With academics to rival the Ivies and the spirited atmosphere of Big Ten publics, Northwestern combines Division I sports with quality instruction. It’s 231-acre campus, which is set off the town of Evanston, IL and runs a mile along the shore of Lake Michigan, makes for the perfect location for picnicking, fishing, running, or simply daydreaming in between classes.
The sense of community and collaboration at Northwestern belies its highly selective admissions. The students I met at Northwestern University were sincere about their passions and authentic by nature. If you are passionate about your major, Northwestern may be a good fit for you.
One of the most interesting traditions at Northwestern is the campus-wide “primal scream” which takes place on the Sunday night before finals. The student body joins in to let out their stress and frustration before buckling down again to continue their studies. Another yearly tradition is the “Wildcat Welcome,” a week-long orientation to acclimate incoming freshman to college life and to build community.
Here are a few quick facts about Northwestern:
Freshmen retention: 98%
Freshmen from out of state: 70%
Most popular majors: engineering, economics, journalism
4-year Graduation rate: 83%, 6-year: 94%
Student Community Diversity: 6% Black, 13% Latino, 10% International
88% of freshmen but only 52% of all undergraduates live in the dorms. There are residence halls available and themed residential colleges. Dorms range from 50 to 600 students. Some residential colleges bring students and faculty together during faculty “firesides” or over meals. Fraternities and sororities have their own houses.
Academics at Northwestern
Prospective students must apply to one of these 6 schools in admissions:
- Arts and Sciences
- Education and Social Policy
- Engineering and Applied Science
- Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications
Each school has flexible requirements that can be taken anytime during the 4 years of undergraduate. The academic programs are so varied and fluid that those “undecided” can still find a home here.
Northwestern takes advantage of its location and global alumni network to support students through co-op and internship opportunities. The Chicago Fields program offers credit for full-time work, with Monday through Thursday spent on the job and Fridays are supplemented with classroom debrief and discussion.
Northwestern University offers unusual flexibility combined with a wide choice of academic concentrations. There are also several certificate programs available, which is 4-6 courses in a specific area, like Financial Economics or Managerial Analytics from Kellogg School of Business, since there’s no undergraduate business program.
The philosophy of the engineering program is that there’s no one solution to problems and students start with real-world projects. All first year engineering students take a course in “Engineering Design Thinking and Communication” which includes a design project with a local organization.
Much of the social life on Northwestern’s campus is centered on the Greek system, with roughly one-third of the students go Greek. For non-Greeks, on-campus entertainment opportunities are still numerous, including theater productions, concerts, and movies. The student government and Activities and Organizations Board sponsor a variety of campus-wide events, such as the very popular 30-hour Dance Marathon and Dillo (Armadillo) Day, an end-of-the-year “festival of music, debauchery, and Greek life,” in the words of a journalism major.
One of the most well-known traditions is when representatives of student organizations slip out in the dead of night to paint their colors and slogans on “the Rock.”
Northwestern has the winningest debate team in the country. In all, there are more than 480 student organizations. My personal favorite is the Happiness Club which spreads love around campus offering hugs, high fives, puppies during finals and hot chocolate in the winter.
Northwestern offers need-based financial aid, with 100% of need fully met. There are no merit-based scholarships. Although the tuition and fees are about $79,000, the average financial aid package is $56,000 and 81% of students receive financial aid.
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