Northwestern University Acceptance Rate | Requirements, SAT/ACT Scores, GPA, & Admission

Northwestern University’s acceptance rate is very selective for various reasons, including the university’s ranking as one of the top ten in the country by US News & World Report. 

Furthermore, its proximity to Chicago, Illinois, one of the most famous cities in the Midwest and the third most populous state in the United States, has contributed to its ranking.

This article will examine the Northwestern University admissions process, similar to that of other prestigious universities. 

In addition, we will investigate Northwestern University’s admission requirements, acceptance rate, and GPA.

Sit tight and keep reading!

About Northwestern University

Northwestern University is an Evanston, Illinois-based private research university. It is founded in 1851, and is the state’s oldest chartered university and one of the world’s most prestigious academic institutions.

Northwestern was founded in 1851 by the Illinois General Assembly to serve the former Northwest Territory. Initially affiliated with the Methodist Episcopal Church, the university later became non-sectarian. By 1900, the university had grown to become the third largest in the United States. Northwestern was a founding member of the Big Ten Conference in 1896 and an early member of the Association of American Universities in 1917.

The Kellogg School of Management, the Pritzker School of Law, the Feinberg School of Medicine, the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, the Bienen School of Music, the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Medill School of Journalism, the School of Communication, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Education and Social Policy, and The Guggenheim Museum are among the university’s eleven undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools. 

Northwestern’s Evanston campus is located on the shores of Lake Michigan. The law, medical, and professional schools and Northwestern Memorial Hospital are all located in Chicago’s Streeterville neighbourhood, while journalism graduate programs are on the city’s New Eastside. 

In addition, the university has a campus in Education City, Qatar, as well as academic centres in Miami, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

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What is Northwestern University Acceptance Rate? 

Northwestern University is a highly selective institution, admitting only about one out of every ten students who apply. 

Northwestern accepts 9.1% of prospective students in 2022, making it one of the most selective transfer colleges in the country.

It is one of only a few universities in the United States that provides a quarter session. 

Regarding the acceptance rate of 9.1%, Northwestern University is one of the most selective universities. Only about 3,300 of the over 37,000 applications received in 2020 were accepted.

Northwestern University has more than 130 undergraduate and graduate programs, with 83 majors in 23 broad areas of study offered through 10 schools. 

Notably, the class profile reveals that 73% of undergraduate students combine more than two disciplines.

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What is Northwestern University Transfer Acceptance Rate in 2023?

Northwestern University accepted a total of 2,069 transfer students. 316 students were admitted to the school. 

As a result, Northwestern University’s transfer acceptance rate is 15.27%. This demonstrates how difficult it is to transfer to Northwestern.

If you started college after graduating high school, you must apply as a transfer student. 

Successful transfer applicants typically have completed at least one full-time academic year before enrolling at Northwestern (24 semester or 36 quarter hours).

You can apply to transfer after completing one year of college, as long as you finish this coursework by the beginning of the semester in which you intend to enroll. 

You must be in good standing with your most recent institution and be eligible to continue your studies there.

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Is Northwestern University Hard to Get into?

Northwestern has a 9.1% acceptance rate. Only 9 out of every 100 applicants are accepted. This indicates that the school is highly selective.

Meeting the GPA and SAT/ACT requirements is critical to pass the first round of filters and demonstrate your academic preparation. If you don’t meet their standards, your chances of getting in are almost nil.

Once you’ve cleared that hurdle, you’ll need to impress Northwestern’s application readers with extracurriculars, essays, and letters of recommendation.

Northwestern received 4,411 early decision applications, of which accept 1,105. Northwestern’s early decision rate of about 25% is significantly higher than its overall acceptance rate.

It is difficult to gain admission to a prestigious institution with an extremely low acceptance rate, such as Northwestern, but your chances vary depending on your profile level.

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Does Northwestern University Require Test Scores?

Until 2020, undergraduate applicants to Northwestern were required to submit a SAT or ACT score to be considered for admission. As students navigate testing and college access challenges during the pandemic, we have implemented a test-optional policy for the 2022-23 admission cycles. If applicants wish, they may submit a SAT or ACT score; however, these scores are not required. Whether or not a student submits a SAT or ACT score, he or she may submit additional, optional forms of testing (e.g., Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate scores) for review.

If you believe your grades are inadequate, you can send your test scores to help boost your admission.

Northwestern University’s SAT and ACT requirements are as follows:

SAT Requirements for Northwestern University

The SAT scores required for admission to Northwestern University are listed below. 25th percentile figure indicates that 25% of students scored at or below that number, whereas 75th percentile figure indicates that 25% scored above that number.

43% of students submitted SAT scores.

Evidence-Based Reading and Writing on the SAT: 720 (25th percentile); 770 (75th percentile)

SAT Math (25th percentile): 750; 800 (75th percentile)

ACT Requirements at Northwestern University

The ACT scores required for admission to Northwestern University are listed below. 25th percentile figure indicates that 25% of students scored at or below that number, whereas a 75th percentile figure indicates that 25% scored above that number.

39% of students submitted ACT scores.

Composite ACT: 34 (25th percentile); 35 (75th percentile)

English: 35 (25th percentile on the ACT); 36 (75th percentile)

ACT Math: 32nd percentile; 35th percentile (75th percentile)

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What are the Admission Requirements for Northwestern University?

The university offers a variety of majors and minors. Economics, Psychology, Communication and Journalism, Political Science and Government, and Journalism are the most popular undergraduate programs at Northwestern University.

  • App Portal: Common application
  • Registration Fee: $75
  • Official high school transcripts and school reports
  • Consultant recommendation
  • Letter of recommendation from at least one faculty member
  • Early Settlement Agreement
  • Statement for six months

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What are the Transfer Requirements for Northwestern University in 2023?

Below are the transfer requirements for Northwestern University transfer applicants:

Minimum GPA: Transfer applicants must have a minimum college GPA of 3.00.

Official Transcripts: Official transcripts from both high school and college are required for admissions consideration.

SAT Scores: Standardized test scores are required for admission consideration.

Letters of Recommendation: Admission consideration requires a statement of good standing from a previous institution(s).

Essay: To be considered for admission, an essay or personal statement must be written.

Registration Fee: There is a registration fee of $65. There is no need for an interview for admission consideration.

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What GPA Do You Need To Get Into Northwestern University?

Northwestern’s average GPA is 3.92 on a 4-point scale. You need a “A” in high school to achieve that high GPA. 

If you know you’re not getting a high GPA, concentrate on improving your SAT/ACT scores.

While there are no statistics on an admitted transfer student’s average GPA, the Class of 2024 profile shows the median SAT and ACT scores of the middle 50% of admitted students (not transfer-only).

How Can You Apply to Northwestern University in 2023?

When applying to Northwestern, you have two options for online applications. You have the option of using the Common Application or the Coalition Application. It makes no difference which one you use.

You must submit your admissions materials via one of these online portals. Remember that you must submit another essay for either application. The prompts may differ slightly, and you can respond to one of them from a list.

These online applications are your one-stop shop for college applications, but always reread and double-check what’s required of you before submitting.

The college admissions process is time-consuming, and must consider some deadlines. 

The deadlines for Regular Decision applicants are listed below.

December is the last month to take the SAT or ACT to ensure that Northwestern receives your results on time.

January 3 (by 11:59 p.m. in the applicant’s time zone): You must submit a number of materials by this date.

  • Common Application or Coalition Application
  • “Why Northwestern” supplemental essay
  • Secondary school report 
  • Teacher recommendation 
  • Standardized test scores
  • Application fee or a fee waiver 

By late March, you should have received an admission decision.

The deadline for making your decision and submitting your nonrefundable tuition and housing deposits is May 1.

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What are the Alternatives to Northwestern University?

Below are the alternative schools to apply to if you are not interested in attending Northwestern University:

  • University of Illinois Chicago
  • Northeastern University
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Michigan
  • Loyola University
  • Purdue University
  • Northwestern State University
  • Natchitoches
  • University of California Berkeley
  • Yale University
  • Stanford University


Applying to Northwestern can be daunting, especially given the university’s low acceptance rate and status as a top-ranked national university.

However, if you put enough time and effort into your application, you will have a fighting chance among the pool of prospective students.

You should feel more empowered to do what you need to to give yourself the best chance of acceptance now that you know more about how to get into Northwestern.

Keep in mind that every aspect of your application is critical. Before you click submit, take the time to ensure that every part is high quality.

Your application reflects your personality, academic ability, initiative, and authenticity.

If you use the information in this guide and apply what you’ve learned, you will have a better chance of acceptance into Northwestern!

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Does Northwestern accept transfer credits? 

Yes, Northwestern accepts some transfer credits, but not all credits earned at other institutions are transferable.

What does Northwestern look for in applicants? 

Northwestern seeks prospective students who exhibit academic growth and intellectual curiosity, as well as involvement in school or community activities and positive character traits.

Is Northwestern an Ivy League school? 

Northwestern is not an Ivy League school, but it is a top national university with a long history of providing high-quality education.

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