Northwestern’s acceptance rate is projected to drop below 10 percent for the first time, a University official said.
Northwestern accepted about 26 percent of early decision applications this year, said Michael Mills, associate provost for University enrollment. In total, NU received 37,050 applications, an increase of about 2,000 applications from last year.
The newly admitted early decision class is one of the most diverse the University has had, Mills said, with 21 percent of students identifying as black, Hispanic, American Indian or Alaskan native. International students make up 12 percent of the early decision class.
Mills attributed the increase in applications to Northwestern’s relationship with the Questbridge Scholars Network, a program that helps universities identify high-achieving low-income students.
Mills said 15 percent of the newly-admitted students are recipients of Pell Grants, a federal grant for low-income families. University President Morton Schapiro announced last winter that the University aims to have a freshman class of 20 percent Pell Grant recipients by 2020.
Northwestern received a record high of more than 3,700 early decision applications this year. He said the highly-selective nature of elite colleges and universities can make high school students feel more stressed about college admissions, prompting them to send out more applications. Increased applications in turn can make admissions more selective, feeding a cycle, he said.
“That’s a pretty sobering statistic,” Mills said of the anticipated admissions rate. “I can’t imagine being on the other end… I wish it were different, but that’s just the way it works in the United States and highly selective schools.”