Northwestern University Reviews and Ranking Awards

Evanston, Illinois

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Northwestern University’s retention rate is 95%. The retention rate is a measure, expressed as a percentage, of how many first-time students return to the university for a second academic year. NWU’s graduation rate reflects their commitment to educating exceptional students. Founded in 1851, NWU is in Evanston, Illinois. This part of the state is filled with places students may be interested in visiting, such as the Illinois Holocaust Museum or the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian.

Overview of Northwestern University (NU)

Evanston is small, which allows students to learn where everything is and have access to nearby points of interest without a long drive or heavy traffic. NWU, home to the Kellogg School of Management, is also the location of other notable schools, such as the Program of African Studies. The Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary also has a home here for seminary students.

NWU holds a Carnegie classification for its doctoral university of very high research activity. Students who took and passed AP exams can apply these scores as credits before they begin taking classes. NWU also offers study abroad opportunities for those students who want to learn in a foreign country.

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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Top Rankings For Northwestern University

Northwestern University Reviews

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NU Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 19,550
Female 20,875


Male 1,564
Female 1,670

Acceptance Rate8%

Male   8%
Female   8%

Enrollment 1,811

Male 978
Female 1,069
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

The cost of tuition (in-state and out-of-state) is around $56,600. This does not include books and supplies, which usually cost another $17,000, making the entire total closer to $73,600. This is pretty pricey for families who aren’t in the upper income levels.

After financial aid awards have been applied to the cost for the semester or academic year, families are obligated to pay the remaining cost of tuition, books, and fees for their children. The average net price is what remains after financial aid has been applied - for the 2017-2018 academic year, this was $27,540.

  • Families earning up to $30,000 pay around $13,419
  • Families earning between $30,001 and $48,000 pay around $7,429
  • Families earning between $48,001 and $75,000 pay around $10,690
  • Families earning between $75,001 and $100,000 pay around $17,142
  • Families earning over $110,001 pay around $40,304

At NWU, financial aid truly helps students who are able to prove financial need. Freshmen who are awarded grants or scholarships number about 1,142, or 60% of the total student population; they receive about $45,427. The amount of students receiving institutional grants and scholarships also sits at 60%; their awards average $42,714.

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


The 4-year graduation rate for NWU is 84%. If students have chosen a challenging degree program, they may opt to stay in school beyond the four-year mark so they can complete their degree with satisfactory grades. The trend toward a longer stay in college makes the 6-year graduation rate somewhat higher, at 95%.

The student-to-faculty ratio is six to one, giving students ample opportunity to request office meetings with professors to discuss areas of difficulty in their classes. This may account for their exceptional retention rate.

The total student population is 22,127. Undergraduates make up 39%, with 8,642 students; graduate students make up 61% of the student body, with 13,485 students. NWU offers evening courses for those students who are unable to attend classes during the day; or if students prefer, they can enroll in online classes (distance learning).

Among the most popular degree programs are biological and biomedical sciences; business, management, marketing, and related support services; communication, journalism and related programs; and computer and information sciences and support services. However, there are many other majors and courses available for those who are not interested in the most commonly sought programs. These include engineering technology and engineering related, health professions and related programs, legal professions and studies, mathematics and statistics, psychology, public administration and social services professions, social sciences, and visual and performing arts.

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

Students who graduate from NWU receive definite financial benefits from their educations. The average salary of an NWU graduate is $81,000; their early career salary is closer to $65,300 and their mid-career salary can rise to $125,900.

Graduate’s 10-year earnings potential is around $810,000 on average and their 20-year earning potential is $2,069,000. Knowing the net price of their education is $110,160, we can estimate that their 10-year projected return on investment (ROI) for their schooling is $699,840; the 20-year projected ROI is $1,958,840.

In contrast, high school graduates who decide not to go to college earn an average (national) salary of $38,792. Their 10-year projected income is $387,920 and their 20-year projected income is $775,840.

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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