Applications Hit New High
For the ninth year in a row, Northwestern applications have reached a new high: 32,000 to the University and 20,520 for a spot in Weinberg. Admission rates dropped to 15.3 percent of applicants for the NU class of 2016 and a mere 13.6 percent for Weinberg. Average SAT scores and the class ranks of admitted students have risen considerably.
But for those alumni tempted to say, “There’s no way I could get into Northwestern now,” F. Sheppard Shanley, senior associate director of admission, begs to differ. “High schools today offer a bigger range and depth of opportunities both academic and otherwise than a generation or two ago. If you were in high school now you would respond just as energetically as you did then.”
Fair enough, but why the astounding rise in applications since 2001? William Haarlow, director of College-Admission Relations, attributes the surge to several factors:
- The Common Application, a standardized, online version of the traditional college application, which Northwestern began accepting in 2006, that makes it easier for a broader range of students—especially those from inner-city and rural communities, and outside the United States—to apply.
- An increase in the number of high school seniors, thanks to a temporary demographic bulge.
- The Great Recession has resulted in more college applicants, an overall connection between the economy and higher education that statisticians have noticed since the 1974 recession.
- Improvements made by Northwestern and Weinberg that include a more diversified curriculum, enhanced college advising, investments in science and humanities programs, and a higher profile among high schools on the East and West Coasts. Applicants also notice how successful our graduates are at winning Fulbright fellowships and other post-graduate awards.
“Northwestern is hot right now. Because of all the efforts by the University, College, and the admission office, people increasingly recognize what a great place this is for a liberal education,” Haarlow says.Back to top