Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois
www.northwestern.edu 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 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 a 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 #15, 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 #10. In addition,  the Forbes college rankings rates it as the #1 university in the Midwest. Other Forbes’ Northwestern University rankings include #8 among private colleges and #10 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 is also #1 in the Midwest for academic resources. These Northwestern rankings show that Northwestern is a top school, especially within its own locale.

Northwestern ratings

Some college websites like Niche.com 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 CollegeAdvisor.com website.

A+ Overall Grade
  • A+ Academics
  • A Athletics
  • A- Campus
  • A+ Diversity
  • A+ Value
  • A- Party Scene

Northwestern University Admissions

Acceptance Rate 9.05%
Acceptance Deadline January 3
Students Receiving Financial Aid 64.27%

Northwestern University Cost

Net Price* $26,196
Average Total Aid Awarded $6,706
Students Receiving Financial Aid 64.27%
*Average cost after financial aid for students receiving grant or scholarship aid, as reported by the college.

Want personalized essay guidance from a Northwestern University advisor?

Gain access to a diverse network of expert Advisors

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

Our clients got into Northwestern University last admissions cycle. Are you next?

Our advisors graduated from the nation’s best universities, so they know first-hand what it takes to stand out in the admissions process.

Northwestern University Students

Full-Time Undergrad Enrollment 8,161
Part-Time Undergraduates 481

Northwestern University Advisors

Rishi Mahesh
Northwestern University
I love to strike a balance of being lighthearted and easygoing, while staying ambitious and critical. I specialize in essay writing and how to craft your admissions story.
Kevin Kim
Northwestern University
Hi everyone! My name's Kevin, and I plan on 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

Andrew Wailes
Columbia University
Thank you for taking this next step in your future! I am an experienced educator and college advisor, having spent the past decade supporting high school students in New York, California, and Hong Kong. I believe in each and every student's ability to succeed. Everyone has something to offer. In working with students, I always make sure that feel heard, valued, and even celebrated. I look forward to supporting you as you embark on this exciting next step of your educational journey.

Also Accepted to

Allison Park
Yale University
Hi! My name's Allison and I graduated from Yale University in 2021 with a degree in Political Science. I'm originally from the Washington D.C. area and now work as an audio producer at CNN based in New York City. During my senior year of high school, I traveled the country to audition for music schools and conservatories as a cello performance major. Ironically, Yale was the only non-music school I applied to. But throughout undergrad, I kept up music through the Yale Symphony Orchestra and Low Strung, a 12-person all-cello rock band. On campus, I was also an editor at the Yale Daily News where I helped launch their first audio and podcasting branch, and my college internship experience has spanned NBC News and MSNBC. Over the last five years, I've worked one-on-one with nearly 40 students ranging from 8th to 12th grade, and helped them reach their admissions goals to schools including Harvard, Yale, Cornell and Northwestern, to name a few. I'm passionate about storytelling and am committed to helping students craft their own personal narrative in a way that authentically reflects their passions and unique qualities. I'm excited to work together!

Also Accepted to

Aya Waller-Bey
Georgetown University
I am a proud first-generation college student passionate about college admissions and higher education hailing from Detroit, MI. I have over six years of college admissions, advising, and college interview experience. Currently, I conduct research on college admissions as a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan--Ann Arbor!

Also Accepted to

Josie Pearce
Dartmouth College
Josie graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College in 2020. At Dartmouth, she majored in Government, minored in Spanish, and was an editor at the Dartmouth Law Journal. She works as a PR Assistant at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in their Boston office. Josie is pursuing a JD/MD joint degree and is attending Harvard for her pre-medical post-bacc. She is an admissions interviewer for Dartmouth College and has ample experience with the college interview process and essay writing.

Also Accepted to

Ishaani Khatri
Brown University
Hi there! My name is Ishaani, and I'm a senior in Brown University's Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME), where I study Computational Biology. Outside of class, I play in a jazz ensemble, write and edit for the [email protected] magazine, advise freshman at Brown, and research at the Center for Computational Molecular Biology. I've been working as a college advisor for 2+ years, and I look forward to supporting you all throughout the college admissions process!

Also Accepted to

Brynlee Emery
Georgetown University
Hi there! I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Georgetown University in 2019 with a double major in History and Government and a minor in English. I also just graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with two master's degrees in History and in Library and Information Sciences. Currently, I work in digital asset management for a startup in Salt Lake City. This is my fourth year as a college admissions advisor, and my former students have been accepted to Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, USC, UT-Austin, and many others. I am so excited to help you navigate through the process and get accepted to your dream school.

Also Accepted to

Vignesh Namasivayam
Yale University
Hi there! I'm Vig Namasivayam, a 2020 grad of Yale. I strongly believe that every student has a path to a great school if they embrace who they are. For me, delving into my extracurriculars is what put me in a great position to succeed. For others, it's their academic or athletic passions. I'm really excited to help you navigate a tough and scary process and make it as stress-free as possible; I was a psychology major at school, which I loved because it has given me the tools to to dig into how other people think, which helps me help them. Beyond that, I really love entertainment, any kind. Since high school, I've been really involved in theater, culminating in my being the treasurer for the Yale Dramatic Association. I also was the Sports Director for our school's radio, getting the opportunity to travel and broadcast sports games. I was also the Treasurer for the Class of 2020. I would also be remiss to mention that I've definitely seen more TV shows than anyone I know.

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.

Northwestern University Related Webinars

Northwestern University Related Essay Guides

Not sure how to approach the Northwestern essay prompt? With tips from a Harvard graduate, CollegeAdvisor.com’s guide to the Northwestern supplemental essays 2021 will show you how to write an […]

Northwestern University Related How to Get Into Guides

Northwestern University Related Blog Posts

Looking for the best college towns? Explore dozens of colleges towns in our expert guide to best college towns in America by region!

Top Engineering Colleges, Best Computer Science Schools, and Best Colleges for Science: An Introduction As a science or engineering student, the college application process can feel daunting. With so many […]

Northwestern University Campus Videos