This winter was exceptionally warm with little snow, last winter was cold with excessive snow. Dorms are overly heated. The coldest temps are usually January and February, warmest during the school year are September, end of May, and June. Many dorms have air conditioning should you want to use it.
It's the wind off the lake that really makes it feel cold. Then again, as mentioned previously, this was a very mild winter. The dorms have lots of heat, too much in the opinion of my son. He can't stand it being so warm in his room. (His roommate likes it warm...)
They don't need heaters -- in the summer it's too hot, and in the winter it's too cold, so "on average" it's perfect. As an added plus, for your tuition dollars you can learn to build a snowman at no extra cost.
Ok, seriously -- it gets cold at NU. It gets below freezing. You will see snow -- perhaps lots of snow. Buildings are heated in the winter and inside it's comfortable.
I graduated from NU in June. My first winter there (as a Florida girl) was super cold. I once spontaneously trekked to North Face after a home football game (against Ohio State) and purchased a crazy expensive, but super cozy and wind-resistant, jacket because of the treacherous game I had just endured. The key is simply to be prepared. Don't pretend you'll be OK with a couple of sweatshirts and a pair of mittens. There will be days you'll need that hefty coat, thick socks and lined boots. But you'll get used to it pretty quickly. My sophomore, junior and senior years felt like nothing. And guess what? You learn to walk in icy conditions pretty quickly, too! I slipped and fell -- or nearly fell -- around 10 times freshman year but never again throughout the last three years! And yes there are heaters. You'll be OK. =]
Given that millions and millions of people live in the greater Chicago area, it just isn't that big of a deal. You're not talking the frozen tundra where no one lives. As someone who grew up in the northeast, I personally found minimal difference between northeast winters and Chicago winters. And no one worries about the cold in NYC or Boston when picking colleges, do they? Same difference. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.
Chicago winters run the gamut, from mild to incredibly cold. My senior year, the temperature didn''t get higher than 31 degrees F for almost three months. I could always tell when it was less than 10 degrees because the inside of my nose froze as soon as I went outdoors. I also learned that salt doesn't melt ice when the temperature is less than 7 degrees. So many people slipped and fell on the icy sidewalks that it seemed like half the campus was wearing a cast. Lake Michigan was frozen solid for at least 10 miles out, and the snow was piled up so high that you couldn't see if anyone else was at a 4-way stop sign. I grew up in the Northeast, and I can assure you that I never saw any winter in the Northeast nearly as bad as the Winter of '79 at NU.
It's not the cold that gets to you at Northwestern, it's the gray overcast sky, absent the sun for months on end-- and I mean months on end! This works on your head-- mood.
I understand this past winter was a cake walk-- mild. This happens. I lived thru many of the epic snow winters over approx 20 years. Actually, they can be pretty neat. Get yourself a set of cross country skis with poles-- lots of fun. Ice skating for you Florida kids should be a blast, and pick up hockey on a flooded field-- pretty neat.
Again, it's not the cold that gets to you in Chicago, it's the gray overcast sky, absent the sun for months on end-- And, again, I mean months on end! November, December, January, February, March (ok, maybe a little sun), then April and the Cubs open at Wrigley-- or are they snowed out.
Well, that's my take. I'm staying in Florida. .02 David NU71,NU72,NU74
Hey old man (Bellport Dad)! I can say that since I was a senior at NU in '79 and it was a LONG time ago...
Yes - it was brutal. But I stayed in the Chicago area and have seen 30+ winters here and that was not a normal winter.
As to bn12gg - less sunshine than Florida for sure. And anywhere with a real winter the trees lose their leaves, grass isn't green, etc. but "absent the sun for months on end" is a little over the top!
It's all about what you're used to. I came from a western state with worse winters and with low humidity. Spring of freshman year the first 80+ degree days with high humidity, I could barely function.