Best Colleges in America 2022
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Overall Score: 85.39

Northwestern University

Anyone who stops by Northwestern University is sure to be impressed by its stellar academics and beautiful location on the shore of Lake Michigan. The long campus in Evanston, Illinois, is divided between the creative arts and journalism students on its south end and the engineering and pre-professional schools to the north. While Northwestern has the resources and size of a Big Ten school, it also fosters a feeling of community among its diverse student body of about 8,000 undergrads and 13,000 graduate and professional students. Northwestern students apply their high-school overachiever work ethic to busy extracurricular and academic schedules, and the school's quarter system keeps them jumping from exam to exam. Majors include cognitive science, earth and planetary sciences, and German. Much of the social life at Northwestern centers on the active Greek scene, as well as the attractions of downtown Chicago, which is a quick ride away on the L. But the winter weather can be a downside – you don't know wind chill until you've experienced a 15-below walk to class. Northwestern boasts a 95% graduation rate, and its students tend to do well on the job market after leaving school.

Costs

Est. full price 2022-2023
$83,600
% of students who get any grants
59%
Est. price for students who receive aid
$29,900
Average price for low-income students
$250

Admissions

Acceptance rate
9%
Median SAT/ACT score
1500/34
SAT/ACT required?
No
Undergraduate enrollment
8,530

Financial Aid

% of students with need who get grants
98%
% of need met
100%
% of students who get merit grants
N/A
Average merit grant
$5,030

Student Success

Graduation rate
95%
Average time to a degree
4.1 years
Median student debt
$15,000
Early career earnings
$80,030
% earning more than a high school grad
85%

Notes: Students who get merit grants are full-time undergraduates who had no financial need and were awarded grants. Graduation rate measures degree completion within six years for both transfer students and first-time students. Early career earnings are the median earnings for both graduates and non-completers, 10 years after they first enrolled.

Sources: U.S. Department of Education, Peterson’s, Money/Witlytic calculations.

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