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College Admission Series: Northwestern University

Northwestern University(NWU), often simply referred to as Northwestern, is a prestigious and renowned institution nestled in Evanston, Illinois. Established in 1851, Northwestern has consistently held a position among the top-tier universities in the United States and is celebrated for its commitment to academic excellence, research innovation, and a vibrant, inclusive community.

As one of the leading research universities in the nation, Northwestern boasts a rich history of scholarly achievement, producing groundbreaking discoveries and contributing significantly to the advancement of knowledge across a wide spectrum of fields. Its distinguished faculty members, cutting-edge facilities, and collaborative research opportunities have drawn some of the brightest minds from around the world to its campuses.



Why should you apply to Northwestern?


Applying for Northwestern University's undergraduate program offers a multitude of compelling reasons that make it an excellent choice for prospective students. Here are some key factors that make Northwestern a highly attractive institution for undergraduate studies:

  1. Academic Excellence: Northwestern consistently ranks among the top universities in the United States and globally. Its rigorous academic programs and distinguished faculty ensure a high-quality education that prepares students for success in their chosen fields.

  2. Research Opportunities: Northwestern is renowned for its research excellence. Undergraduates have access to a wide range of research opportunities, allowing them to work alongside faculty on groundbreaking projects and gain hands-on experience.

  3. Interdisciplinary Approach: Northwestern encourages interdisciplinary learning, enabling students to explore diverse fields of study and connect knowledge across disciplines. This approach fosters creativity and innovation.

  4. Strong Programs in Various Fields: Northwestern offers an extensive array of undergraduate programs, including engineering, arts and sciences, journalism, business, performing arts, and more. There's a program to suit a wide range of interests and career aspirations.

  5. Global Perspective: Northwestern places a strong emphasis on global education and offers study abroad programs, international opportunities, and a diverse student body that prepares graduates for a globalized world.

  6. Vibrant Campus Life: The university boasts a dynamic campus life with numerous clubs, organizations, and cultural events. Whether you're interested in student government, sports, arts, or community service, Northwestern has something to offer.

  7. Chicago Location: Evanston, where Northwestern's main campus is located, is a beautiful, safe suburb with easy access to the vibrant city of Chicago. Students can explore the cultural, professional, and entertainment opportunities of a major metropolitan area.

  8. Career Opportunities: Northwestern has a strong track record of career placement, with many graduates securing jobs at top companies or pursuing advanced degrees at prestigious institutions.

  9. Inclusivity and Diversity: Northwestern values inclusivity and diversity and strives to create a welcoming environment for students from all backgrounds.

  10. Alumni Network: Northwestern's extensive alumni network includes accomplished individuals in various fields. Graduates often find valuable connections and support from the Northwestern community throughout their careers.

  11. Community Engagement: Northwestern encourages students to engage with the local community through service-learning and volunteering, fostering a sense of social responsibility.

  12. Holistic Education: The university's commitment to holistic education ensures that students develop not only academically but also personally, socially, and ethically.


Application Deadline


Early Decision: Nov 01, 2023

Regular Decision: Jan 03, 2024


Application Checklist


The following must be submitted:

  • Common Application, Apply Coalition with Scoir, or QuestBridge application

  • Common Application or Apply Coalition with Scoir personal essay (OPTIONAL)

  • Northwestern supplement, (with additional writing supplements)

  • Secondary school report (includes high school transcript and counselor recommendation letter),

  • Teacher recommendation,

  • Standardized test scores (optional),

  • Early Decision agreement and

  • A nonrefundable application fee of $75 or application fee waiver.


Personal Statement and Supplemental Essays


The following question is required for all Common Application and Coalition with Scoir applicants (optional for QuestBridge applicants). Please respond in 300 words or fewer:

  • We want to be sure we’re considering your application in the context of your personal experiences: What aspects of your background, your identity, or your school, community, and/or household settings have most shaped how you see yourself engaging in Northwestern’s community, be it academically, extracurricularly, culturally, politically, socially, or otherwise?

The following questions are optional, but NWU encourages you to answer at least one and no more than two. Please respond in fewer than 200 words per question:

  • Painting “The Rock” is a tradition at Northwestern that invites all forms of expression—students promote campus events or extracurricular groups, support social or activist causes, show their Wildcat spirit (what we call “Purple Pride”), celebrate their culture, and more. What would you paint on The Rock, and why?

  • Northwestern fosters a distinctively interdisciplinary culture. We believe discovery and innovation thrive at the intersection of diverse ideas, perspectives, and academic interests. Within this setting, if you could dream up an undergraduate class, research project, or creative effort (a start-up, a design prototype, a performance, etc.), what would it be? Who might be some ideal classmates or collaborators?

  • Community and belonging matter at Northwestern. Tell us about one or more communities, networks, or student groups you see yourself connecting with on campus.

  • Northwestern’s location is special: on the shore of Lake Michigan, steps from downtown Evanston, just a few miles from Chicago. What aspects of our location are most compelling to you, and why?

  • Northwestern is a place where people with diverse backgrounds from all over the world can study, live, and talk with one another. This range of experiences and viewpoints immeasurably enriches learning. How might your individual background contribute to this diversity of perspectives in Northwestern’s classrooms and around our campus?


Applying for Financial Aid


Need-based financial aid is available to international students seeking undergraduate degrees at Northwestern. NWU guarantees to meet 100% of all admitted first-year students’ demonstrated financial need for all four years. They are need-aware for international students, meaning that a request for financial aid consideration and the amount of financial aid you require may factor into your admission decision.


Source (including but not limited to): Northwestern University Website

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