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Seeking a Place at Northwestern

Early decision applications at Northwestern are up more than 25 percent

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November 11, 2010 | by Pat Vaughan Tremmel

 EVANSTON, Ill. --- Early decision applications to Northwestern University are up more than 25 percent for the class of 2015, following increases in the previous two years.

The current count of applications, due Nov. 1 and still being processed, ultimately could be even higher than the 2,100 early decision applications counted so far.

“It is gratifying that a highly talented group of students from around the city, the country and the world are finding their way to Northwestern,” said Mike Mills, associate provost for University enrollment.

For certain, the growing interest in trying to lock in a place at Northwestern early, before decisions are made about the regular applications due Jan. 1, confirms the allure of a university that, over the last two months alone, has been recognized as the home to a recent Nobel Prize winner and as a consistently high producer of Fulbright scholarship recipients.  

Last year, Northwestern received more than 27,500 applications, a 9 percent increase from the year before. Mills believes that applications for the Class of 2015 have a chance of eclipsing 30,000, but cautions that application growth is only a means to an end and not an end in and of itself. 

“Every year, our goal is to enroll the most capable, creative and diverse class possible, which leads to an incredibly enriching undergraduate experience,” Mills said. “And having more applicants to choose from makes such an outcome more likely.”  

Northwestern’s commitment to attracting students of color and to providing financial aid to deserving students is reflected in all the applications, whether received early or by the traditional deadline. “Three years ago we made recruiting low-income students a top priority, and those efforts are paying off,” said Christopher Watson, dean of admission at Northwestern.

This fall nearly 300 incoming freshmen (14 percent of the class) received federal Pell Grants, which are awarded to the neediest students.  

Northwestern’s increased commitment to providing financial assistance to students from low- and middle-income families includes the recent launch of the Good Neighbor, Great University Scholarship Program, through which freshmen who graduate from high schools in Evanston and Chicago receive scholarships that include up to the full cost of tuition.  

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