Freshman applications to Northwestern rose 11 percent from last year for the Class of 2015, reaching an astounding 30,529, according to Michael Mills, associate provost for enrollment management at Northwestern. The number is almost double the 16,000 applications Northwestern received six years ago, representing an all-time record.
“I think a good portion of it comes as a result of Northwestern’s increasing reputation,” said Alan Cubbage, vice president of University Relations. “The university is becoming more well-known. As a result, it is attracting more applicants.”
The inflation comes after an initial surge in the number of early decision applications increased to 2,100, rising by 25 percent for next year’s class.
Recently, the university sought to accommodate local students through the Good Neighbor, Great University Scholarship program. Announced in August, the program gives high school students from Evanston and Chicago need-based scholarships that include up to full tuition coverage.
Nearly 1,000 students from Chicago public high schools applied this year, according to Mills, up by 25 percent from last year. More striking, however, is the university’s efforts to diversify applications and provide financial assistance to students coming from low and middle-income families.
“Obviously, the students who are admissions tour guides, ambassadors and those who host prospective students: they are our best spokespersons,” Cubbage said. “What we hope is that students help in telling Northwestern’s story.”
Applications from African-American and Latino/a students increased this year after a double digit increase last year. The university anticipates an increase in the financial aid budget, Cubbage said, though no estimate has been made.
With the influx of applications, however, Cubbage anticipates the admittance rate to drop to lower than 20 percent. The university expects to enroll 2,025 freshmen this fall.
“Every year is different,” he said. “Certainly, Northwestern has been on a real upswing over the past decade. Will that trend continue at that rapid rate of increase? It’s hard to say.”