Saint Martin's University in Lacey partners with high schools to open higher education doors with new and easy direct admissions

Cheerleaders and Marty stand behind a giant Saint Martin's Bound sign, bubblies floating in the air

LACEY, Wash. - Saint Martin’s University launched an exciting new program that makes attending college in Washington more than just a dream for many high school students. The Catholic Benedictine university in Lacey “believes all students have the right to a transformative and affordable education” and that’s just one reason the institution initiated the Direct Admission Partnership program. The program directly admits qualified students in partner high schools to Saint Martin’s without a formal college application.

“The admissions team is excited to announce this new partnership and work with our partner schools to assist students throughout the application process,” says Saint Martin’s Dean of Admissions and Enrollment Patty Lemon. “Our team is dedicated to finding innovative solutions to increase access to Saint Martin’s.”

A group of parents and newly admitted students walk down a path lined with blossoming cherry trees
Saint Martin’s University offers a new direct admission program for qualified high school students in partner schools. Contact the Office of Admissions to learn more about this college access program.
Saint Martin’s Simplifies Access to a College Degree

With this program, the University is partnering with more than 20 schools in 8 school districts, including the Olympia School DistrictNorth Thurston Public SchoolsYelm School DistrictWhite Pass School DistrictBethel School DistrictClover Park School DistrictEverett School District and the Zillah School District. In the future, they plan to add partnerships with more school districts and Washington’s Catholic high schools.

“North Thurston Public Schools is proud to partner with Saint Martin’s on the direct admissions program,” says North Thurston Public Schools Superintendent Debra Clemens, Ph.D. “We graduate future-ready students who can choose from multiple pathways, including four-year degree programs. This program helps students envision a future at Saint Martin’s who may otherwise not have thought it possible.”

Bethel School District Assistant Superintendent Brian Lowney says direct entry into Saint Martin’s removes obstacles to obtaining higher education for that district’s students. “We are reaching out to expand options for our kids, especially for our first-generation college students, and address what is sometimes an admissions mystery or barrier,” he says. “It’s a game-changer.”

It’s Easy for Direct Admissions Students to Enter Saint Martin’s and Receive Scholarships

To secure their spot at Saint Martin’s University without applying, qualified students in partner high schools must have:

  • Completed or will complete high school graduation requirements.
  • Maintained a cumulative unweighted GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Completed intermediate algebra by their senior year.
  • Have no prior history of academic or social misconduct that led to disciplinary action, such as suspension during high school.
A tour group passes the bottom of the hill with Old Main in the background
Prospective students and their families can take a virtual or in-person tour of Saint Martin’s University. See the university’s website or contact the SMU Office of Admissions.

Students simply accept or decline admission to Saint Martin’s in their admissions student portal. Unlike the regular admissions process, no essay is required and official transcripts are submitted after high school graduation.

“This program allows us to demystify the admissions process by shortening the steps for qualifying students,” says Saint Martin’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications Nate Peters. “We hope this program allows students who thought earning a college degree was out of reach to see themselves attending and graduating from Saint Martin’s.”

Notably, direct admission students are also awarded a merit scholarship ranging from $19,000 to $26,000 per year for up to four years. The scholarship is automatically applied to students’ financial aid award package. Students can also apply for other Saint Martin’s scholarships, which may be found on the scholarships webpage.

Direct Admissions is the Latest Initiative in Saint Martin’s Long Tradition of Opening Doors to Higher Education

The Direct Admission Partnerships mean it’s easier and more affordable than ever for many students who thought college was out of reach to now attend Saint Martin’s. The program is just one of many ways the University remains agile in its more than 128-year history of opening doors to postsecondary education, as one of Washington’s colleges and universities.

“With the Direct Admissions program, we can offer the opportunity for students to consider a more personalized education at a smaller private liberal arts college,” says Lemon. “Families are often surprised that it can be an affordable option due to the institutional scholarships we offer in addition to their merit scholarships.”

The University serves approximately 1,300 undergraduates and 250 graduate students each year, with a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Of the student population, 38% are the first in their families to attend college, 15% are veteran or active-duty military, and 60% identify as a student of color. The faculty teach all classes, with an average class size of 12 to 14 students. The University offers more than 31 academic majors, plus graduate and certificate programs. More than $26 million in scholarships and gift aid were awarded to students last year.

Staff welcome new Saints and parents at a table for Admitted Saints Day
Saint Martin’s University will be holding information sessions this fall for prospective students and their families to learn more about the college and its admissions process.
Learn More about Saint Martin’s University and Its Direct Admission Partnerships

To learn more about Saint Martin’s as well as direct admissions, visit the website for more details including an upcoming schedule of information sessions. Prospective students and their families are also invited to reach out to the Office of Admissions. The admissions team can explain the admissions and financial aid process, and answer questions about the new Direct Admission Partnership program.


For additional information: 

Office of Admissions
Text: 360-810-5093

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