Northwestern University (NU) 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.
|School Type||Private not-for-profit|
|Campus Setting||City: Small|
|Student Faculty Ratio||6:1|
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NU Acceptance Rate and Admissions
|High School GPA||Recommended|
|High School Rank||Recommended|
|High School Transcripts||Required|
|College Prep Courses||Required|
|SAT/ACT||Considered But Not Required|
|TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)||Required|
|Application Deadline||January 3|
|Common Application Accepted||Yes|
NU 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||2020-2021|
|Average Total Aid||$51,087|
|Students Receiving Financial Aid||66%|
|Room & Board||$18,264|
- Tuition In-State - $60,768
- Tuition Out-of-State - $60,768
- Books and Supplies - $1,566
- Room & Board - $18,264
- Other - $3,240
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
Most Popular Programs & Majors
(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)
|Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs||374 Total Graduates / 18%|
|Speech Communication and Rhetoric||111 Graduates|
|Radio and Television||76 Graduates|
|All Social Science Majors||371 Total Graduates / 17%|
|Econometrics and Quantitative Economics||249 Graduates|
|Political Science and Government, General||75 Graduates|
|All Engineering Majors||319 Total Graduates / 15%|
|Industrial Engineering||72 Graduates|
|Mechanical Engineering||65 Graduates|
|Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering||46 Graduates|
|Chemical Engineering||29 Graduates|
|All Biological & Biomedical Majors||186 Total Graduates / 9%|
|Biology/Biological Sciences, General||85 Graduates|
|Visual and Performing Arts||179 Total Graduates / 8%|
|Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General||98 Graduates|
|Music Performance, General||22 Graduates|
|Voice and Opera||15 Graduates|
|Stringed Instruments||12 Graduates|
|All Other Diplomas||715 Total Graduates / 33%|
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.
|College Grads Early Career Salary||$68,800|
|College Grads Average Salary||$86,000|
|College Grads Mid Career Salary||$128,000|
|Return on Investment (ROI)|
|10 Year Salary Earnings Potential||$810,000|
|20 Year Salary Earnings Potential||$2,140,000|
|Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year||$110,160|
|10 Year Projected ROI||$699,840|
|20 Year Projected ROI||$2,029,840|
|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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