Every year, Northwestern University receives tens of thousands of applications from qualified applicants around the world. For you to stand a real chance of being admitted to this university, you’ll need to know not just how to get into Northwestern but also how to tailor your application to make it stand out. This article includes everything you need to learn about how to get accepted into Northwestern University.
This guide provides information regarding Northwestern’s acceptance rate, highlights Northwestern’s requirements for admission into its programs, and evaluates its interview process. We’ll also give you some tips to distinguish you from other applicants. Northwestern University is one of the top 10 best national universities, according to US News & World Report, so it is worth pursuing an education with this institution.
All About Northwestern Admissions
Admission decisions at Northwestern University consider the information provided by an applicant in their entire application form, including their academic and non-academic activities. After the admissions committee has evaluated this information, it proceeds to the next steps of the application process. However, before submitting an application, it is critical to understand Northwestern’s admission process, including its acceptance rate, GPA, and total enrollment.
Northwestern Acceptance Rate
Northwestern University’s acceptance rate for the 2021-22 application cycle was seven percent, the lowest in its history. Out of the 47,636 applications it received, it accepted only 2,086 as first-year students, and about half that number came from Early Decision applicants.
Northwestern University does not require a minimum GPA due to the varying calculations from different high schools. However, considering that over 95 percent of admitted students at Northwestern graduate in the top 10 percent of their class, we expect that the average GPA is pretty high.
Northwestern Total Enrollment
Northwestern University enrolled 22,903 students for the Fall 2021 semester. Of that number, 8,606 enrolled in undergraduate programs, while 14,297 enrolled in graduate programs. Moreover, 12,087 female students enrolled in the university compared to 10,816 male students.
Below is a list of the basic application requirements instrumental to kickstarting your Northwestern application process. Applications to certain schools like the Bienen School of Music and the School of Communication require additional materials.
- Application Form. Northwestern accepts both Common and Coalition Applications. It has no preference between the two and leaves the choice of the application entirely to the applicant’s discretion.
- High School Transcript and Report. An official transcript details your academic records while a school report, also called a counselor recommendation, comments on your behavior. Northwestern requires you to submit both documents through your school counselor.
- Letters of Recommendation. Northwestern requires a minimum of two recommendation letters from applicants. One must come from your school counselor and the other from a teacher.
- Optional Standardized Test Score. Northwestern has adopted a test-optional policy for the 2022-23 application cycle because of COVID-19. It has no preference between the SATs and ACTs, so applicants who opt to submit their test scores may submit either.
- Application Fee. Northwestern applicants must pay a non-refundable fee of $75 with their application. However, students who need financial assistance may request an application fee waiver.
Is It Hard to Get Into Northwestern?
Yes, getting into Northwestern is hard, and judging by its admissions statistics, there is huge competition among applicants. In 2000, Northwestern received 14,725 applications, and its admissions rate was 32 percent. By 2020, the number of applications had more than tripled, while admittance numbers remained substantially the same.
Northwestern University is a very competitive school. Talented students in the top 10 percent of their class make up more than 95 percent of admitted applicants. For you to stand a chance to be accepted to this prestigious school, you need a solid academic profile. That means a GPA well above the average at Northwestern and SAT or ACT scores above the 75th percentile.
How to Prepare for a Northwestern Interview
Northwestern interviews are conducted by alumni volunteers, and your ability to schedule one is dependent on alumni availability, capacity, and geography. If you get an invite to an interview, attending can go a long way to show your seriousness about Northwestern. It is also important to go prepared. Below you will find some basic college interview questions you should expect.
Northwestern Interview Questions
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why do you want to attend Northwestern University?
- What motivates you?
- How will you pay for your education?
- What separates you from other candidates?
10 Tips for Getting Into Northwestern
Even with a strong GPA and high test scores, it can be difficult for you to get admitted into Northwestern. In the section below, you’ll find some tips that can give you a huge advantage over the competition and improve your chances of getting into Northwestern.
1. Take Advanced Classes
Northwestern doesn’t just look at grades. It also considers the rigor of your academic program. Many of the applications it receives are from top students taking advanced courses. For your application to be competitive, you’ll need to take the most challenging classes available to you and get good grades in them.
2. Take Multiple SATs and ACTs
Northwestern University superscores the SAT and ACT exams. This means that if you submit multiple test results, Northwestern will pick the highest score in each section across all the test dates submitted and create a superscore. If you take multiple exams and focus on one section in each exam, when you calculate your superscore, you’ll see a huge score improvement.
3. Apply Through the Early Decision Process
Northwestern’s acceptance rate for Early Decision applicants is much higher than its Regular Decision acceptance rate. If Northwestern is your dream school and you’re ready to make a binding commitment to attend, applying through Early Decision can significantly raise your chances of admission.
4. Submit Your Application to One of Northwestern’s 6 Schools
Northwestern requires you to apply to one of its six undergraduate schools. It judges applicants on the same criteria irrespective of which school they apply to. However, try to apply to the school that best fits your proposed major. This can help your application stand out and demonstrate your seriousness about attending the school.
5. Compose an Engaging Essay
Your essay is one of the most important parts of your application. You may transform your application from a collection of grades and academic information into an impressive representation of your personality if you do it correctly. Write an honest and engaging essay that will stand out to admissions officers. Also, make sure you leave plenty of time to edit and perfect it.
6. Write the Supplementary Essay
Apart from the Common or Coalition Application essays, Northwestern offers an optional supplemental essay to ask applicants why they would like to attend Northwestern. We advise you to give this question substantial thought and craft an essay that shows how you fit with the Northwestern culture and how Northwestern can help you achieve your goals.
7. Leverage Your Recommendation Letters
Northwestern requires two letters of recommendation. One from your counselor and the other from a teacher. Don’t just pick anyone to write your teacher recommendation letter. Obtain a letter from a teacher who taught you a topic related to your planned major or a subject you excelled in.
8. Emphasize Your Extracurricular Activities
Northwestern values a student body with diverse skills, no matter how obscure. Extracurricular activities, especially if focused on a particular field, can make you a more attractive candidate for admission. Include all relevant experience you’ve acquired while in school, such as leadership positions, club memberships, competitions, and projects.
9. Demonstrate Your Interest
Northwestern encourages students to pursue an interdisciplinary education. Personalize your majors and minors, and look at degrees from Northwestern’s different schools to demonstrate your interest in attending the university. Scheduling a campus visit or contacting an admissions officer are also great ways to demonstrate your interest in attending.
10. Declare Any Special Circumstances
If any unusual circumstances impacted your academic performance while in high school, explain this in your application. If your counselor is aware of these circumstances, they may also include them in the counselor recommendation section of your application. Northwestern will consider these circumstances when reviewing your application.
What Does It Take to Get Into Northwestern?
You’ll need a strong application, impressive test scores, and an engaging essay. If you don’t get in, there are alternative education options like bootcamps at Northwestern that you can explore. You’ll need to be the right fit to stand a chance of getting into Northwestern.
How to Get Into Northwestern FAQ
No, most programs at Northwestern do not require that you submit any standardized test scores if you feel that you scored too low. However, the Integrated Science Program does require that you submit test scores unless you take advanced placement tests for certain classes. Look at the program’s admission requirements to learn more.
Northwestern University is well-known for its multidisciplinary approach to learning. The programs offered through its academic schools are among the most prestigious in the world. Particularly notable Northwestern schools are the Medill School of Journalism and Marketing, the Bienen School of Music, and the Kellogg School of Management
The Feinberg School of Medicine is located in Chicago, Illinois. It offers graduate and continuing education degrees to medical professionals. Its mandate is to conduct high-impact research that betters human health.
You should apply to Northwestern because it is one of the most prestigious research universities in the US. Its values are academic excellence, a multidisciplinary education, campus diversity, and accessibility. It has also produced notable alumni like George RR Martin and Stephen Colbert.
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