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How to Write the Northwestern University Supplemental Essays

While other parts of your application give us a sense of who you are, we are also excited to hear more about how you see yourself engaging with the larger Northwestern community.

In 300 words or less, help us understand how you might engage specific resources, opportunities, and/or communities here. We are curious about what these specifics are, as well as how they may enrich your time at Northwestern and beyond.

In the Northwestern Writing Supplement, we ask students to explain why they would like to attend Northwestern. This question is intentionally open-ended. You may choose one or several aspects of Northwestern to focus your writing, though the majority of the essay’s content should relate to your own interests or experiences.

As with any “why this school” essay, you’ll want to give specific, concrete, and compelling reasons about why Northwestern is the right school for you. The more specific the better–so really take your time to actually research Northwestern’s unique offerings.

You will want to write about academic opportunities. Are there any professors who you’d like to work with? Discover what your intended home department has to offer, whether that includes research institutions, speaker series, funding opportunities, or special study abroad programs. Remember to explain why these opportunities are important to you and how they’ll relate to your personal and professional development as a student at Northwestern. You will want to show that you have done your homework and you know what distinguishes Northwestern from other top research universities. For example, Northwestern offers interesting housing options that might speak to your desire to find a close-knit community on campus. You should also spend some time on their website looking into the list of student groups and pick out a few that speak to you. Ask yourself where your interest comes from and briefly discuss any similar involvement that you’ve had in high school!

You want to provide a clear overview of the kind of student you will be at Northwestern. At the same time, show genuine interest in the aspects of NW you choose to write about and explain very specifically how they align with your passions, goals, and pursuits. Good luck!