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Northwestern University Admission 2020-2021, Requirement, Deadline & Acceptance Rate

Aishwarya Bhatnagar Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert

Northwestern University received around 40,426 applications for 2022 class. Out of which 1,936 applications that were accepted were admitted in first year. After Whites, around 23.5% Asian Americans have been enrolled at the university.

The university is very selective in accepting applications. The acceptance rate for 2022 class was 8.4% only. Only half of the total students who got admission, had applied during the Early Decision. Applications for international students at Northwestern University begin during the Fall season.


Application PortalUG: Common/Coalition Application
PG: varies with each school
Application Fee

UG: 75 USD
PG: 95 USD – 250 USD

Acceptance Rate8.4%
Mode of PaymentVisa/MasterCard Credit Card
SAT Score Range1490 – 1500
ACT Score Range32 – 34
International Application DeadlinesUG: November 1, 2018 – January 1, 2019
PG: Varies with every course
Academic CalendarSemester
Intake SeasonsFall
Interview RequirementsDepends on course requirements
Professional ExperienceRecommended for MBA aspirants
Financial AidAvailable for International Students

Northwestern University Admission Deadlines 

It is preferable for students to apply during the Fall season, for Early Decision. The following table shows the application submission deadlines for international students:

CourseDeadlines for Fall Session
Early DecisionNovember 1, 2018
Regular DecisionJanuary 1, 2019
LLMJanuary 15, 2019
Masters in Journalism (MSJ)June 1, 2019
Masters (MS) in Mechanical EngineeringApril 30, 2019
Master of Business Arts (MBA)Round 1 – September 19, 2018
Round 2 – January 9, 2019
Round 3 – April 10, 2019
Transfer StudentsMarch 15, 2019

Northwestern University Language Requirements

International students must demonstrate English language proficiency by providing scores of any one of the following tests given below. There are no minimum scores required to be submitted to be eligible for admissions:

There are seminars and workshops for ESL students to assist them in areas like:

  • Intonations and Pronunciation
  • Conversation fluency
  • Written work
  • Presentation

Northwestern University Undergraduate Admission Requirements 

There are around 100 majors to choose from at Northwestern University for international applicants. They can apply through any one of the 2 portals.

How to apply: Apply through either:

  • Common Application : Students applying through Common App have to submit Northwestern specific questions. It’s easy for counsellors or teachers to fill LORs since they are familiar with the process.
  • Coalition Application : If students apply through Coalition App, they might benefit from the unique digital locker, which helps them to collect materials that are required for completing an application.

Academic Requirements for International Students: Students are required to submit either ACT or SAT score (valid for 5 years) along with the application. Scores will not be accepted, if taken after high school. The following table shows a range of the average scores:

ACT Scores
Composite Score32 – 34
SAT Scores
Evidence Based Reading and Writing735

Supporting Documents: Academic transcripts, certificates, passport copy, 1 teacher LOR, secondary school report from school.

Selection Process: School transcripts, recommendations, extra-curricular/community involvement/leadership skills, test scores and essays.

  • Note: Applicants applying during the Early Decision, send a strong and positive message to the University. The acceptance rate of Early Decision applicants is higher than those applying during the Regular Decision.

Northwestern University Graduate Admission Requirements

At Northwestern University there are 10 graduate schools that offer more than 200 courses. Each course has a different requirement, application process and the fee structure.

How to apply: There are different portals for desired course. The applications are filed through their respective school’s website.

When to apply: Deadlines vary with each course and school. Students are admitted during the Fall season only.

Academic Requirements for International Students: GRE/GMAT/LSAT (valid for 5 years) and English language test scores like TOEFL/IELTS (valid for 2 years), etc. are required.

  • Note: In some cases TOEFL may be waivered for international students who complete undergrad and grad in English.

Supporting Documents: Degrees, transcripts, grading/evaluation system, referee reports, SOP or objectives, etc. are basic requirements for each course.

MS in Mechanical Engineering

Application Portal: The Graduate School

Application Fee: 95 USD

Academic Requirements for International Students GRE, along with English language test scores- TOEFL/IELTS.

Supporting Documents: 3 LORs and SOP along with resume/CV.


Application Portal: Kellogg School of Management

Application Fee: 250 USD

Academic Requirements for International Students: GMAT/GRE along with TOEFL/IELTS

Supporting Documents: Along with the resume and briefly answered video questions, there are some specific requirements also:

  • It is recommended to have a full time professional experience.

  • LOR: from current manager/supervisor and someone who can assess the candidate’s professional performance.

  • Students having 3 year college level education may be accepted in some cases.

  • The applicant’s ability will be assessed through an interview or on the basis of their application.

  • The international students must try and apply by Round 1 or Round 2.

  • The decision may be declared on December 12, 2018 (Round 1), March 27, 2019 (Round 2) and May 15, 2019 (Round 3).

Selection Criteria: Personal essays, past academic records, interview (if conducted), professional experience in terms of maturity, self-awareness, etc.

MS in Journalism 

Application Portal: Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications

Application Fee: 75 USD

Academic Requirements for International Students GRE/GMAT, along with English language test scores- TOEFL/IELTS.

Supporting Documents: bachelors degree, SOP, professional statement along with resume/CV and work samples (opional). 2 LORs are required from those who can assess academic/professional abilities.

Interviews: There may be an interview, usually conducted in Chicago. Applicants may also be assessed on their application if interview cannot be possible.

Selection Criteria: Writing/Communication, academisc performance, professionalism, adaptability and willingness to learn about new technology.


Application Portal: Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

Application Fee: 75 USD

Academic Requirements for International Students: GRE/LSAT and TOEFL/IELTS.

Supporting Documents: LOR, educational leadership experience, resume/CV and post-secondary transcripts.

Interviews: Assessment of candidate’s communication skills, maturity and motivation. Though admission interviews are optional yet they are recommended strongly.

Northwestern University Transfer Students Admission 

At Northwestern, only 15% of transfer students are given admissions. The students must ensure that the duration of study is not less than 2 years. Transfer students pay for certain credits of study only and are offered on-campus accommodation, depending upon the spaces available.

How to apply: Common Application or Coalition Application

Application Fee: 75 USD

Academic Requirements for International Students: SAT/ACT scores along with TOEFL/IELTS

Supporting Documents:

  • Proof of attending 1 year full time UG study
  • College Reports should be sent by a college official, who has access to academic records of the applicant.
  • Official transcripts from all educational institutions along with high school transcripts.
  • Academic evaluation details.
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