#14 Best Colleges in America

Northwestern Admission Requirements

Evanston, Illinois

 1 Reviews

Chances of getting into Northwestern University


Acceptance Rate 
Admission Difficulty for Northwestern University
Measure Difficulty
Admission Standards Elite 
Applicant Competition Extreme 
How hard is it to get into Northwestern and can I get accepted?

The acceptance rate at Northwestern is 9%.  It ranks #2 in Illinois and #13 in the nation for lowest rate of acceptance. Northwestern is extremely competitive school to get into with a very low chance of acceptance - even for applicants with the highest scores and grades. Last year, 3,654 out of 39,263 applicants were admitted.

The school has exceptionally high admission requirements for SAT and ACT scores, generally admitting students who score in the top 2 percent (SAT 1430/1550 ACT 33/35). Northwestern University typically accepts and attracts "A-" average high school students with an average GPA around 3.92. Most incoming freshmen graduate in the top ten percent of their high school class. Of those applicants who were admitted, 52% enrolled. With over half of admitted students enrolling, acceptance by Northwestern University is a prized outcome for many students.

The Northwestern application fee is $75 and applications are due by Jan 1.

Testing Requirements

You are required to submit admission test scores with your application. Northwestern University is not a test optional school. Note: Please consult the school directly to determine if testing requirements are temporarily suspended due to COVID-19.

Northwestern SAT Scores

SAT Requirements & Average SAT Score

SAT Range 
Applicants Submitting SAT 
SAT Scores for Northwestern University
SAT Test 25th Percentile Score
SAT Reading 25th 700
SAT Math 25th 730
SAT Composite 25th 1430
SAT Scores for Northwestern University
SAT Test 25th Percentile Score
SAT Reading 75th 760
SAT Math 75th 790
SAT Composite 75th 1550
Average SAT Score 1490

SAT Scores you need to get in

What are the SAT requirements for students to be admitted to Northwestern University?

Northwestern University typically prefers applicants to be in the top 3 percent of SAT test takers. The school consistently takes SAT composite scores down to 1430 on a 1600 scale, below which admission should be considered a reach. We estimate some students could be accepted with SAT's as low as 1370. The estimated average SAT composite for admitted freshman is 1490 out of 1600. Northwestern ranks #2 in Illinois and #21 in the nation for highest average SAT composite score. 45 percent of applicants submit SAT scores to the school.

Data Sources, IPEDS for Fall 2020 starting class

Estimated Chance of Acceptance by SAT Score

Northwestern University admission chances by SAT score
SAT Score (1600 scale) Competitiveness  Admission Chances 
1550 and Above Good >16%
1490 to 1550 Avg + 9%-16%
1430 to 1490 Avg - 5%-9%
1370 to 1430 Reach 3%-5%
Less than 1370 Low <3%
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Northwestern ACT Scores

ACT Requirements & Average ACT Score

ACT Range 
Applicants Submitting ACT 
ACT Scores for Northwestern University
ACT Test 25th Percentile Score
ACT Reading 25th 34
ACT Math 25th 31
ACT Composite 25th 33
ACT Scores for Northwestern University
ACT Test 75th Percentile Score
ACT Reading 75th 36
ACT Math 75th 35
ACT Composite 75th 35
Average ACT Score 34

ACT Scores needed to get accepted

What are the ACT requirements for prospective students to get into Northwestern?

Admission data indicates that Northwestern regularly accepts students with ACT's of 33 and above. Successful applicants typically send ACT scores in the top 2 percent nationally. We estimate the school accepting minimum ACT composite scores around 32 in some instances. Prospective students submitting an ACT composite of 34 or higher should be in the upper half of applicants - and students with a 35 and above have very competitive chances. The school ranks #2 in Illinois and #8 in the U.S. for highest average ACT composite score. Scoring well on the ACT is very important as 65 percent of applicants submit ACT scores to Northwestern University.

Data Sources, IPEDS for Fall 2020 starting class

Estimated Chance of Acceptance by ACT Score

Northwestern University admission chances by ACT score
ACT Score Competitiveness  Admission Chances 
35 and Above Good >16%
34 to 35 Avg + 9%-16%
33 to 34 Avg - 5%-9%
32 to 33 Reach 3%-5%
Less than 32 Low <3%
Calculate My Chances 

Northwestern GPA

Estimated GPA Requirements & Average GPA

Avg. High School GPA 
Typical High School Grades 

What GPA do you need to get into Northwestern University?

Applicants require exceptionally good grades to get into Northwestern. The average high school GPA of the admitted freshman class at Northwestern University was 3.92 on the 4.0 scale indicating that primarily A- students are accepted and ultimately attend. The school ranks #3 in Illinois for highest average GPA. Given the school's very highly selective admissions, acceptance at Northwestern extremely difficult and unlikely even with a 3.92 GPA. The school should be considered a reach even if you have a 3.92 GPA.

 What do these ratings mean?

*This school has not released high school GPA data for its incoming freshmen. In these cases, CollegeSimply employs an artificial intelligence (AI) process to predict GPA based on this school's test scores and a large sample of other colleges' data. 3.92 is an estimate of the school's average incoming freshman GPA.

Similar Requirements

High School Class Rank

96% of Northwestern University freshman were in the top ten percent of their high school graduating class.

High School Class Rank for admitted Northwestern University students
High School Class Rank Freshmen Within Range
Top 10% of class 96%
Top 25% of class 0%
Top 50% of class 0%
Data Source, Peterson's Data


Admission Statistics

Northwestern University admission statistics
Women Men Total
Applied 20,273 18,990 39,263
Accepted 1,984 1,670 3,654
Acceptance Rate 10% 9% 9%
Enrolled 1,034 867 1,901
Percent of Admitted Who Enrolled (Admission Yield) 52% 52% 52%
Data Sources, IPEDS for Fall 2020 starting class

Fall 2022 Application Deadline

Applications were Due
Jan 1, 2022
Days left to Apply

The application deadline for Fall 2022 has passed. Applications were due on Jan 1, 2022.

Application Fee

The cost for prospective students to apply to Northwestern University is $75.

Application Requirements

What are the requirements for admission to Northwestern University and what student information is used for admission decisions?

Northwestern University Application Requirements
Test Scores Required
High School GPA Required
High School Class Rank Recommended
Completion of College Preparatory Program Required
Recommendations Required
Demonstration of Competencies Neither required nor recommended

Credits Accepted

High School Credits Accepted at Northwestern University
AP Credit Yes
Dual Credit Yes
Credit for Life Experiences No

Primary data source, U.S. Department of Education https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?id=147767 IPEDS survey data for Northwestern University.


Does Northwestern University prefer SAT or ACT?

45% of students submit their SAT scores to Northwestern. 65% of applicants send their ACT scores when applying.

What is my chance of getting into Northwestern University?

9% of those who apply are granted admission to Northwestern. Admission competition is extreme and the college has elite admission standards. See if your grades and scores are good enough for admission.

What SAT score is required for Northwestern University?

The middle 50% of addmitted applicants have SAT scores between 1430 and 1550. 45% of students submit SAT scores when applying. See if your SAT score is good enough for admission.

What ACT score is required for Northwestern University?

The middle 50% of addmitted applicants have ACT scores between 33 and 35. 65% of students submit ACT scores when applying. See if your ACT score is good enough for admission.