There were nearly 32,000 applications for Northwestern’s undergraduate Class of 2016, a University press release announced Tuesday– very nearly 32,000, as 31,991 applications came in.
Northwestern has never received more applications for a freshman class, continuing a nine-year record-breaking trend.
Applicants will have to fight for fewer spots than ever, as well. Northwestern took a record 40 percent of its Class of 2016 from 2,450 early decision applications this fall.
The Office of Admissions also seems to have adopted a strategy of accepting more students early. Two years ago, just 28 percent of the freshman class came from early applications.
As Jacques Steinberg of the New York Times reported in November, early applications to “some highly selective colleges” were up this fall. 2,716 students applied early to Duke in 2011, as did 3,547 to Princeton. 1,440 students applied to Johns Hopkins.
The press release announcing these numbers also revealed how the University now portrays itself to the public. Associate Provost Mike Mills bragged that Northwestern was “increasingly known for achieving a sort of critical mass of creative and analytical students.” The press release also specifically discussed “the wildly popular alumnus” Stephen Colbert, as well as alumni Will Butler, of Arcade Fire; Virginia Rometty, the new President and CEO of IBM; Andrew Mason, founder of Groupon; and Sarah Smierciak, a 2012 Rhodes Scholarship recipient.