STARS Program

The University of Washington Bothell State Academic RedShirt (STARS) program seeks to increase diversity and access for pre-major students interested in applying to and graduating with computer science or similar degrees.  

STARS is designed to holistically support talented students who need additional STEM and college support. Students admitted to STARS gain individualized and long-lasting support through a community of students, staff, faculty and industry mentors. 

Our program is modeled after the University of Washington Seattle Pathways for Inclusive Excellence (PIE) Programs

What is a RedShirt?

In college sports, athletes often use their first year to train to compete at a higher level. This year is known as their “redshirt year.” In STARS, our students are using their own first and second years to train to enter a computer science or similar major. 

Admission process

Washington state residents who list computer science or computer engineering as their first and/or second choice major are automatically considered for admission into the STARS program. Students are notified of their admission to STARS after admission decisions to UW Bothell have been released.  

Admission into computer science and computer engineering is competitive. Students admitted into STARS, will enter the university as a pre-major student and will receive holistic support to apply into one of the technology & engineering major pathways.  

Key features

The cohort experience: STARS Scholars will join their own cohort community of ~35 students who are interested in computer science and engineering fields. Scholars will take classes together, engage in meaningful projects, attend workshops and networking events, live on campus together, and have a dedicated space just for them.

Summer Transition Program:
This program accelerates scholars’ college success by offering tailored courses on leveraging identity and strengths, fostering support networks, exploring technology interests, and immersing in campus life. Meals and housing are provided. Attendance is mandatory for 1–2 weeks during the summer.

On campus housing: STARS Scholars will have a designated wing with a resident advisor for on-campus support. First-year STARS Scholars are required to live on campus, with housing applications due on May 1st. Learn more about campus living.

Mentorship and career development: Peers, alumni, faculty, and community partners will engage in networking and mentoring students throughout the program. 

Dedicated STARS faculty, academic advising, and staff: These staff members will provide high-touch and individualized support. This includes peer facilitators, tutors, and mentors to promote belonging and growth.  

Innovative courses and success seminars: Scholars will engage in programming designed to help them build a sense of purpose and understand different pathways to meet their goals. The courses will: build community, promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, support career pathways, support wellbeing, and increase persistence, belonging and retention.


We believe students from all economic backgrounds should be able to attend the University of Washington Bothell and that finances should not be a barrier. STARS students are strongly encouraged to apply to FAFSA or WASFA by the priority deadline, February 28, 2024. Please apply as soon as possible, even if you do not think you’re eligible for aid. Learn more about financial aid.

What to expect