Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Members+of+the+Class+of+2016+run+onto+Ryan+Field+before+Northwestern+took+on+South+Dakota+in+September.+NU+sent+acceptance+letters+Friday+to+less+than+14+percent+of+its+Class+of+2017+applicants.
Daily file photo by Rafi Letzter
Members of the Class of 2016 run onto Ryan Field before Northwestern took on South Dakota in September. NU sent acceptance letters Friday to less than 14 percent of its Class of 2017 applicants.

Northwestern sent acceptance letters Friday to just under 14 percent of all undergraduate applicants, its lowest admit rate of all time.

NU accepted 4,555 high school students out of the 32,772 who applied, according to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. The 13.9 percent acceptance rate is 1.1 percentage point lower than last year’s admit rate.

The acceptance rate has dropped almost 10 percentage points over the last four years, decreasing from 23 percent for the class of 2014 to 18 percent and 15 percent for the classes of 2015 and 2016, respectively.

In an interview last month, Christopher Watson, dean of undergraduate admissions, predicted a 1 to 2 percentage point drop in the acceptance rate because NU admitted a record-breaking 43 percent of the class through early decision last December. NU also received the highest number of regular decision applications to date this year.

“We will have another record low acceptance rate,” Watson said. “There’s no question.”

Regular decision applications for the class of 2017 increased 2.2 percent points from the prior admissions cycle. NU applications have increased by 10,000 since 2007, when the admit rate was 27 percent.

Last year, the class of 2016 broke another record with the highest yield to date, with 43 percent of applicants choosing to attend NU.

Ally Mutnick

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the admit rate for early decision was 43 percent. That figure represents the percentage of the total class of 2017. The admit rate for early decision was about 32 percent. The Daily regrets the error.

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Northwestern acceptance rate drops to all-time low of 13.9 percent