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Northwestern is a vibrant private research institution located in Evanston, Illinois, just north of Chicago on Lake Michigan. With a 9% acceptance rate, every element of your application needs to shine, including your supplemental essay. The broad question is nearly impossible to answer within the 300-word limit, so, as always, your best bet is to be specific, personal, and honest. There is no way to say everything, so narrow it down to what matters to you and demonstrate that you have done thoughtful research.
The Essay That Got Me Into Northwestern
In 300 words or less, help us understand how you might engage specific resources, opportunities, and/or communities here. We are curious about what these specifics are, as well as how they may enrich your time at Northwestern and beyond.
This essay is your first chance to demonstrate why Northwestern is the perfect school for you. It may be tempting to search all the most impressive faculty and programs to gush about, but this won’t get you far. Sincerity and humility are key! Put deep thought into the specific aspects of Northwestern that appeal to you and how the unique facets of the school fit your interests and current career path.
Do research but make sure you can tie what you discover to your specific interests and experiences. Admissions teams already know what the school has to offer, so this is your chance to demonstrate why you are uniquely suited to engage with these offerings.
For instance, let’s say you’re interested in Northwestern’s premier journalism program—you’ve taken journalism in high school, completed AP English and literature, and you want journalism to guide your college experience. Research how the journalism program works at Northwestern, professors whose research you might be interested in, and student organizations (school paper) that fit into that experience. Then try to imagine how your experience will grow with those resources.
Look to answer the following:
While it’s impossible to know your future path with certainty, demonstrate your thoughtfulness in deliberating how Northwestern could fit into your life path.
Northwestern will receive your grades separately, so set aside your GPA for now. You’re not just a student in college—you’ll be a roommate, a study partner, and a gym buddy. Northwestern has a reputation for attracting hard workers and prides itself on a diverse mix of student cultures. Adding that layer of depth when you’ve only got 300 words is challenging, but if you can’t decide between describing details about your studies and one about an extraordinary personal experience you have had, go with the latter. Again, think about how you can contribute to existing communities or elaborate on how you might build something new based on your unique experiences.
It’s not just about how you’ll take advantage of Northwestern’s opportunities but also how your contributions will benefit others. Listing your accomplishments might sound like an excellent way to show your worth, but keep in mind that you’re joining thousands of other hopefuls from many different walks of life. If you were lucky enough to have wonderful experiences, you should focus on how they changed your sense of self and impact how you give back rather than just listing positive personal outcomes.
Never bash other schools. You can build up Northwestern’s unique offerings without speaking negatively of other institutions.
It might be a relief knowing that Northwestern only requires one supplemental essay, but remember your answer is the only opportunity you have to tell the admissions committee why you’d be the perfect fit for their school. Take the time to research the school and your particular area of interest thoroughly. Don’t duplicate your essay from another application. The admissions team can read through cookie-cutter essays and tell how sincere you are about attending the school.
Crimson offers personalized advising services, including one-on-one help with supplemental essays. When you meet with one of our knowledgeable and approachable Crimson advisors, they first get to know you as an individual. They want to hear about your unique dreams, aspirations, and goals so they can help you craft original and exceptional supplemental essays that stand out for the competition.
The Northwestern supplemental essay is the typical “why this college” essay. To make the most of this essay, make sure you explain why you want to attend the school and your potential to impact the school community positively. Convince the admissions committee that you’ve done your research and why you’re the perfect fit.
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