BLOG: Could a UW branch stack up to its main campus?

By Assunta Ng

University of Washington Bothell campus (Photo by Brian DalBalcon)

A few years ago, I received a troublesome e-mail. A young Asian female was rejected by the University of Washington’s main campus. So she sought admission at the UW Bothell campus instead. Her family was furious for fear of losing face in front of friends and relatives. They used harmful words to scold their daughter, like “useless,” “dumb,” and “incapable.”

At the time, she didn’t know how to respond to those attacks. And I didn’t do a good job of explaining the issue. This piece will address this issue for families and students who might have the same concerns.

Chancellor Kenyon Chan

For disclosure purposes, I would like to state that my son graduated from the Bothell campus in 2003. I graduated from the main campus. My son first attended the UW’s main campus and felt that the Bothell campus better suited his needs. I visited the UW Bothell campus on March 2 to talk with Chancellor Kenyon Chan, a Chinese American who is aware of the perceptions of the Bothell campus in this community.

Main campus vs. Bothell

The UW main campus enrolls more than 35,000 students. Many students find it difficult to adjust and some simply get lost. However, if you want excitement in a big city, in a big crowd, or at a big university, the main campus would be good for you.

Class size on the UW main campus can be as big as 700 students. I peeked inside a classroom on the Bothell campus. The classrooms usually have 20 to 40 students. Ask yourself, “Which class size would you prefer?” If you want the professor’s attention, a smaller class would be better. If you like to sleep through lectures, then perhaps a bigger class would cover you.

Competition at UW is intense, and the standards can be high. I had to study really hard and did not always get As. When I studied hard for a smaller class, I usually received an A.

Presently, UW Bothell campus has about 4,000 students. The number went up from 1,500 when the legislature lifted an enrollment cap. UW Bothell also bought surrounding apartments and converted them to student housing with about 220 beds. The campus has a beautiful, protected wetland. The new I-405 freeway is connected to the Bothell campus, so you don’t have to drive through Lake City to go to UW Bothell anymore.

“UW Bothell is both distinctive and integrated,” Chan says. “We are the UW after all, with the same high quality education. UW Bothell is a place where innovation and creativity are celebrated and where the student experience is paramount. Students who graduate from UW Bothell receive the same UW diploma as any UW student.  Our faculty and academic standards are the same across all three campuses, and our students go on to outstanding careers, graduate schools, law schools, medical schools, and much more. Students interested in a UW education in a smaller setting should consider UW Bothell.”

There is more good news awaiting the Bothell campus. If the legislature approves, UW Bothell will construct a science building to train future employees for the nearby science laboratories and technology companies.

This will provide more than 3,000 jobs.

Presently, those companies have indicated to Chan that they have many openings with no candidates. So students, if you have a hard time selecting your four-year college, UW Bothell should be at the top of your list of considerations.

Other benefits you’ll have include access to all main campus libraries, some of main campus classes, and Husky tickets. (end)

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