Acceptance Rate

Northwestern University Acceptance Rate 2024 – [ Rankings, Application Process & More]

Northwestern University Acceptance Rate

If you want to study at Northwestern University, a world-renowned research institute, learn about the Northwestern University acceptance rate. The university is competitive with a low acceptance rate.

Northwestern University (NU), located in Evanston, Illinois, experienced a surge in applications for the Class of 2027, with a total of 55,225 applicants, up from 47,663 in 2021. The university’s acceptance rate for this class stands at 7%, reflecting the highly competitive nature of admissions. 

Traditionally, Early Decision applicants make up around half of the incoming class, with 5,200 students applying through this route for the Class of 2027, marking a slight increase of approximately 3.5%. This mirrors a broader trend across universities, where more students are opting for the binding Early Decision option to improve their admission chances. 

However, this shift may disadvantage low-income applicants who cannot compare financial aid packages from multiple colleges if they apply and are accepted early.

Despite these challenges, Northwestern University remains a top-ranked institution in the United States, renowned for its rigorous courses, esteemed faculty, significant research, and cutting-edge facilities. Established in 1851, NU continues to attract a diverse student body of 23,410 students, contributing to a vibrant intellectual environment.

This article will explore the Northwestern university acceptance rate, admission requirements, and admission process which will be a valuable resource for those who wish to apply to this renowned university. And If you are interested in knowing the acceptance rate of other reputable universities, you can read our informative article on the University of Florida’s acceptance rate.

What is Northwestern University Acceptance Rate? 

Northwestern University’s acceptance rate is 7%. This makes it a very selective institute. This shows that out of every 100 applications, only 7 are accepted into the university. Half of the applicants admitted to NU who submitted test scores had SAT scores of 1490 to 1570 or ACT scores of 33 to 35. Nevertheless, one-quarter of accepted candidates scored above these levels, while one-quarter scored below them.

NU admissions officials place great importance on a student’s GPA. According to Northwestern University admission authorities, an applicant’s high school class rank is very important, as are letters of recommendation, when available.

Northwestern University Admission Requirements

Academic Requirements

  • GPA Requirements

The GPA that matters for admission is what gives you a real chance. Northwestern University’s average GPA requirement for admission is 4.1, which reflects the need to excel in your classes to get competitive opportunities. To stand out among other applicants, aim to get excellent grades in challenging courses like AP or IB. If you are a junior or senior with a low GPA, consider raising your SAT or ACT scores to increase your competitiveness against those with higher GPAs.

  • SAT and ACT Requirements

Each college has different standardized testing requirements. Although few colleges mandate the SAT or ACT, many take your scores into consideration if you choose to submit them. Northwestern University has not stated any specific policy regarding SAT/ACT requirements, but given the publication of average scores, it is likely to follow a test-flexible approach. Generally, such institutions advise applicants to submit their scores if they feel they accurately reflect their academic abilities, otherwise not required.

Yet, even with this policy, the reality is that most students choose to take the SAT or ACT, and most Northwestern applicants choose to submit their scores. Choosing not to submit scores may give you one less dimension to demonstrate your eligibility for admission compared to other applicants.

  • SAT Requirements

Although schools may claim they have no specific SAT score limits, the reality often includes an implicit requirement tied to the institution’s average score. Northwestern University claims a strong average SAT score of 1495 on a 1600 scale, indicating an expectation of a strong performance.

  • ACT Requirements

Northwestern University does not typically set strict ACT limits, but a low score may have a negative impact on your application. NU is highly competitive in terms of ACT scores, with an average ACT score of 34.

  • Coursework

You’ll have to take a rigorous course load to meet the admissions requirements, including challenging classes like AP, IB, or honors courses.

Other Requirements of Northwestern Acceptance Rate

  • Letters of Recommendation

You must submit two letters of recommendation – one from a guidance counselor and one from a teacher.

  • Essay

The essay is an important element of your application. So, dedicate time to writing an appealing essay that reflects your personality and interests.

  • Extracurricular Activities

Northwestern University looks for well-rounded students who are active in their communities. So, be sure to include your extracurricular activities and any leadership positions you’ve held.

Application Deadline 

The application deadline for Northern University is January 2. The application fee is $75. NU’s application deadlines vary depending on the program and whether you are applying for undergraduate or graduate study. Here’s a deadline for the most popular programs:


  • Early Decision: November 1 (Applications must be received by 11:59 pm Central Time)
  • Regular Decision: January 3 (Applications must be received by 11:59 pm Central Time)


Deadlines vary by program but are usually in the fall or winter. The exact deadlines for your program are available on the Northwestern University program website.

The above deadlines apply to the 2023-2024 academic year. Deadlines for the 2024-2025 academic year may be different. Please visit the program’s website for the most up-to-date information. Deadlines for international students may be different than for domestic students.

See the program website for information specific to international students. Some programs may have rolling admissions, meaning applications are reviewed as they come in. However, for your application to be considered, you must submit it by the closing date.

Courses at Northern University 

Northwestern University offers a diverse range of undergraduate and graduate programs in many fields. Here’s an overview:


  • Majors: Northwestern University offers more than 80 majors in the arts, social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, and other subjects. Journalism, engineering, biology, psychology, and economics are among the most common majors.
  • General Education Requirements: All undergraduate students must take a series of core curriculum courses in writing, critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, and a foreign language.
  • Minors: Students may minor in any of the university’s many academic departments.


  • Master’s Programs: Northwestern University offers approximately 70 master’s degrees in a variety of disciplines, including business, education, law, medicine, and engineering.
  • Doctoral Programs: The university also offers more than 50 PhD programs that prepare students for jobs in research and education.
  • Professional Programs: Northwestern has several professional programs, including the Kellogg School of Management’s MBA program and the Feinberg School of Medicine’s MD program.

Online Courses 

  • NU also offers a range of online courses through platforms, such as Coursera and edX. These courses cover a wide range of topics and are an ideal option for those who want to further their education or gain new skills.

Some Courses and Their Duration 

  • MS (9 months to 2 years)
  • MM (9 months to 2 years)
  • B.E./B.Tech (4 to 5 years)
  • MBA/PGDM (1 year to 2 years)
  • B.A. (4 to 5 years)
  • B.Sc (4 years)
  • MEM (9 months)
  • B.J.M.C (4 to 5 years)
  • UG Certificate (1 to 4 years)
  • M.A. (1 to 2 years)
  • B.Ed (4 to 5 years)
  • MPH (18 months to 3 years)
  • LL.B. (4 years)
  • MSN (2 years)
  • MFA (2 years)
  • LLM (5 to 9 months)
  • MPH (18 months to 3 years)
  • BBA (4 years)
  • MD (5 years)
  • MDS (21 months)
  • Master of Science in Computer Science (1 year)
  • Master of Science in Chemical Engineering (9 months)
  • Master of Science in Communication (1 year)
  • Master of Engineering Management (9 months)
  • MS in Information Systems (18 months)
  • Masters in Physician Assistant Program (2 years)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies (4 years)
  • MS in Health Communication (1 year)
  • Financial Economics Certificate (1 year)
  • Master in Public Policy and Administration (1 year)
  • M.S. in Statistics (18 months)
  • Master of Science in Artificial Intelligence (15 months)
  • One Year MBA (1 year)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Geography (4 years)
  • Master of Mathematics (2 years)
  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (4 years)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Physics and Astronomy (4 years)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Cognitive Science (4 years)

Northwestern University Ranking

Northwestern University consistently ranks among the top universities in the world, depending on the ranking organization and specific criteria used. Here’s an overview of its rankings:

National Rankings

  • U.S. News & World Report: #9 among national universities (2024)
  • The Times Higher Education (THE): #26 in World University Rankings (2023), #9 in US College Rankings (2022)

Global Ranking

  • QS World University Rankings: #=47 (2024)
  • World University Rankings: #28 (2024)

Specific Program Ranking 

  • Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management: #2 among Best Business Schools (US News & World Report 2023-2024)

Rankings may vary depending on methodology and priorities. It is important to consider multiple rankings and your personal preferences when evaluating universities. NU excels in various academic fields, including engineering, journalism, medicine, and law. It boasts a vibrant campus life and a strong alumni network.

Northwestern University Application Process

The application process to Northwestern University may differ depending on whether you are applying for undergraduate or master’s programs. Here’s a general overview of the application process for both:


Application Deadlines

  • Early decision: November 1
  • Regular Decision: January 1
  • Transfer: March 1

Application Requirements

  • Common Application or Coalition Application
  • $75 application fee
  • Official high school transcript
  • Standardized test scores (SAT or ACT)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • School report and counselor recommendation
  • Personal essays (two required, one optional)
  • Optional: Interview, portfolio, resume


Application Deadlines

  • Application deadlines vary by program, but most fall between December and April.

Application Requirements

  • Online Application
  • Application fee (varies by program)
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • Standardized test scores (if required by the program)
  • Letters of recommendation (number varies by program)
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume or CV
  • Optional: Interview, Writing Sample, Portfolio

How Can I Increase My Chances of Getting Admitted to Northwestern University?

  • Strive for a high GPA: Aim for a GPA of 4.1 or higher by choosing the most difficult courses available, especially AP or IB subjects, to demonstrate academic rigor.
  • Standardized Test Scores (Optional): Although Northwestern is currently test-optional, consider taking the SAT or ACT if you feel your scores will help your application. So, aim for the 75th percentile, which is a 1550 SAT or 35 ACT.
  • Demonstrating Intellectual Curiosity: Go ahead with good grades. Demonstrate a genuine interest in studies by doing independent research, completing projects, or participating in academic groups or competitions.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Don’t just join clubs; demonstrate leadership, initiative, and influence. Create a “spike” by succeeding in one or two areas you’re excited about.
  • Compelling Essay: Use essay prompts to express your personal voice, personality, and goals. Highlight your past experiences and future aspirations.
  • Strong Recommendations: Choose teachers or advisors who know you well and can write thorough, personalized letters emphasizing your talents and potential.
  • Use Early Action/Decision (when applicable): This will reflect your serious interest and may boost your prospects.
  • Connect with Northwestern: Attend virtual or in-person events, connect with current students or alumni, and show genuine interest in the university.


1. Why is Northwestern University so hard to get into?

To be seriously evaluated for admission to Northwestern University, applicants must excel academically. In addition to maintaining a good GPA, students must further themselves within the curriculum offered in their high school. This means that students’ curriculum must be extremely rigorous.

2. Has the Northwestern University acceptance rate changed over time?

Yes, the Northwestern University acceptance rate is gradually decreasing over the last few years. In 2020, it was 10.69%, but for the last two years it has been around 7%.

3. What are some factors besides academics that Northwestern University considers?

Northwestern University looks for well-rounded applicants with outstanding extracurricular activities, leadership experience, essays that showcase their interests and personality, and recommendation letters that provide unique perspectives.

4. Why is Northwestern University so prestigious?

In addition to its excellent academic programs, Northwestern University is a center of innovation and research. As a member of the Big Ten Conference, which includes some of the most research-intensive colleges in the United States, NU continually contributes new research across a variety of disciplines.


Northwestern University maintains a competitive acceptance rate, reflecting its prestigious academic reputation, and rigorous admissions process. With Northwestern University’s acceptance rate of 7%, getting a chance to get into this institution can be a difficult but rewarding feat. Prospective students are encouraged to highlight not only their academic skills but also their distinguishing characteristics and achievements. 

As Northwestern maintains its commitment to academic achievement and diverse talent, admission to this prestigious college continues to be a significant accomplishment, demonstrating the university’s dedication to developing a dynamic and talented student population.

About the author

Team AzedNews

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment