Northwestern University Reviews and Ranking Awards

Evanston, Illinois

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Northwestern University is one of the premier academic institutions in the Midwest. Located just north of Chicago in the suburb of Evanston, NU is a private university with an undergraduate population of nearly 9,000 and over 14,000 graduate students. Undergraduate degree programs are available in the school's six colleges: arts & sciences, communication, education & social policy, engineering, journalism & marketing, and music. Given NU's stellar academic reputation in Chicago, and nationwide, students who enroll are sure to have a truly special intellectual experience.

Overview of Northwestern University (NU)

However, NU offers students more than an excellent education. Campus clubs and organizations include fun activities such as one that builds a solar car, a drum/rhythm/dance ensemble, and intramural sports. Friendly competition can be found in sports such as dodgeball, football, indoor soccer, and ultimate frisbee. For the more relaxed competitor, there are E-sports tournaments available for students on PlayStation, Xbox, and cross platform games. Finally, for students who want to up the competitive edge, club sports are available in sports such as table tennis, sailing, volleyball, swimming, crew, aikido, archery, ultimate frisbee, squash, and tennis, among more than 35 total offerings. Students also take advantage of campus resources such as the sailing center, the Blomquist Recreation Center, two tennis centers, an aquatic center, and a wellness suite for post-workout massages and more.

General Information

School Type Private not-for-profit
Campus Setting City: Small
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 6:1
Graduation Rate 95%
Year Founded 1851

Student Enrollment

Total Students22,127


Undergraduate Student

Male 4,235
Female 4,407

Graduate Student

Male 6,608
Female 6,877

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Northwestern University Reviews

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NU Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 19,516
Female 21,069


Male 1,756
Female 1,896

Acceptance Rate9%

Male   9%
Female   9%

Enrollment 2,009

Male 975
Female 1,034
Application Fee $75
High School GPA Required
High School Rank Recommended
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Required
Recommendations Required
SAT/ACT Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline January 1
Common Application Accepted Yes

Northwestern Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

Northwestern is a private, non-profit institution in a rather expensive part of the nation. Thus, it's not surprising to see high gross prices for their educational services. In fact, a year of tuition, books, and supplies will run a Northwestern student and their family around $61,000. Naturally, Northwestern students need to pay for room, board, and other living expenses. When all of those costs are tallied, a year at NU can run up to $84,000. However, the total net price tells a somewhat sweeter tale.

After the financial aid office applies all of the grants and scholarships it can, the net price drops significantly. In fact, the average net price comes in at less than half of the projected gross price: $30,000. This number is much lower for the lowest-earning households, which see net costs of only around $9,000. Students from households earning over $110,000 have the highest average net price of $47,000.

Average net price 2017-2018
Net Price $27,540
Average Total Aid $45,427
Students Receiving Financial Aid 66%
Room & Board $17,019

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $56,691
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $56,691
  • Books and Supplies - $1,638
  • Room & Board - $17,019
  • Other - $3,306


Northwestern University is primarily known for its academics. They are so rarely a contender in varsity sports that, when the team finally made it to the Rose Bowl, the city of Chicago rallied around the Wildcats. To help confirm the academic prowess of this Midwestern intellectual powerhouse, researchers evaluated the school's educational statistics, starting with the retention rate.

The retention rate measures how many first-time, full-time students return for a second year on campus. It was no surprise that Northwestern reports a 99% retention rate. After all, students engage in fierce competition for admission and are thus intent on staying through graduation. In fact, Northwestern reports that 95% of its students receive a diploma on the Evanston campus.

Part of the reason for its high academic standing is likely Northwestern's eye-popping faculty to student ratio. While it's somewhat rare to see this figure come in with an average class size with fewer than 15 students, Northwestern boasts a terrific 6 to 1 faculty to student ratio. This may be partly due to the large number of graduate students on campus. Nevertheless, Northwestern undergraduates are never left with no faculty member to help out.

Student Population Total

Student Population 22,127

Evening Classes : Yes
Distance Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Social Science Majors 380 Total Graduates / 17%
Econometrics and Quantitative Economics 263 Graduates
Political Science and Government, General 79 Graduates
Sociology 17 Graduates
Anthropology 16 Graduates
Economics, General 5 Graduates
All Engineering Majors 373 Total Graduates / 17%
Industrial Engineering 83 Graduates
Mechanical Engineering 83 Graduates
Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering 68 Graduates
Chemical Engineering 36 Graduates
Manufacturing Engineering 35 Graduates
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs 357 Total Graduates / 16%
Journalism 178 Graduates
Speech Communication and Rhetoric 96 Graduates
Radio and Television 83 Graduates
All Biological & Biomedical Majors 193 Total Graduates / 9%
Neuroscience 102 Graduates
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 91 Graduates
Visual and Performing Arts 188 Total Graduates / 9%
Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General 104 Graduates
Music Performance, General 24 Graduates
Music, General 17 Graduates
Voice and Opera 15 Graduates
Stringed Instruments 9 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 689 Total Graduates / 32%

Outcome & Salary

There is no doubt that employers nationwide are eager to add a Northwestern alumni to their team. Northwestern students may be aware of this but, if you’re still considering, you may also be curious to know how well the alumni are performing. Researchers aggregated the reported entry-level salary data from NU alums and found that the computer science students started out doing the best, with a median salary of $105,000. Of the top five earning degrees, the chemical engineering students pulled up the rear with a respectable median salary of $85,000. At the center of the top five earners were the computer engineering students, whose median salary was found to be $94,000.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $65,300
College Grads Average Salary $81,000
College Grads Mid Career Salary $125,900
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $810,000
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $2,069,000
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $110,160
10 Year Projected ROI $699,840
20 Year Projected ROI $1,958,840
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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