Application Advice

Northwestern’s admission staff is always offering advice on making the application process easier for the applicant and the reader. Here are a few helpful hints:

  • Keep it short — “We had an enthusiastic communicator a few years ago — 40 pages. I started reading faster and faster and faster. We started in kindergarten and went through every year, through every family vacation, every pet, dead or alive.” — Shep Shanley, senior associate director of admission
  • Be yourself — “Show some personality behind the writing. … I tell people, if you’re funny, be funny. If you are intense, be intense. If you are a little out there, don’t be afraid to be a little out there.” — Kevin Byrne, senior assistant director of admission
  • Be honest about activities — “Kids who over-report are like a Christmas tree with too many ornaments.” — Shanley
  • Be complete — “The more complete they are in filling out the application and supplying us with the information we need, the better our decisions are going to be.” — Grant Thatcher, associate director of admission
  • Get it organized — “Don’t take the ‘wheelbarrow’ approach. Guide the people who are doing what we do — getting to know you.” — Shanley
  • Proofread carefully — “Students will write that they volunteered as a candy ‘stripper’ at a local hospital as opposed to a candy striper, or that they have a very inspirational football ‘couch.’ One student wrote that his mother was his ‘heroin,’ spelled without the ‘e’ like the intravenous drug.” — Lauren Williamson (C02), assistant director of admission

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Last updated  Tuesday, 08-Mar-2005 05:14:02 CST
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