Northwestern University Requirements and Campus guide

School Name: Northwestern University

School Location: Evanston, IL

School Type: Liberal Arts / Research University

Class of 2025

  • Total Applications: 47,633
  • Total Admitted: 3,239
  • Total Acceptance Rate: 6.8%

General Info

Historical SAT/ACT Score (Test Optional )

  • SAT: 1460-1540
  • ACT: 33-35


  • Reach/High Match


  • Early Decision: November 1
  • Early Results: Mid-December
  • Regular Deadline: January 3
  • Regular Results: Late March

School Info

  • Schedule: Quarter
  • Curriculum Type: General Education/some specialized schools
  • Greek Life: Yes
  • Athletics: D1 – Big Ten

Northwestern Requirements and Campus Guide
Here’s everything you should know before you apply to Northwestern University

Northwestern University is a private university that consistently ranks in the top 10 schools in the U.S, so it is a NU requirement to have an excellent application in order to be accepted. It’s home to about 8,000 undergraduate students, and has locations both in and outside of the U.S. Here are some frequently asked questions about Northwestern!

Where is Northwestern?

For Northwestern, this question has a few answers. Both of Northwestern’s main campuses are in Illinois, located just 12 miles apart and bordered by a Great Lake. The Evanstan campus has a small college town feel to it, with beaches, shops, and coffee houses a short walk away from dorm rooms and lecture halls. The Chicago campus, on the other hand, is located in the heart of one of America’s biggest cities, and has perks like the Magnificent Mile and the Museum of Contemporary Art. To get a better sense of these two campuses, you can take a virtual tour virtual tour of Northwestern. While it is not a Northwestern requirement, tours can be a great way to gain an understanding of what life on campus is like.

As of 2008, the Northwestern University in Qatar also offers undergraduates an opportunity to study at this world-renowned institution. NU-Q is located in Doha’s Education City, a sprawling 2,500-acre campus known for its remarkable architecture and modern amenities.

How do I apply?

There are a few ways you can apply to Northwestern. You can either apply Early Decision or Regular Decision. If you apply early, your application is due November 1 apply, Northwestern will notify you of their decision by mid-December, and, if admitted, you must formally enroll by February 1. Since Northwestern is an ED school (as opposed to an EA school) you are required to attend if you’re admitted. Also, National College Match Scholars can apply to Northwestern ED through Questbridge. The majority of students apply during the non-binding Regular Decision round. Regular Decision applications are due January 2, with admission decisions released in late March and an enrollment deadline of April 1. Regardless of when you apply, the how is pretty similar. Unless you’re a QuestBridge scholar, you’ll apply via the Common Application or Coalition Application. Along with your application, you’ll need:

  • Secondary school report (includes high school transcript and counselor recommendation letter)
  • Teacher recommendation from one of your core subject teachers
  • Required standardized test scores
  • Recommended: additional “Why Northwestern” essay
  • Optional: an additional letter of recommendation that sheds a new light on your application

Additional application requirements are necessary if you’re applying to the following programs or schools:

  • Bienen School of Music
  • Music Theater Certificate Program
  • Honors Program in Medical Education
  • Integrated Science Program
  • Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences

Northwestern’s admissions process is highly selective. Around 10% of applicants are accepted every year. The 50% range is 1400-1540 for the SAT and 32-34 for the ACT.

What schools are at Northwestern?

Northwestern is composed of twelve schools and colleges, nine of which offer degrees to undergraduates. In addition to Northwestern University in Qatar, there are eight undergraduate colleges at their Illinois campuses. Aside from the Kellogg School of Management, which only offers certificates to undergraduate students, they are all Bachelor degree-granting. Here’s a list of Northwestern’s seven undergraduate degree-granting schools in the U.S.:

Students can take classes at all six colleges throughout their undergraduate years. Northwestern also offers tremendous academic flexibility, meaning that even if you enroll in one college as a Freshman, you can switch colleges later on or pursue a dual degree from two colleges.

What special opportunities does Northwestern have?

Every year, more than 700 Northwestern undergraduates study abroad. They can choose from more than 150 affiliated study abroad programs on six continents around the world. 40 of these programs are ones Northwestern developed and administrates itself. Regardless of what you study, Northwestern or one of its international partners has a study abroad program that caters to your interests. There are programs about public health in Mexico, journalism Argentina, economics in China, global engagement studies in Uganda, and much more.

On Northwestern’s own campus, students won’t have any trouble finding special opportunities that allow them to take risks and explore their passions. Networking events like Business Bootcamp and Elevator Pitch Night equip students with the skills and connections they need to survive in corporate America, while mentorship programs like The Garage Residency provides a space for students from across NU to come together to develop hardware or software, commercial products or artistic endeavors.

Is Northwestern diverse?

The class of 2023 is 12.6% Hispanic or Latino, 1.1% American Indian or Alaska Native, 22.7% Asian, 22.7. 10.2% Black or African American, and 54.2% white. 17% of students in this class are multi-racial, which is why the total percentage exceeds 100%. 12.5% of Northwestern’s class of 2023 are first generation college students, and 11.3% are international. The total undergraduate student body represents all 50 states and more than 75 countries.

What is campus life like?

With 550 organizations, ranging from fraternities and sororities to pre-professional clubs, to cultural-affiliation groups, every Northwestern student can find a sense of belonging.

If you don’t get involved in a social organization, you can find a sense of community in your dorm. Nearly all NU freshmen live on campus, and roughly 70% of undergraduates continue living in NU’s residential buildings for all four years. There are four main types of housing, ranging from the most broad to the most tight-knit and specific. NU’s 13 Residence halls support students and foster a successful residential experience; they are very diverse and house as many as 500 students. The four residential communities provide extra programming and faculty engagement opportunities than residential halls. There are also for-credit seminars hosted in the four residential communities. Students live alongside faculty in the residential communities, leading to closer relationships with professors. Residential colleges have the most opportunities for faculty engagement and programming. There are 11 residential colleges that are home to between 40 and 300 students per house. Each college is headed by a member of the faculty, and these “Faculty Chairs” facilitate faculty dinners and fireside chats so that students can get to know Northwestern’s faculty better. Some residential colleges have themes, such as international studies. Similarly, special interest housing brings together students who share a common interest.  A special interest housing group may be located on a wing of a residence hall or have their own small house.

Is Northwestern affordable?

The total cost to attend Northwestern, which includes tuition, room and board, and average transportation and personal expense costs is $75,758. Northwestern meets 100% of demonstrated need for all students—whether international or domestic. With a 190 million dollar financial aid budget, Northwestern is able to provide loan-free financial aid packages for the students who need it. Roughly 61% of students receive Northwestern University scholarships and other state and federal grants to pay for their education. You can calculate your estimated family contribution with Northwestern’s net price calculator.

When deciding to invest in college, it’s important to consider what you’ll gain from it (aside from exciting learning experiences). Fortunately, 95% of Northwestern graduates are employed or continuing their education within six months of graduating.