Transferring to Northwestern
Who should apply as a transfer student.
If you enrolled in college study after secondary-school graduation, you must apply as a transfer student. Successful transfer applicants typically arrive at Northwestern having completed at least one academic year of full-time college coursework (24 semester hours or 36 quarter hours). You are eligible to apply for transfer admission while in the process of completing one full-year of college coursework, as long as you will have completed that coursework prior to the start of the term in which you plan to enroll. You must be in good standing and eligible to continue studies at your most recent institution.
How do I apply?
The deadline for transfer applications is March 15*. All transfer applicants must apply for fall quarter matriculation.
- Common Application (additional "Why Northwestern" written response encouraged) or Apply Coalition with Scoir application
- Official secondary school transcript(s) noting graduation (Common Application Secondary School Report completed by a high school counselor is not required)
- Official university transcript(s)
- College report
- Academic evaluation
- Standardized test scores (optional for 2021-22)
- Nonrefundable application fee ($75)
In addition, we recommend that you include additional test scores, such as SAT Subject Test results, if available. Please note that Bienen School of Music applicants are required to audition. For more information, please see the Application Requirements page.
*We realize transfer applicants come from a diverse array of life experiences that may not map neatly onto the traditional academic year. For this reason, our transfer application will remain open until April 10 for students whose circumstances prevent them from meeting the March 15 deadline. Students who apply by March 15 are more likely to receive a decision from us earlier, but we will give full consideration to all applications, with a guaranteed decision by the end of May. Please note that supplemental application materials, such as those for the Bienen School of Music, may have separate deadlines.
Will I receive credit for classes taken at other colleges or universities?
The official evaluation of your credits will be made by Northwestern's Registrar's Office. Once a transfer applicant has been accepted, the Office of Undergraduate Admission will initiate the process of credit evaluation. Students can expect to receive a preliminary credit evaluation prior to their three-week enrollment deadline. Deadline extension requests should be submitted to our office via email and will be reviewed on an individual basis. Since a final evaluation may not be emailed to you before your tuition deposit is due, you should review the following guidelines to better understand how your previous courses will be appraised:
- Courses completed at an unaccredited college or university.
- Physical education or hygiene courses.
- Courses for which credit was granted by institutional examination or CLEP examination rather than course attendance.
- Courses worth less than three quarter hours or two semester hours.
- English as a Second Language courses.
- Courses graded with P (Pass) or S (Satisfactory) grades.
- Work in a curricular area generally not recognized for credit at Northwestern.
- A credit conversion formula is used to determine the number of NU units a student is awarded. The sum of transferable credits is multiplied by the number of credits required to earn an NU degree (42, 45, 48 or 50), then the result is divided by the number of credits required to earn a degree at the student’s previous institution. Courses acceptable for credit must be in a curricular area generally recognized for credit at Northwestern (as listed in our course catalog).
- Eligible Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) scores may be used toward a bachelor’s degree. The type and level of test credit awarded is standardized across the undergraduate schools, though each school has separate rules regarding the use of test credit to fulfill degree requirements. You must arrange to have your scores sent to Northwestern.
- Transfer credit accepted from another institution is reflected on the Northwestern University transcript with a grade of "T", not the actual grade received at the other institution. The "T" (Transfer) grade is not used in calculating the Northwestern GPA.
More details about these policies are located on the Northwestern Office of the Registrar website .
May I apply to any school or department at Northwestern?
Transfer applicants may apply to most departments at Northwestern's undergraduate schools.
- The School of Communication: Theatre department spaces are only occasionally available.
- The Bienen School of Music: Contact the Bienen School of Music for audition requirements and scheduling.
What test scores are required?
Northwestern will be test-optional for transfer students for the 2022-23 application cycle. If students choose to submit an SAT and/or ACT score, the writing scores from either exam are optional. We accept scores from both the new and old SAT.
Applicants may self-report these scores, taking care to report their highest individual sections of the SAT and/or highest ACT composite score. Applicants are not obligated to report scores from all test dates, though are welcome to do so. Admitted students who choose to enroll will be required to submit official SAT or ACT test scores prior to matriculation.
Any SAT Subject Test scores, AP, or IB scores can also be sent as part of the application but these scores are not a required for a complete application.
Am I eligible for financial aid?
Transfer applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible to apply for financial aid in the form of grants, loans and part-time employment.
Financial aid is awarded on the basis of need, but is dependent upon availability of funds.
To apply for financial assistance, you must complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Assistance (FAFSA) and the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Financial Aid Profile. For best consideration and to ensure the notification at the time of your admission decision, you should apply for financial aid at least one month prior to your application deadline. Only independent or self-supporting students (as defined by the eligibility guidelines for federal aid programs) may file these forms without parental information.
For more information please refer to our Tuition and Aid section .
When will I be notified of Northwestern's decision?
Decisions are made on a rolling basis after the application deadline. Northwestern will not review your application for admission until we have received all required admission items.
Who is admitted to Northwestern?
Admission to Northwestern is highly competitive. Typically, under 15% of transfer applicants are admitted each year. Strong applicants have completed course work across the full range of the liberal arts and sciences courses and maintained a B average.
May I reapply if I wasn't accepted earlier?
Applicants who previously applied to Northwestern and received an admission decision must wait one academic year before being reconsidered.
May I defer my enrollment?
Northwestern does not consider deferral requests from admitted transfer students; students should apply for the term in which they intend to enroll.
Does Northwestern have registration requirements?
A student entering as a transfer student in a four-year degree program must be registered at the University for at least 6 quarters and earn credit for courses worth at least 21 units at the University.
Being “registered at Northwestern” for a quarter means that during that quarter the student is registered for and completes Northwestern coursework worth at least 2 full units of credit under the supervision of Northwestern faculty members.
A full-time course load consists of a minimum of three units per quarter, although many students enroll in four units per quarter. Between 42 and 50 units are required for graduation, depending on the Northwestern undergraduate school.
Is housing available for transfer students?
University housing is available for transfer students. Rooms in residence halls are provided based on availability. If admitted without housing, you must pay your nonrefundable tuition deposit before the Undergraduate Housing Office can place your name on Northwestern's housing waiting list or before our off-campus housing office can act as a resource for additional housing options.
I am a foreign national living outside the U.S.: should I apply as a transfer student?
International transfer applicants should follow directions for applying as a transfer student, noting specific additional requirements for international students .
6 Northwestern Essay Examples & Why Northwestern (2023)
Writing your Northwestern supplemental essays can be tricky, but they're important because your responses can have a big effect on your application chances.
Along with your personal statement essays , Northwestern offers students the chance to respond to a "Why Northwestern" essay prompt as part of its writing supplement.
In this article, I've gathered 6 essays that worked that helped get students admitted into Northwestern recently.
What is Northwestern University's Acceptance Rate?
Getting into Northwestern is quite difficult. Last year, a record 51,554 students applied to Northwestern.
And Northwestern had an overall admit rate of only 7%. Or in other words, about 1 in 13 students get accepted.
Northwestern University Acceptance Scattergram
To get into Northwestern, you've got to stand out from the crowd, which you can do by writing a strong writing supplement section.
What are the Northwestern Supplemental Prompts for 2022-23?
The Northwestern writing supplement for this year only asks one essay question of 300 words: Why Northwestern?
''Why Northwestern'' Statement :
While other parts of your application give us a sense of who you are, we are also excited to hear more about how you see yourself engaging with the larger Northwestern community.
In 300 words or less, help us understand how you might engage specific resources, opportunities, and/or communities here. We are curious about what these specifics are, as well as how they may enrich your time at Northwestern and beyond.
6 Northwestern University Essays That Worked
Here are 6 of the best Northwestern essays that worked, including example essays for the "Why Northwestern" statement prompt.
I've also included some great Common App essays from admitted Northwestern students.
Get inspired and start writing your "Why" statement with the help of these examples.
- Northwestern University Essay Example #1
- Northwestern University Essay Example #2
- Northwestern University Essay Example #3
- Northwestern University Essay Example #4
- Northwestern University Essay Example #5
- Northwestern University Essay Example #6
"Why Northwestern?" Essay Example #1
Prompt: "Why Northwestern" Statement:
In 300 words or less, help us understand how you might engage specific resources, opportunities, and/or communities here. We are curious about what these specifics are, as well as how they may enrich your time at Northwestern and beyond. (300 words max)
I love Northwestern’s academic flexibility, including the freedom of the curriculum to explore a variety of fields and the emphasis on cross-department study. Also, the quarter system provides a faster pace of learning and the opportunity to take more classes than a semester school.
Specifically, I am excited by the Spanish and Portuguese department and the classes on Hispanic and Lusophone culture, literature, and phonetics. For example, the accelerated Portuguese program is a perfect way to pick up the language at a faster pace using my prior knowledge of Spanish. I intend to supplement my language acquisition through the study abroad programs offered at the Fundação Getúlio Vargas in Rio de Janeiro or an affiliate program in Santiago, Chile. Additionally, the GESI program in Costa Rica is another intriguing opportunity through its intersectionality. It will allow me to combine a practical application of my language skills with studies in environmental conservation that I find a pressing and interesting issue. As an open-minded learner keen to forge links between academic fields of study, I believe I would be an excellent fit for the program.
I am also interested in Linguistics and pursuing undergraduate research or possibly undertaking the coterminal BA/MA program. The opportunity to link my research to a modern language of choice and investigate, for example, regional variation in Latin American Spanish or how Portuguese loanwords have infiltrated native Amazonian languages sounds fascinating and exciting.
Finally, the unique sense of community at Northwestern captivated me when I visited campus. The residential college system, the school spirit at Wildcat games, and the friendliness of the students I met, one of whom described the school as “the most welcoming place ever”, were all emblematic of this atmosphere for me. I think I will thrive in such a dynamic and inquisitive place.
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"Why Northwestern?" Essay Example #2
The only reason I fear going for lunch in a hotel is probably because I wouldn’t choose between fried chicken and roasted meat and so is my dilemma over my college major. The multifaceted whole brain approach at McCormick, however, grants me the perfect opportunity to pursue my interest in Computer Science whilst acquiring the appropriate skills in entrepreneurship to a one day startup as an innovator.
As a NU computer scientist, I particularly look forward to Software Development EECS 473 – NUvention: Web, through which I would not only learn intricacies of Software development, but have related studies in real time software development in relation to market requirements in CS+X that would form a base for a startup. That would also provide a bridge for me to join Prof Todd Warren at Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation where I would specifically join the NUvention; Web + Media. Through this unparalleled program I would have the intimacy of working in a team with fellow wild cats towards an innovative business project. The results of which will be an introduction to the Northwestern Innovation and New Ventures Office (INVO) through which I look forward to gaining practical exposure in launching businesses to the general public.
Outside McCormick, I would be excited to pursue the Managerial analytics Certificate program at Kellogg to acquire intelligent business management skills, let off steam at SPARK exploring hacks while fostering entrepreneurial habits, and eventually joining preparations for the Benedictine Eagle Invite at the Henry Crown Sport’s Pavilion (SPAC) with the NU track club. I may not the best of singers, but I do have intense phases of music obsessions and where best to let it off than taking non major classes at Bienen and, joining one of the numerous Acapella groups as I await Armadillo day!
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"Why Northwestern?" Essay Example #3
Why Northwestern? Because this introduction was so difficult to write; because I cannot possibly summarize these reasons in one introductory sentence. Simply put, my interests span across a wide range, and Northwestern has a place for them all.
As an enthusiastic programmer and advocate for positive minority representation in the media, I hope to combine both these interests and conduct research on the influence of media on society. To my delight as a prospective communications major, the School of Communication's research labs showcase project topics ranging from the depiction of STEM in media to improving digital communication. I look forward to taking advantage of the high-quality research, internship and even career opportunities offered to explore my ideas.
My multiple passions keep me creative and energetic, and I plan to continue pursuing them at Northwestern. With years of editing and writing experience for school publications under my belt, for instance, I hope to join the staff of Helicon and North by Northwestern . Last but not least is the constant school spirit and sense of inclusion present within campus. During my campus tour, each tour guide seemed genuinely excited to introduce prospective students to the school. As my particular tour guide described the quarter system and tradition of guarding and painting the rock with passion in her eyes, I knew that only at Northwestern could I find students as enthusiastic about the school itself as they are about their majors. I also spotted many students of color while visiting; as an Asian woman, Northwestern's focus on diversifying reassures me that not only will I not be judged for my background, but that I will get to meet students of all ethnicities and cultures.
College is a time of self-discovery, and I firmly believe I can see my dreams become reality at Northwestern.
"Why Northwestern?" Essay Example #4
I felt the cold sheets beneath me and the beeping sounds of a monitor next to my bed, my chest moving up and down and my body sinking into the mattress. I opened my eyes and was greeted with a plastic surgeon holding the cyst that was once in the corner of my eye. Medicine, I decided, was my destiny.
Flash forward to 8th grade, the year I decided to read 100 books. Emerson, John Green, Ernest Cline--you name the author, I read them. I became instantly inspired to learn to write like the wonderful authors I had read. So, writing, I decided (maybe), was my destiny.
Wait--or was it medicine? Well, perhaps it can be both.
The thing I find most striking about Northwestern is its emphasis on the word “AND.” Northwestern students can love computer science AND music theory, poetry AND Latin History, journalism AND business--I can love science AND English. At Northwestern, my interests would not be hindered by strict and unwavering guidelines. Rather, they could be effortlessly streamlined and integrated into one another. I could go from PSYCH 361--Brain Damage and the Mind to ENG 206 - Reading and Writing Poetry to Carol Clayberger’s Lab to continue my extensive research on T-lymphocytes, similar to that I conducted at UPMC. I would be learning each level of the human psyche, communicating my thoughts through writing, and putting them into action through my research.
At Northwestern, I plan to take advantage of the various resources that would enable me to pursue my passions, find new ones, and combine them into one, pulling from both sides of my brain. I know that I am right for Northwestern and Northwestern is right for me because we have a mutual understanding of what education should look like--emphasis on “AND,” not “OR.”
"Why Northwestern?" Essay Example #5
Think Purple: Aspiring journalist dreams of being a Wildcat Filed under Admissions, Top Stories
After brochure browsing, website wandering, and campus canvassing what felt like hundreds of different schools, it took Daisy Conant exactly 32 seconds on the Northwestern University campus to realize she had found the one.
“Northwestern is undefinable in the best way, an addicting hub of intellectuality, creativity, and school spirit - something especially appealing to a football lover,” laughed Conant. “But what excites me most about NU is the opportunity to study at the Medill School of Journalism.”
A writer with hopes of becoming a foreign correspondent, Conant has always been drawn to people and their stories, especially those completely unfamiliar to herself and her experiences. Once learning she could start on day one at Medill acquiring investigative journalism experience writing an enterprise story and end on day 600 with a journalism residency and international experience already under her belt, she was hooked.
“Conducting groundbreaking research on the socioeconomic disparities in the CPS system for the Medill Justice Project, spending a semester abroad reporting on cultural crisis in Greece, interning at the Post - at Medill, my options are boundless,” remarked Conant. “I could explore the world of print news writing in-focuses for the Daily Northwestern, dabble in magazine editing laying out spreads for North by Northwestern, even try my hand at broadcast reporting for WNUR.”
A journalist at heart, Conant is fascinated with the intersections of other disciplines. As an NU student she would be free to engage her passions for international studies and business through outside concentrations in addition to investigative journalism, uncovering the adventures (and discovering the tenacious Wildcats) that lie between Evanston and the shores of Lake Michigan. “My story is just beginning,” said Conant. “And Northwestern is the perfect lede.”
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Northwestern Essay Example #6
Prompt: Please briefly elaborate on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences. (100-250 words)
I held my breath as my trembling fingers, made for the enter key, my eyes glued to the screen savoring every moment. In a split of a second, the results of my sleepless nights were imprinted on the screen.
I felt my eyes became watery but I quickly forged a smile convincing myself I wasn’t about to cry.
However disappointed I felt that moment, it wasn’t something new to me. I am not a natural programmer and I have failed more than a million times when running my codes. In fact, I have gotten used to failing, that anytime I get it right on the first attempt I assume I got lucky and I redo the code. Every time I get a syntax error I have eventually learned something new from the code. It’s at these moments that I have learnt more about my world.
Through coding, I have learnt to appreciate shortcomings in life as room for improvements. I have come to understand being raised in a camp in Chalbi dessert is a chance for me to have the first-hand experience of what needs to be done to make the world a better place. I stopped being disappointed I was born in a less tech-savvy country and seen it as an opportunity for me to create an impact with the much I have learnt. I understand with every syntax error, every life obstacle, I learn and take a step closer to a perfect code, achieving my dreams.
These 6 Northwestern essays that worked show you exactly what it takes to write successful "Why Northwestern?" essays. Answering the "Why Northwestern" statement as best you can is the key to having a successful Northwestern application.
What did you think of these Northwestern essays?
You May Also Like:
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Northwestern Supplemental Essay: Why Northwestern? (transfer) | Nadine
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The Stanford community is deeply curious and driven to learn in and out of the classroom. Reflect on an idea or experience that makes you
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Virtually all of Stanford’s undergraduates live on campus. Write a note to your future roommate that reveals something about you or that will help your
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Tell us about something that is meaningful to you and why The day’s memories flash through my mind as I lie in bed. The piano
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Northwestern Transfer Essay
Should I include why I am transferring in my "why Northwestern" essay for my transfer application? The prompt doesn't specify that I have to and its only 300 words, but I know that a lot of schools want to know a student's reason for transferring.
Former NU transfer admit here, you have the right idea. Use the why school prompt to answer why your school fell short and why NU has what you want. Be concise tho, it is only 300 worss
I don't know specifically about NW. However, I have applied to a few other programs which specifically asked why I want to leave my current institution and not why I wanted to come to their institution. As the word limit is just 300 words, I genuinely believe that it is just the former than the latter. I would urge that the reasons to leave the current program you are directly reflecting what you want in the upcoming program on the other parts of the application.
They have a required personal statement too where u can state why you’re transferring
I think this should be obvious just in answering the main prompt
In the documents tab, u have to answer the reasons for transferring essay
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The Ultimate Guide to the Northeastern Transfer Essays
With a transfer acceptance rate of 31.12%, Northeastern University expects much more than good grades when considering who to accept into the transferring class. That’s why it’s important to take your time writing your Northeastern transfer essays. Remember: the two essays are one of the only parts of the application that will help the admissions officers see past your grades.
The Northeastern transfer essays not only have to be strong, but they have to be better than what the rest of the applicants are submitting.
The applicants aspiring to transfer to Northeastern are going to write their supplemental essays to the best of their ability. Note that if you want to have a solid chance of getting accepted into the school, you’ll need to beat out the competition. This is especially the case for those applying to Northeastern for competitive majors such as Business or Engineering.
With that said, let’s get right to our guide on how to write the Northeastern transfer essays.
Table of Contents
Please explain your reasons for transferring and the goals you hope to achieve. (600 word max)
What types of experiences inside and outside of the classroom do you want to engage in during your northeastern journey (250 word max).
Let’s get a common misconception out of the way first.
Many of our clients have answered questions like these with something outside of their major. So, instead of writing about their need to have a proper business education that would benefit their future career, they would focus on things like the school’s traditions, culture, and location.
Those are all valuable reasons to transfer to a different school; however, they should not be the primary reason to apply. Therefore, don’t write your Northeastern “why us” essay by talking about things outside of your major.
Remember: Northwestern wants to know why you want to transfer because they’re also measuring who “most deserves” it. If you want to transfer to Northwestern for reasons outside of your career, it is unlikely that you will have a more compelling reason to transfer than someone else who needs to transfer for their major.
So, you should be writing your Northeastern “why us” essay by answering two things: why transferring to Northeastern will fit with your academic major more, and how the school will help you achieve your future goals.
Ideally, your future goals should be aligned with your major of choice. Let’s take the business example from earlier. If you’re applying to Northeastern because you know you wanted a better education in business and management, you want to show how Northwestern’s resources will help you with your future business-related goals. Maybe you want to start a consulting agency that helps growing software startups in the San Fransisco area. You may say that the clubs and professor research done at Northeastern will correlate directly with your academic major, and therefore your goals in starting a consulting agency.
If you truly want to get creative, you can tie in your reasons for transferring with a personal ideological or philosophical reason as well.
Let’s say you want to attend Northeastern because you want to be a better business manager and potentially a future consultant for other startup companies. Your future career as a business consultant will be putting the fates of future cutting-edge companies on the line. Your success determines their success, and perhaps even the evolutionary rate of technology as a result. See where we’re getting at here?
If Northeastern accepts you and gives you the resources needed to be the best business consultant, your acceptance will be tied to the future fate of other potential business founders. Thus, you know you need to get into Northwestern because the moral fate of small businesses in the future is on the line.
So, a short thesis that answers this question may look something like this:
“The reason I must transfer to Northeastern is that it is the most fitting school for me to become a future business consultant for early-stage startups. To attend Northeastern means having the opportunity to help other aspiring business owners who just need enough help to launch off the ground; thus, I’d like to use my experience here to learn everything I need to create a consulting firm that can help local small startups.”
In some ways, this question serves as a good way of understanding how the student can be educated in their new environment as a whole. So, it’s not just about what’s in the school; instead, Northeastern also wants to know how you will be integrated with the community.
But first, let’s deconstruct both experiences: inside and outside.
The experiences you expect to have inside the classroom are, obviously, going to include classes and academic content relevant to your future career plans. Since this question asks about experiences specifically, they will want you to talk about things beyond the academic sphere (even if it’s within the classroom). Thus, you may want to talk about the clubs that will help you with your future career goals, or even the networking opportunities available in the community of your major. When writing this part, be sure to show that you’re someone who has a plan. That means you need to write your Northeastern essays confidently and specifically; you can’t write in vague terms.
Instead of just saying you’ll be networking in general, you may want to talk about the possibility of building a community of people who share similar interests to your field. If you plan to join clubs related to your future major and career, talk about your plans for what you’ll do in those clubs and how they’ll contribute to your growth.
In terms of experiences outside of the classroom, you may want to talk about the things that are meaningful to you. Remember that at the end of the day this is another form of a “Why Us” essay question. Thus, it may not be sufficient to just talk about the things you would like to do outside of the classroom that fit with your hobbies.
Instead, think about writing why those hobbies and extracurriculars outside the classroom are important to you. Let’s say that you want to join Northeastern’s G-Power Dance Crew. Many people will be talking about wanting to join their own favorite clubs and activities. Thus, there must be a reason Northeastern’s clubs outside of the classroom are special to you. Maybe joining G-Power would be something meaningful to you because you are inspired by the choreography that they do, and you never had the chance to truly perform for such acts. Joining Northeastern means you’ll have the chance to join a dance crew that fits with the vision for dance you’ve always wanted to have that your school would not provide.
Your acceptance to Northeastern thereby becomes not only a matter of your academic and career fit but your personal fulfillment as well.
If you have any other questions on how to write the Northeastern transfer essays, don’t be afraid to ask! Simply schedule a free consultation through our contact form, and we w ill get back to you at approximately 24 hours with a free advising session!
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Northwestern University Supplemental Essays Guide: 2021-2022
Not sure how to approach the Northwestern essay prompt? With tips from a Harvard graduate, CollegeAdvisor.com’s guide to the Northwestern supplemental essays 2021 will show you how to write an engaging Northwestern University supplement essay that will maximize your admissions odds. If you need help crafting your Northwestern supplemental essays, create your free account or schedule a no-cost advising consultation by calling (844) 836-8250.
Northwestern Supplemental Essays — Quick Facts:
- Northwestern has an acceptance rate of 9%— U.S. News ranks Northwestern as a most selective school.
- We recommend answering the Northwestern essay prompt thoughtfully and thoroughly in order to increase your chances of admission.
Does Northwestern have supplemental essays?
Yes! In addition to the personal statement that you’ll write for the Common App or Coalition App , all applicants must respond to one Northwestern essay prompt . We will discuss this Northwestern supplement essay in detail later in this guide.
Note that students who apply to additional programs within Northwestern—such as Northwestern’s Integrated Science Program or Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences —may be asked to write additional Northwestern supplemental essays. For more information on these programs and their requirements, visit the Northwestern website . This guide, however, will focus on the primary Northwestern essay prompt required for all applicants.
What are the Northwestern supplemental essays?
The Northwestern essay prompt can be boiled down to one classic question—why Northwestern?
You’ve likely encountered similar prompts during your college process. However, while the Northwestern essay prompt might seem straightforward, that doesn’t make it any less important. Rather, this “Why Northwestern” essay can make or break your application. After all, admissions officers want to admit students who will attend their institutions. Strong Northwestern supplemental essays will demonstrate a genuine engagement with Northwestern and its offerings.
We’ll discuss the full Northwestern essay prompt in more detail later in this guide. Still, as you brainstorm for your Northwestern supplement essay, think about why you want to attend Northwestern. Your Northwestern University supplement essay should cite specific reasons why Northwestern is right for you. Once again, the best responses to the “Why Northwestern” essay will show that students have done their research.
Visit the Northwestern website, take a campus tour, or speak to current students about their experiences. Think about classes you’d like to take, professors who interest you, clubs you would like to join, and more. Strong Northwestern supplemental essays will reveal a deep engagement with the university and its offerings.
Is the Northwestern supplemental essay required?
Yes—all applicants must complete the Northwestern supplement essay to be considered for admission.
However, don’t let the “Why Northwestern” essay scare you. Instead, view the required Northwestern University supplement essay as a chance to introduce yourself to the admissions team. Your readers already know your grades and test scores. A great response to the Northwestern essay prompt can boost your candidate profile and help you stand out in the admissions process.
Remember, the Northwestern supplemental essays 2021 are your opportunity to show demonstrated interest (DI). DI is used by universities like Northwestern to determine how interested a student is in attending their school. Last year, there were over 39,000 applicants to Northwestern. Demonstrated interest, communicated through Northwestern supplemental essays can make the difference between two statistically similar students. The individual who has clearly demonstrated their enthusiasm about Northwestern in their “Why Northwestern” essay, beyond the obvious reasons for attending (prestige, reputation, etc.), is more likely to be admitted. As you approach the “Why Northwestern” essay, think about the fact that 13.7% of colleges said that DI was considerably important in freshman admissions, and another 25.5% said it was moderately important . Students with authentic, personal, and engaging Northwestern supplemental essays have a higher chance of admission!
How do I write the Northwestern supplemental essay?
So far, we’ve talked about the importance of research, engagement, and authenticity in the Northwestern University supplemental essay.
Completing the additional Northwestern supplemental essays 2021 for the science and social programs? Don’t worry—you can use the breakdown below for the “Why Northwestern” essay to help you craft engaging responses to those Northwestern supplemental essays as well. The science and social programs also ask for demonstrated interest in their prompts—specific reasons that draw you to that program and Northwestern University. The direction that we provide will help you articulate that clearly in all of your Northwestern supplemental essays 2021.
How to Write Northwestern Supplemental Essays — Question 1 (Required)
Now that we’ve discussed some elements of strong Northwestern supplemental essays, let’s break down the Northwestern essay prompt:
While other parts of your application give us a sense of who you are, we are also excited to hear more about how you see yourself engaging with the larger Northwestern community. In 300 words or less, help us understand how you might engage specific resources, opportunities, and/or communities here. We are curious about what these specifics are, as well as how they may enrich your time at Northwestern and beyond. (300-word maximum)
As we’ve discussed, this is a classic “Why Northwestern” essay. However, before we describe strategies for writing your Northwestern supplement essay, let’s focus on the language this Northwestern prompt uses.
Defining the Prompt:
This Northwestern essay prompt centers around engagement. Namely, it asks “how you see yourself engaging with the larger Northwestern community” as well as “how you might engage specific resources, opportunities, and/or communities” at Northwestern. In evaluating the Northwestern supplemental essays 2021, the admissions team wants to identify students who will actively enrich the academic, artistic, cultural, and social communities at Northwestern. Your Northwestern University supplement essay allows you to show what impact you’d make on Northwestern’s campus.
As you brainstorm for your “Why Northwestern” essay, keep this idea of active engagement in mind. Northwestern doesn’t want to admit students who will passively experience campus life without offering their own contributions. Instead, they want students who will be active participants in the spaces they occupy.
Next, notice that the Northwestern supplemental essay asks for “specific resources, opportunities, and/or communities” that interest you. These Northwestern essay prompt categories are intentionally broad and could include clubs, classes, programs, libraries, and many other facets of Northwestern. No part of campus life is off-limits for your Northwestern University supplement essay!
We’ve unpacked the Northwestern supplemental essay—now, let’s start brainstorming.
Begin brainstorming for your “Why Northwestern” essay by researching the school. Think about what first attracted you to Northwestern. Was it the region? The campus? The programs? Any of these things could form the basis of your Northwestern University supplement essay.
Make a list of everything about Northwestern that interests you. Feel free to include broader topics—you likely won’t use these broader answers in your Northwestern supplement essay, but they can help you find specific topics that excite you. For instance, if you’re interested in exploring Chicago, write that down. Then, look into specific clubs at Northwestern that work within the community. For example, which of the two sentences, better reflects demonstrated interest in a Northwestern supplement essay?
Ex. 1. Since visiting at the age of five, I’ve always wanted to attend school in Chicago.
Ex. 2. I would love to join Northwestern’s Botany and Bees organization. Their work with the Evanston Environmental Association and other organizations in and around Chicago is one of the reasons that I decided to pursue a degree in environmental studies at Northwestern.
The second sentence is obviously a better answer to a “Why Northwestern” essay than the first. An admissions officer reading Northwestern supplemental essays would breeze right through the first applicant’s essay—there are many schools in Chicago—an applicant only looking to attend a school in the area could apply to any other college. The second sentence, however, is quite specific to Northwestern, you wouldn’t be able to miss the applicant’s interest.
Northwestern supplemental essays 2021 will answer the question of “how you see yourself engaging with the larger Northwestern community.” Notice how the Northwestern supplement essay emphasizes community . Unlike some “Why school” essays, the “Why Northwestern” essay explicitly asks you not to think about yourself in isolation. Instead, successful Northwestern supplemental essays 2021 will emphasize how, in specific terms, you hope to relate to the communities—academic, social, extracurricular, or otherwise—that make up Northwestern University.
As you brainstorm your Northwestern supplement essay topics, remember that there are no wrong answers. While you’ll eventually want to reference specific professors, clubs, courses, and opportunities in your Northwestern University supplemental essay, use this brainstorming session to be honest with yourself. Strong Northwestern supplemental essays will come from authentic self-reflection.
Freewriting and reflection exercises
Once you’ve made this list, it’s time to get specific. Begin with a structured free-writing session. What that looks like: identify three of the resources, opportunities, and communities that most appealed to you from your research of Northwestern. Set a timer and write on each subject for 10 minutes, spending a total of 30 minutes writing. Were there any topics you wrote about easily? Any topics that you struggled to write about? Make note of these until you identify your strongest topics.
For more information on reflection exercises and choosing a topic for your supplemental essays, you can read our blog article .
Let’s look at another example. Say you were interested in studying sustainable energy and were particularly interested in Northwestern’s programs. This already gives you plenty to discuss in your Northwestern supplement essay. However, you could make your Northwestern essay prompt even stronger by including more specific details. You might use your “Why Northwestern” essay to talk about your interest in the Argonne-Northwestern Solar Research Center or your desire to assist certain key professors in their research. Strong Northwestern supplemental essays will show the admissions team that you’ve considered Northwestern’s offerings and that you care about making an impact on their community.
Additionally, the interest you write about should line up with the rest of your application. For instance, if you’ve written your personal statement on poetry and have spent little time engaging with STEM fields academically, it may not be wise to describe an interest in computer science—unless, of course, you can complement that interest with related classes and extracurriculars! Your Northwestern supplement essay should enrich your candidate profile, not muddle it.
Hopefully, after a thorough brainstorming session, you’ve found solid topics for your Northwestern supplement essay. These resources, opportunities, and communities should relate specifically to the Northwestern essay prompt—if you can swap out Northwestern for any other school and the essay works, then you’ll need to go back to the drawing board.
Congratulations—you’ve begun crafting your Northwestern supplement essay! Now, it’s time to start writing.
Northwestern supplemental essays 2021 have a limit of 300 words. This isn’t a lot, so you’ll want to use each word wisely to maximize your essay’s impact. As you start to draft your Northwestern supplement essay, however, try not to get hung up on the word count. Save your stress for revisions—for now, focus on getting words on the page.
You might choose to open your essay with an anecdote. To return to the renewable energy example, you could write about your experience working with an environmental advocacy group. You could then connect that work to your desire to make a change using Northwestern’s resources. This can be an effective way to show your reader where your interests originate and how they’ve made you who you are. You can also discuss how Northwestern’s resources inform your educational and career goals.
Additionally, don’t lose sight of the Northwestern essay prompt’s emphasis on community. As you write, think about how your interests relate to your future professors and peers. Will joining a specific club help you find like-minded people? Do you hope to meet your future research partner in one of Northwestern’s labs? The best Northwestern supplemental essays will reveal a dedication to community as well as an engaging set of individual interests.
Once you’ve written your Northwestern supplement essay, you can start thinking about the word count. Look at each word and ask yourself whether it belongs. While cutting phrases, sentences, and even whole paragraphs might feel discouraging, careful editing will make your writing stronger!
Finally, the best Northwestern supplemental essays will tell a story. In reading your “Why Northwestern” essay, the admissions team should be able to determine what interests you, where these interests come from, and how these interests will inform your place in the Northwestern community.
Northwestern Supplemental Essay Draft Key Questions:
- Does your Northwestern supplement essay draft mention specific resources, organizations, and/or opportunities you hope to pursue at Northwestern?
- Do you emphasize the role community plays in your hopeful future at Northwestern?
- Does your draft authentically reflect your interests?
- Do you show you’ve done your research on Northwestern University and its offerings?
- Does your draft complement the rest of your application?
Is the Northwestern supplemental essay important?
Yes! The Northwestern supplemental essays 2021, like previous years’ essays, have a major impact on admissions.
As a highly selective university, Northwestern receives thousands of applications from qualified candidates each year. In fact, their admissions rate is falling steadily. What does this mean? More students are applying, but the university’s open seats aren’t increasing. Candidates often have similar grades, test scores, and even extracurricular achievements. This can make it hard for any student to stand out. Don’t let this discourage you from applying. Use every available tool at your disposal, including the “Why Northwestern” essay to make a case for why you should be admitted.
Your Northwestern University supplement essay lets you show the admissions committee what makes you special. Essentially, your Northwestern supplement essay is an introduction and case for admission. Your readers don’t take this lightly, and neither should you!
Remember, the strongest Northwestern supplemental essays 2021 will allow the admissions team to visualize a particular student on Northwestern’s campus. Your Northwestern supplement essay has a lot of power—use it wisely.
Northwestern Supplemental Essays: Final Thoughts
The Northwestern University supplement essay prompt might seem intimidating. However, don’t let this discourage you! As long as you approach your Northwestern supplement essay with consideration and planning, you can write an essay sure to stand out.
In the research phase of answering the Northwestern supplemental essay, make sure to check out our free webinar on Northwestern University. In this 60-minute panel with a Q&A session, two Northwestern alumni discuss their experiences applying to and attending the university.
A well-crafted Northwestern University supplement essay can make a huge difference to the admissions team. Use this guide to help you craft an engaging Northwestern essay that will boost your chances of admission. Finally, don’t forget to revise, edit, and proofread your final Northwestern supplement essay. You might also ask a parent, counselor, advisor, or other trusted adult for a second pair of eyes.
To see examples of essays written by our advisors who were admitted to Northwestern, check out last year’s blog article.
We hope this guide helped you gain a stronger understanding of the Northwestern supplemental essays 2021. Good luck!
This Northwestern supplemental essays guide was written by Abbie Sage, Harvard ’21. For more CollegeAdvisor.com resources on Northwestern, click here . Want help crafting your Northwestern supplement essay? Visit app.collegeadvisor.com to create your free account or schedule a no-cost advising consultation by calling (844) 836-8250.
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2022-23 Northwestern Transfer Acceptance Rate, Requirements, and Application Deadline
For high school applicants, Northwestern University has a single-digit acceptance rate. Just like other schools of its ilk—Johns Hopkins, Cornell, and Rice—the overwhelming majority of those who apply end up disappointed. On a more optimistic note, transfer applicants at Northwestern fare much better than freshman hopefuls. This blog will share the Northwestern transfer acceptance rate as well as other essential pieces of information like the Northwestern transfer deadline, the requirements/checklist for applicants, the Northwestern transfer decision date and much more.
Northwestern Transfer Acceptance Rate
Below we present the most current available Northwestern transfer acceptance rate as well as historical data.
In the fall of 2021, there were 2,965 transfer applicants and 387 individuals were accepted. This means that the Northwestern transfer acceptance rate is 13%. If we break this down by gender, the acceptance rates are as follows:
- Male transfer applicants: 11.6%
- Female transfer applicants: 14.7%
When trying to get the complete picture on how difficult it is to transfer into a given school, it is important to also look at historical data. Many schools have wild fluctuations in transfer acceptance rate from year to year. Yet, this is not the case here. As you can see, the Northwestern transfer acceptance rate has been consistently between 13% and 17% for the last five years.
Historical transfer rates are as follows:
Northwestern Transfer Deadline
The university offers only a fall transfer option. The Northwestern transfer deadline for fall applicants is March 15.
Northwestern Transfer Requirements
The Northwestern transfer requirements are as follows:
- Completed Common App for Transfer
- Final high school transcripts (noting graduation)
- Official college transcripts
- SAT or ACT scores (optional in 2023)
- College Report
- One letter of recommendation (second letter is optional)
- Supplemental materials or auditions for certain programs.
Students who have the best chance to gain admission to Northwestern have done the following:
- Are in the process of completing at least 24 semester credit hours.
- Earned exceptional grades in their first year at a community college or 4-year university.
- Have strong SAT/ACT and AP/IB results.
Northwestern Transfer GPA & SAT/ACT
According to the admissions committee “Strong applicants have completed course work across the full range of the liberal arts and sciences courses and maintained a B average.” In our experience working with successful Northwestern transfers, students with a 3.75 or above have the most legitimate chance.
Northwestern Transfer Writing Supplement
All transfer applicants must complete the Common App essay (same prompts as for freshmen):
The personal essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using one of the prompts below to inspire and structure your response.
For a look at all of the Common App essay prompts, click here .
You’ll also have the “option” to complete a supplement explaining why you want to transfer to Northwestern. However, for serious applicants, this essay is hardly optional. You can view it as required.
Why Northwestern” Statement:
While other parts of your application give us a sense of who you are, we are also excited to hear more about how you see yourself engaging with the larger Northwestern community.
In 300 words or less, help us understand how you might engage specific resources, opportunities, and/or communities here. We are curious about what these specifics are, as well as how they may enrich your time at Northwestern and beyond.
Northwestern Transfer Decision Date?
Northwestern transfer decisions are made on a rolling basis. There is no singular notification date.
Final Thoughts – Northwestern University Transfer Acceptance Rate
Getting into Northwestern as a transfer isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible either. Knowing that they are likely to admit 300+ students should give hope to those with strong credentials.
If you are 100% committed to leaving your current college, you’ll want to apply to other schools in addition to Northwestern University. Even if you have near-perfect college grades, admission into Northwestern is far from a guarantee, so you’ll want to create a balanced list of institutions that include safety schools.
If you are looking for information on how to apply to Northwestern as a first year student, you may find the following blogs to be of interest:
- How to Get Into Northwestern
- Northwestern Supplemental Essay Prompt and Tips
Those searching for application info on other institutions may wish to visit our Dataverse pages/blogs:
- Transfer Admissions Deadlines
- Transfer Acceptance Rates
- How to Complete the Transfer Common App
Dave has over a decade of professional experience that includes work as a teacher, high school administrator, college professor, and independent educational consultant. He is a co-author of the books The Enlightened College Applicant (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and Colleges Worth Your Money (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020).
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Northwestern University 2022-23 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide
Northwestern university 2022-23 application essay question explanation.
The Requirements: 1 essay of 300 words or less
Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why
Is it a mirage? No it’s the Northwestern supplement. And yes , it only has one (1!) solitary question. But when a school like Northwestern (with its 7% acceptance rate ) lobs you a softball, you’ve got to wonder, “what’s the catch?” Hint: a seemingly easy supplement means that you have no excuse to slack off, no reason to cut corners. Your final draft had better be a sparkling example of your best writing, showcasing your best self (and your best spelling!). So what are you waiting for?
While other parts of your application give us a sense of who you are, we are also excited to hear more about how you see yourself engaging with the larger Northwestern community.
In 300 words or less, help us understand how you might engage specific resources, opportunities, and/or communities here. we are curious about what these specifics are, as well as how they may enrich your time at northwestern and beyond..
This is a why essay without the word “why” in its confines, but make no mistake: it’s putting you to the same test. As you likely already know, a why essay is the classic litmus test for your fit and commitment. Do you want what the school has to offer? How much do you even care? Demonstrating a depth of knowledge will address both of these questions, so put on your researching glasses and fire up the Internet! Spend some time on the Northwestern website digging beyond the basic admissions facts and figures. What classes would you take? What special programs or centers appeal to you? What activities would you pursue? Your final list doesn’t have to be comprehensive (you only have 300 words, after all), but it should be cohesive. In the end, you need to describe how you plan to “engage specific resources” that Northwestern has to offer, so pick a few that go together. Love birds? Why not extol the interdisciplinary benefits of studying biology at one of the few institutions to house a complete set of Audubon’s Birds of America ? You get the idea!
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How to Write the Northwestern Supplemental Essay: Examples + Guide 2022/2023
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What is the Northwestern Supplemental Essay Prompt?
How to Write The Supplemental Essay Prompt for Northwestern
Congratulations! You’ve chosen a school that asks for only one supplemental essay! Take a moment to rejoice, but before you start planning how you’re going to spend all this extra free time, realize that this relatively light writing assignment comes with an extra challenge: This will be your one chance to speak directly to Northwestern admissions officials, show them who you are, and why you’re the right fit for their school.
Because this is a highly selective university, this essay may weigh heavily in your application, separating you from the other students with high GPAs and SAT scores. Take a little extra time to communicate why you’ve chosen Northwestern over other schools, what you plan to get out of your four years there, and how you’ll add to the campus community.
Not sure how? We’ve got you. Read on for a step-by-step guide, tips, and examples.
What is the Northwestern supplemental essay prompt?
This is the classic “Why us?” essay. Northwestern wants to know why you’ve chosen this school—its academic programs, its campus life, its extracurricular offerings—above the others (“what aspects of Northwestern appeal most to you”). In other words, why it meets your needs and goals.
And, of course, every “Why us?” essay also needs to explain “why you” (that’s the “how you’ll make use of specific resources and opportunities here” part). In other words, why you’re what Northwestern is looking for in a student who will add something meaningful to its campus. That means you need a firm grasp of what you want in a college, and what Northwestern wants in a student—or put another way, how Northwestern’s values align with yours.
How do you do that exactly? Follow these three steps:
Step 1: Do your research
Think about what you’re looking for in a college experience. What major would you pursue? What courses are you interested in? What social life do you want—filled with clubs and activities? Greek life? Sports? Do you want a school that offers internship opportunities? One that puts a premium on philanthropy and community involvement? Once you start formulating your answers, add them to the left column of this handy-dandy “ Why us?” Essay Research Chart , which will help you start building the bones of your outline (Step 2). Because values—yours and Northwestern’s—will play an important role in your essay, take the time, if you haven’t already, to complete the Values Exercise and the Everything I Want Colleges to Know about Me Brainstorming Exercise . These will help you get a clearer idea of what you want out of college.
Research how to write the “Why us?” essay . Start here . This comprehensive guide goes over common mistakes, research tips, favorite examples, and analyses of what makes them work, and so much more.
Get to know all you can about Northwestern and what it offers. Dig deep on its website , including classes you’d want to take, professors you find interesting, clubs you’d want to join, internships you’d apply for. (The “Why us?” Essay guide has lots more research tips!) Add these details into your ”Why us?” Research Chart .
Want to really know what Northwestern is looking for? You can find an extensive, by-the-numbers look at Northwestern’s offerings, from enrollment and tuition statistics to student life and financial aid information, by checking out its Common Data Set . For deep insights into how this private research university envisions its role and how it wants to grow and evolve, read its strategic plan, Northwestern WILL . Reading through this will give you a strong idea of what Northwestern values.
Step 2: Write an outline
By now, you should have a “Why us?” Research Chart chock-full of color, examples and detail—on what you’re looking for in a college, and what Northwestern is looking for in a student. Use an outline to plan out how you want to organize your thoughts in a 300-word essay. If you’re not the outline type—plenty of us just want to get started already—and you have a strong sense of how you’re gonna do this, skip to Step 3.
If outlines help, take a few minutes to map one out. Here’s an example of the structure for a basic, solid “Why us?” essay (taken from the “Why us?” Essay guide ):
Clear thesis that names the academic area(s) you want to pursue and maybe charts the path of the essay
Main reason #1 and 2-3 specific details
Main reason #2 and 2-3 specific details
Main reason #3 and 2-3 specific details
An ending that maybe discusses what you’ll give back
Use the examples and details you’ve provided in your chart and start your outline, using the structure above or another one of your choosing.
Step 3: Write a draft (or five)
You’ve got lots of material, and a structure for how this important essay will unfold. Start writing!
Given its importance, this essay will likely not be written in one try, or even two or three. Be patient and give yourself permission to write multiple drafts. We thought it would also help to see how other students wrote this essay, so check out the examples and analysis below.
Pro tip: Try to get at least eight to 10 “why us?” reasons into your essay. Once you’ve written your first draft, bold each reason for yourself. This will offer visual confirmation that you’re sprinkling your reasons evenly throughout the essay (rather than clumping them at the top or bottom, for example). Just be sure to unbold them before you submit.
Northwestern Supplemental Essay Example:
On my visit to Evanston, my tour guide walked backwards facing me the entire time. This struck me as symbolic of Northwestern. Firstly, while walking backwards my guide made a special effort to connect with me, and I too shall reach out to my communities at Northwestern. As a member of the undergraduate chemistry team, I will join the Chemistry Council and connect with local students to mentor green chemistry projects for their schools, expanding on my work with high school ChemClub. My guide also walked without seeing, venturing into the unknown. I shall complement my primary training in chemistry with The Institute for Sustainability and Energy’s certificate program--to study disciplines unknown to the core science curriculum that nonetheless impact science research: Environmental Law & Policy interests me since law and policy govern the limitations with which chemists design products. The pending Personal Care Products Safety Act will require safety assessments of ingredients, thereby expanding innovative research to transform the cosmetics industry. ISEN also supports multi-discipline research, and I hope to research toxicology of ingredients. Finally, my guide took us on detours into Norris, an empty classroom and even to the Lakefill. I too hope to take inspiring digressions. The amazing theatre community at Northwestern excites me the most, as I’ve been a performer since preschool, studying ballet, singing, and theatre. Acting on stage is the most exhilarating experience I know, and working with the theatre tech staff on stage makeup is a great way to build teamwork and make new friends. I hope to get off my main academic track often, enroll in Acting for Non-Majors and Stage Makeup courses, and join the many student theatre groups. Four years at Northwestern will seem too brief.
Tips + Analysis
Give some thought to your opening, but don’t overthink it. Spend a few minutes thinking up a clever hook to open the essay. Why just a "few minutes"? Because, while a clever opening is nice, it will not make or break your essay. The specific reasons you cite in the essay—and the way you connect each one back to you—will be much more important. In this case, the author thought back to what she liked about her tour, then used a few double meanings—see the start of each paragraph—to give the essay a sense of playfulness. How might you do this? But again: Don't stress over this! Write the middle first if you get stuck.
Weave your “why you” details in with the “why us” reasons. This student finds opportunities to weave her “why you” reasons in with “why us” reasons, like this: “As a member of the undergraduate chemistry team, I will join the Chemistry Council and connect with local students to mentor green chemistry projects for their schools, expanding on my work with high school ChemClub .” This detail shows how her ChemClub experience (why you) is a fitting foundation for what she’ll learn in Chemistry Council (why us). Bonus points: This student names a Northwestern value (connection) and says how she’ll exercise this value on campus: “my guide made a special effort to connect with me, and I too shall reach out to my communities at Northwestern.” Love.
Consider naming your major (if you’ve chosen one) or academic focus up front. Since your major is likely to play a large role in your college experience, and why you chose Northwestern, consider adding that detail in your first or second paragraph. And be clear in describing why this major/academic focus at Northwestern in particular appeals to you in particular . This student seamlessly folds her major into the second sentence of the second paragraph (“As a member of the undergraduate chemistry team …”), then quickly follows up with a specific “why us” reason: Chemistry Council.
Show a range of interests. The broad scope of this prompt (“what aspects of Northwestern”) is intentional. It’s not just asking about your chosen major or your academic interests; it’s probing for details about the breadth of your interests. So after talking about, say, courses and professors and programs that interest you, talk about campus life—clubs, activities, sports and other extracurriculars. This is a great way to show you’re more than just a reading machine (although, hey, be that too). For this student, her reasons for choosing Northwestern weren’t just about the Chemistry Council and The Institute for Sustainability and Energy; she was also interested in the theater community, in particular the Acting for Non-Majors and Stage Makeup courses. And fun fact: This student’s personal statement was on cosmetics, so this detail is a little callback to her application’s theme.
In the words of Will, who spent six years inside the California Youth Authority: “It doesn’t make sense to take a kid out of the community to show him how to live in the community”. Confining 60,500 youth like Will every night, our dysfunctional juvenile justice system lies at an insidious intersection of racism, poverty, and unequal educational opportunity. Addressing these underlying injustices requires the interdisciplinary approach that Northwestern has perfected. As the sole school of its kind in the nation, SESP will help me navigate this web of issues. As a Social Policy major, I’ll learn to develop policies targeting the school-to-prison pipeline or youth homelessness. Practical experience is paramount in understanding how institutions impact individuals, and vice versa. SESP provides this through research and the practicum internship, while Summer and Chicago Field Studies offer even more ways to get involved with criminal and social justice organizations. Specifically, I want to work with Ascend Justice to advocate for those affected by the child welfare system. Northwestern also nurtures my fascination with math. By participating in MMSS, I’ll merge my love for numbers and analysis with my ardent interest in the social sciences, building an intensive foundation in mathematical models to understand concepts that drive decision-making and collective action. Or through MENU, I’ll explore exciting advanced mathematical topics, like geometric topology and combinatorics. SESP’s flexible coursework and the quarter system let me dive deeper into other academic interests: linking policy in times of political transformation to environmental studies, taking classes in psychopathology to better understand the criminalization of mental illness, and pairing French with philosophy in “Les Formes du Mal.” Northwestern gives me the profound and focused education I seek, while fostering all my AND’s, providing me with the tools and perspective I need to strive toward my goals.
Tips + Analysis
Show them you know your stuff. This is what we at College Essay Guy affectionately call “geeking out”—flexing your academic muscle by demonstrating the depth of your knowledge in a particular subject. You can do this in a few ways. One is by citing facts, statistics, or anecdotes, like this student does with the reference to Will. After reading that first paragraph, you get a keen sense of the writer’s command for juvenile justice reform issues. And she uses it to introduce her summary “why us” reason: Northwestern’s interdisciplinary approach. Brava. Another way to geek out is by using language that would only be familiar to those who are proficient in that topic. Take this sentence, for example: “Or through MENU, I’ll explore exciting advanced mathematical topics, like geometric topology and combinatorics .” See how she tucks that in there, not in a show-offy way, but to demonstrate a little of her expertise? If you don’t know what those math topics are, you probably don’t care, but you know (or suspect) the writer does. But heads-up: Do this sparingly. If you do it too much, it can be distancing or seem braggy.
Talk about why Northwestern is different. It’s not enough to say Northwestern is one of a kind, or unique, or “the sole school of its kind in the nation.” If you say something like this, make sure to back it up by saying, specifically, why. This student reinforces the “sole school” statement with these details: “SESP provides this through research and the practicum internship, while Summer and Chicago Field Studies offer even more ways to get involved with criminal and social justice organizations.” This is great and, when possible, go even further by saying specifically why a program is different from other programs that also offer research, internships, summer studies and social justice opportunities. This isn’t always possible, by the way, but if you can find 2-3 unique opportunities that a) the school offers and b) connect back to you, they can make a huge difference in your “Why us?” essay.
Be specific. We’re talking about courses, professors, research studies, clubs: Use their formal names, and make sure to spell them right! After this student talks about her interest in the practical experience opportunities at Northwestern, for example, she follows up with this nugget: “Specifically, I want to work with Ascend Justice to advocate for those affected by the child welfare system.” Notice she doesn’t just mention the organization, but what she’ll do with the opportunity. That leads us to the next point:
Talk about what you’ll get out of your Northwestern education. Remember the second part of the prompt: “how you’ll make use of specific resources and opportunities here.” So, for the purposes of this essay, what you’re interested in is just as important as what you’ll do with it. That may mean detailing how you’ll use your newfound knowledge either after college, or while you’re there—to improve the campus community or further your own studies. Like this: “SESP’s flexible coursework and the quarter system let me dive deeper into other academic interests: linking policy in times of political transformation to environmental studies, taking classes in psychopathology to better understand the criminalization of mental illness , and pairing French with philosophy in ‘Les Formes du Mal.’” The writer also offers an example of how she’ll use the experiences she’ll gain with Ascend Justice to better her community by advocating for “those affected by the child welfare system.”
Bonus Northwestern Supplemental Essay Example:
Northwestern stands out as the perfect place for my undergraduate studies. I adore the International Studies major. Even though Economics will be my primary major, I’ve always been highly interested in the intersection of Economics and culture and IS will allow me to examine the effects of capitalist expansion across national boundaries. I want to find a way to stimulate globalization without deteriorating the cultural heritage of the international community and classes such as “Economics of Developing Countries” and “Global Capitalism” are perfect for the purpose as I hope they will elucidate specific instances of neoliberal culture bleaching and allow me to theoretically develop methods for breaking down perpetual inequality. Furthermore, with my regional focus on the Asia in the IS major, I plan to combine my interests in Economics and culture through research on the socio-economic impact of immigrant entrepreneurs in South Korea since undergraduate research is widely available. Furthermore, I want to supplement my regional IS education with a study abroad program that ties Economics classes into language study, and the Yonsei University program fits that criteria perfectly. I want to explore Korean economics while studying advanced Korean composition and literature because the best way to deeply understand the political and social issues of Korea’s government is to fully immerse myself in its culture and business life. My academic and multicultural background will allow me to be a meaningful and contributing member of the Northwestern community and especially the International Studies community. Northwestern is the perfect fit for my educational goals in Economics and culture.
This is a solid essay that clearly lists multiple “why us” reasons and nicely explains both what the student is looking for and how they’ll contribute to the Northwestern community. One cautionary note we want to share is to avoid using absolutes (extreme language like “best,” “perfect,” “fully”) because they are difficult to prove and rarely technically true.
Instead, rewrite to avoid these constructions. For example, instead of saying, “Northwestern is the perfect place for my undergraduate studies,” say a bit more about why: “Northwestern is the one school I’ve found that will be able to offer the [x, y, and z qualities] I’m looking for.”
Or merely cut the absolute, saying, for example, “immerse myself” instead of “fully immerse myself.”
Special thanks to Nicole for contributing to this post.
Nicole learned how to tell other people’s stories after a 30+-year career as a newspaper reporter, covering both the mundane and the unforgettable, from serial killer Duane Owen’s retrial, to the Bush/Gore nail-biter, to the homeless family of four who found refuge in a storage unit. Her ideal day is spent playing Cribbage with her dad, beating her husband at RummiKub and planning the next girls trip with her teenage daughters.
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Part-Time Bachelor's Degree Admission & Transfer Policy | Northwestern University School of Professional Studies - Northwestern School of Professional Studies
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Admission and Transfer Policy
All applicants are required to submit an online application. Applicants can check the status of their application at any time by logging into the online Self Service Center portal. You can contact the admission advising team with questions about the application and admission process and for general program information.
The following materials are required to apply:
- A completed online application
- A statement of purpose
- $50 application fee (nonrefundable)
- Official high school transcripts and conferred date of completion (or GED report)
- Official transcripts from all previously attended colleges and universities
- A current resume or CV
- Documentation of English Proficiency for students whose first language is not English. See "English Proficiency" below
Please list all colleges and universities attended. Official transcripts must arrive in our office in the original sealed envelope issued by the institution. Northwestern University School of Professional Studies accepts electronic transcripts from U.S. institutions via secure electronic transcript providers. Consult with your institution to see if they are a part of a secure e-delivery network.
Official electronic transcripts must be requested from the college or university and sent directly to [email protected] .
Official mailed transcripts can be sent to*:
Attn: Undergraduate Admissions Northwestern University School of Professional Studies Wieboldt Hall, Sixth floor 339 E. Chicago Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60611-3008 [email protected]
* Please review the notice on the Admission page .
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- Spring quarter: February 1
- Summer quarter: May 1
SPS welcomes international students to apply and, if admitted, enroll in our undergraduate programs. SPS does not process I-20 or DS-2019 forms for full-time student or exchange visas. Our programs are designed as part-time programs for working professionals and cannot be used to maintain legal status in the United States.
Please reach out to the International Office with any questions at 847-491-5613.
Official transcripts from institutions outside of the U.S. are required to be evaluated by a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). Applicants are required to have an official course-by-course evaluation completed. The course-by-course evaluation will serve as the official transcript for studies completed outside of the U.S.
Northwestern University School of Professional Studies will only accept official course by course evaluations if the evaluation explicitly indicates that the individual’s course of study is the U.S. equivalent of a bachelor’s degree (or master’s degree).
Specifically, if the degree requirement for admission is a conferred bachelor’s degree, the course-by-course evaluation must read equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree. If the degree requirement for admission is a conferred master’s degree, the course-by-course evaluation must read equivalent to a U.S. master’s degree. Additionally, an applicant that has earned a U.S. master’s degree and has a bachelor’s degree from outside of the U.S. must still submit an official course by course evaluation that indicates that the applicant has the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree.
Applicants are also required to ensure that the language of instruction is included in the course-by-course evaluation.
NACES approved evaluation companies, ECE and Educational Perspectives , are highly recommended by the Northwestern University School of Professional Studies.
Proof of English proficiency is a School of Professional Studies admission requirement for international applicants.
International applicants can provide proof of English Proficiency by submitting one of the following:
- Provide an official transcript demonstrating a Bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited U.S. college or university.
- Provide an official course-by-course evaluation where the language of instruction is indicated as English.
- TOEFL Institution Code: 9019
- IELTS – 7.0 or higher on the Academic IELTS
Transfer Credit Policy
All transcripts from previous institutions must be submitted with the undergraduate application. Once admitted, students must petition to obtain pre-approval to transfer in coursework toward an SPS degree. Students offered performance-based or transfer admission will receive an evaluation of their transfer credit upon admission.
- Undergraduate degree candidates may satisfy up to one-half of their graduation requirements with coursework completed at other institutions. Note: Any previous credit that was applied to a completed bachelor's degree cannot be applied to an SPS degree. Applicants who already possess a bachelor's degree are strongly encouraged to select from post-baccalaureate or master's level program offerings at the School of Professional Studies.
- Transfer credit is awarded for courses taken at a regionally accredited institution, passed with a grade of C (2.0) or better, and similar in focus and classroom hours to courses at Northwestern.
- All previously completed courses are evaluated, regardless of when they were completed.
- SPS does not accept military or lifelong learning for credit. Independent studies, field experience, externships, seminars, etc. need to be petitioned for approval.
- SPS does not award credit for data processing or Microsoft applications training. Nor do we evaluate graduate or professional coursework.
- Students must complete English writing requirements at SPS. Composition courses taken elsewhere can be transferred in as elective credit.
- Upper-level courses are more rigorous than lower-level courses. Therefore, lower-level classes taken at other institutions may not count as upper-level courses even if content and title appear to be similar.
- Please note: Some transfer credit courses taken beyond the last 10 years may not be approved
SPS programs lead to one of three bachelor’s degrees: the bachelor of philosophy (BPhil); the bachelor of science in general studies (BSGS); the bachelor of philosophy in communication (BPhilCom).
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2023/2024 Northwestern University Transfer Acceptance Rate, Requirements and Application
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Did you know Northwestern University has an impressive transfer acceptance rate?
Northwestern University, located in Evanston, Illinois, is one of the top universities in the country. It is known for its prestigious academic programs, diverse student body, and competitive admissions process.
The university has a strong transfer acceptance rate , which is an excellent option for students looking to transfer from another college or university.
Northwestern University Transfer Deadline
At Northwestern University, the transfer deadline is March 15th for the fall semester or October 15th for the spring semester. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, so submitting your application as soon as possible is essential.
Y ou will need to provide transcripts, your SAT/ACT scores, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a college essay. The admissions team will review your coursework, grades, and extracurricular activities.
The transfer process can be lengthy and competitive, so it is vital to ensure you have all the necessary documents and information ready to be considered for admission. Northwestern University is an excellent option for transfer students, so submit your application by the applicable deadline to maximize your chances of being accepted.
Northwestern University Transfer Requirements
Northwestern University has a competitive transfer admissions process. To be eligible for admission, applicants must have completed at least 24 semester hours of college-level coursework before enrolling at Northwestern.
Additionally, applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher and have earned a grade of C or higher in all college-level courses attempted. In addition to the academic requirements, Northwestern University requires that transfer applicants demonstrate their preparedness for college-level work by submitting a personal statement, a resume, and a list of extracurricular activities and community service.
Applicants are also encouraged to submit letters of recommendation and any additional documents that support their application. Ultimately, Northwestern University is looking for transfer applicants who demonstrate a solid academic record and a commitment to their studies. The admissions committee considers various factors when evaluating transfer applicants, including their academic success, extracurricular activities, and community service.
Prospective transfer students need to take the time to research and prepare their applications to demonstrate their commitment to earning a degree from Northwestern University.
Northwestern University Transfer GPA
At Northwestern University, the transfer GPA is the average of the grades of all college-level courses that a transfer student has taken before enrolling at Northwestern. The admissions office will review the grades from all courses taken at another institution, including any courses taken at a community college.
Northwestern’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions reviews transfers applicants holistically, taking into account the applicant’s academic performance, activities, extracurricular involvement, and any other information that provides insight into their potential as Northwestern students. The transfer GPA is just one part of the overall evaluation of the applicant.
Northwestern University Transfer Application Essays
The Northwestern University transfer application is an excellent way for students to transition from one college to another.
The application requires students to answer several questions about their academic, extracurricular, and personal backgrounds.
Some of the questions are specific, such as what influenced you to pursue your current academic field and how you have contributed to your current college or university.
When answering these questions, be honest and provide detailed answers that showcase your unique experiences and perspectives. It’s also important to demonstrate your enthusiasm and commitment to Northwestern University by showing how your experiences have prepared you for success in their academic environment.
Additionally, use the essay to explain why you are an ideal fit for the university and what you can contribute to their community. By presenting a comprehensive and thoughtful application, you’ll have a great chance of being accepted to Northwestern University.
When do Northwestern University Transfer Decisions Come Out?
The Northwestern University Transfer Decisions usually come out in mid-April, although they can vary from year to year. Northwestern typically releases decisions on a rolling basis so that some applicants may receive their decisions before others.
It is important to note that the timeline for transfer decisions can be affected by numerous factors, such as the number of applications received, the complexity of an applicant’s transcript, and the number of transfer credit evaluations that need to be completed. It is, therefore, essential to be patient and to keep checking your application status for any updates.
Northwestern also has early decision and priority review options for transfer applicants. Applicants who select the early decision option can expect to receive a decision by late December or early January, while those who choose the priority review option can expect to receive a decision by late February. To ensure that you don’t miss any updates regarding your application, it is essential to check your application status regularly.
Northwestern also sends out notifications via email to remind you to check the status of your application. Additionally, you can contact the Northwestern Transfer Admissions office with any questions or concerns that you may have about the transfer decision timeline.
The Northwestern University Transfer Acceptance Rate is extremely competitive. The acceptance rate for transfer students is only 17.5%, making it one of the most selective universities in the country.
However, transfer students who meet the rigorous academic requirements and demonstrate strong leadership and community involvement have a great chance of being accepted. Northwestern University is an excellent option for transfer students looking to further their education and get the best possible education.
Is getting into Northwestern University as a transfer student easier?
Getting into Northwestern University as a transfer student is not necessarily easier than applying as a freshman applicant. While Northwestern does not have a separate admissions process for transfer students, specific criteria must be met for consideration. Transfer students must demonstrate academic excellence, with competitive GPA and test scores, and their ability to succeed at the collegiate level. Transfer applicants must also provide official transcripts from previous schools and demonstrate a commitment to their studies and extracurricular activities. Ultimately, transfer applicants must prove they can succeed at Northwestern and are a good fit for the university community.
Northwestern University is an excellent option for students looking to transfer. With its competitive transfer acceptance rate and excellent academic programs, Northwestern is ideal for those looking to continue their education.
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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 3 tips to write a perfect "why northwestern" essay.
College Info , College Essays
Northwestern University is an excellent choice for college, but can you easily explain just why you want to go there? If you're planning to apply to Northwestern, you'll need to submit a "Why Northwestern" essay —a supplemental statement that describes why you've chosen to apply to this school and what you think Northwestern can offer you in terms of your future goals.
In this article, we'll go over what this kind of college essay entails as well as why you're required to submit a "Why Northwestern" essay. We'll also cover various topics and tips you can use to craft a compelling Northwestern supplement essay.
Feature Image: Herb Nestler /Flickr
What Is a "Why This College" Essay?
Before we take a look at the Northwestern supplement essay, what exactly is this type of college essay prompt asking you to do?
The "why this college" essay , as we call it, is a supplementary essay in your college application that asks you to explain why you are applying to this particular school, what you can bring to its community, and how the school will help you in return.
This type of admission essay allows schools to learn several facts about an applicant, including the following:
- Whether an applicant truly values the school and what it offers
- How the applicant believes she'll positively contribute to and fit in with the school community
- How the applicant plans to use her education here to ultimately achieve her academic and/or professional goals
The "why this college" essay also helps colleges guess whether an applicant is likely to attend their school if accepted. Knowing this gives the school a higher yield—a more accurate sense of how many students they can expect to enroll for the new school year.
Northwestern is not the only school to ask for a "why this college" essay. Other schools that require or offer this type of essay include NYU , Tulane , and Brown .
Do You Need to Submit the "Why Northwestern" Essay?
According to the Northwestern application, although you are not required to submit the "Why Northwestern" essay, Northwestern strongly recommends that you do so anyway.
On both the Common Application and Coalition Application (depending on which system you use), you'll be shown this message on the Northwestern application:
Do you plan to complete the ''Why Northwestern'' Statement? (We strongly encourage a response, as your answer will help us connect the dots across your application to imagine what kind of college student you might become.)
You'll then select either "Yes" or "No" from a drop-down menu. If you select "Yes," you'll get a blank space in which to type/paste your essay. While you technically have a choice about whether to submit the "Why Northwestern" essay, we strongly recommend that you complete it.
Here's what the Northwestern application requirements page says in regard to the essays that applicants must submit with their applications:
"Applicants to Northwestern complete two sets of essays: essays appearing on the Common Application or Coalition Application, and the Northwestern Writing Supplement essay [i.e., the 'Why Northwestern' essay]."*
*Bold emphasis mine
Interestingly, there's no mention here of the "Why Northwestern" essay being optional at all—you're simply expected to write it. It's safe to say, then, that this "extra" essay actually plays a hugely important role in the application process, and that the majority of Northwestern applicants write two essays for their applications: the Common App/Coalition App essay and the (supposedly optional) "Why Northwestern" essay.
Additionally, it's worth noting that Northwestern highly values the concept of "fit" within their community . In this sense, it's not much of a surprise that Northwestern wants applicants to spend some time thinking about what kind of relationship they want to develop with the school.
Overall, you should treat the Northwestern supplement essay as a required part of your application.
The Northwestern Essay Prompt Analyzed
You should definitely submit the Northwestern supplement essay—but what is the prompt asking you to do, specifically? Also, how should you answer it so that you can give yourself a solid chance of getting accepted to the school?
In order to answer these two questions, let's take a look at the Northwestern essay prompt:
While other parts of your application give us a sense of who you are, we are also excited to hear more about how you see yourself engaging with the larger Northwestern community. In 300 words or less, help us understand how you might engage specific resources, opportunities, and/or communities here. We are curious about what these specifics are, as well as how they may enrich your time at Northwestern and beyond.
Your "Why Northwestern" essay can be a max of 300 words, making it rather short. (Most college essays are around 500-550 words.) This means that you'll need to be clear and concise in order to get your point across and ultimately be able to craft an effective response.
This Northwestern essay prompt isn't that different from other "why this college" essay prompts in that it really just wants you to answer one big question: how will Northwestern help you further your interests and achieve your goals?
Northwestern already has a general idea of how you can contribute to the school; now, it wants to know how it can help you .
The "Why Northwestern" essay is more of a "why us" essay than it is a "why you" essay because it's asking you to elaborate on why you're applying to Northwestern specifically, and how an education there will help you fulfill your academic, professional, and/or personal aspirations.
Here are some topics you could write about in your Northwestern supplement essay:
- Your experience visiting the campus and talking to current students or professors and why this experience helped you envision yourself feeling at home at Northwestern
- Specific professors you want to work with or classes you want to take and how they'll help you achieve your goals
- Specific activities, clubs, or events Northwestern offers that you wish to participate in and why these are important to you and your aspirations
- Any other specific resources the school offers, such as internship opportunities, career fairs or connections, lectures and talks, study abroad programs, etc., that you believe will benefit your intellectual and professional growth
If you're not sure what to write about for your Northwestern supplement essay, spend some time doing research. Start by perusing the official Northwestern website , paying particular attention to pages about any programs, courses, and/or majors you're interested in.
You can also browse other student-geared websites to see what people have to say about Northwestern, including what makes it unique.
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Real Northwestern Essay Examples + Analysis
Below are two real Northwestern essay examples for you to use as references when writing the "Why Northwestern" essay. The essays were both written by admitted applicants and should give you a good idea of what kinds of topics and styles you can use in your own essay.
Before we look at the two essays, though, be aware that both are answering an older, slightly different version of the "Why Northwestern" prompt, which was as follows:
What are the unique qualities of Northwestern—and of the specific undergraduate school to which you are applying—that make you want to attend the University? In what ways do you hope to take advantage of the qualities you have identified?
Northwestern Essay Example 1
As noted above, this first essay responds to an older version of the "Why Northwestern" essay prompt: it asked applicants to focus on the specific qualities that made the school unique and explain why these were ultimately appealing to them.
Since this student wanted to study in the Medill School of Journalism, he mainly writes about this facet of Northwestern.
At about 350 words, this essay is a little longer than what the current word limit allows (300 words), so just know that you'll have to write more concisely for your own essay.
Here's the sample:
One unquestioned pillar of journalism is the importance of accuracy in a journalist's work. So when my counselor at the National High School Institute, a current Northwestern journalism student, proclaimed, "Medill kicks your ass," I knew she had given my fellow cherubs and I the straight-up truth. Many exchanged nervous looks, and several immediately dismissed any chance of attending the Medill School of Journalism.
I surveyed the room, surprised at the fear hanging over the group. After all, we were 83 student journalists giving up a substantial portion of our summer to learn about and participate in the art.
Northwestern's reputation as a top-rated academic institution immediately drew me to the school. Specifically, the close connection with high-caliber professors was one quality that I originally found appealing even before my summer stay. I was also intrigued by the abundance of resources and facilities within the university and the city of Chicago. The journalism school has unmatched amenities and a rigorous curriculum designed to produce top-of-the-line journalists. But above all, Medill has a reputation as the best journalism school in the country.
Outside of the classroom, I would be the first to get involved with resources such as the Northwestern News Network, The Daily Northwestern , Northwestern Radio WNUR, and other student periodicals.
Northwestern's outstanding academics combined with an athletic program in the Big Ten Conference makes the university unique. It is certainly fun for everyone (except maybe for the Northwestern football team) to see the Buckeyes and Wolverines roll into Ryan Field every couple years.
I would be able to use my experience writing about the Detroit Lions to report on Northwestern teams. And by covering the lowly Lions, I would be prepared for any sort of losing season thrown at me.
But I am sure of one thing: I am attending college in order to learn, contribute, and to become the best journalist I can be. So while my friends may be having an easy, fun time at some school not named Medill, I'll be getting my ass kicked. And to tell the truth, I won't mind at all.
Here's what makes this "Why Northwestern" essay work:
- It's super specific. There's no doubt this essay was written for, and only for, Northwestern. The applicant goes into detail about the School of Journalism specifically and also mentions many unique opportunities he's interested in, such as working with The Daily Northwestern and the Northwestern News Network.
- It's got a lot of personality and humor. The applicant injects bits of humor with references to Medill "kicking his ass" and the Detroit Lions' losing streak. These quirky areas add tons of color to the essay and give balance to the student's more practical and academic reasons for applying to Northwestern.
Northwestern Essay Example 2
This second "Why Northwestern" essay example was written by an admitted student who chose to focus on extracurriculars at Northwestern and how the School of Engineering and Applied Science would benefit their desire to learn several skills at once. Once again, like the first essay, this essay is responding to the older version of the "Why Northwestern" prompt (given above).
Note that this essay is exactly 300 words long —the max length you are allowed to do for your own "Why Northwestern" essay.
Sweat drips onto my violin as we are filing into the auditorium.
I just arrived from a basketball game, I'm not nervous. However, that changes when I realize that I still have my basketball shoes on. And that I still have a plethora of edits to make in the newspaper room. And that I have three tests the next day.
Although it was stressful, I enjoyed every minute of juggling such diverse extracurriculars. I appreciated the many opportunities that my high school gave me, and took advantage of as many as I could handle. Thanks to these opportunities, I've fallen in love with various topics in different disciplines; all of which can be nurtured at Northwestern.
I'd be thrilled to pursue membership in the University Singers and the Philharmonia. It would be a great opportunity to learn from nationally recognized Emily Ellsworth with the Singers. I would also love to continue working with orchestral music in the Philharmonia.
The excellent humanities classes at the Weinberg School of Arts and Sciences also interest me. I'd love to pursue further education in subjects I was introduced to in high school, such as physics, psychology, and economics.
Finally, I believe that I am a perfect fit for the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science due to its unique philosophy. The idea of "Whole-Brain Engineering" meshes perfectly with my interest in a wide array of subjects and disciplines. I have always believed in equal emphasis on logic and creativity in problem-solving situations, and an education at McCormick (and Northwestern in general) will bolster my well-roundedness.
My Northwestern experience isn't only about reaching an engineering career, but growing as a person. Such balanced growth will allow me to succeed through analyzation and innovation, preparing me to have an impact on the world.
- It's got a creative, attention-grabbing opening. There's not a lot of space to write for this essay, yet this applicant manages to come up with a memorable hook that grabs you almost immediately and thrusts you into the story. Within just the first few lines, we learn—through showing, not telling—that the applicant plays basketball in addition to helping out with the school newspaper. While these activities have contributed to increased stress, they've also (and more importantly) led to a stronger sense of intellectual satisfaction.
- It's highly specific. Like the first sample essay, this essay uses clear examples and details to discuss what attracted the applicant to Northwestern in particular . These include things such as the University Singers and the McCormick School's philosophy concerning the importance of a well-rounded education.
How to Write a Great "Why Northwestern" Essay: 3 Tips
Once you have an idea about how you want to approach the Northwestern essay prompt and what you plan to write about, use the following three tips to help you produce a great essay.
#1: Focus On What Makes Northwestern Unique
One of the most important tips to remember when writing the Northwestern supplement essay is to concentrate on what makes Northwestern different from other colleges. Think about it: If Northwestern didn't offer anything unique, why would students want to apply there specifically?
Don't just say you want to go to Northwestern because it's super prestigious or because your mom went there and loved it. Think deeply about why you've chosen to apply to Northwestern over the thousands of other colleges in the country.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Does Northwestern offer the major(s) you're interested in pursuing? Is it well known for a specific program or field of study you want to enter?
- Are you interested in specific clubs, sports, or other extracurricular activities offered at Northwestern?
- Are there certain professors you wish to work with?
- What unique features of Northwestern do you like or think will be useful to you? For example, perhaps you're a fan of the school's close proximity to Chicago, where you'll have convenient access to research positions, internships, and other professional opportunities. Or maybe you love Northwestern's emphasis on small class sizes, or its impressive array of 100+ study abroad programs.
- Have current or former Northwestern students said anything about the school that made you want to apply there?
Although the Northwestern essay prompt is pretty open ended, take care to avoid writing about how prestigious, popular, and selective it is (after all, lots of schools are like this!) .
#2: Be Specific and Use Concrete Examples
You don't have a lot of space (just 300 words!) for the Northwestern essay, so try to write as clearly and specifically as possible. Use concrete examples to ground your story in reality and to make it clear to the admissions committee why applying to this school is so important to you.
For example, if you visited Northwestern, don't just say you went there and liked the campus—talk about something specific that happened to you and why this experience had such an impact on your decision to apply there.
Perhaps a professor said something encouraging to a student that made you realize how much you appreciated the supportive nature and sense of camaraderie there. Or maybe you noticed how earnestly students studied and could readily envision yourself doing homework alongside them.
In addition, if you plan to mention a specific professor you want to work with or a class you want to take, try to go beyond simple name-dropping. Instead, discuss why working with that professor or taking that class will help you attain your future goals, and why Northwestern is the only place you can actually do this.
#3: Polish It Up
As with any college essay, you need to spend some time editing and proofreading your "Why Northwestern" essay. Doing this will ensure that you're submitting a clean, polished, and overall well-written statement.
Here's what to do: once you finish writing a rough draft of your essay, put it away for at least a few days. Don't look at it during this time; you want to have a fresh perspective when you take it out again.
After some time has passed, take out your essay and begin to look for any glaring typos and grammar errors, as well as any areas you can expand, add, or delete. Pay attention to the organization and structure of your essay, too. Ask yourself: is the focus clear here? Am I being specific enough? Does the general flow make sense?
Once you've done this entire process a few times, give your essay to someone you trust, such as a mentor, teacher, parent, or older sibling. Have them look over your essay and offer comments on its topic, style, and structure. They should also check for technical errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
Finally, make sure they read the Northwestern essay prompt so they can confirm that you're actually answering what's being asked of you.
Applying to Northwestern means you'll also have to submit an essay for either the Common App or Coalition App. Check out our guide to the current Common App essay prompts for tips on how to compose an unforgettable personal statement.
Freaking out about how to write a killer college essay? First, take a deep breath. Second, read our step-by-step guide on how to write a college essay and take a look at our analysis of 100+ real college essays to get a feel for what colleges want—and don't want—to read in an application.
Learn more about Northwestern, including its average test scores and average GPA, by reading its admissions requirements page .
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Hannah received her MA in Japanese Studies from the University of Michigan and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California. From 2013 to 2015, she taught English in Japan via the JET Program. She is passionate about education, writing, and travel.
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Click on the links below to start your Bienen School Supplement and review detailed application instructions from the Office of Undergraduate Admission.
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Undergraduate Application Checklist
Music prescreening (if applicable)/Composition portfolio/Bachelor of Arts application materials via Bienen School Supplement (NOTE: ALL Bienen School applicants, regardless of chosen major, must complete this application component)
Common Application or Apply Coalition with Scoir Application sent to Northwestern University, including the non-refundable application fee of $75 or fee waiver
Secondary School Report (includes high school transcript and counselor recommendation letter)
Academic Teacher Recommendation (request and upload via the Common or Apply Coalition with Scoir application)
Counselor Recommendation (request and upload via the Common or Apply Coalition with Scoir application)
**REQUIRED** for Fall 2023 Admission: Music Teacher Recommendation (request and upload via the Bienen School Supplement)
Optional for Fall 2023 & 2024 Admission: Standardized Test Scores (The Office of Undergraduate Admission has adopted a test-optional policy for fall 2023 applicants. Northwestern University accepts both the ACT and the SAT. Some applicants may be required to submit SAT II subject tests. Please review the Undergraduate Admission website for more details).
Early Decision Agreement (Early Decision applicants only)
Midyear Report (Regular Decision applicants only)
TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo English Test exam results (international applicants only)
All prescreening recordings and music program requirements should be uploaded to the Bienen School of Music Supplement.
Do not mail any materials to the Bienen School of Music; items that are mailed to the Bienen School of Music will not be returned.
Fall 2023 Freshman Early Decision Timeline
NOTE: Finalists from the QuestBridge application process applying to the Bienen School must submit prescreening materials by October 15, 2022 and complete their performance audition before November 14, 2022, regardless of whether applying Early or Regular Decision.
Fall 2023 Freshman Regular Decision Timeline
NOTE: Bienen School transfer applicants are strongly encouraged to apply via Northwestern’s Regular Decision round. Application and audition deadlines may be found above. Transfer applicants who do not submit a Bienen School Supplement by December 1 will need to wait until after March 15 to schedule a live audition.
Fall 2023 Transfer Applicant Timeline
Dual degree and double major applicants.
Applicants interested in pursuing a double major or dual degree should indicate this on the Common Application or Apply Coalition with Scoir Application.
When you apply for a double major or dual degree and complete all requirements, you will receive a single admission decision from Northwestern University’s Office of Undergraduate Admission . This decision will include information on which school(s) you have been accepted to within Northwestern University, including the Bienen School of Music. Northwestern offers dual degrees with the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; the McCormick School of Engineering; the Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Integrated Marketing Communications; the School of Communication; and the School of Education and Social Policy.
Learn more about Dual Degrees and Double Majors
See complete requirements for international applicants
International applicants to Northwestern include citizens of foreign countries in foreign education systems, citizens of foreign countries in the United States educational system, and United States citizens studying abroad. All applicants to Northwestern, international and domestic, apply using the same process and timeline. Northwestern University requires all undergraduate applicants, whether educated in the United States or abroad, to submit the results of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT Reasoning Test) or; American College Test (ACT) with writing.
International applicants must demonstrate a high level of English proficiency. An evaluation of English proficiency includes reviewing all test scores, grades in classes taught in English, writing samples, and comments by recommenders. International applicants whose first language is not English are required to submit exam results from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Duolingo English Test (DET). International applicants who complete 3 to 4 years of their secondary school curriculum in English and score 650 or above on the Critical Reading section of the SAT Reasoning Test are not required to submit a TOEFL, IELTS, or DET score. Northwestern does not accept scores from English proficiency exams not listed above, including the TOEFL Institutional Testing Program (ITP).
Contact the Office of Music Admission, Financial Aid and Graduate Services: [email protected] or 847-491-3141 Request Information
Applicants to Northwestern complete two sets of essays: essays appearing on the Common Application or Coalition Application, and the Northwestern Writing Supplement essay. The suggested word limit guideline gives you the chance to answer each question in detail, while also challenging you to write in a concise and clear manner.
Northwestern will be test-optional for transfer students for the 2022-23 application cycle. If students choose to submit an SAT and/or ACT score, the writing scores from either exam are optional. We accept scores from both the new and old SAT.
Northwestern transfer essays Hi so northwestern has two essays: one that follows the same prompt as the typical common app essay for first year students (choose anything to write about) and the other that asks how I'll engage w resources, opportunities, and communities at NU.
Read these Northwestern essay examples to inspire your writing. For All Applicants (optional) While other parts of your application give us a sense of who you are, we are also excited to hear more about how you see yourself engaging with the larger Northwestern community.
Writing your Northwestern supplemental essays can be tricky, but they're important because your responses can have a big effect on your application chances. Along with your personal statement essays, Northwestern offers students the chance to respond to a "Why Northwestern" essay prompt as part of its writing supplement.
To be completely straightforward, Northwestern has been a lifelong dream - it's students are inspiring and influential, it's academics are renowned, and it holds a legacy I would be honored to keep aflame. Published in Successful College Essays, Successful Northwestern Essays, Uncategorized Nadine Northwestern University 2023 Top Rated
Read our Northwestern essay breakdown to get a comprehensive overview of this year's supplemental prompts. Essay Example #1 Prompt: While other parts of your application give us a sense of who you are, we are also excited to hear more about how you see yourself engaging with the larger Northwestern community.
Northwestern Transfer Essay Should I include why I am transferring in my "why Northwestern" essay for my transfer application? The prompt doesn't specify that I have to and its only 300 words, but I know that a lot of schools want to know a student's reason for transferring. Vote 1 1 comment Best Add a Comment istalkwthisaccount • 1 min. ago
The Northeastern transfer essays not only have to be strong, but they have to be better than what the rest of the applicants are submitting. The applicants aspiring to transfer to Northeastern are going to write their supplemental essays to the best of their ability.
As you approach the "Why Northwestern" essay, think about the fact that 13.7% of colleges said that DI was considerably important in freshman admissions, and another 25.5% said it was moderately important. Students with authentic, personal, and engaging Northwestern supplemental essays have a higher chance of admission!
This means that the Northwestern transfer acceptance rate is 13%. If we break this down by gender, the acceptance rates are as follows: Male transfer applicants: 11.6%. Female transfer applicants: 14.7%. When trying to get the complete picture on how difficult it is to transfer into a given school, it is important to also look at historical data.
Northwestern University 2022-23 Application Essay Question Explanation The Requirements: 1 essay of 300 words or less Supplemental Essay Type (s): Why Is it a mirage? No it's the Northwestern supplement. And yes, it only has one (1!) solitary question.
Northwestern Supplemental Essay Example: On my visit to Evanston, my tour guide walked backwards facing me the entire time. This struck me as symbolic of Northwestern. Firstly, while walking backwards my guide made a special effort to connect with me, and I too shall reach out to my communities at Northwestern.
Reading my "Why Northwestern" Transfer Essay | College Transfer Essay Advice - YouTube 0:00 / 8:45 Reading my "Why Northwestern" Transfer Essay | College Transfer Essay Advice...
Transfer credit is awarded for courses taken at a regionally accredited institution, passed with a grade of C (2.0) or better, and similar in focus and classroom hours to courses at Northwestern. All previously completed courses are evaluated, regardless of when they were completed. SPS does not accept military or lifelong learning for credit.
Northwestern University Transfer Application Essays The Northwestern University transfer application is an excellent way for students to transition from one college to another. The application requires students to answer several questions about their academic, extracurricular, and personal backgrounds.
Below are two real Northwestern essay examples for you to use as references when writing the "Why Northwestern" essay. The essays were both written by admitted applicants and should give you a good idea of what kinds of topics and styles you can use in your own essay.
Fall 2023 Freshman Early Decision Timeline. August 1. Bienen School Supplement available online. October 15. BM and BA applicants: prescreening materials (if applicable) and Bienen School Supplement due (BM composition applicants have a separate Bienen School Supplement deadline; see below) November 1. Common Application or Apply Coalition with ...
Instructions: Northwestern Law Transfer Application To be eligible to apply for transfer admission to the juris doctor program at Northwestern Law, you must have a bachelor's ... • Optional essays • The nonrefundable transfer application fee of $100, payable by check or money order to Northwestern University. This