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Thomas Broderick

Northwestern ACT Scores

Hello, aspiring Wildcats! I see you’re interested in Northwestern University’s snowy winters and rigorous academic offerings. So let’s explore Northwestern! In this post, we’ll start with an introduction to Northwestern, go on to look at the ACT scores you need to succeed, and finally, cover other tips for admissions victory.

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Photo by AlexaSuter

Northwestern University is in Evanston, Illinois, just a few miles from downtown Chicago. Located right on Lake Michigan, Northwestern’s 9,000 undergraduates take courses in 124 academic programs. The majority of students are part of Northwestern’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Just the Facts

Here are the need-to-know numbers about Northwestern.

  • Northwestern acceptance rate is 13.2%.
  • The middle 50% of ACT scores for admitted students is 31-34.

What does this tell us? Well, the acceptance rate is low, making Northwestern a competitive university; and ACT scores are high, with 75% of admitted students scoring above a 31.

So Is It Impossible to Get In?

Definitely not! Just ask the 9,000 undergrads who currently attend Northwestern, for a start.

Is it easy to get in? Well, no. But that doesn’t mean that you won’t! It just means that you should start planning early, put your best work into all areas of your application, and—oh yeah!—get those standardized test scores as high as possible.

Northwestern, Standardized Tests, and You

Before you start diving in (or back in) to your SAT/ACT prep, let’s first take a look at the big question. How does Northwestern use standardized tests?

  • Northwestern does not accept ACT superscores, only your highest composite score. C’est la vie! (Remember, you can always retake the test if you’re not happy with your composite scores!)
  • If you’re submitting ACT scores, Northwestern wants a writing score, too.
    • Helpful hint: the writing score does not need to be from the same test as your highest composite score. Weird, I know, but hey—bonus!
  • Northwestern doesn’t prefer either the SAT or the ACT (but, you know, you do have to submit scores from one of them). The great news is that if you’re earning higher scores on the SAT, you don’t even have to submit your ACT scores to Northwestern.
  • If you’re still working on getting your ACT scores where you want them, Northwestern does accept (but doesn’t require) SAT subject test scores. Who could this help? If you’re super strong in a certain subject, a high subject subject test score will give your application an extra boost.

Other Tips and Tricks

Test scores are an important part of admissions, but they’re not the be-all and end-all to how Northwestern chooses its applicants. I’ve summarized some of their best advice below.

  • If you’re 100% sure that Northwestern is the school for you, apply Early Decision to boost your chances of acceptance (and take some of the pressure off that second semester of senior year!).
  • Make sure to take advantage of the “Additional Information” section of the Common Application if life events have prevented you from doing your best in school.

To Sum It All Up…

Is Northwestern competitive? Yes. Is it possible to get in? Definitely! If Northwestern’s your dream school, study hard, prep the heck out of your tests, and submit the best application that you can. We have our fingers crossed for you!

Ready to get your highest ACT score? Start here.
About Thomas Broderick

Thomas spent four years teaching high school English, social studies, and ACT preparation in Middle Tennessee. Now living in Northern California, he is excited to share his knowledge and experience with Magoosh's readers. In his spare time Thomas enjoys writing short fiction and hiking in the Sonoma foothills.

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