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Early Decision Applicant

The first step in your Northwestern Direction is learning how to apply.

Important dates and deadlines

October 15Audition registration deadline (Music applicants only)

Applicants to the Bienen School of Music must register online for an audition.

November Test DateStandardized testing

Use Northwestern school code 1565 (SAT) or 1106 (ACT) to have your SAT Reasoning Test or ACT with writing sent directly to us. Two SAT Subject Tests are recommended.

November 1Early Decision Application deadline


Essay writing is your opportunity for personal expression. We ask an intentionally open-ended question: why would you like to attend? When you answer, focus on your interests or experiences.

The following must be submitted: Common Application (with additional "Why Northwestern" written response encouraged), secondary school report (includes high school transcript and counselor recommendation letter), teacher recommendation, required standardized test scores, Early Decision agreement and a nonrefundable application fee of $75.

Students applying to the School of Communication Theatre or Dance majors may submit an optional Music Theatre Supplement

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Additional application requirements may be necessary if you are applying to the following:

December 15Early Decision Admission decision

If you’re admitted, and your family has provided the College Scholarship Service Financial Aid Profile (CSS Profile), you will be notified of your financial aid award details within one week of the release of your admission decision.

February 1Enrollment decision and tuition deposit

To confirm your place in the first-year class, you must submit nonrefundable tuition and housing deposits.

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Why Early Decision?

If you are certain that Northwestern is where you want to enroll, we encourage you to apply under our Early Decision plan. Applicants who choose Early Decision send a strong, positive message to Northwestern. Given their high level of interest and overall academic and personal strength, Early Decision applicants experience a higher rate of admission.

As with all traditional Early Decision plans, you agree to withdraw all applications at other colleges and enroll at Northwestern if admitted. Students interested in the Honors Program in Medical Education (HPME) must apply under the Regular Decision plan.