Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois 633 Clark St, Evanston, IL, 60208

Northwestern University Ranking

Northwestern University is a private institution located just outside of Chicago in Evanston, Illinois. It is one of the top universities in the entire Midwest and among the top 10 universities in the country according to some US college rankings. 

Interested in applying to Northwestern? Then you probably want to know as much information about the school as possible, including the Northwestern University rankings as well as the following:

  • Different places to find US college rankings, including the Wall Street Journal college rankings, Forbes college rankings, and US News college rankings
  • The importance of college rankings in general
  • Specific Northwestern University ranking e.g. the Northwestern University ranking in US news

Where does Northwestern rank?

Remember, there is no single, definitive Northwestern University ranking. Instead, there are several Northwestern University rankings that vary based on the source and criteria used for the Northwestern ranking. 

Different college rankings websites will assign a different Northwestern University ranking because they evaluate schools differently. There are many sources of US college rankings. In this “Northwestern University ranking” guide, we’ll look at the Northwestern ranking in Forbes, the Northwestern University ranking in US News, and the Northwestern University ranking in Wall Street Journal. When looking at the Northwestern University ranking, it is important to consider all three sources of information.

Why are college rankings important?

College rankings are one important measure of a school’s quality and national reputation. A high college ranking often means that a school provides both a top education as well as an engaging campus environment. College rankings take into account a variety of factors, including academics, financial value, and student life. Therefore a college ranking provides a holistic look at a school’s overall quality and prestige, but it can also vary from year to year and website to website. 

A college ranking is also important because potential employers can find a degree from a school that’s high in the college rankings more desirable. Schools with a high college ranking have name recognition that can make it easier for graduates of those schools to get hired. 

So a school’s place on US college rankings lists is important. However, you should not overlook a school simply because of its low place on college rankings lists. Furthermore, don’t choose a school simply because of its high college ranking. Some schools specialize in a particular program or major. They may rank highly in your area of interest even if their overall ranking is lower. Also, a school with a high college ranking may not fit your needs and desires.

Trustworthy college rankings

When looking for information about the Northwestern University rankings, or college rankings in general, consult trusted sources. There are a lot of US college ranking lists out there, but some, like the US News College rankings, the Wall Street Journal college rankings, and Forbes college rankings are more reliable than others. These college rankings lists have been around for many years and have developed a reputation for reliability.  

Exploring Northwestern rankings

The first of the Northwestern University rankings comes from the US News college rankings site. The Northwestern University ranking in US News is #9

In addition, the Northwestern ranking for engineering programs is #13, according to US News. Some factors that contributed to the high Northwestern ranking are the small class sizes and the high graduation rate among students. Register for an account with US News to access more detailed Northwestern rankings and statistics including average SAT scores, class sizes, and more.

The second Northwestern ranking comes from the Forbes college rankings site. The Northwestern ranking in Forbes is #18. In addition, the Forbes college rankings rates it as the #1 university in the Midwest. Other Forbes’ Northwestern University rankings include #16 among private colleges and #16 among research universities. 

This high Northwestern ranking in Forbes is in part down to the school’s competitive acceptance rate, high retention rate, and renowned colleges of engineering and journalism. Forbes college rankings also factor in financial aid packages and the amount of debt students will graduate with. Evidently, they consider Northwestern to be a good value for money.

Students must be members to view the full Wall Street Journal college rankings and the Northwestern University ranking in Wall Street Journal. However, a few Northwestern rankings are available. 

For example, the Northwestern University ranking among midsize schools in the Midwest is #1. The Northwestern University ranking in Wall Street Journal was also recently #1 in the Midwest for academic resources. The Northwestern rankings show that Northwestern is a top school, especially within its own locale.

Northwestern ratings

Some college websites like use a letter grade rating system instead of a number ranking to make college rankings. The Northwestern rating of “A+” shows that Northwestern is an elite university across all the factors that these Northwestern ratings cover. 

Niche also awards Northwestern ratings of A+ in categories of Academics, Diversity, and Value in addition to the overall high Northwestern rating. These Northwestern ratings use less rigorous methods than the Northwestern rankings on other websites. However, these Northwestern ratings still provide valuable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of the school. 

This Northwestern ratings website also includes reviews from students and families connected to Northwestern. These add perspective to the college rankings from people who actually attend the school.

Northwestern University Ranking: Final Thoughts

No matter which website you look at, whether it is the US News college rankings, the Forbes college rankings, or the Wall Street Journal college rankings, the Northwestern rankings are high. 

These reliable US college rankings websites agree that Northwestern is a top school, both compared to other schools in both the Midwest region and the country as a whole. The Northwestern ranking in Forbes and the Northwestern University ranking in US News both fall inside the top 10. These college rankings put the Northwestern ranking in the company of other elite schools’ rankings, like Harvard, MIT, and Stanford.

While the Northwestern rankings on these websites are important, make sure Northwestern is a good fit for your needs before you decide to apply. Although the Northwestern rankings show that Northwestern is a top school, that does not mean that it is the best fit for you.  

Learn more about the school by looking at their website. Also, access information on how to apply to Northwestern as well as tips for how to get accepted on the website.

Northwestern University Admissions

Acceptance Rate 7%
Acceptance Deadline January 2

Northwestern University Cost

Average Cost* $23,279
Average Total Aid Awarded $61,907
Students Receiving Financial Aid 44.4%
*Average cost after financial aid for students receiving grant or scholarship aid, as reported by the college.

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Northwestern University Academics

Student Faculty Ratio 6:1

Northwestern University Majors

Most Popular Majors
  • Economics
  • Psychology
  • Journalism
  • Biology
  • Political Science and Government
  • Communications
  • Drama and Theatre Production
  • Neuroscience and Neurobiology
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Computer Science

Northwestern University Online

Offers Online Courses No

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Northwestern University Students

Full-Time Undergrad Enrollment 8,494
Part-Time Undergraduates 481

Northwestern University Advisors

Northwestern University

I'm a proud Wildcat, and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Northwestern University. While at NU, I was a tour guide, and found a passion for helping students through the college application process. As an honors English student, I also worked as an essay tutor for other students on campus. Since graduation, I have several years of experience guiding high school students through the college application cycle. Prior to my time with CollegeAdvisor, I've worked as a 1-on-1 tutor in test preparation, teaching the SAT, ACT, and AP tests. I also worked with a specialized firm that helps international students through brainstorming, writing, and refining CommonApp and school-specific supplemental essays. In both of those positions, I gained specialized experience in multiple aspects of the college application process. My students in both of these areas have gone on to Ivies and Top 20 schools. I'm passionate about getting to know a student beyond the numbers and helping them find the place that will allow them to grow and thrive. I remember all too well how stressful the application process can be, and it's important to me to always let the student's passions, goals, and hopes lead our process. Outside of CollegeAdvisor, I work in the arts as a director and literary manager for theatre. I'm passionate about storytelling and using words effectively to communicate, and I bring those loves with me to college advising.

Northwestern University

Getting into college is becoming increasingly difficult day by day. With more students getting top scores and developing strong extracurricular backgrounds, it's extremely tough to set yourself apart. However, I can help with the nuanced components of each individual application, helping to build a cohesive, unique story that can maximize your chances. I have extensive experience advising students on undergraduate admissions, running my own independent admissions consultancy for multiple years. I have helped students get into many of the top schools in the United States, such as Northwestern, UChicago, Duke, and more. I view the college admissions process as holistic in nature -- meaning I will work with students to optimize each and every component of their application. Whether it be maximizing impact on the resume, crafting school-specific essays, or applying for competitive scholarships, I know what it takes to build the "complete package" necessary for admissions in today's age. I have a particular interest in writing, something I've been passionate about for as long as I can remember. I specialize in helping brainstorm, plan, and edit essays that are impactful for top-school admissions.

Also Accepted to

Yale University

Hello! My name is Naomi Beckley and I am a recent graduate of Yale University. I majored in Global Affairs in addition to a certificate in Education Studies. I am very passionate about working towards a state of equity in education, particularly improving the quality of education and access to academic resources for marginalized students. I professionally hope to do so by attending law school and becoming involved with education policy and legislation. I have 4 years of experience of advising high school students through their college application processes, with my students going on to attend schools like Vanderbilt, University of Southern California, University of Wisconsin - Madison, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and University of Pennsylvania. I really enjoy the work that goes into being an advisor, particularly guiding a student in figuring out their college fit and reading essays. Super excited to meet and work with you on what will be a challenging but ultimately fulfilling journey!

Also Accepted to

Princeton University

Hi! My name is Nannette Beckley, and I’m super excited to work with you! I recently graduated from Princeton University in May of 2023 with a B.A. in the School of Public and International Affairs and earned a certificate (minor) in Global Health & Health Policy. As a student, I participated in several organizations, including Matriculate, a college access program. Through my work as an Advising Fellow for Matriculate, I gained several years of experience advising high-achieving, lower-income students on the college application and financial aid process. I am also a member of the AP Alumni Council through the College Board. I enjoy helping students form their college lists and reviewing students’ essays. Outside of CollegeAdvisor, I serve as a Research Associate at NORC at the University of Chicago in their health-adjacent departments.

I look forward to guiding you through the long, complicated, but fulfilling college admissions process!

Also Accepted to

Northwestern University

Hello! My name is Madeline and I cannot wait to help you on your college journey. I was an early decision student at Northwestern University, where I received a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Psychology, receiving minors in Dance and Theatre for Young Audiences. While at Northwestern, I directed 10 theatrical productions, was the president of two theatre organizations, and produced the largest student-written musical in the United States. Prior to attending Northwestern, I grew up in the international school system, attending Shanghai American School and The American School of The Hague. I worked at the admissions office of Northwestern University for three years, first as a tour guide and then as a senior admissions counselor. My strong suits in the college process are essay development and, for non-seniors, learning how to fill in any of those blank lines in the extracurricular space. I have a particular affinity for the performing arts, both as a performer and as a director who worked in casting at an educational and professional level. I hope to help my students in making the best decision for them, whether that be in selecting their university or cultivating the most attractive application to have a host of schools to choose from.

My name is Denise Pérez (she/her) and I am a native of Chicago, Illinois currently residing in Houston, Texas. I earned a B.A., in Sociology and Psychology from Connecticut College in 2018. I also received a certificate in Community Action and Public Policy through the Holleran Center for Community Action. I have more than 3 years of experience in Higher Education admissions for both public and private colleges and universities. My ultimate goal is to empower college applicants and demystify the college application process for them and their families.

University of Pennsylvania

Hello! My name is Andrew, and I am currently a medical student at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. I graduated from high school in 2019 and went to the University of Pennsylvania as a pre-med. At Penn, I majored in biochemistry and biology. I was accepted into the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, a top 10/15 medical school with no gap years. Currently, 80% of matriculants into medical school take at least a single gap year before applying to and matriculating into medical school. Therefore, I have full and complete knowledge of how a student can get accepted into medical school from day 1 of undergrad. In addition, my brother applied to college this past year. Through my guidance, he was accepted into several T20 universities and is currently attending Duke, a top 10 university. Through my experiences, I feel as if I have a personal and unique insight into the application process, not only as a student but as a mentor.

Also Accepted to

Northwestern University
After 7+ years at Northwestern University in admissions, I wanted to more directly help students apply to college. I have experience at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Illinois Institute of Technology in addition to NU, I started counseling students in 2016. I have advised dozens of students individually and as a high school college counselor. My advisees have matriculated at the most selective institutions and a wide range of colleges across the country and internationally. I live in the Chicago area and enjoy encouraging houseplants to flourish almost as much as I enjoy working with high schoolers poised to change the world!

Also Accepted to

Northwestern University
Hi everyone! My name's Kevin, and I'm double majoring in political science and economics at Northwestern University. Even without super-unique extracurriculars or experiences (finding the cure to cancer or starting a million-dollar business at the age of two), I know that each applicant has the potential to present a unique story to the admission officers! As your advisor, I will work to help highlight the unique parts of your application in your essays. I'm excited to share the tips and tricks of the college process that I learned while applying for colleges and advising other students. I can't wait to help make these polar opposite terms (fun and the college process) seem like synonyms!

Also Accepted to

College Testimonials from Clients Who Were Accepted to Northwestern University

Navneet Raam
University of Michigan

Excellent service with over the top commitment to ensuring the student succeeds and reaches their goals. Couldn’t be happier with the process! Best investment of my life.

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