Northwestern University: Acceptance Rates & Statistics

northwestern university admissions

Steady Application Numbers for the Northwestern Class of 2023

Northwestern received a total of 40,577 applications in this year’s regular round of admission. This is only about 100 more applicants than last year, when 40,425 students applied to NU. The Daily Northwestern reported that, after years of growing applications, the number of undergraduate applicants to Northwestern has begun to flatten out. Northwestern University Class of 2023 accepted 8.9% of its total applicants, a slight increase from the 8.4% admit rate for the class of 2022.

In recent years, Early Decision applicants have comprised roughly one half of the incoming class. The number of Early Decision applicants, which rose about 9% in December 2018, was 4,399 students. These numbers are in keeping with a wider trend across universities this year as more students choose the binding ED option to improve their odds. This shift towards ED, however, may place low-income applicants at a disadvantage who cannot compare financial aid packages from multiple colleges if they apply and are accepted in a binding early program.

Rising National Profile

Northwestern, like its competitor the University of Chicago, has seen a significant drop in acceptance rates since 2006, reporting 81% and 74% decreases, respectively. According to the study, UChicago admitted 38% of applicants in 2006; last year it accepted just 7%. Similarly, Northwestern’s admissions rate went from 32% to 8% over the 12-year period. While these schools used to be more regionally popular, they have now become nationally and internationally recognized as students apply to a broader swath of universities. Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences received the most applications out of any Northwestern school, while McCormick School of Engineering was the second most popular.

Pell Grant-Eligibility

Northwestern has made public efforts to demonstrate their commitment to diversity. In 2016, Northwestern announced a goal that 20 percent of an incoming class would be Pell Grant-eligible by the fall of 2020. This was achieved with the class of 2022. With that said, roughly 30% of the undergraduate population still hails from Illinois.

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