Northwestern University has notified 4,554 applicants they have been accepted for the Class of 2017, which is shaping up to be the most diverse and talented class to date after the University received 32,772 applications — the highest number ever.

Because the number of applications received for the fall incoming class was a record high, the lowest percentage of applicants in the University’s history got the much-awaited good news, for an acceptance rate of 13.9 percent.

The emails and letters went out Friday, and financial aid awards will follow in about a week.

Applications have increased by more than 10,000 since 2007, when 27 percent of applicants were admitted.

School officials say this year’s application and admit figures reflect both Northwestern’s rising reputation and its strong determination to be more diverse.

“We have worked hard to increase the quality and diversity of each incoming class,” said Christopher Watson, dean of admission at Northwestern. “The last few years of hard work are paying off.”

“Even with the lower admit number, we accepted a record number of underrepresented and international students,” he said. We also admitted a record number of students from Chicago and Evanston. And all 50 states are represented.”

Records also were broken for the numbers of applications received through Northwestern’s chapter of QuestBridge, a national program that helps high-achieving, low-income students apply to top universities, and through the Posse Foundation’s youth leadership program that identifies promising young students from disadvantaged urban backgrounds.

Sixty-five percent of Northwestern students graduate with more than one major — with a double major or a major, minor and a certificate or various other combinations of studies — sometimes in completely different fields.

Applied learning is a hallmark of a Northwestern education, and a majority of students are engaged in outside opportunities that enhance the classroom experience, including internships, co-ops, research abroad and civic engagement.

For the eighth year in a row, Northwestern is among the top 10 producers of U.S. Fulbright grant recipients at the nation’s research institutions, according to a ranking published Oct. 24, 2012, in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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