Northwestern University Admission Rate

Last Updated on July 29, 2023

Northwestern University, a member of the Big Ten Conference, is a world-class institution that offers an exceptional undergraduate education. In 2016, more than 99% of Northwestern freshmen return for their sophomore year. No matter which campus you attend (Evanston, Chicago, or Doha) , you’ll find yourself immersed in an enriching campus culture that includes opportunities to explore the arts and sciences, engage in research, participate in athletics and much more. Northwestern is committed to developing thoughtful leaders who are prepared for lifelong success after graduation through professional internships, meaningful connections with faculty members and peers, and diverse study abroad opportunities. Do you need more information regarding Northwestern University Admission Rate, northwestern university tuition, northwestern acceptance rate 2020, northwestern university ranking & northwestern acceptance rate by major.

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Northwestern University: Acceptance Rate, SAT/ACT Scores

Northwestern University Overview

Northwestern University is a private research university in Evanston, Illinois. It was founded in 1851 by nine men whose goal was to establish a university that would serve the Northwest Territory. The university is a founding member of the Big Ten Conference and remains the only private university in the conference. WikipediaAvg cost after aid$24KGraduation rate93%Acceptance rate9%Graduation rate is for first-time, full-time undergraduate students who graduated within 6 years. They were the largest group of students (95%) according to the 2017–18 College Scorecard data ·more Source: US Dept of Education · Learn moreAddress: 633 Clark St, Evanston, IL 60208, United StatesPhone: +1 847-491-3741Undergraduate enrollment: 8,489 (2017–18)Average annual costBefore aid$74,649After aid$24,047Aid includes grants and scholarships from the institution, state and federal governmentSource: US Dept of Education (IPEDS) · Find out moreCost by household income

Household incomeAverage cost after aid
Less than $30,000$6,416
More than $110,001$39,895

Graduation rate

 Completed within6 yearsCompleted within8 years
First-time full-time93%94%
Other full-time93%94%
Northwestern University - Profile, Rankings and Data | US News Best Colleges

northwestern university world ranking

Northwestern University is one of the top Private universities in Evanston, United States. It is one of only four top 10 US universities also ranked in the top 20 in each of the five graduate education categories.

  • #29 QS World University Rankings, 2022
  • #11 QS WUR Ranking By Subject, 2022
  • #9 in National Universities by US News & World Report, 2021
  • Graduate Employability Ranking #30
  • US UNI (universities) #16

northwestern university acceptance rate 2021

Northwestern University is a comprehensive research institute, internationally recognized for excellence in academics and research. The institute has over 8,000 undergraduate students and over 13,000 graduate students including 11% of international applicants from different corners of the world. The university stands as one of four universities in the US ranked in the top 20 across all graduate education categories.

With a 9.1% acceptance rate in the recent academic year, admissions at Northwestern University are extremely selective. The admissions are available for intakes on a rolling basis around the year with common deadlines of the early and regular decision being November 1 and January 1, respectively.

Northwestern University offers programs in 115 distinct undergraduate degrees, concentrated into 83 majors within 23 broad fields of study through its 12 different academic schools and colleges. It has 90 school-based and 50 University research centers. The most enrolled schools of the Northwestern univerty are- Medill School of Journalism and Kellogg School of Management.


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.

Northeastern University Acceptance Rate



Admission StandardsElite
Applicant CompetitionExtreme

Northwestern University Admission Rate

How hard is it to get into Northwestern and can I get accepted? The school has a 8% acceptance rate ranking it #2 in Illinois for lowest rate of acceptance. Last year, 3,422 out of 40,425 applicants were admitted making Northwestern an extremely competitive school to get into with a very low chance of acceptance – even for applicants with the highest scores and grades.  Academically, it has exceptionally high requirements for admission test scores, generally admitting students who score in the top 2 percent. Northwestern University typically accepts and attracts “A-” average high school students. Of those applicants who were admitted, 56% enrolled. With over half of admitted students enrolling, acceptance by Northwestern University is a prized outcome for many students. Most incoming freshmen graduated in the top quarter of their high school class.

Applying early: what is the best option? – Spartan Shield

Acceptance Rate

During the 2018-19 admissions cycle, Northwestern University had an acceptance rat of 9.1%. This means that for every 100 students who applied, 9 students were admitted, making Northwestern’s admissions process highly competitive.

Admissions Statistics (2018-19)
Number of Applicants40,585
Percent Admitted9.1%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled (Yield)55%

ACT Requirements & Average ACT Score





ACT Reading 25thN/A
ACT Math 25thN/A
ACT Composite 25th33
ACT Reading 75thN/A
ACT Math 75thN/A
ACT Composite 75th35
Average ACT Score34
Northwestern University Acceptance Rate and Admission Statistics

ACT Scores needed to get accepted

What are the ACT requirements for prospective students to get into Northwestern?

Admission data indicates that Northwestern regularly accepts students with ACT’s of 33 and above. Successful applicants typically send ACT scores in the top 2 percent nationally. We estimate the school accepting minimum ACT composite scores around 32 in some instances. Prospective students submitting an ACT composite of 34 or higher should be in the upper half of applicants – and students with a 35 and above have very competitive chances. The school ranks #2 in Illinois for highest average ACT composite score. Scoring well on the ACT is very important as 65 percent of applicants submit ACT scores to Northwestern University.Data Sources, IPEDS for Fall 2018 starting class

Estimated Chance of Acceptance by ACT Score

35 and AboveGood>13%
34 to 35Avg +8%-13%
33 to 34Avg –5%-8%
32 to 33Reach3%-5%
Less than 32Low<3%

Estimated GPA Requirements & Average GPA





You will need exceptionally good grades to get into Northwestern University. The average high school GPA of the admitted freshman class at Northwestern University was 3.92 on the 4.0 scale indicating that primarily A- students are accepted and ultimately attend. The school ranks #3 in Illinois for highest average GPA. Given the school’s very highly selective admissions, acceptance at Northwestern extremely difficult and unlikely even with a 3.92 GPA. The school should be considered a reach even if you have a 3.92 GPA.

What do these ratings mean?*This school has not released high school GPA data for its incoming freshmen. In these cases, CollegeSimply employs an artificial intelligence (AI) process to predict GPA based on this school’s test scores and a large sample of other colleges’ data. 3.92 is an estimate of the school’s average incoming freshman GPA.

High School Class Rank

91% of Northwestern University freshman were in the top twenty five percent of their high school graduating class.

Top 10% of class9%
Top 25% of class91%
Top 50% of class100%
Bottom 50% of class0%
Bottom 25% of class0%
Northwestern University(NWU) Acceptance Rate In 2021

Data Sources, Wintergreen Orchard House

Admission Statistics

Acceptance Rate8%8%8%
Percent of Admitted Who Enrolled (Admission Yield)59%54%56%

Northwestern University Admission Requirements

What are the requirements for admission to Northwestern University and what considerations affect admission decisions?

Test ScoresRequired
High School GPARequired
High School Class RankRecommended
Completion of College Preparatory ProgramRequired
Demonstration of CompetenciesNeither required nor recommended

Credits Accepted

AP CreditYes
Dual CreditYes
Credit for Life ExperiencesNo
Northwestern University - Acceptance Rate, Yield, SAT/ACT Scores


Why Northwestern University?

Admissions Statistics (2018-19)
Number of Applicants40,585
Percent Admitted9.1%
Percent Admitted Who Enrolled (Yield)55%

SAT Scores and Requirements

Northwestern requires that all applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. During the 2018-19 admissions cycle, 64% of admitted students submitted SAT scores.

SAT Range (Admitted Students)
Section25th Percentile75th Percentile

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 740 and 790, while 25% scored below 740 and 25% scored above 790. Applicants with a composite SAT score of 1550 or higher will have particularly competitive chances at Northwestern.


Northwestern does not require the optional 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 2018-19 admissions cycle, 53% of admitted students submitted ACT scores.

ACT Range (Admitted Students)
Section25th Percentile75th Percentile

This admissions data tells us that most of Northwestern’s admitted students fall within the top 2% nationally on the ACT. The middle 50% of students admitted to Northwestern received a composite ACT score between 33 and 35, while 25% scored above 35 and 25% scored below 33.


Note that Northwestern participates in the scorechoice program, meaning that the admissions office will consider your highest score from each individual section across all ACT test dates. 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 the program to which you apply).


Northwestern does not provide data about admitted students’ high school GPAs. In 2019, 92% of admitted students who provided data indicated that they ranked in the top tenth of their high school class.

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.

northwestern application deadline


Application TimelineDeadlineNotification Date
Early ActionNovember 1Mid-December 
Regular DecisionJanuary 2April 1

northwestern university tuition

For all the prospective students of the institute applying for the upcoming session, an estimated budget for international students looking to study in the US is as tabulated below.

Type of FeeAmounts Per Category (USD)
Living On-CampusLiving an Off-Campus
On-Campus Housing/Meals17,0190
Off-Campus Housing/Meals017,019
Books & Supplies1,6381,638
Personal Expenses2,2012,201
Loan Fees5555

The cost of attendance for graduate programs varies by program. However, the estimated cost is presented below:

FeesAmount (USD)
Tuition41,612 – 55,321
Health Insurance4,050
Housing2,518 – 24,000
Others9,222 – 15,300
Total57,402 – 98,671

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