Competitive and located just outside of Chicago, Northwestern University has a reputation for producing heavy hitting alumni like actor and NRA advocate Charlton Heston and late night talk show host Stephan Colbert. So what do you need to get accepted and what is the Northwestern University acceptance rate? Keep reading to learn more about this and what you can to improve your chances of being accepted.

What is the Northwestern University Acceptance Rate?

Recently, the Northwestern acceptance rate hit a record low of 10.6%. Considering almost 35,100 applications were received, less than 11% means Northwestern is one of the most competitive schools in the country. The Class of 2020 included students who:

  •    competed in the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials
  •    starred in multiple Hollywood films
  •    created a startup that uses biking to charge electronics
  •    worked in a microbiology lab to isolate soil bacteria

And that’s not even touching their academic prestige. The Class of 2020 averaged:

  •    33 on the ACT
  •    1500 on the new SAT
  •    4.07 GPA

Now things are looking really competitive, right? But before you think about scratching this school from your list, stick with me for a few minutes while we talk about what can do to increase your chances of getting into Northwestern.

Improve Your Chances of Being Accepted to Northwestern

Using the academic information above, let’s start developing a plan to make your application more appealing to the Northwestern admissions team. I’m going to focus more on grades and standardized test scores since that’s the hard data we have to work with.

Let’s Talk Grades

By the time many of my students meet with me, they are sick of talking about their GPA. So if you’re feeling that way, you’re not alone. If you’re serious about submitting an application to Northwestern University, use that 4.07 average GPA as the minimum for yourself. The higher the GPA, the more impressive you’ll look to the Northwestern University admissions committee.

If you need to raise your GPA, here are a few strategies you can try:

Take Advanced Classes: Most schools provide a GPA boost if you take AP and IB classes. Be sure to check out your school’s grading policy to see if they offer this. Even if they don’t, part of being inside Northwestern’s acceptance rate is proving your academic capabilities. And by taking plenty of college-level courses, you show the admissions team how well you perform with a rigorous course load.

Hire a Tutor: If I had a dollar every time a student cringed when I brought up tutoring, I could open my own university. I love tutoring. It’s a personalized and easy way for you to work with someone to improve your grades. There are multiple benefits to being tutored, including improved classroom performance. My passion for tutoring led me to recruit and train tutors of my own. I find a lot of students just like you who need tutors for math and tutors for English, but they’re also trained in science, history, and Spanish. There is absolutely no reason for your grades to suffer.

The ACT or SAT

I’ve provided a breakdown below of the SAT scores and have provided percentiles for you too. After you’ve looked it over, we’ll talk about how you can use this information during your prep!

Section Average 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
Math 760 710 790
Reading 38 36 39
Writing 37 36 39
Composite 1500 1430 1560

I recommend you aim for a score between the average and the 75th percentile. For the ACT, I recommend your goal for a minimum score be 33.

To achieve top scores like that, you’ll need to practice and study regularly. Cramming for a standardized test score is not going to help you get the scores you need for Northwestern University. Be sure to choose whichever test you perform better on. I also recommend you invest in a top-scoring tutor for the ACT or the SAT so you can learn from them and pick up their good habits.

Other Schools to Consider

If you’re curious about other schools in the same academic caliber as Northwestern or are struggling with where else you can consider applying, I have some recommendations below for you. Make sure to research these schools carefully, because they will have different admissions requirements and standards than the Northwestern University acceptance rate.

School Name Location ACT Average SAT Average
Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA 32 1430
Brown University Providence, RI 32 1490
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA 32 1470
Columbia University New York, NY 33 1520
Cornell University Ithaca, NY 32 1480
Dartmouth College Hanover, NH 32 1510
Duke University Durham, NC 34 1540
Emory University Atlanta, GA 30 1430
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA 34 1520
New York University New York, NY 30 1410
Northeastern University Boston, MA 31 1440
Princeton University Princeton, NJ 33 1540
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, NY 29 1420
Rice University Houston, TX 33 1510
Stanford University Stanford, CA 33 1520
Tufts University Medford, MA 31 1490
University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, CA 30 1440
University of Chicago Chicago, IL 33 1520
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 30 1430
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 32 1500
Yale University New Haven, CT 33 1540

Applying to a school with the Northwestern University acceptance rate can be really intimidating. And I know I’ve given you a lot to think about. If you need any help, reach out to my team of College Consultants. They will take a complete and cohesive look at the information you’ll be submitting on your application, recommend ways to improve, and suggest schools that are good fit for you.

Do you have any other questions about Northwestern University and the college admissions process? Leave them in the comments section below!