Northwestern gets record number of applications, will have lowest admit rate yet

Although decisions have not been released, Northwestern's admissions rate is projected to continue its downward trend to 13-14 percent, thanks to another uptick in applications.

Graphic by Chelsea Sherlock/The Daily Northwestern

Although decisions have not been released, Northwestern's admissions rate is projected to continue its downward trend to 13-14 percent, thanks to another uptick in applications.

Ally Mutnick, Assistant Campus Editor

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Northwestern rang in 2013 with their highest number of regular decision applications yet, with a 2.2 percent increase from last year and the most diverse applicant pool to date.

With 32,766 regular decision applications this year and 43 percent of the class admitted early decision, NU will mostly likely see its lowest acceptance rate for the Class of 2017, said Chris Watson, dean of undergraduate admissions.

“It continues the trend of another record-breaking year in terms of applications,” he said. “We will have another record-low acceptance rate. There’s no question.”

With about 700 more applications than the Class of 2016, which had an acceptance rate of 15 percent, Watson guesses this year’s rate will fall between 13 and 14 percent.

Applications have increased by more than 10,000 since 2007, when 27 percent of applicants were admitted.

Watson said he felt the increase comes from NU’s increased notoriety and positive press from research breakthroughs and successful alumni.

Will Harrop, a senior at the Maret School in Washington, D.C., who applied to Weinberg this year, noted NU’s acceptance rate has fallen as low as some Ivy League schools. NU is thought of as a highly regarded institution, he said.

Harrop said the general feel of NU’s campus, along with the University’s unique American Studies and Chicago Field Studies programs, encouraged him to apply. He also cited NU’s quarter system as allowing him to take more varied classes than at other schools.

“Just kind of looking at the courses themselves beyond just the programs, they seemed interesting and fun to take,” he said.

In addition to an increased number of overall applications, Watson said a cursory glance at this year’s applications indicates it will be the most diverse class yet, although he does not have any official numbers yet. He noted an increase black, Hispanic, Asian and international applicants.

Watson said the admissions office had been making efforts to create a more diverse class.

 “I think it’s a healthy increase, especially given the population that we work hardest to recruit, which is a lot of underrepresented students,” he said. “We’re seeing the last few years of hard work paying off.”

Watson said he attributed the 4 percent increase in international student applications to NU’s increased global presence. In the last five years, both the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and President Morton Schapiro have increased overseas trips. Last fall, the admissions office sent representatives to Africa for the first time.

Communication junior Daniel Flores, an NU tour guide, said he has seen more and more international students on tours.

 “Northwestern is definitely an international name now,” he said. “It’s becoming more well known and more respected, and the admissions office is definitely seeing the full effects of that.”

Flores is also involved in NU’s chapter of QuestBridge, a national program that helps high-achieving, low-income students apply to top universities. Watson said the University got a record-high 2,000 regular decision applications from QuestBridge students.

The University does a great job supporting the QuestBridge program, Flores said, especially considering outreach efforts NU’s chapter has coordinated to encourage more low-income students to apply.

“We’re doing a great job reaching out,” he said. “Maybe 10 years ago we weren’t as big a name but now — the Ivy Leagues — we’re being compared to them,” he said

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