Northwestern University 2017-18 Supplemental Essay Prompt Guide
The Requirements: 1 essay of 300 words or less
Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why
Is it a mirage? No it’s the Northwestern supplement. And yes, it only has one (1!) solitary question. But when a school like Northwestern (with its 10.7% acceptance rate) lobs you a softball, you’ve got to wonder, “what’s the catch?” Hint: a seemingly easy supplement means that you have no excuse to slack off, no reason to cut corners. Your final draft had better be a sparkling example of your best writing, showcasing your best self (and your best spelling!). So what are you waiting for?
Other parts of your application give us a sense for how you might contribute to Northwestern. But we also want to consider how Northwestern will contribute to your interests and goals.
In 300 words or less, help us understand what aspects of Northwestern appeal most to you, and how you’ll make use of specific resources and opportunities here.
This is a why essay without the word “why” in its confines, but make no mistake: it’s putting you to the same test. As you likely already know, a why essay is the classic litmus test for your fit and commitment. Do you want what the school has to offer? How much do you even care? Demonstrating a depth of knowledge will address both of these questions, so put on your researching glasses and fire up the Internet! Spend some time on the Northwestern website digging beyond the basic admissions facts and figures. What classes would you take? What special programs or centers appeal to you? What activities would you pursue? Your final list doesn’t have to be comprehensive (you only have 300 words, after all), but it should be cohesive. In the end, you need to describe how you plan to “make use of” Northwestern’s many offerings, so pick a few that go together. Love birds? Why not extol the interdisciplinary benefits of studying biology at one of the few institutions to house a complete set of Audubon’s Birds of America? You get the idea!
Interested in sharing the same alma mater as Stephen Colbert and David Schwimmer? If Northwestern is one of your top choices, you should be able to succinctly explain why.
Part of the Northwestern application includes a supplemental essay that asks you to elaborate on why you are applying to their school. Here’s their prompt:
We ask an intentionally open-ended question: why would you like to attend? When you answer, focus on your interests or experiences.
Here are 5 successful “Why Northwestern” essays to help you kickstart yours:
Any school, but especially Northwestern, is difficult to summarize. Balanced, spirited, laidback, ambitious; although true, each word generalizes the depth of the overall university experience. Two descriptors stand out above the rest, however: flexible and magnetic. Keep reading.
After researching potential college majors, I decided to pursue engineering with a focus on the more creative and human side. While I love math and science, creativity and human interaction are very important to me. When I attended the Northwestern McCormick School of Engineering information session, Dean Holtgreive talked about the Design Thinking and Communication class; it sounded exactly like the course of study I want to pursue. Read more.
What appeals most to me about Northwestern is that it houses some of the world’s top scholars and innovators in Evanston who are accessible and willing to work with undergraduates on research projects. After my summer 2014 internship at The University of Akron’s Polymer Science department, the second best in the country, where I designed and implemented a procedure to test the effect of varying gecko toe pad surface chemistry on the effectiveness of the self-cleaning of its feet, I am seeking a school that is committed to undergraduate research. Continue reading.
There are many things I love about Northwestern, such as the academic flexibility, the chance to take more classes with the quarter system, the variety of clubs, and the proximity to Chicago.
That’s the answer I give to my friends and teachers. While those things are true, my real reason for choosing Northwestern is more than just academics, statistics, or Gator Bowl titles. It was the feeling I got that Friday afternoon in May when I first met Natalie, the student who would be hosting me for an overnight. Read more.
With the rapid increase of global communications and the cultural preeminence of social media, the social fabric of American society is constantly shifting, and with it, the role of media within our everyday lives. The Medill School of Journalism would allow me to not only gain insight on the dynamic functions of modern media, but also develop the crucial rhetorical skills required to thrive in the professional world. View full essay.
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About The Author
Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.