Goodman: Northwestern excels with Wildcat Days


Meredith Goodman, Columnist

I visited two colleges, Northwestern and another private school, as an admitted student during my senior year of high school. The other school’s admitted student day left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It was planned very well, but the students did not seem to be very welcoming.

Students walked briskly past us when my mom and I were obviously lost on the giant campus. I sat in on a class and the current students warned us about how terrible the professor was. They then proceeded to give her little respect, by not answering any of her questions and openly texting on their phones (and this was in an eight-person class, to make it even more awkward). To interrupt the silence, the other prospective student and I starting answering the professor’s questions. We got odd glares from the other students.

The weirdest thing, though, happened when my mom and I took our obligatory campus tour. When we entered into an elevator in a dorm, a student walked out lugging his dirty laundry on his shoulder and, with a straight face, exclaimed, “Don’t go to (name of the school).” My mom and I were shocked. He could have been completely joking, but to use that statement with such a serious tone of voice made everyone in our tour group uncomfortable.

With all of these little annoyances, my mom and I decided to leave that college town early and go to Evanston for Wildcat Days. Almost four years later, it was the one of the greatest decisions of my teenage life. When we arrived in Evanston, it was beautiful and sunny and everyone was smiling.

I had a great time at Wildcat Days. I went on one of our awesome campus tours and got a free grey NU T-shirt.  A pre-med advisor took the time to meet with me and discuss my potential college class schedule (Fun fact: It was two minutes after this meeting that I dropped pre-med forever). I had a peanut butter and chocolate milkshake at Kafein and ate crepes in Norris (RIP Crepe Bistro).

Most importantly, everyone on campus seemed to be so accepting of us “little prospies.” Unlike at the other school, people asked us if we needed help when my mom and I were clearly lost on campus — a perfect example of the midwestern charm. The student hosts that lead our trip to the NU dining hall were so nice and they made sure to talk to everyone at the dinner. When a friend from our hometown took my mom and me to Andy’s and introduced me to her dormmates, they excitedly told me to come to NU. With these overwhelming feelings of warmth and hospitality, I sent in my deposit to NU as soon as I got back home. I even wore that free T-shirt that Monday to my high school.

NU’s admitted students are also often accepted to many top private schools of similar academic caliber. Often, the key way students make their decision is by first hand experience of the culture and campus life of the school during admitted student days. This is where NU shines.

To everyone that plans Wildcat Days, I would like to thank you for doing such amazing work. To the students who give tours, host prospies and run activity fairs, thank you for keeping your positive energy flowing around campus. And even for students that are not directly involved, I would like to urge you to keep up the amazing work.

If you see prospies on campus, say “hi” to them and their families. Smile and help them with directions. Tell them with sincerity that you love NU. Together, we can make NU the most attractive school for prospective students.

Meredith Goodman is a Weinberg junior. She can be reached at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected].