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The deposits are in, the commitments have been made and Northwestern University’s newly formed Class of 2017 set new records both for its academic strength and its racial and ethnic diversity.

About 2,025 students expected to make up the Class of 2017 when school begins in the fall. They made the final cut after the school sorted through a record high 32,772 applications. This resulted in the lowest admit rate ever — 13.9 percent.

By standard academic measures, the Class of 2017 is the strongest in Northwestern’s history.  Ninety-one percent of incoming freshmen ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school class, and the so-called “middle 50 percent” SAT score is 1390 to 1550 (meaning one-half of the class scored within this range, while one-quarter scored below and above the range, respectively).

A record 20 percent of deposits are from African-American or Hispanic students, shattering the previous record of 16.7 percent set just last year. Adding Asian-American students (19 percent) and international students (9 percent) to the tally results in a class that consists of nearly 50 percent non-majority students.

And in one of the most important measures of the University’s rising reputation, the yield rate, or proportion of admitted students choosing Northwestern, rose to 45.3 percent from 41.5 percent last year. The yield was less than 31 percent only five years ago.  

The class reflects the University’s strong commitment to diversity, an integral part of Northwestern’s strategic plan. Increasing diversity and providing an optimal environment for every member of the community are central to the University’s ambitions for its future.

Ninety-five students from the incoming class applied to Northwestern through QuestBridge, a national program that helps high-achieving, low-income students apply to top universities. This year’s class also includes Northwestern’s first group of Posse Scholars. Ten incoming students from Los Angeles were identified by the Posse Foundation, which focuses on promising young students from disadvantaged urban backgrounds.

Fourteen percent of the Class of 2017 received Pell Grants, and a record number attended either Evanston Township High School or a Chicago Public School.

Domestic students in the Class of 2017 came from 48 states, led by Illinois, California, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and Florida.

International students came from 40 different countries, led by China, South Korea, India and Turkey. They also hailed from countries such as Zimbabwe, Ghana, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Iceland, New Zealand, Honduras, Ukraine, Tanzania, Zambia, Norway, Austria and Guatemala. 

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