Acceptance rates projected to fall as NU receives record number of applications


Daily file photo by Nathan Richards

Segal Visitors Center, 1841 Sheridan Rd. Northwestern received a record number of Early Decision and regular applications this year, and officials anticipate the overall acceptance rate could fall to about 8 percent.

Maddie Burakoff, Campus Editor

Northwestern received a record number of applications in both the Early Decision and regular applicant pools, and anticipates a decline in acceptance rates for both groups, University officials told The Daily.

After receiving the most Early Decision applications in its history this year, the University admitted 1,072 early applicants into the class of 2022 on Dec. 14, associate provost for University admissions Michael Mills told The Daily in an email.

Early applications for first-year students totaled 4,049, making the Early Decision acceptance rate about 26 percent. This is slightly down from last year’s Early Decision acceptance rate of 28 percent, Mills said.

The number of students admitted through Early Decision represents another record high for the school, a University spokesman told The Daily in an email.

NU is targeting an incoming class of 1,925 first-year students, Mills said, and projects that around 54 percent of that class will be filled by the newly-admitted early applicants — though the number who will attend NU is not final because Early Decision students can withdraw based on financial burden.

The class of 2020 was the first in which Early Decision students made up more than half of the incoming first-year class. The proportion of NU’s entering class coming from Early Decision has been roughly 50 to 54 percent for the past five years, according to University officials.

NU is “comfortable” with that level but “(does) not wish to see it go any higher at this time,” the spokesman said.

Overall, NU had received 40,418 first-year applications for Fall 2018 as of Monday, Mills said, representing an all-time high for the University and about an 8.5 percent increase from last year. The number of first-year applicants has increased by more than 25 percent over the past three years; NU received 32,106 applications for Fall 2015, Mills said.

The opening of the Segal Visitors Center has played a major role in increasing the number of applicants to NU, the University spokesman said.

“Another factor has been the success we’ve had over the last three years in enrolling low-income students, which has positioned Northwestern as a leader in ensuring college access,” he added.

Based on the spike in applications, Mills said he expects the overall acceptance rate to decline again this year, after it fell to a record low of 9.3 percent in 2017. The acceptance rate this year could drop to about 8 percent, he said.

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Twitter: @madsburk