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NU: Campus Culture

rantrantrantrantrantrantrantrant 19 replies9 threads Junior Member
So, this is basically aimed at NU students or people who went for campus visits at NU. I'm an intl. student and can't go to their campus now.

How's the general vibe at the campus? If you had to speak about the quirks of NU students or what makes NU stand apart from everywhere else in the USA, what would you say? Is the student culture well-knit or does individualism has more focus? These types of questions are the ones I'm looking for, and if you could help me out, I'd be grateful
edited July 9
11 replies
Post edited by CCEdit_Suraj on
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Replies to: NU: Campus Culture

  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    edited April 11
    Other than being characterized as hardworking, highly intelligent, motivated students, the campus culture is somewhat different for North (more engineering students) versus South (more artsy) campus and also by the clubs & organizations & other activities in which one engages.

    Northwestern University is a National University with over 8,000 full-time undergraduate students & with well over 8,000 graduate students which leads to a more serious atmosphere than some schools.

    As a National University with a diverse student body in many respects, it is not as easy to define the campus culture as it is for much smaller schools such as LACs--and even then many different types of students & interests thrive on these small campuses.
    edited April 11
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  • rantrantrantrantrantrantrantrant 19 replies9 threads Junior Member
    I'm interested in Weinberg and maybe minoring in International Affairs or Econ.
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  • IWannaHelpIWannaHelp 460 replies3 threads Member
    edited April 11
    @rantrantrantrant Check out "Live from Northwestern" series on YouTube. I think you'd get a much better feel from watching the videos than any responses here.
    edited April 11
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  • rantrantrantrantrantrantrantrant 19 replies9 threads Junior Member
    @IWannaHelp thanks! I'll have a look!
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  • Scubaski1Scubaski1 98 replies11 threads Junior Member
    edited April 24
    My D is an incoming NU 2024 engineering/music student. We visited schools all over the U.S., and NU many times. She found NU is the perfect fit for her. We also know many current NU students/faculty, so I’ll do my best to explain the vibe..

    We watched the NU livestream from President Schapiro the other day and he described the culture perfectly - highly intelligent, well-rounded, big thinker students, who are hardworking, highly competitive yet collaborative, lifelong learners, with midwestern values of friendliness and down-to-earth attitude...

    E.g. He described someone like a theatre major, who became a playwright, then attended NU medical years later and practiced for a few years, then came back to NU for a law degree and become a patent attorney, then launched a start-up, etc. Lifelong learners with multiple successful careers throughout their lifetimes.

    IRL, I know many NU grads with this type of varied background who live very interesting lives. I think Schapiro mentioned 2/3 of students go on to earn advanced degrees.. That is a very high number.

    Schapiro also focused on the “midwestern values” that permeate the culture. This is what attracted my D as she is brilliant and hardworking, yet humble and laid back. She looked at schools like Stanford, Caltech, MIT, Princeton, Penn, etc.. and the cultures did not feel right to her. She is a midwesterner, so it makes sense.

    Schapiro is from the east coast (NJ/NY) and mentioned how incoming students from the coasts (he said 1/3 are from East or West Coast) get a kind of midwestern “culture shock” as they settle in as freshman. I believe him. We found there is just a different feel to NU than the coastal schools.

    Schapiro mentioned NU is not the type of cutthroat school where fellow students steal notes, rip pages out of library books to sabotage others, etc. as he has seen at other schools. There is IMO more of a midwestern down-to-earth, collaborative attitude here.

    However, students are still very competitive with their academics, career, sports, etc. Schapiro mentioned it is not a school where anyone has to remind students to study, improve their GPA. NU students are the top of the class and very self-motivated to achieve, and with the quarter system and frequent exams, that can be very stress-inducing. It is not the right environment for everyone.

    Also, many (maybe the majority) of students pursue double majors. My D is engineering/music, her friend is journalism/dance, and another friend is Economics/Spanish. Lots of cross-discipline learning and it’s extremely easy to switch majors/schools - another reason my D loves this school. You are not locked into the major you pick when you’re a 17 y.o. as with many other colleges.

    Of course, the campus/surroundings are beautiful and the Big 10 athletic spirit is great, as well as the easy access to the limitless cultural opportunities in the city of Chicago. I also think the opportunities for undergrad research, intern/co-op experiences are strong as compared to most other schools we looked at.

    If you can view the recent NU Schapiro Q&A livestream on YouTube, I’d recommend it.


    edited April 24
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  • rantrantrantrantrantrantrantrant 19 replies9 threads Junior Member
    Scubaski1 wrote: »
    Schapiro mentioned NU is not the type of cutthroat school where fellow students steal notes, rip pages out of library books to sabotage others, etc. as he has seen at other schools. There is IMO more of a midwestern down-to-earth, collaborative attitude here.

    What schools are those? Never knew they existed. Wow.....
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  • 4gsmom4gsmom 868 replies29 threads Member
    Scubaski1 wrote: »
    Schapiro mentioned NU is not the type of cutthroat school where fellow students steal notes, rip pages out of library books to sabotage others, etc. as he has seen at other schools. There is IMO more of a midwestern down-to-earth, collaborative attitude here.

    What schools are those? Never knew they existed. Wow.....

    Went on when I was in college in the 80s. You'd take a book out of the library and pages would be ripped out; people would steal cards from the card catalogs so people couldn't find the books they needed....
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    @rantrantrantrant: Not sure that "ripping out pages of library books to sabotage others" is still relevant in the age of computers, but before the proliferation of computers it was a very real problem at some hyper competitive schools & at many law schools.
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  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    edited April 26
    @Scubaski1: Thank you for sharing Dr. Shapiro's spot-on insights of NU students' ability to reinvent themselves due to drive, hard-work & intellect, as well as the depiction of NU's campus culture.

    Dr. Shapiro's description is quite accurate based on my direct knowledge of those with at least one degree from Northwestern University.
    edited April 26
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  • rantrantrantrantrantrantrantrant 19 replies9 threads Junior Member
    So anyone who has knowledge of this, what are some of the fun EC organizations at NU? I know that UChicago has a witch-hunt organization or something. Does NU have any?
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  • IWannaHelpIWannaHelp 460 replies3 threads Member
    edited May 5
    NU has almost 500 student organizations; chances are you'd be able to find something you like. They are listed on NU's website.
    edited May 5
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