For the ninth consecutive year, applications to Northwestern University have reached a new high. At 31,991, total applications for the class of 2016 are up by 3.5 percent.

This follows a 15.2 percent increase in early-decision applications, from which a record 814 students, or about 40 percent of Northwestern’s Class of 2016, enrolled in December, compared to 33 percent of the Class of 2015 and 28 percent of the Class of 2014.

The 31,991 applications received this year are almost double the number Northwestern received in 2005. Early decision applications, at 2,450, were up 15 percent from last year, following a 26 percent increase the year before.

“In the world of research universities, Northwestern is increasingly known for achieving a sort of critical mass of creative and analytical students,” said Mike Mills, associate provost for University enrollment.

“Students with highly diverse interests regularly come together in creative collaborations, whether in seminars, classes, fieldwork or informal ways,” he said. “You’ve got trombonists interacting with chemical engineers interacting with drama, theatre and dance majors, interacting with the social-policy majors who want to change the world.”

The University’s new strategic plan emphasizes Northwestern’s rich undergraduate education as a central comparative advantage. The plan challenges Northwestern to continue to integrate learning and experience in and outside the classroom, whether students work at a science lab or in a Chicago news office or on a play or in an orchestra or on developing a robot. Increasing co-curricular opportunities here and abroad is a major goal of the plan.

The numbers of Northwestern undergraduates doing research and creative projects beyond the classroom continue to grow each year in just about every field of study, whether students are studying high-mass star formation with an astronomy professor or examining how school performance evaluations affect housing choices or traveling to the former Soviet Union to interview people who, as children, spent time in forced labor camps.

This school year Northwestern also produced the second highest number of Fulbright grant recipients among the nation’s research institutions, according to a ranking published last fall in The Chronicle of Higher Education. The Fulbright winners, who currently teach, conduct research or study in countries around the world, represent every Northwestern undergraduate school as well as the law and medical schools.

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  1. Another Northwestern profit center

    At $65 per application, 31,991 applications bring in $2,079,415. They should be thrilled.


  2. Not if you consider what it takes to evaluate 32K applications

    Hardly a cash cow.  Once the students matriculate is when the cash begins to flow in.

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