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Northwestern Notifies Admitted Students

Marks a 15 percent acceptance rate and the most diverse class in 25 years

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University’s Office of Undergraduate Admission notified 4,895 applicants for the Class of 2016 of their acceptance via email over the weekend -- marking a time when interest in Northwestern is at an all-time high with a record 32,065 applications.

Financial aid awards will follow in approximately one week.

This group of admitted students is the most diverse in at least 25 years, and their academic talent equals that of last year’s group.

Students who didn’t get accepted were also notified over the weekend.

The 32,065 applications were nearly double the number received as recently as 2005 (16,228), and rising applications mean, of course, that a lower percentage of students were admitted.

The 4,895 admitted students for the Class of 2016 changes the University’s acceptance rate from 18 percent last year to 15 percent this year. The number of students denied, in fact, equals about the same number of applications received just two years ago.

Admission in regular decision was the most competitive ever, because the University admitted 40 percent of the class through early decision -- leaving far fewer spots available.

“The fact is that Northwestern University is becoming increasingly well-known,” said Alan K. Cubbage, vice president for University relations. “We see increasing applications from almost all areas of the U.S. and from abroad. A big part of that is good work by our admissions office in getting the word out there about Northwestern.”

Applications rose steadily over the previous few years, according to University admissions officials, while the acceptance rate has declined, as follows:

  • Fall 2009: 25,369 applicants, 6,887 admits, 27.1 percent acceptance rate
  • Fall 2010: 27,528 applicants, 6,367 admits, 23.1 percent acceptance rate
  • Fall 2011: 30,926 applicants, 5,575 admits, 18.0 percent acceptance rate

The trend continues with the latest admits to the Class of 2016, noted Christopher Watson, dean of undergraduate admissions at Northwestern. "The quality of the pool and the diversity of the pool were up, so we expect that we will enroll a very strong class next fall," Watson said.

Admitted students are already signing up for Wildcat Days, the University’s admitted student program, which will take place April 9, 16 and 23. Demand for the program has traditionally been very strong, but the admissions office is working to accommodate admitted students on their preferred date.

"We always hope for good weather on these days," Watson said.

Once the national reporting deadline of May 1 has passed, the University will have a better idea as to whether or not the waitlist will be needed to round out the Class of 2016.

Admissions officers expressed their gratitude for all the help their staff received in recruiting students and evaluating a record number of applicants over the course of a long, thorough and painstaking admissions process. It has resulted in admission of an extraordinarily talented Class of 2016.

“We anticipate this will be a terrific freshman class for Northwestern,” said Michael E. Mills, associate provost for University enrollment at Northwestern. “We could not have processed this many applicants nor admitted so many diverse and academically gifted students without the strong support of the faculty, staff, alumni and our students.”

The Class of 2016 can look forward to joining a University that is home to a recent Nobel Prize winner and consistently gets faculty recognition for major research breakthroughs in numerous disciplines. And because undergraduate research opportunities at Northwestern have grown exponentially in recent years, students need not sit on the sidelines.

Northwestern students, whether working with a professor in a science lab or in countries all over the globe, are doing serious research in the natural sciences, engineering, social science, journalism, the arts, humanities and performance. And they are winning major prizes themselves.