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Can I get into Northwestern

Kenna13Kenna13 33 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
edited January 2014 in Northwestern University
Apply ED

White female
Got to small catholic school with 90 people in my class, my grades a hard to get...
GPA- 3.9665/4.0

Class rank is not reported at all by my school- we got to competitive...

ACT- 30 - low I know but I got it up from a 23
SAT 2- US History 770, will take lit in October maybe take math level 2

APs- Human geography- as a freshman at old school
None offered sophmore year
Junior year -us history, language, chemistry
Senior year will be calc, literature, government (online)
The rest are advanced classes

Latin is foreign language- only took 2 years because I had to do it online and that was all that was offered

EC- 2 choirs, 2- musicals, alto section leader, drama club, ambassador, vita chrisiti, senior class officer, interact club, raise money for well project in uganda for interact, hopefully in charge of senior class charity, scholastic bowl, law review

A ton of volunteer hours-- beyond the amount required by my school

National Honor Society
Mu Alpha Theta

Great recs from teacher

Hopefully great essay
Baby sitting job

My intended majors are poli sci and history then law school... if that makes a difference
edited January 2014
30 replies
Post edited by Kenna13 on
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Replies to: Can I get into Northwestern

  • Kenna13Kenna13 33 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Does anyone have any advice? Please
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  • SteveCSteveC 721 replies6 threadsRegistered User Member
    OK, Kenna13, since no one else has replied, I'll give it a shot. First, a disclaimer: I'm the father of an RD admit for the class of 2016; that's just about the extent of my knowledge.

    NU's Common Data Set says there are five factors that are "very important" to admission decisions: rigor of secondary school record, class rank, academic GPA, standardized test scores, and application essay (recs and ECs are just "important"). You're wise to point out that you took APs where they were available. We asked S's counselor to include this sort of information in her recommendation to make sure they knew he was taking the most rigorous courseload available to him. Your school doesn't rank; you're not alone. I'm sure Admissions has a workaround. Don't lose sleep over something you can't change. GPA? No worries. :)

    The not-so-great news: A 30 ACT is in the bottom quartile for admitted freshmen. Based on S's experience, I advise kids to take one ACT and one SAT. Chances are, one will stand out as "your" test. Then I suggest repeating the better test once or twice so long as you don't go over three attempts on any one test.

    Essay? Still entirely under your control at this point. Work with a good essay book, preferably written by someone either currently or formerly in the admissions business. There are a lot of well-meaning people here, but many (including me) don't have the same perspective as the people who matter in Admissions.

    NU is interested in yield, so applying ED is a great idea. On the application supplement, they'll ask if/when you've visited. If the cost of a visit isn't prohibitive, it might be helpful.

    Best of luck to you!
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  • Kenna13Kenna13 33 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thanks. Unfortunately I don't think I will be ably to take the sat or act again due to schedule. I have visited, and am using my visit in the essay. Thanks for the reply. Anyone else?
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  • PieceofToastPieceofToast 251 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    You won't be able to take the SAT or ACT again? That must be some serious scheduling issues--most colleges will accept at least a couple of the fall test dates, even for ED.

    There's a separate section devoted to glorifying the school. So you can use the common application essay to talk about why you're so special.

    Really, apart from your test scores, I'd say that you're good. There's always an element of chance in admissions, but I think that you're almost in the best situation you could hope for, short of curing cancer or something crazy like that.
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  • Kenna13Kenna13 33 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    My mother is convinced that I shouldn't take the act again because I took it four times already.And I can't convince her otherwise. And I am taking a subject test during the sat times. I wish history was apart of the act that is where I am the best a academically. Thanks.

    Just a side note do you guys think a 30 act is the reason I will not be accepted?
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  • sally305sally305 7475 replies129 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    You're mom is right. Don't take the ACT again.

    But please, practice your proofreading--even on CC posts, but especially on the essay for NU.
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  • sally305sally305 7475 replies129 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    **YOUR mom is right. See? PROOFREAD before pressing "send." :)
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  • PieceofToastPieceofToast 251 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Ah. Yeah, after four tries, extra testing won't help. IF you aren't accepted, the test score certainly won't have helped. But I don't believe it's low enough to discount you outright, particularly since you've taken advanced and AP courses, and still have an excellent GPA. But NU emphasizes yield more than anything else, so applying early will definitely help your case. So will having visited, met with NU reps in your area, and so on. There's a long list of ways to get in contact with the college, and you'll be asked which ones you've used, as a part of your common application. The more detailed your 'Why Northwestern?' essay, the better, especially if you decide to apply regular decision.

    Best of luck!
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  • Kenna13Kenna13 33 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Sorry for the mistakes, and thanks for the advice. Would an alumni interview be that helpful, I thought they made it seem like it wasn't that big on the website. I live in Illinois, so I see no reason that I couldn't do one, if it will help.
    Oh, an my English teacher is going to proofread everything. :)
    One last question, will only taking two years of foreign Language hurt? even if it was my only option due to a move.
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  • sally305sally305 7475 replies129 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Not sure about the language thing; you'd have to check. A lot of top colleges want to see three or four years but it may not be a requirement.

    Have you looked at Knox College? Also in Illinois and a great school for a bright, motivated student like you. My son and I loved it when we visited. The students there are more collaborative and friendly than we found at Northwestern, and the faculty is fantastic--completely dedicated to undergrads (which is not often the case at big research universities).
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  • Kenna13Kenna13 33 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Northwestern has been my dream school since I was 11, so no school has really come close to it in my research, I want to be near Chicago area or East Coast. Right now my back up school is UIC. But thanks!

    They only require 2 years, but I wasn't sure if they expected or wanted more?

    Does anyone know anything about NU choir for non majors? I can't find anything on the website that is very descriptive only the name.
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  • PieceofToastPieceofToast 251 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Well, obviously if you're fluent, then that's always a plus. I doubt they'll count it against you--they have a two-year (six quarter) language requirement at NU, anyway, unless you test out of it via AP or placement test. Judging by the conversations going on about placement for a language that wasn't previously studied, I don't think they'll mind.

    It looks like there are musical groups for non-majors, for all instruments. Might need to audition when you get on campus, but I'm utterly certain that they're there.

    As for the interview... if you don't get one, it won't hurt you. On the other hand, if it's offered and you refuse, that won't look good at all.
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  • Kenna13Kenna13 33 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thanks for the answer. I know some schools say they require 2 years of language but really they expect more. Wasn't sure what northwestern thought. Yes the choirs are there, I was just curious about them. Thanks again.
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  • lagunallagunal 577 replies23 threadsRegistered User Member
    Some private schools will give a preference to in-state applicants to a certain degree. For example, Duke has to accept a percentage of students from North Carolina and Stanford picks a large percent of students from California. So if NU is similar, since you are from Illinois, you may have an edge over the typical out-of-state applicant.

    If you took a foreign language in 7th or 8th grade, have that added to your high school transcript. The course will count, but not the grade.

    Your biggest advantage is to apply Early Decision. The NU administration was quoted last year as saying that they will give preference to students who choose them first.

    In the meantime, take the ACT and SAT in the fall. A 30 on an ACT might not be a competitive enough number for your gender/race/residence/major grouping.
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  • Kenna13Kenna13 33 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Well, because I already took the ACT 4 times taking it again will not help. And I need to take one maybe two more SAT IIs in September and maybe October depending on my scores. I am applying ED, so hopefully a great essay ( i am hoping it is a great essay) will outweigh the bad ACT.
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  • Ahp1994Ahp1994 27 replies5 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I strongly suggest taking the Sat or act again. As an unhooked white female your odds are quite low and I might suggest using your ED card elsewhere if you have another contender with slightly easier admissions standards. The bottom quartile is principally comprised of athletes, Urms, and other special admits such as musicians. The sat 2s are given minimal consideration at NU for your intended majors. Private tutoring can really help on the standardized tests. Each point on the composite really makes a difference given an otherwise stellar record.

    On the other hand, if you really do not have a second choice apply ED but be prepared to attend a flagship state university.
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  • arbiter213arbiter213 3501 replies71 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Probably a no, for reasons addressed (test scores) unless you can tell a very compelling story. ED makes it more likely but still likely no. I'm sorry to say, you seem like a good, hardworking girl.

    The good news is law schools do not care at all where you go to UG. Get a 4.0 in college and kill the LSAT, if you want to go to law school. But don't go to law school.
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  • Kenna13Kenna13 33 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I will not attend a flagship state university, and I realize my act is low, but even if I had a 36 act my chances would still be low for NU. So thanks for the response, but this is my dream school, and all I can do at this point is try to in them over with my essay. I knew from the beginning my chances were low, I was just hoping for some advice, other than bring up your test scores, about how I could make my application stand out. But if that's all I can do then I guess I have to wait and see.
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  • blackremotesblackremotes 9 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I came from a very similar background. Small all-girl catholic school (my class was only 43, though), good GPA, volunteer hours, and an okay ACT.

    Seriously, take the ACT again. I got in with a 31 ED, and my stats were very similar to yours. And studies show that if you take a test again, your score will go up by at least one point. And that one point makes a huge difference.

    But, you don't have a hook. And in today's admissions climate, it seems that hooks can make or break a decision - especially ED.

    So, I would suggest writing an essay that really reveals something about yourself that they can't find anywhere else on their application. Even within my tiny class, the people that basically elaborated on their own accomplishments didn't do as well as those that were creative and personal. And be personal with your "Why NU" essay. It seems like you know a lot about the school and really love it, make sure that comes across - but don't just rewrite the wikipedia page.

    I feel like, as others have said, you're a really bright student with a great future ahead of you, but I don't think you're a surefire acceptee at this point. I wish you all the best, and if you're supposed to end up at NU, you will.
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  • Kenna13Kenna13 33 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I am going to take the sat in september and see how that goes. I already improved on my act by seven points and I can tell i can't improve further. I am trying to present myself as being really dedicated to music. Kind of a musical future lawyer so they can understand my passions and get a description of me, if that makes since. I have been published as a writer so I hope that means I am a good writer enough to convey how much I want this. And thanks again.
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