WSU Tri-Cities

Undergraduate Advising & Learning Center

Incoming Freshmen

Congratulations on deciding to attend Washington State University Tri-Cities!

The Academic Advisors are committed to helping you throughout your time at WSU Tri-Cities.

Below is a step-by-step guide to learning the WSU academic system and how to select courses.

Apply for admission

  • Apply for admission online. Send official transcripts from your high school and if you were in Running Start, send transcripts from the colleges you attended, including any AP/IB or military credit you may have received.

    WSU Tri-Cities Admissions
    2710 Crimson Way
    Richland, WA 99354

  • If you have admission questions, please contact our admissions office: or 509-372-7250

Already admitted to WSU Tri-Cities?
Follow these steps to preparing for New Student Orientation and Academic Advising

Step 1: Register for a New Student Orientation

  • Once admitted to WSU Tri-Cities, you will need to register for a New Student Orientation.
  • Orientation is where you will meet other new students, take a tour of the campus, learn ways to get involved at WSUTC, get your picture taken for your WSU ID card, learn more about financial aid, meet with an academic advisor, register for your first WSU classes, and find out about helpful resources on campus.

Step 2: Sign up for and take placement exams

  • All freshmen are required to take the English and math placement exams. Be sure to take these well in advance of your orientation date, to give time for your scores to come in.
  • The Writing Placement Exam is required, to enroll in an English composition course. All students are required to take either English 101 or 105 and it is recommended that you take it in your first or second semester. The placement results will be available at orientation.
    • The placement exam will determine whether students would benefit from English 105 Composition for ESL/Multilingual students, or if you would benefit from the English 102/107 1-credit tutorial. There is no way to place out of English. If you have received AP or college level credit for English Language/Comp or English Literature/Comp, you may not need English 101 or 105.
  • The math placement exam is called ALEKS, and can be taken in the comfort of your own home. This will determine the level of math you will need to begin with. The placement results will be available at orientation.
    • Placement scores are only valid for one year, so be sure to start your math sequences in your first year.

Step 3: Set up your online account

  • WSU’s online portal system is called Zzusis. This system allows you to access resources such as your financial aid award, grades, registration for classes, etc.
  • To set up your account, go to the Zzusis page
    • → click on ‘Need Zzusis Help’
    • → click on ‘Create Your Network ID’ and follow the steps from there
  • You will need your WSU ID# and Temporary Access Network Key (TANK) to set up your account. You will find this on your admissions letter.
  • You may need to stop at this step for a day or two. It can take up to 48 hours for the system to process your account set-up. Once you see a section on your main page marked ‘Fall 2012 Student Center’, you are set to continue.

Step 4: Advising form

  • Pull up an orientation advising form and begin filling it out, writing in courses you would like to take.
  • You will want to bring the advising form with you when you attend orientation.
  • If you need a more visual layout of your class schedule, you might find using the schedule planning worksheet helpful.

Step 5a: Selecting classes – First Time Freshmen

  • Every degree requires the completion of University Common Requirements (UCORE) requirements. Click here for the list of UCORE graduation requirements.
  • All first-time freshmen should enroll in an English composition course their first or second semester. All first-time freshmen should enroll in a math course their first or second semester.
  • If you have AP credit, make sure you have submitted the scores so that we can see what courses you have received credit for. See this website for a list of exam scores that WSU will accept:

Step 5b: Selecting classes – Running Start students

  • Every degree requires the completion of University Common Requirements (UCORE) requirements. Click here for the list of UCORE graduation requirements.
    • If you have or will complete a transferable AA degree through Running Start, you have completed all of the UCORE requirements, and are only left with major requirements.
  • Your advisor will be in contact with you before orientation to explain the degree/major requirements. If you have not been contacted by your advisor at least one week before your orientation date, please contact them. The website with advisor contact information is available in step 8.
  • In the mean time, be sure to get familiar with the schedule of classes (step 6) and write down any courses that interest you.

Step 6: Understanding the Schedule of Classes

  • The schedule of classes shows courses available each semester. Typically the summer and fall schedules are available online in early March and the spring schedules are available in early October.
  • Click on the semester/year you are looking for. Be sure you are selecting the Tri-Cities class schedule. The classes are broken up by subject, and the class times are listed in military time.
  • To search for a course to fulfill a specific requirement, click on the ‘Search’ button on the left. This will allow you to search by requirement, day, time, credits, etc. Just be sure the Tri-Cities campus is selected.
  • There have been many questions about online classes. The Tri-Cities campus offers a few of their own online courses, and are typically marked as ‘ARRGT’. We partner with WSU Online for a few other online courses, which will be listed in the WSU Tri-Cities schedule.

Step 7: Understanding the WSU catalog

  • The university’s catalog is the official document you will use throughout your college career, that shows university rules and regulations, outlines degree requirements and shows you example 4 year class plans. This also allows you to view other majors and degrees, if you are undecided or exploring other major options.
  • Keep in mind, this is a WSU-wide catalog, which means it includes majors from all WSU campuses. Be sure you know which degrees WSU Tri-Cities offers:
  • Click on the catalog of the academic year you begin at WSU. For example, if you begin fall 2013, your catalog will be the 2013-2014 catalog:

Step 8: Meeting with an academic advisor

  • You will meet with an academic advisor at orientation to review your course selections.
  • If you have questions that you would like answered before orientation, or are a Running Start student, you can meet with your advisor before orientation. Find out who your advisor is at
  • Meeting with an academic advisor is required at WSU, every semester. You will want to meet with your advisor no less than twice per year. Typically, you would meet with them in March and October, as these months will give you time to get your schedule settled before registration begins.
  • You are welcome to meet with your advisor at any other time if you have questions or concerns.

Step 9: Helpful hints for schedule planning

  • If you want to complete your degree in four years without going to summer school, you should take 15-16 credits per semester. However, if you are working and have activities outside of school and take fewer credits, depending on your degree, you may be able to use summer to ‘catch up’.
  • Consider the amount of outside activities you have, including work:
    • Course Load (Hours on the job reduces the time available for school):

      40 work+ hours/week: Register for 3-4 credits/units (1 course & 6-8 study hours)
      Work 30-40 hours: Register for 3-6 credits/units (1-2 Courses & 6-12 study hours)
      Work 20-30 hours: Register for 6-9 credits/units (2-3 Courses & 12-18 study hours)
      Work less than 20 hours: 12 credits/units (full-time & 24+ study hours) may be feasible
      Work 0 hours: 15-18 credits/units (full-time & 30+ study hours)
      Also consider other obligations (i.e. children, church, community, etc.)

  • Balance your classes each semester. Take difficult classes along with less demanding classes.
  • Schedule breaks in between your classes. Try not to schedule all of your classes back-to-back. Give yourself a chance to absorb the material especially if the material is difficult.
  • Be aware of your best time of the day. Are you most alert in the morning, afternoon, or evening? Experiment and plan your classes as well as study time accordingly.
  • If you are taking any online courses, be aware that these courses require at least the same amount of time for preparation and participation as on-campus courses. Plan accordingly.

Freshman admission requirements

In evaluating your application, the University will consider the following factors:

  • Grade point average and standardized test scores
  • The strength of your high school course work, including senior-year course work
  • Grades that you earned and improvement you’ve shown in your academic performance
  • The additional information you provide us in your personal statement