Likely admission to Northwestern via ED or apply RD to many to schools?

My son did not match through questbridge, but received an email from Northwestern that he would likely be admitted ED. He really wants to go to Duke or Vanderbilt, but Northwestern is high on his list as well. Should he take the Northwestern ED admission, or roll the dice and risk not getting into any?

Only your son can answer that. ED at Duke and Vandy will give him quite a bit higher chances over regular decision at those schools. Many top private schools admit the majority of their class thru ED and EA and thoughts are this will be more this year because of the financial beating schools took because of COVID. Everything I have read is that ED acceptances are expected to be up.

Do you mean your son applied ED and got an likely admission letter of NU? if he is accepted, he is binding to attend NU. He couldn’t apply other schools.

this is the first time I heard NU sent out likely letter. I know other schools do.

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I would be very interested in seeing the direct wording of NU’s email, if you feel comfortable sharing the relevant part of that.

Did your S rank Duke and Vandy as well? What is your EFC? Have you run NU’s net price calculator and it looks like it would be affordable?

Obviously, this is your call, but it would be difficult to ignore a strong signal of acceptance from NU provided they will meet your full need.

You didn’t list any compelling reasons to reject NU but I imagine there may be a few - cultural, or perhaps a relative strength of the planned major. This is worth discussing.
In my D’s very competitive public HS in Chicago, hardly anyone would prefer Duke or Vandy to NU, unless they want to study far away from home. It’s a fabulous school in a fantastic location, although too cold for a big part of the school year to fully enjoy its dreamy lake front vistas.

If Northwestern is high on your son’s list, I would take the likely offer. NW is a great school. The chances of getting in these schools are pretty slim for most people.

is OP’s son applying as class of2026? for 2025, deadline already passed!
I am confused with the timeline of the post and text.
If I am correct, the likely letter is not the likely letter we think about. Usually likely letter i not sent to ED applicant but sent to RD applicant like Columbia U.

OP’s son applied thru questbridge, sounds like he was probably a finalist that did not match. In that case, applicants can often roll their QB app into ED/EDII/EA at the various QB partner schools, even though the deadlines have passed.

I see, thanks

We see you as a great fit for Northwestern. Over the past month, we have been reviewing Early Decision applications, and you are a standout in this pool. Should you decide to convert your status to Early Decision, we anticipate admitting you to the Class of 2025 so long as there are no significant changes to your academic or personal record.

Again, he would prefer Duke or Vanderbilt, primarily because of location. However, he really like Northwestern as well. He will likely be admitted into a number of prestigious schools RD, but of course no guarantee of Duke or Vanderbilt.

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Thanks for sharing, that’s about as strong an intent as I’ve seen for a QB applicant. Congratulations.

This is a strong statement, but obviously I don’t know anything about your S’s app.

I wish you good luck in making your decision, it’s a tough one. And again, make sure to run NU’s NPC before rolling the app into ED.


He is interested in Economics. We live in Charlotte and my daughter is a junior at Duke. Of course Duke, Vanderbilt and NU are all elite schools for econ, so it’s mostly a location/weather issue. Of course there is also the familiarity and comfort level at Duke. It’s too late to apply Duke ED, but he can try for Vanderbilt ED2.

It’s his decision, We are just trying to gather as much information before he decides. He doesn’t want to regret passing on NU, and not get into Duke or Vanderbilt either. In which case Chapel Hill would likely be his fallback option.


I understand that admissions to the elite schools are highly subjective, but his sister managed to get into about 10. He quite honestly makes her seem completely average. We are very fortunate to have two children that were blessed with the ability to be admitted to these schools that meet full need. Although, it was probably a mistake to try for the Questbridge match, because our need was probably not as high as others.

He is leaning towards committing to NU early decision. Thank you for your replies.