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Application Requirements

Required materials for first-year and transfer applicants.

The checklists below outline the basic requirements for applying to Northwestern.

In addition to compiling the required materials, be sure to note important application dates and deadlines for Early Decision applicants, Regular Decision applicants, Transfer applicants and International applicants on our Application Options page. While this page provides an overview of required materials, we know that you might have additional questions. To help, we've developed FAQs that address COVID-19 and the modified testing policy for the 2020-22 cycle.

Jump to the requirements:

First-Year Applicants

  • Common Application or Coalition Application*
  • Official secondary school transcript and school report
  • Counselor recommendation
  • At least one teacher recommendation
  • SAT or ACT scores (OPTIONAL for 2020-22 cycle, for more details see FAQ)
  • Official proof of English language proficiency (ONLY for applicants whose first/primary language is not English or whose secondary schooling has not been in English)
    Accepted English proficiency exams
    Duolingo English Test (DET)
    IELTS, including IELTS Indicator
    TOEFL iBT, including TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition but not TOEFL ITP Plus for China Solution
  • Nonrefundable application fee of $75 or application fee waiver
  • Early Decision Agreement (ONLY Early Decision applicants)
  • Midyear transcript
  • Music audition (ONLY School of Music applicants)

Transfer Applicants

  • Common Application or Coalition Application*
  • Official university transcript(s) from all universities attended, must demonstrate at least one year of full-time undergraduate study 
  • Official secondary school transcript noting graduation
  • College report
  • Academic evaluation
  • SAT or ACT scores (REQUIRED for transfer applicants for the 2020-22 application cycle)
  • Official proof of English language proficiency (ONLY for applicants whose first/primary language is not English or whose secondary schooling has not been in English)
    Accepted English proficiency exams
    Duolingo English Test (DET)
    IELTS, including IELTS Indicator
    TOEFL iBT, including TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition but not TOEFL ITP Plus for China Solution
  • Nonrefundable application fee of $75 or application fee waiver
  • Music audition (School of Music applicants ONLY)
  • Required for homeschooled high school applicants ONLY: 3 SAT subject tests

*For those wondering which application to use: We have absolutely no preference. You should choose whichever application best suits your individual circumstances—just be sure you submit only one of these two applications to Northwestern. Read more application FAQs.

For students who take the SAT or ACT more than once, our system will combine the highest section scores across multiple test dates and calculate a “superscore” that will override the high score from a single sitting in our database. Applicants are not obligated to report scores from all test dates, though are welcome to do so. 

  • For students who take the new ACT section tests (available in September 2020), we will factor any individual section scores into your ACT superscore.
  • Students may utilize ACT’s new superscore reporting option to report an official superscore.
  • Students may self-report all SAT and ACT scores, but please do not calculate your own ACT superscore—report your highest ACT section scores and your highest composite score from a single test date, and our system will calculate the ACT superscore. Admitted students who choose to enroll will be required to submit official SAT or ACT test scores that confirm highest self-reported section/composite scores prior to matriculation.
  • The Northwestern SAT Reasoning Test code 1565.
  • The Northwestern ACT code is 1106.

English proficiency scores may not be self-reported; these must be submitted officially via the appropriate testing organization as part of the application. While there is no minimum score required by Northwestern, competitive applicants demonstrate a high level of English proficiency and typically score in the high range on all sections of the exams we accept. Note: Northwestern does not superscore English proficiency exams, and will not review TOEFL’s MyBest Scores.

  • The Northwestern TOEFL code 1565.

Applicants Requiring Additional Materials

Some applications may require materials in addition to an application for undergraduate admission. Below, you will find a list of requirements for Bienen School of Music, Honors Program in Medical Education (HPME), Integrated Science Program (ISP), Mathematical Methods in Social Sciences (MMSS) and School of Communication's Musical Theater Program. For questions pertaining to the content of submission of supplemental application material, please contact the corresponding office directly. 

Bienen School of Music

In addition to an application for undergraduate admission, all undergraduate applicants to the Bienen School of Music must submit a Bienen School Supplement. Submitting the Supplement ensures that the Bienen School of Music is aware that you are applying for a music major, and provides a portal to submit music application materials. Bienen School applicants also register for auditions via the Supplement.

Supplement materials:

See instructions and deadlines for submitting the supplement. Please note that many supplement deadlines fall prior to those of the general application for admission. 

 

Integrated Science Program (ISP)

Students who wish to apply to the Integrated Science Program must also complete an ISP application using the online application.

The application processes to Northwestern and to ISP are separate. Admission to Northwestern is not a guarantee of admission to the ISP and the status of your ISP application will not affect your Northwestern general acceptance decision. 

Supplement materials:

  • For an updated list of required materials, please see the ISP website.

ISP application considerations:

  • Your high school preparation should include four years of mathematics, including one year of calculus, and four years of science, including chemistry and physics. Taking AP Physics and Chemistry is highly recommended.
  • You should complete the study of one-variable differential and integral calculus before enrolling in ISP. If you will not complete this study in high school, we will ask you to outline how you plan to fulfill this requirement. 

See instructions and deadlines for submitting the supplement. 

Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences (MMSS)

Students who wish to apply to the Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences program must also complete an MMSS application using the online application

The application processes to Northwestern and to MMSS are separate. Admission to Northwestern is not a guarantee of admission to the MMSS and the status of your MMSS application will not affect your Northwestern general acceptance decision. 

MMSS application considerations:

  • A strong high school curriculum, including a year of calculus, is required for admission. 

School of Communication Applicants to the Music Theatre Certificate Program

Students applying to the Northwestern University School of Communication Theatre Major who are interested in pursuing admittance to the Northwestern University Music Theatre Certificate Program are encouraged to submit an optional Music Theatre Supplement.

Students who are interested in Music Theatre and are applying to the Bienen School of Music do not need to submit this Music Theatre Supplement. Bienen School of Music Voice Majors must audition for the program after their first quarter of study. 

Supplement materials:

  • Resume
  • Photograph
  • Personal Statement (video)
  • Applicant provides video recorded response to the Music Theatre interview questions:
    • #1 “Give us insight into what excites and intrigues you about musical theater performance today.”
    • #2 “What do you see yourself achieving through an education in musical theatre performance?”
  • 2 performance videos (acting a song):
    • Two musical selections up to 32-bars in length.
    • Both songs must be memorized, and one should be written before 1968.
  • Live or recorded accompaniment is preferred to “a cappella” singing.
  • Optional Supporting Materials 

See instructions and deadlines for submitting the supplement.