#13 Best Colleges in America

Northwestern Admission Requirements

Evanston, Illinois

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Your chances of getting into Northwestern University

Admission Rate & Difficulty

Percent Admitted 

Admission Difficulty for Northwestern University
Measure Difficulty
Admission Standards Elite 
Applicant Competition Extreme 

Acceptance Rate

The acceptance rate at Northwestern is 7%.  Its admission rate is the 2nd lowest in Illinois and the 14th lowest the nation.

Admission Selectivity

How hard is it to get into Northwestern and can you get accepted?

Northwestern is an extremely competitive school to get into and is highly selective who it accepts. You have a very low chance of acceptance even even if you meet the admission criteria. It's critical that you meet their GPA requirements to get past the first round of consideration. Last year, only 3,321 out of the 47,636 who applied were admitted.

The school has exceptionally high admission requirements, generally admitting students who can score in the top 2 percent on standardized admission tests. 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 or better. Of those applicants who were admitted, 63% enrolled. This indicates that the school is a top choice for many students who apply.

Can you get into Northwestern?

7% are accepted, can you get in? Use the admission calculator to see if you have the grades and test scores needed to get in. See your admission chances based on your extracurriculars, intended major, background, and more.

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Admission Requirements in Brief

To have the best chance of getting into to Northwestern University you should:

  • Have a high school GPA of 3.92 or better
  • Earn A- grades in high school
  • Score 1520 on the SAT
  • Score 34 on the ACT
  • Graduate in the top 10% of your high school class
  • Submit letters of recommendation from your teachers

Northwestern GPA

GPA Requirements & Average GPA

Avg. High School GPA 


Typical High School Grades 


What GPA do you need to get into Northwestern University?

GPA Requirements

The GPA requirements for getting into Northwestern are to have around a 3.92 high school GPA. You are required to have exceptionally good grades and you should be graduating near the top of your class.

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. If your grades do not meet the GPA requirements, you will have very little chance of being considered for admission.

Average GPA

The average unweighted GPA at Northwestern is 3.92 on the 4.0 scale. To achieve the average GPA for admission, you need to earn A- letter grades and regularly score around 90-92 percent on tests and assignments in high school.  The school ranks #2 in Illinois for highest average GPA.

Importance of GPA

Since Northwestern is a test optional college, extra focus will be placed on your GPA when the school considers your application. As a result, it is very important that you meet the GPA requirements.

See additional colleges accepting applicants in the 3.9 GPA range.

*This school has not published high school GPA data for its incoming freshman class. In these cases, CollegeSimply uses an algorithm to predict GPA based on this school's test scores and a large sample of college GPA data. 3.92 is a prediction of the school's average incoming freshman GPA.

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Northwestern SAT Scores

Test Optional

Submission of SAT or ACT scores is not required for admission to Northwestern University. If you submit test scores, they will be considered with your application, but they are not mandatory. 43% of students submitted SAT scores and 39% submitted ACT scores for admission for the most recent academic year..

SAT Requirements & Average SAT Score

SAT Range 


Applicants Submitting SAT 

SAT Scores for Northwestern University
SAT Test 25th Percentile Score
Reading 25th Percentile 720
Math 25th Percentile 750
Composite 25th Percentile 1470
SAT Scores for Northwestern University
SAT Test 75th Percentile Score
Reading 75th Percentile 770
Math 75th Percentile 800
Composite 75th Percentile 1570
Average SAT Score 1520

SAT Scores you need to get in

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

Average Score & Range

The average SAT score at Northwestern is 1520 out of 1600 and the range for the middle 50% of accepted students is 1470-1570. Students who get into Northwestern University score in the top 2 percent of all SAT test takers..  Northwestern ranks #2 in the state of Illinois and #13 in the nation for highest average SAT composite score.

Score for Acceptance

You should target scoring 1520 or above to be most competitive with other applicants. Northwestern regularly admits students with SAT scores down to 1470 on a 1600 scale. However, three quarter of admitted students score higher. If you score below a 1470, admission should be considered a reach. Some students may be accepted with minimum SAT's as low as 1420, but scores this low are outside the normal range.

Score Submission Requirements

Northwestern University is a test optional school meaning do not have to submit SAT scores with your application. The position on SAT scores from the college is "considered but not required".

View other colleges which accept students in the 1520 SAT score range.

Data Sources, IPEDS for Fall 2021 starting class

Chance of Acceptance by SAT Score

The table below outlines your predicted admission chances based on SAT score alone. If you are an average applicant with a score of 1520, you have around a 7% chance of being admitted. A 1570 places you well ahead of most other applicants and gives you about a 13% chance of getting in.

Northwestern University admission chances by SAT score
SAT Score (1600 scale) Competitiveness  Admission Chances 
1570 and Above Good >13%
1520 to 1570 Avg + 7%-13%
1470 to 1520 Avg - 4%-7%
1420 to 1470 Reach 2%-4%
Less than 1420 Low <2%
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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
Reading 25th Percentile 35
Math 25th Percentile 32
Composite 25th Percentile 34
ACT Scores for Northwestern University
ACT Test 75th Percentile Score
Reading 75th Percentile 36
Math 75th Percentile 35
Composite 75th Percentile 35
Average ACT Score 34

ACT Scores needed to get accepted

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

Score Range

The average ACT score for admitted students to Northwestern is 34, while the middle 50% of students (25th to 75th percentile) score between a 34 and 35.  The school ranks #2 in Illinois and #8 in the U.S. for highest average ACT composite score.

Score for Acceptance

For the best chance of admission, you should have an ACT of 34. This will place you in solid competition against other applicants. At a minimum, you should aim for a 34 and score in the score in the top 1 percent nationally.

39 percent of applicants submit ACT scores to Northwestern University.

Score Submission Requirements

You do not have to to submit ACT scores with your application as Northwestern University is test optional. The policy from the school on ACT scores is "considered but not required".

Find other colleges with similar ACT score requirements

Data Sources, IPEDS for Fall 2021 starting class

Chance of Acceptance by ACT Score

Here are your predicted chances of getting into Northwestern for different ACT score ranges. A typical applicant with a 34 score has around 7% chance of getting in. Your odds increase to about 21% with a 35 ACT score.

Northwestern University admission chances by ACT score
ACT Score Competitiveness  Admission Chances 
35 and Above Good >21%
34 to 35 Avg + 7%-21%
34 to 34 Avg - 7%-7%
34 to 34 Reach 7%-7%
Less than 34 Low <7%
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High School Class Rank

95% of Northwestern University freshman are in the top ten percent of their high school graduating class. For your application to be competitive, you need to graduate at the top of your class.

High School Class Rank for admitted Northwestern University students
High School Class Rank Freshmen Within Range
Top 10% of class 95%
Top 25% of class 0%
Top 50% of class 0%
Data Source, Peterson's Data


Admission Statistics

Admission and enrollment rates by gender are detailed the the table below.

Northwestern University admission statistics
Women Men Total
Applied 25,855 21,781 47,636
Accepted 1,869 1,452 3,321
Acceptance Rate 7% 7% 7%
Enrolled 1,161 925 2,086
Percent of Admitted Who Enrolled (Admission Yield) 62% 64% 63%
Data Sources, IPEDS for Fall 2021 starting class

Fall 2024 Application Deadline

Applications Due

Jan 1, 2024

Days left to Apply


The application deadline for Fall 2024 has passed. Applications were due on Jan 1, 2024.

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 Considered but not required
High School GPA Recommended
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

Admission Requirements Summary

Because Northwestern is extremely competitive, you have a very low likelihood of acceptance. It is critical that you earn at least a 3.92 GPA to have any chance. Additionally, you need to score at least a 1520 on the SAT and optimally 1570 to put yourself in a competitive position. For ACT scores, you should really strive for a 34 to have the best chance of getting in.

Other Colleges to Apply To 

Students applying to Northwestern University often consider these colleges

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?

43% of students submit their SAT scores to Northwestern. 39% of applicants send their ACT scores when applying.

What is my chance of getting into Northwestern University?

7% 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 1470 and 1570. The average SAT score is 1520. 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 34 and 35. The average ACT score is 34. See if your ACT score is good enough for admission.