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So Many Applications...

Applications for class of 2015 are up more than 10 percent from last year

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January 11, 2011 | by Pat Vaughan Tremmel
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Freshman applications to Northwestern University for next fall’s entering class reached 30,529 -- a 10.5 percent increase from last year. That is almost double the 16,000 applications Northwestern received in 2005 -- only six years earlier.

“The increase in applications affirms Northwestern’s position among the most selective institutions, while reflecting the University’s increased efforts in achieving diversity,” said Mike Mills, associate provost for enrollment management at Northwestern.

Nearly 1,000 students who attend a Chicago public high school are among this year’s applicants, up by 25 percent from last year. The number is five times higher than in 2001, the beginning of the decade. And last year’s freshman class of 2,127 included more than 300 Pell Grant recipients, or 14.9 percent of the class, up dramatically from two years ago when the percentage was 6.5 percent.

Applications from African-American and Latino/a students increased by double digits last year, and also are up significantly this year.

“We are heartened that our increased efforts to get students of color to apply to Northwestern have paid off,” Mills said. “At the same time, we understand that these students will have many choices on where to attend college, and we must continue to work hard to show these students the unique benefits of attending Northwestern.”

Three years ago Northwestern increased its commitment to attracting students of color and providing financial assistance to students from low- and middle-income families. Those efforts include the 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 full tuition, depending on the student’s level of need.  

The final total of applications may increase slightly, as the Office of Undergraduate Admission still is processing applications received just before the deadline. Northwestern expects to enroll 2,025 freshmen this fall.

Foreshadowing the overall application surge, early decision applications (Nov. 1 deadline) also increased sharply, to 2,100, rising by 25 percent for the class of 2015, following increases in the previous two years.   

“The buzz about Northwestern continues to grow,” Mills said. “The University is home to a recent Nobel Prize winner in economics and other faculty recognized nationally for research ranging from nanotechnology to Supreme Court politics to fiction and play writing and directing. 

“Students, too, increasingly are winning big awards, including Rhodes and Churchill scholarships, as they take advantage of the University’s diverse offerings, from a leading journalism school, to innovative engineering and writing programs to unparalleled undergraduate research opportunities in every one of Northwestern’s schools.”