Waitlist Dilemma: JHU vs NU McCormick? Help Decision Likely Due ~48 Hours (5/9/25)

I surprisingly think I got off the wait list at NU today, as I had an admissions officer try to call me and email me to set-up a time to chat. According to friends and online posting, this is what other wait list survivors get. I committed to Johns Hopkins earlier this week but now am in a deep conundrum… I know Northwestern likely will only give me 24-48 hours to decide once I call this my AO, and I am very much considering it though I love lots of things about JHU…

-Aid will play a role as I fortunately have decent money banked where I’m committed right now…

Interests: Math, Public Health, Cell & Molecular Biology, History of Science, Tech, and Medicine, Medical Related Engineering Field, French, German, Student Newspapers, Tennis … (Definitely prefer regular biology and public health over engineering, but I’m indecisive and feel like I would love parts about engineering.

Desires: Possibly Pre-Med/Possibly PhD, definitely, wants to double major in STEM, Co-ops and paid research would help me financially, major sports scene, laid-back not party kid, wants safe urban location, likes politically diverse or neutral, likes to be challenged, likes big crowds and big campus, needs stuff to do on weekends, probably not a frat kid, school spirit sponge

Thoughts specifically:

JHU (Cell Biology)


-love double major ease

-love ocean, DC, other city access

-love world class research

-love flexibility of majors

-love that the surrounding areas aren’t perfect

-people are amazing

-decent writing and student papers

-study abroad is great

-campus buildings brick and marble were aesthetic

-know current student there as a potential mentor


-campus not as big as other ones I’ve seen

-maintenance of surrounding area and outside of campus not impressive

-grade deflation everywhere

-post grad earnings aren’t as good as some comp schools

-premed comp is tough, even without exaggerations online

-lesser sports scene

-Baltimore scares my family

Northwestern McCormick Engineering (Chem Engineer)


-love co-op program

-McCormick post-undergrad earnings are solid

-College Town + City access

-hands-on emphasis on teaching

-love sports vibe

-better student paper + solid writing program

-campus has sleek look I love

-more fun alumni events

-love more laxed vibes


  • rigid course structure

  • not super excited about the major I have right now

-maybe a little more partying than JHU???

-not east coast/less international recognition(study abroad)

-engineering programs this year not ranked as highly as some other programs like UW Madison where I was admitted


Anyone know where Grade Deflation is worse? In case I go to Grad School?

How is NU’s study abroad? Particularly for French & German speaking countries?

Also how flexible are majors at NU? Can I switch between engineering realms? Can I switch out of McCormick easily?

It’s extremely easy to change majors at NU (outside of a select few competitive admissions majors like American Studies).

BTW, rankings are a pretty poor way to make a decision.