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Northwestern University Admissions

northwestern university admissions

Get Into Northwestern

About Northwestern University

Northwestern University currently ranks at #9 on the most recent U.S. News and World Report’s list of National Universities, and at #14 on its list of Best Value Schools. Founded in 1851, Northwestern currently enrolls 8,353 undergraduate students, most of whom study on its main campus in Evanston, IL. Northwestern also has campuses in nearby Chicago—located only twelve miles away from Evanston—and, as of 2008, in Doha, Qatar.

Students regularly commute between Evanston and Chicago, traveling either by public transit or on the free intercampus shuttle. In addition to classrooms and labs, Evanston offers beaches, coffee shops, scenic running trails, and a vibrant restaurant scene. In Chicago, students can find a more urban environment, as well as important cultural centers like the Museum of Contemporary Art and the John Hancock Center.

Nearly 70 percent of the undergraduate population at Northwestern lives on campus. These students have the option of living in traditional residence halls, in residential communities (which offer more student-driven programming and live-in faculty), or in one of eleven residential colleges. Residential colleges—which range in size from 40 to nearly 300 students—are generally themed around particular issues, including business, international studies, public affairs, and community engagement. All offer students a variety of academic and social programming, including the opportunity to dine with faculty members, attend regular outings and presentations (known as “firesides”), and, in some cases, take small seminars for credit.

Northwestern offers more than 500 extracurricular groups for students to join, with focuses ranging from community involvement to theatrical performance to political activism. The school also competes in NCAA Division I sports, and it is the only private university in the Big Ten conference. Academically, Northwestern works on a quarter system, which gives students the opportunity to take more classes than a traditional semester system; students typically take four classes each quarter.

Northwestern University is comprised of twelve different schools, including:

The first six of these are undergraduate schools, offering students bachelor’s degrees in a variety of different fields. Students can also earn undergraduate degrees—and study abroad for the fall semester—at Northwestern’s Qatar campus. In addition, the Kellogg School of Management offers undergraduate certifications in financial economics and managerial analytics. In total, Northwestern offers undergraduates more than 200 formal academic concentrations, as well as the opportunity to develop and complete their own programs of study.

Northwestern also offers a Dual Bachelor’s Degree Program, allowing students to earn degrees from two schools in five years. Interested students can earn combined degrees in liberal arts and engineering, liberal arts and music, communication and engineering, communication and music, education and music, engineering and music, or journalism and music. To be admitted to a Dual Bachelor’s Degree Program, students must apply to both schools. Since each application is considered separately, it is possible to be admitted to only one or both schools.

In addition, Northwestern offers several special admissions programs. Students interested in math and natural sciences can apply to the Weinberg College’s Integrated Science Program (ISP), which offers an intensive, accelerated curriculum and the opportunity to complete a bachelor’s degree in three years. High school seniors interested in medicine can also apply to the Honors Program in Medical Education (HPME), a non-binding, seven-year BA/MD program. This program allows students to earn a bachelor’s degree through an individualized course of study at the Weinberg College, McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, or School of Communication, and then—provided they maintain a minimum GPA—gives them the option to matriculate at the Feinberg School of Medicine. (The MCAT is not required for matriculation into Feinberg.)

Northwestern offers all students the opportunity to do research, study abroad, or pursue internships. In fact, almost 75% of Northwestern’s undergraduates engage in these opportunities. The school’s Office of Undergraduate Research makes it easy to participate in research by administering grant programs that award over one million dollars annually. The university’s Undergraduate Research Grant offers support for independent projects undertaken during the summer or the academic year, while the Undergraduate Research Assistance Program allows students to work as research assistants on faculty projects. Northwestern’s many interdisciplinary research centers also offer lots of resources for undergraduate research, including special programs, research grants, and funding for independent scholarly projects.

For graduate students, Northwestern offers ten graduate and professional programs, including those at the Kellogg School of Management, the School of Education and Social Policy, the School of Law, the Feinberg School of Medicine, the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. An accelerated JD program allows a select group of students to complete the JD in two calendar years, while the Pritzker School and the Kellogg School offer a joint degree program allowing students to earn both JD and MBA degrees in three years.

Applying to Northwestern University

Undergraduate applicants to Northwestern can apply Early Decision or Regular Decision. Early Decision applications, generally due November 1, are binding, meaning that any accepted students must attend Northwestern. Early Decision applicants are allowed to apply Early Action and Regular Decision to other schools, but they must withdraw these applications if they are accepted by Northwestern.

Northwestern readily admits that Early Decision applicants have an advantage over students in the regular round. In the school’s own words, “Applicants who choose Early Decision send a strong positive message to Northwestern. Given early applicants’ high level of interest and the high concentration of academic and personal strengths represented across the early applicant pool, our Early Decision acceptance rate is typically higher than that of Regular Decision.” In fact, Northwestern usually fills up one half of the entering class during the early round.

Students can apply using either the Common Application or the Coalition Application. Applicants must submit either the SAT or ACT. Northwestern also recommends that most applicants submit at least two SAT Subject Tests. (Applicants to the ISP and HPME programs have more precise requirements.) Based on our experience working with students at Top Tier, however, we know that “recommended” tests are often actually required for admission. Northwestern also offers applicants the opportunity to take part in an alumni interview.

Northwestern University Admissions Wrap Up

For the Class of 2023, Northwestern received a record 40,577 applicants, 100 more than received last year. The overall acceptance rate was  8.9 percent. First-generation college students make up 12.5 percent of the class and 11 percent are international students. As usual, early applications will fill about half the entering class, which will likely total 1,925 students. There were 4,399 students who applied Early Decision. Of those 4,399, 25 percent were accepted. 

Top Tier Admissions Can Help You Get Into Northwestern University:

“Once again, I am so impressed with your program. I am amazed at the sheer 
amount B. accomplished in four days! Equally as important, she feels
 really great about her essays. She loved working with each of you as well as 
A. (a great pairing for her!).  

I know how hard each of you worked this week; I hope you get to enjoy some
 well-deserved R&R!” –N.G., Application Boot Camp parent
"G is excited to go to her first choice, the University of Miami! She continues to say that Application Boot Camp was the best investment we ever made for her education." –R.J., Application Boot Camp parent
"I liked the process of having multiple people read my essays before finalizing a draft. This made me confident that my essays were clear and concise while also captivating to a diverse audience. Everyone was also patient and encouraging. Boot Camp took away so much stress coming into Senior Fall, allowing me to focus on my academics and earning my highest term average ever." –S.A., Application Boot Camp student
"I know first hand how you run your business.  Off the charts ethical! We look forward to continuing our relationship with Top Tier's Application Boot Camp."
-Parent of Application Boot Camp (Dartmouth) students
"Thank you so much for your help and guidance. I wouldn't have been able to do it without you and the Top Tier Admissions Team! I'm still in between UPenn and Georgetown, but I will make sure to visit both." –S.I., Application Boot Camp student
"Clearly, Application Bootcamp and Top Tier took a lot of anxiety out of the whole situation. Our children know a number of kids who did not get into their top choice ED school, only to be devastated and stressed as they are without a plan for ED II and regular decision and have not worked on a range of essays for other schools. So while F & J’s EA-only strategy is not for everyone but made sense for them since they did not have a clear lead school when they were applying, being prepared made all the difference. The help Bootcamp provided in honing their voice and words into essays that reflect their intent was fantastic.In the end, it is all about having choices they are happy with, and I am happy to say they both have those now!"–F.A., parent of Application Boot Camp students
"E., I just wanted to let you know that I got into Barnard Early Decision! Thank you for everything you have done!!! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate everything you did for me! Thank You!!" - H.L., Personal Boot Camp student
Barnard, Class of 2023
"I wanted to say thank you again for all your help! I got into UPenn, Cornell, Barnard, Wellesley, Wesleyan, Tufts, University of Michigan, and Wake Forest, and am waiting to hear from Georgetown; I think I'm leaning towards UPenn. Thank  you so much for all your guidance; I don't think I could have done it without your help!" --I.R., Application Boot Camp student
"We are thrilled! Duke is absolutely fantastic and is the exact right fit for K. Application Boot Camp definitely helped her get into Duke during their most selective year in history, a year in which they turned away well over 2,000 Valedictorians. Thank you!" -Y.R., parent of ABC student accepted to 9 top-tier colleges
Y.R.
"Boot Camp was the most incredible experience. It made me push myself into thinking about my future and prepared me to send in all my applications. I am so thankful that I got the help I needed at Boot Camp because it made my application process effortless once I had completed my essays. I think that the colleges were able to clearly see my goals and ambitions through the writing of my essays. I believe this helped me have a very successful application process." –P.K., Application Boot Camp student
Barnard Class of 2022
"I just wanted to say thank you for all the help that I received during Boot Camp! I was able to do so much work and gain so much knowledge about the procedure of applying to college. I am so blessed to have had you as my best resources. I will definitely keep you posted when I start hearing from schools and thank you very much for all your help and feedback once again.” – L.L, Application Boot Camp student
"If there is any reference or feedback you ever want for a prospective client for Boot Camp, please send them my way. You and everyone handled the students so well - firmly, maturely, but with care and patience knowing this is a time of great pressure and anxiety for them. Having them finish with smiles, prepared for the next steps, and better yet - excited for the next chapter of their lives - is wonderful. I would tell anyone considering the program that for our children, they felt it was valuable, and for us, it delivers on what it promises - getting children ready, well-positioned, and less anxious for their application process." – S.P., parent of Application Boot Camp student
"I just wanted to send you a note of personal and heartfelt thanks for supporting B in Boot Camp. My wife was touched and very appreciative of your approach ('M. is a good soul.') and B left feeling challenged, but also confident, whole and supported. You probably figured out that she’s quite different from her brother! She talks about you warmly - you definitely made a fan and friend! Anyway, thanks for your personal, caring touch. She’s excited about what lies ahead." – J.T., parent of Application Boot Camp student
"I really truly cannot thank you enough for going the extra mile on the follow up call. B was mentally done and you somehow got her back on board! This mother of 3 is personally 'done' too!!! THANK YOU!" – F.K., parent of Application Boot Camp student
"I just wanted to let you know that I was accepted ED to Tulane!!  J, I want to thank you for all the time and effort you put in to working with me both in Boston as well as over the last few months.  M., I am so thankful I had the opportunity to go to Boot Camp. It was incredibly valuable. In fact, the head of college counseling at my high school said my 'Why Tulane' essay was the best she has ever seen!" – C.T., Application Boot Camp student
Tulane Class of 2023
"We are so happy to report that R was just accepted ED to Williams College!! Thank you so much for everything that you did to help her over the past year! She is thrilled!!" –T.S. & F.S., parents of Application Boot Camp student
Williams Class of 2023
"I am emailing you to let you both know that I have been accepted to the University of Miami and will be attending there in the fall! It's been a dream of mine for a long time and I couldn't be happier about it. I wanted to thank you again so much for your help and guidance. I really don't think I could have done this without you guys and I will be forever grateful. Your program is truly amazing and I am lucky I attended. Thank you again." –P.T., Application Boot Camp student
University of Miami Class of 2023
"Haverford's comment on 'awesome application and ...EASY to advocate for you' is due in no small part to you and the Top Tier BOOT CAMP and consulting. Yes, P did the work, but you guided us in the activities that she should spend her time on, and eliminate non 'core' activities that added little value as she became an upperclassman.She has punched above her weight, and because of K. and Top Tier she is on a path for a wonderful academic career.After we recover from the shock and celebrate, get ready for our next child to be a part of the Top Tier family!" – Parent of Private Counseling/Application Boot Camp student

"We want to let you know that S was accepted into Brown. We are thrilled for him and grateful for all your help and support! He also got into UT Austin!" – W.L., parent of Application Boot Camp student

Brown Class of 2023

"K applied ED to Franklin & Marshall and was admitted thanks to your help. They told his high school dean that they were very impressed by the quality of his application. Thanks for your help and all you've done for our family. P continues to thrive at Haverford as a junior." – A.K., parent of Application Boot Camp student(s)

"I wanted to let you know that I have been accepted by my first-choice school — the College of William & Mary! Thank you for your guidance in this process. I couldn’t be happier!" – M.J., Application Boot Camp student

College of William & Mary, Class of 2023
"This is to let you know that H. was accepted at Cornell!!  Cornell was her early decision school, and we learned that she got in this week. Thanks again to M., M., K., M., and the amazing Top Tier team! We very much appreciate all your help and support." – Application Boot Camp parent
"I GOT IN ED to Dartmouth! I am so grateful for all your support and the amazing ABC you run. I hope that other ABC students got good news as well! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!! And a HUGE thanks all the TTA staff who helped guide me with my essays! I couldn't have done this without you guys! GO BIG GREEN!!!" - Application Boot Camp student
"R got accepted to Dartmouth! We are overjoyed. Thank you for all your guidance and prepping." – Application Boot Camp parent, Dartmouth
"P was accepted to Stanford (REA) last Friday! She attended ABC this summer as you know and couldn’t have done it without your team. Thank you so much for all your help. I have already referred my brother who has a 10th grader. Thanks again!" – Application Boot Camp parent, Stanford
"On behalf of S, I am pleased to share that she has been accepted to Dartmouth!  THANK YOU, for all you and your colleagues at Top Tier did to assist S with this accomplishment. Your guidance and counsel is truly invaluable. S is extremely happy and very excited about her future at Dartmouth College! She is both honored and humbled. Top Tier played a big part in her success!" – Application Boot Camp parent, Dartmouth
“We would like to personally thank you for your help in preparing P. and S. in the college admissions process. Boot Camp provided invaluable guidance. Those four days were a very productive and extremely worthwhile time. We are thrilled they are starting senior year stress-free in terms of the college application process. Finally, thank you a ton for helping them both from the very beginning and we feel extremely fortunate to have worked with you.” –A.R., Parents of two Application Boot Camp Students
“I am amazed at how much S. got done this week AND he was even smiling when we left!” –P.N., Parent of Application Boot Camp Student
“What a duo you are! Thanks again for your support, patience, and understanding this past week. C. is confident and rejuvenated but realistic. He will consider all that you have said when reaching his strategic decisions.” –T.A., Parent of Application Boot Camp Student
“My wife just texted me that R’s essays are fantastic! Thank you for all the great advice.” –A.F., parent of Application Boot Camp Student

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