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Northwestern Applications Hit New High

Freshmen applications total 32,766 and are up for the 10th year in a row

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University once again has received a record number of applications for its entering freshmen class -- totaling 32,766.  On the rise for 10 years in a row, applications are up by 2.2 percent from last year for the Class of 2017. 

The applications total includes early decision applications, which also have increased for eight consecutive years, reflecting the growing interest in Northwestern as a first choice. The number of early decision applications for the Class of 2017 total 2,625 -- up by 7 percent from last year. 

Northwestern increasingly is being recognized nationally and internationally for the excellence of its students and its highly diverse education offered inside and outside the classroom. The education crosses disciplines, continents and 12 schools and programs, on campuses in Evanston, Chicago and Qatar.

And Northwestern graduates increasingly are being noticed, whether for leadership at the highest echelons of business and technology; for work in theater and music and on and behind major stages; for journalistic efforts on the most important stories of our day; or for world records, as six-time Olympic medalist Matt Grevers achieved last summer, when he won a gold in the 100-meter backstroke.

Northwestern President Morton Schapiro reflected upon the Northwestern difference in the fall issue of Northwestern, the University’s alumni magazine: 

“Northwestern is likely one of very few institutions that can claim to have had its students, faculty or alumni win all of the following: Nobel Prizes, Academy Awards, Tony Awards, Rhodes Scholarships, MacArthur ‘genius grants,’ Pulitzer Prizes, National Book Awards and World Series and Super Bowl rings,” he said.

Winning important scholarship competitions is widely used as measures of the quality of undergraduate teaching, and Northwestern students increasingly have been winning Rhodes, Marshall, Churchill and Fulbright scholarships.

For the eighth year in a row, Northwestern is among the top 10 producers of U.S. Fulbright grant recipients at the nation's research institutions, according to a ranking published Oct. 24, 2012, in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Northwestern Fulbright winners currently teach, conduct research or study in countries around the world, representing every Northwestern undergraduate school as well as the law and medical schools.

“The breadth of opportunities made available by Northwestern’s six strong undergraduate schools with the cross-school collaboration between faculty and students truly sets Northwestern’s culture apart,” stressed Michael Mills, associate provost for University enrollment.

“Our typical student interacts everyday in a variety of settings,” he said. “It is not unusual at Northwestern, for example, for engineers to have exquisite music or acting skills or to be in the marching band. Northwestern very much takes the whole-brain approach to learning and is uniquely structured to accommodate that.”

“Sixty-five percent of Northwestern students graduate with more than one major -- with a double major or a major, minor and a certificate or various other combinations of studies -- sometimes in completely different fields,” added Christopher Watson, dean of admissions at Northwestern.

Applied learning also is a hallmark of a Northwestern education.

“An overwhelming majority of our students are doing things outside the classroom -- internships, co-ops, research abroad, civic engagement, you name it -- to enhance the classroom experience,” Watson said.

Yet, Northwestern is not about all work and no play. “Yes, Northwestern students are quite focused on academics,” Watson said. “But they also take advantage of all kinds of clubs, sports and other opportunities and lead surprisingly balanced lives.” 

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