If you are looking for a large comprehensive research university experience with a growing and competitive rugby program, the University of Washington may be the right one for you!
The University of Washington’s official colors may be purple and gold, but looking out over the sprawling, lush 10-acre campus, you might think it was green. As a nationally recognized Top 50 research university located in one of the hippest cities in the states, the University of Washington (UW) blends an eco-friendly vibe with the hustle and bustle of big city Seattle.
With just under 30,000 undergraduates, UW is often overlapped with other state flagship campuses such as the University of Oregon or University of California system; however, UW has traditionally flown under the radar because historically it has limited its nonresident enrollees. Recently UW has begun to open its doors to more out-of-state residents in an effort to balance its budget. Thanks to the growing rugby community supported by Serevi Rugby and the Olympic Development Academies making its home in Seattle, UW is poised to become a collegiate rugby powerhouse in the years to come.
UW comprises 16 colleges and schools, offers 1,800 undergraduate courses each quarter, and confers more than 12,000 undergraduate and graduate degrees every year. With so many opportunities for students, one of the biggest challenges may be in deciding what to study!
UW is most well known for its competitive business major, as well as its top notch English, psychology and engineering departments. Like many other state universities, students can expect larger class sizes and limited course selection; however, most students say they rarely have trouble getting into desired courses.
Given such a large student body, UW developed a Freshman Interest Group (FIG), which consists of 20-24 students who share a cluster of classes that also includes a weekly seminar led by a junior or senior peer advisor. This allows freshman to have a bit of individual attention they may not receive at other large institutions. Current senior student and rugby player Rhys Lloyd came to UW intent on majoring in a science and fell in love with the oceanography program. “The campus is just awesome. It’s a great university. The professors are really good and want you to succeed. There is also a ton of stuff to do in Seattle to keep you busy and have fun,” Lloyd said.
Like Lloyd, UW students are happy with their experience as evidenced by its 93% sophomore retention rate. The Seattle location also supports UW being the #1 supplier of new college graduates to local companies Microsoft and Intel. Additionally, Intel has 36 strategic schools all over the U.S., with UW ranking #1 on their list.
The Washington Husky rugby team is a club team that is fortunate to have threeformer USA Eagles on their staff: Head Coach Brian Schoener, Backs Coach Kevin Swiryn and Forwards Coach Joe Rissone.
Ruggers at U-Dub have enjoyed a history of success, and the program continues to improve. This year (2013), in only their second year in the Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference, the Huskies placed second and made the Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference playoffs. Over the years, the team has produced numerous All-League, All-American and USA players. The Huskies won the Northwest Championship in ’96, ’02, ’04 and ’05 and look to the future to re-build this former rugby powerhouse. The current team practices with the aspiration to compete for a national championship every year.
Mike Alfstad, the Director of Rugby at UW, explained that the rugby program does “require a serious time commitment. We have a lifting program and three nights a week of formal practices that players who wish to compete for a spot on first 15 must attend. We have a competitive 15s squad as well as a parallel track for players competing in 7s.”
Alfstad explained that the rugby program is rooted in skill-building and in the integrity and value of the sport of rugby.
“We talk a lot about accountability and respect,” Alfstad said. “As coaches, we model all of that for the players and hold one another accountable. We have a remarkable group of young men and one of our goals is to help develop each of them into the best young man he can be.”
As a club team, the players must invest in their program and pay player dues each year, typically in the range of $150-200/year. They also work hard to fundraise and work with alumni to offset these costs as much as possible.
“As a coaching staff we very much like the idea that the team needs to own its costs of being a club and owning the responsibility of having to commit time and effort that allows all that comes with being on the team and representing one of the finest colleges in the world,” Alfstad said.
Rugby players understand the balance of sport and school and consistently go on to high achievement after graduation. Many have become successful as engineers, managers, attorneys, financial analysts, and entrepreneurs, as well as executives at corporations such as Safeco Insurance, Boeing, Microsoft and Amazon. The network of Husky rugby alumni, both inside and outside the Seattle area, is powerful.
UW admission is selective with an acceptance rate 59%. The middle 50% of accepted students had a GPA between 3.6–3.9, SAT scores of Critical Reading 520-650, Math 580-710, Writing 450-650 or an ACT composite score between 24–30. Students can apply using the UW application (Opens Oct. 1, deadline Dec. 1). There are essays and test scores are required. The rugby team currently does not have any admission support for applicants, but encourage all interested players to apply and consider UW in their college search.
Total cost of attendance for a Washington resident who lives on campus (including tuition, room & board, books and other fees) are approximately $27,000/year. Out of state residents’ total cost is approximately $46,597/year.
University of Washington: www.uw.edu
UW rugby team: www.huskyrugby.com
UW Rugby Recruiting Coordinator: Bill Kessler, (425) 273-6478 cell,
Data and Facts pulled from University of Washington’s website.
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