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Applying to Northwestern

Important dates and deadlines

For more information about the application process, visit the Apply section on the Undergraduate Admissions site or contact a CLAVE coordinator with your questions.

Early Decision deadlines

  • Late November: Register for standardized test (the SAT, two SAT subject tests and ACT); plan college visits and campus tours
  • November 1: Applications are due
  • November 15: Music applicants auditions must be scheduled
  • December 1: Completed CSS Financial Aid Profile is due
  • December 15: Admission decisions are made
  • February 1: Nonrefundable tuition deposit is due
  • February 15: Completed FAFSA online form is due
  • March 5: Submit tax materials to College Board's IDOC Service

Regular Decision deadlines

  • Late November: Register for standardized test (the SAT, two SAT subject tests and ACT); plan college visits and campus tours
  • January 1: Applications are due
  • February 1: Music applicants auditions must be scheduled
  • February 15: Completed FAFSA online form and CSS Financial Aid Profile is due
  • March 5: Submit tax materials to College Board's IDOC Service
  • Early April: Admission decisions are made
  • May 1: Nonrefundable tuition deposit is due

What is Early Decision? 

If you are certain that Northwestern is where you want to enroll, we encourage you to apply under our Early Decision plan. 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.

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 enjoy a higher rate of admission.

If you are admitted under Early Decision and apply for financial aid, you will be notified of your aid decision around the time of your acceptance, provided your family has filed the College Scholarship Service Financial Aid Profile (CSS Profile) by December 1. Students admitted under Early Decision may be released from the commitment to enroll at Northwestern only for demonstrated financial hardship.

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