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Life in Seattle

Seattle may be famous for coffee, software, and rain, but once you’re here, you’ll find the real attributes that lure MBA students from around the world: innovative, global companies with strong growth potential; abundant resources for entrepreneurs; and engaged alumni who open doors for new Foster MBAs in the Northwest and around the world.

As you consider your life in Seattle, please look into the following University of Washington resources and information regarding living in the Pacific Northwest!

Select the headers below to learn more.

Seattle combines the amenities of a big city—a diverse population, lively nightlife, and a prospering business community—with family-oriented neighborhoods, cozy coffee shops, and an abundance of outdoor recreation.

Climate
One of the first things you’ll hear about Seattle is that it rains. The truth is that Seattle averages only 36 inches of rainfall annually—less than Washington DC (39 inches) and New York City (40.3 inches). Summers are warm and relatively dry, with temperatures rarely climbing above 90 degrees. Winters are typically wet and gray, but mild enough to allow for year-round outdoor activities. In fact, Seattle temperatures drop below freezing an average of only 15 days per year. There are four distinct seasons, and the spring months in particular on the UW campus are spectacular!

Things to Do
Seattle and the greater Pacific Northwest offer a wealth of activities that appeal to just about any interest, including outdoor enthusiasts, music and art lovers, culinary and wine experts, and many others. When you arrive on campus, a good place to start is the University Visitors Information Center located in Odegaard Library where a variety of brochures and schedules for sights, events and tours are available.

Learn more about our amazing city via the following links:
Foster MBA Admission’s Points of Interest Pamphlet
Official City of Seattle website
Seattle Convention and Visitor Bureau
Citysearch Seattle
National Geographic City Guide: Seattle

Seattle’s Neighborhoods
Seattle is a very neighborhood oriented city. Each neighborhood has its own unique identity, feel, and way of life. When looking at neighborhoods, be sure to keep in mind accessibility by Metro Bus to important places such as the UW and downtown. The following are general descriptions of local neighborhoods:

  • Ballard: Scandinavian fisherman and loggers founded Ballard bordering the Puget Sound, and the maritime influence is still strong. A large pleasure-boat marina with seafood restaurants and spectacular views of the Olympic Mountains lies adjacent to public beaches at Shilshole. Ballard offers a wide variety of housing options, many of which are newly constructed apartment buildings to accommodate an increased demand for space in the very walkable and trendy neighborhood. There are frequent buses to and from Ballard, but travel times can be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on traffic.
  • Capitol Hill: A diverse shopping and residential area, with some of the city’s loveliest old mansions, lies on the hill South of the UW campus. The Capitol Hill area is Seattle’s most dense urban neighborhood, with a large co-op house population. Rent is similar to the University District, and there is an abundance of shopping, restaurants and entertainment. Parking is tight, but the bus service is good.
  • Eastlake/Lake Union: Right next to campus and close to downtown, Eastlake faces Lake Union’s working waterfront, where you’re likely to see retired military vessels, oceanographic ships, and tugboats. A colorful houseboat community is moored at the northern end, and several restaurants overlook the lake.
  • Fremont/Wallingford: Both neighborhoods host small shops, bars, and international restaurants. Fremont hosts more filmmaker/artists’ studios and has a more robust nightlife, while Wallingford hosts a playfield and gasworks park. Both neighborhoods are popular rental locations and have a number of reasonably priced rentals with fairly easy access to the Burke-Gilman Trail and UW.
  • Green Lake: Seattle’s most popular neighborhood for outdoor recreation, Green Lake is a mecca for joggers, bicyclists, walkers and roller-bladders who make their way around the three-mile perimeter path. This has become a very popular area, and rent is nearly as high as the University District. Bus service to UW is good and it’s a relatively flat bike ride to campus.
  • North Seattle/Northgate: This major residential area has at its heart one of the Northwest’s first indoor shopping centers, Northgate Mall. It is also home to North Seattle Community College. Rentals are a bit larger and less expensive with easy bus/highway access to UW.
  • Queen Anne/Magnolia: Rising 456 feet north of downtown and the Denny Regrade, Queen Anne hill is a historic residential and small business community overlooking the Seattle Center and Elliot Bay. Magnolia’s Discovery Park overlooks Puget Sound and has some great views (for which rents tend to be higher). Metro routes from these areas to UW are more limited.
  • Roosevelt: Located just north of the University District and east of Green Lake, the Roosevelt neighborhood is largely residential with many of the homes dating from the early 1900s. This is a good area to shop for antiques and to sample international cuisine. The area offers a number of rentals and good UW access.
  • University District: This area offers all types of housing, but you definitely pay for it! Rent is high and many units are not well maintained. Parking is also difficult to find. The benefit to living in this area is that it has everything you need (laundromats, shopping, movie theaters, health clubs, restaurants and, of course, campus) within walking distance. Metro bus service in this area is better than in any of the other residential areas.
  • University Village/Ravenna: Primarily residential, this area offers the large University Village shopping area, easy UW access, and a beautiful park/play area (Ravenna Park). This neighborhood just east of the UW is a bit quieter than the University District proper.

Tip: Arrive earlier in the summer. Housing inventory gets tight as the school year approaches.

Rental Listing Service: Below are some suggestions of places to try. Keep in mind that some listing services charge a finder’s fee. Please note, none of these rental services are affiliated or partnered with the UW.

hotpads.com
padmapper.com
seattle.craigslist.org
apartmentinsider.com
trulia.com
http://washington.uloop.com/housing/

On Campus

Housing & Food Services (HFS)
On-campus housing makes your life simpler: one stop, one bill, one priority: You. Housing & Food Services (HFS) offers a wide range of options for graduate students, whether single or married, with or without children. Safety, convenience and good value are earmarks of campus housing, and there are so many opportunities for social and professional linkages. Interested students are encouraged to contact Housing & Food Services for information.

Food for thought: Once you’ve decided on a neighborhood, spend some time in the area. Check for For Rent signs and complete apartment applications even if there aren’t vacancies.

Here are a couple of unsubstantiated rumors that current students swear are true:

  1. The City of Seattle has a housing law whereby renters do not need to give notice of their intent to move until 20 days prior to moving out. For most leases, this means the 10th of the month in which they’re moving. If you intend to visit in search of housing, it’s better to conduct your search after the 10th of the month.
  2. Apartment owners in the University District tend to run leases from August 1 through July 31 (so students cannot sub-let their apartments). Thus, the best time to search for housing is July 11-31.

Seattle traffic can be challenging, especially at peak times. But if you’re not driving, you won’t care. The University of Washington encourages you to find alternative modes of transportation. Bicycling, walking, riding the bus, carpooling and vanpooling are great alternatives to driving alone. Several options are listed below.

Public Transportation
A UW issued U-Pass provides unlimited rides on King County Metro and Community Transit buses as well as other benefits. It is probably your best way to commute to school. A U-Pass is a required part of your tuition statement under the terms of the Services and Activities Fee. Your U-Pass is incorporated into your Husky ID. NOTE: You are not eligible for a U-Pass for quarters you are not registered.

U-Pass Information Line: 206.221.3701
King County Metro Customer service: 206.553.3000
Community Transit Customer Service: 425.353.7433

Biking
Seattleites love their bikes almost as much as they love their coffee, which is probably why Seattle is consistently ranked as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the United States. If you’ve never considered a cycling commute, now may be the time to start – biking is a great way to avoid traffic, explore the city, and fit a fun workout into your everyday routine!

The University of Washington has a variety of resources for those looking to bike to campus, including a Bike Commuting 101 guide and an online hub of information on bike storage and parking, safety, routes, and much more on their Bikespace page. There is even a student operated, full-service bike shop on campus which offers affordable repairs as well as bike maintenance courses.

Driving

Parking on Campus
There are a variety of ways to park on campus including, but not limited to, pay by the hour/day/night lots, commuter tickets, motorcycle permits, load/unload zones, and discounted weekend rates.

Parking Operations can answer any additional questions you may have and can be reached by phone at 206.685.1553 or by email at [email protected].

Complimentary parking is available weekday evenings from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., and on weekends from noon on Saturday to 6 a.m. Monday morning. Parking is also complimentary during holiday closures. See the parking page for annual closures.

Carpool
Another commute option is to carpool. Besides being good for Seattle’s congestion problems, carpools of three or more people with valid U-Passes may park on campus for a discount. It is easy to find commuting partners through a regional program called RideShareOnline.

Below are resources to help you explore childcare options and enroll your child/children in school.

Childcare

UW Childcare Assistance Program
The University of Washington’s Childcare Assistance Program assists student-parents in meeting childcare costs. This program provides financial assistance toward childcare in state-licensed daycare for children up to six years old. Awards are based on financial need, and parents must be full-time students at the University of Washington.

To apply, complete a Childcare Request Application and a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). These forms are available from both the Childcare Coordinating Office and the Office of Student Financial Aid. All FAFSA materials must be submitted by the priority deadline, February 28. Childcare Request forms are generally due by the end of May. Because funding for this program is very limited, it is crucial for students to meet the February FAFSA deadline.

Family Housing Centers
Haggard Nelson Childcare Resources operates three NAEYC accredited childcare centers on behalf of UW Family Housing: Laurel Village, Radford Court and West Campus. Laurel Village and Radford Court give priority to residents of family housing and students with childcare vouchers while West Campus gives priority to UW faculty. There is a waiting list for enrollment, so parents are encouraged to apply early. Download the waitlist form for the three University of Washington centers or contact the waitlist coordinator at 206-523-3936 or via email.

Schools
Seattle Public Schools
Parents of school age children who live within Seattle city limits should contact Seattle Public Schools for registration information. They can help you with age eligibility requirements, placement and special program information.

Private Schools
A directory of independent schools in Seattle and surrounding communities may be found on the Washington Federation of Independent Schools website.

You will be working with two separate offices – the MBA Program Office and the Graduate Admissions Office – while you complete your admissions process. We do our best to collaborate and work together on your behalf. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or run into any problems as the enrollment process progresses. You may also contact the MBA Program Office International Student Advisor, Norah Fisher. Once you accept your offer of admission and join UW’s Canvas (MBA program onboarding portal), you’ll find additional information about issuance of your I-20 form that you use to obtain your visa. Please refer to Canvas to help guide you through pre-arrival processes.

UW has a variety of student support offices or student organizations to meet your needs. A few such services are highlighted below, but for an extensive list of students support offices, visit the Services for Students website. You can also search for student organizations beyond those associated with the Foster School of Business at the Student Activities Office. Offices for most student organizations are located in the HUB.

Disability Resources for Students
Disability Resources for students coordinates academic accommodations for enrolled students with disabilities. They can also provide additional resources, such as transportation services and an Access Guide showing classroom access, elevator locations, ramps, parking and restroom information.
206-543-8924
[email protected]
011 Mary Gates Hall

Veterans Education Benefits Office
This office assists students eligible for veterans’ educational benefits, including tuition or fee reductions.
206-543-6122
[email protected]
327 HUB

The Graduate Opportunities and Minority Achievement Program (GO-MAP)
GO-MAP serves the needs of students of color, while simultaneously fostering an educational and social environment in which all students can learn and develop through experiences rich in cultural, ethnic and racial diversity.
206-543-9016
[email protected]

Foundation for International Understanding Through Students
FIUTS connects students to local and global communities through programs that build international awareness, cross-cultural communication, and informed leadership. These programs include, but aren’t limited to home-stays, international travel, language exchanges and a variety of other open events on campus.
206-543-0735
[email protected]
HUB 206

Washington Apple Health
Washington Apple Health is co-sponsored by the University of Washington, Washington State Government, and the Affordable Care Act. They provide a number of affordable health plans with local care center in the Seattle area and surrounding regions. They offer a variety of plans that can be free or low cost to students. For more information please contact the Washington Health Care Authority at [email protected].

Hall Health
Hall Health provides many services to students that are automatically covered by your tuition including, but not limited to, one visit per quarter for general medical concerns, addiction help services, crisis counseling and many more. Visit their website for more information.
206-685-1011

Student Counseling Center
The center offers individual psychological counseling to currently enrolled students. They do not charge a fee for most of their services.
206-543-1240
401 Schmitz Hall

Mental Health Clinic
Provides counseling for students who are in need of assistance. Fees are higher than the Student Counseling Center, however the clinic accepts and bills most major insurance plans (including student insurance and private insurance companies).
206-543-5030
3rd floor Hall Health

Psychological Services and Training Center
This office provides psychological services to students and the general public by graduate students in Clinical Psychology. Faculty members and private practitioners supervise student counselors. Services include child and family therapy and counseling for individuals or couples.
206-543-6511
Guthrie Annex I