Northwestern University: Acceptance Rate and Admissions Statistics

University Hall
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Northwestern University is a highly selective private research university with an acceptance rate of 8.4%. To apply, students can use the Common Application or Coalition Application. Northwestern has an Early Decision program that can improve admission chances for students who are sure the university is their top choice school.

Considering applying to this highly selective school? Here are the Northwestern admissions statistics you should know.

Why Northwestern University?

  • Location: Evanston, Illinois
  • Campus Features: Northwestern's 240-acre campus sits on the shore of Lake Michigan and includes a lakefront park. Downtown Chicago is located just 12 miles south of campus.
  • Student/Faculty Ratio: 6:1
  • Athletics: The Northwestern Wildcats compete in the NCAA Division I Big Ten Conference.
  • Highlights: One of the most highly-ranked universities in the country, Northwestern is a major center for both research and education. With a nearly $10 billion endowment, the school provides significant grant aid for qualifying students.

Acceptance Rate

During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, Northwestern University had an acceptance rat of 8.4%. This means that for every 100 students who applied, 8 students were admitted, making Northwestern's admissions process highly competitive.

Admissions Statistics (2017-18)
Number of Applicants 40,426
Percent Admitted 8.4%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled (Yield) 57%

SAT Scores and Requirements

Northwestern requires that all applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, 45% of admitted students submitted SAT scores.

SAT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
ERW 700 760
Math 730 790
ERW=Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

This admissions data tells us that most of Northwestern's admitted students fall within the top 7% nationally on the SAT. For the evidence-based reading and writing section, 50% of students admitted to Northwestern scored between 700 and 760, while 25% scored below 700 and 25% scored above 760. On the math section, 50% of admitted students scored between 730 and 790, while 25% scored below 730 and 25% scored above 790. Applicants with a composite SAT score of 1550 or higher will have particularly competitive chances at Northwestern.

Requirements

Northwestern does not require the SAT writing section. Note that Northwestern participates in the scorechoice program, which means that the admissions office will consider your highest score from each individual section across all SAT test dates. At Northwestern, SAT Subject test requirements vary according to the college to which you're applying, so make sure to review the individual requirements for your application.

ACT Scores and Requirements

Northwestern requires that all applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. During the 2017-18 admissions cycle, 65% of admitted students submitted ACT scores.

ACT Range (Admitted Students)
Section 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
English 32 34
Math 32 34
Composite 32 35

This admissions data tells us that most of Northwestern's admitted students fall within the top 3% nationally on the ACT. The middle 50% of students admitted to Northwestern received a composite ACT score between 32 and 35, while 25% scored above 35 and 25% scored below 32.

Requirements

Note that Northwestern does not superscore ACT results; your highest composite ACT score will be considered. Northwestern does not require the ACT writing section. Regardless of whether you submit the ACT or SAT, you may be required to submit SAT Subject test scores to Northwestern (dependent on program to which you apply).

GPA

Northwestern does not provide data about admitted students' high school GPAs.

Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph

Northwestern University Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph.
Northwestern University Applicants' Self-Reported GPA/SAT/ACT Graph.  Data courtesy of Cappex.

The admissions data in the graph is self-reported by applicants to Northwestern University. GPAs are unweighted. Find out how you compare to accepted students, see the real-time graph, and calculate your chances of getting in with a free Cappex account.

Admissions Chances

Northwestern has a highly competitive admissions pool with a low acceptance rate and high average SAT/ACT scores. However, Northwestern has a holistic admissions process involving other factors beyond your grades and test scores. A strong application essay and glowing letters of recommendation can strengthen your application, as can participation in meaningful extracurricular activities and a rigorous course schedule. You'll also want to put plenty of thought into your supplemental "Why Northwestern?" essay. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your interest and show that specific features of Northwestern University align with your interests and aspirations. Students with particularly compelling stories or achievements can still receive serious consideration even if their test scores are outside Northwestern's average range.

If you're applying to Northwestern, you should consider the school a reach even if you have exceptional grades and standardized test scores. The graph above illustrates why. Many students with unweighted "A" averages and extremely high standardized test scores were still rejected by Northwestern University.