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Meet Northwestern's Class of 2020

Talented scholars, musicians, authors, volunteers, athletes, entrepreneurs and scientists from all over the world

The Northwestern University Class of 2020 is finishing up its first quarter on campus. The breadth of their experiences and backgrounds make these students the most diverse and accomplished incoming class in University history.

This year 1,985 students enrolled from an applicant pool of more than 35,000. They came to Evanston from more than 50 countries and speak 50 different languages. They include award-winning scholars, musicians, founders of businesses, world-class athletes, volunteers, published authors and scientists working in the lab.

“There is no doubt these are among the most talented and qualified students in the world. Northwestern believes wholeheartedly in the range of benefits that flow to students who study in a broadly diverse setting of peers,” said Michael Mills, associate provost for University enrollment. “So we’re thrilled to have them on campus, and we look forward to watching them grow and make their mark on the University and the world.”

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Many who may not have had the financial ability to attend Northwestern in the past can do so now as 18 percent of first-year students received Pell Grants, up from 15 percent last year. Pell Grants are awarded to those with the greatest financial need, and Northwestern plans to increase the percentage of those receiving grants to 20 percent by 2020.

While new students came to Northwestern from all over the world, a record-high 117 are from Chicago public high schools. Local students are attending the University in greater numbers thanks in part to the Good Neighbor, Great University Scholarship, which provides significantly increased financial aid to incoming freshmen who graduated from public or private high schools in Evanston and Chicago and who need financial assistance.  Also, the Northwestern Academy for Chicago Public Schools continues to prepare Chicago students for highly selective colleges and universities.

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“Every member of our Class of 2020 is intellectually curious, talented and accomplished, but what matters most is that they’re characterized by their empathy, collegiality, perseverance and spirit,” said Christopher Watson, dean of undergraduate admission. “And, of course, they all look great in purple.”