When you arrive on campus, purchase a permit from the parking pay station in the C Lot or the 3R/7G Lots. Credit/Debit cards ONLY!
  • Purchase a permit the day of your orientation session in the C Lot or the 3R/7G Lots using the Parkmobile app (note there is an additional $0.25 fee to use the app). Click on this Parking Services link to learn more about the Parkmobile app.

Back to top

16. How do I connect to the wireless network (WiFi) on campus?

For more information on how to connect to the wireless network, go to WWU Public WiFi Network

Back to top

17. Whom should I contact regarding a request for Accommodations?

For requests concerning disAbility accommodations and services such as Sign Language Interpreter services, note taking services or similar services during your time at Summerstart, please contact disAbility Resources for Students (DRS) directly via email at or by phone at 360.650.3083, or visit the disAbility Resources for Students website for additional information.

For requests concerning housing accommodations such as an accessible room, gender-inclusive housing, etc., please contact the Conference and Guest Housing Office via email at to discuss your request.

For requests or questions concerning dietary requirements / allergies during your time at Summerstart or during the academic year, please contact University Dining Services by email at or by phone at 360.650.2970.

For information regarding accessible parking on campus, there is a printable parking map which shows Accessible Parking areas around campus. Participants are still required to purchase a general permit for the program, and must have a valid state disability permit to park in designated spaces. Please contact Parking Services for additional questions by email at or by phone at 360.650.2945.

Please note that Western and the New Student Services/Family Outreach office does not provide support equipment such as wheelchairs, crutches, or motorized scooters. We recommend participants bring equipment from home as needed.

Back to top

18. What other amazing First-Year Programs are at Western?

First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs) (Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education program)
Get your college experience off to the right start by reserving a spot in a FIG! The First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs) Program at WWU presents an exceptional opportunity for new college students. The learning community environment created by a FIG cluster can help students connect more quickly to university life, and foster a smoother transition from high school to college learning and expectations. Please see the First-Year Interest Groups website for information!

Viking Launch (Extended Education program)
Viking Launch offers incoming freshmen a strong, focused start up to college life at Western. Students will arrive on campus a week early for an intensive week of study and preparation for a successful Western Experience, and includes 2-credit, 1-credit, or Non-credit options. Please see the Viking Launch website for information!

Western Outdoor Orientation Trips (WOOT) (Associated Students Outdoor Center program)
The Western Outdoor Orientation Trips (WOOT) provide a unique opportunity for incoming Western students to spend a week backpacking or kayaking and exploring the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest with a group of fellow students prior to the beginning of their first quarter here at WWU. Please see the WOOT website for information!

Back to top

19. Convenient Campus Extension Listing

Department Telephone No.
Academic Advising Center 360.650.3850
Admissions 360.650.3440
Conference & Guest Housing 360.650.3537
disAbility Resources for Students 360.650.3083
First-Year Interest Groups Office 360.650.3004
Financial Aid
  • Financial Aid
  • Scholarship Office
  • Student Employment
International Student & Scholar Services 360.650.7971
Math Department 360.650.3785
New Student Services/ Family Outreach 360.650.3846
Parking Services 360.650.2945
Registrar's Office 360.650.3430
Student Business Office
  • Student Accounts
  • University Cashier
  • Loans & Collections
Student Health Center 360.650.3400
Student Outreach Services 360.650.7443
Testing Center (Math Placement Assessment) 360.650.3080
University Residences 360.650.6565
Veteran's Services Office 360.650.3324

Back to top