International Applicant FAQs
- Does Northwestern have limitations on the number of international students admitted to the University?
- Is there a separate application process for international applicants?
- May I apply for admission during any quarter?
- Does Northwestern accept documents in a language other than English?
- The questions on the Northwestern application do not match my educational system in regards to grades, GPA, college counseling, type of curriculum, etc. What should I do?
- In my country/school system, we do not have time for extracurricular activities. Will this put me at a disadvantage in the application process?
- My teacher/counselor does not know me well. May I substitute a recommendation from a supervisor of an extracurricular activity, a coach, or a family friend?
- May I apply and be admitted to Northwestern even though I plan to leave secondary school early?
- Do I have to take the SAT Reasoning Test (SAT I) or the ACT?
- Should I take the TOEFL or IELTS? Is there a minimum score?
- Does Northwestern interview prospective students?
- Will I be able to defer my admission to Northwestern because of my country's mandatory National Service or for another reason?
- Will I receive credit for International Baccalaureate, Advanced Placement, and other exams?
Does Northwestern have limitations on the number of international students admitted to the University?
No. Northwestern seeks the most diverse student body possible and does not place limits on the number of students from any country or group of countries.
No. International applicants follow the same application procedures as domestic applicants. International applicants are required to demonstrate English language proficiency and may be asked to submit the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exams. Please refer to the instructions for international applicants, as well as our general application section for more information.
Applicants who need a visa to enter the United States may apply for fall quarter admission only. International applicants are strongly encouraged to apply online to ensure timely receipt of application materials.
No. All applicants with foreign academic credentials must provide Northwestern with certified English translations of their original transcripts. Applicants may use any transcript translation service including one in their home country. The National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) maintains a list of some of the companies that will provide this service.
The questions on the Northwestern application do not match my educational system in regards to grades, GPA, college counseling, type of curriculum, etc. What should I do?
The Office of Undergraduate Admission understands that applicants to Northwestern study in diverse educational systems. Indicate as best you can the information that the application requests. If you cannot find an appropriate place for the information, please submit it as additional information.
In my country/school system, we do not have time for extracurricular activities. Will this put me at a disadvantage in the application process?
Northwestern understands that students in some countries and school systems have restricted time for involvement beyond school work. We also know that the importance of these activities is viewed differently in many parts of the world. Although this knowledge is taken into account, applicants are still highly encouraged to pursue activities (organized or unorganized) during their free time. The most competitive candidates for admission demonstrate achievement inside and outside the classroom.
My teacher/counselor does not know me well. May I substitute a recommendation from a supervisor of an extracurricular activity, a coach, or a family friend?
Northwestern requires at least one reference from an academic source. Other recommendations may be submitted in addition to one that discusses classroom performance. The Office of Undergraduate Admission recommends that the number of submitted letters not exceed three.
A small number of applicants each year decide to leave their secondary school early for various reasons. Northwestern encourages all students to finish a program that will allow them to enter a university in their home country. Students who apply with partially completed academic programs are at a disadvantage in the admission process.
All applicants to Northwestern must take the SAT Reasoning Test (SAT I) or ACT with Writing. Northwestern understands that it may be difficult to take these tests in certain countries. However, any application submitted without these scores will not be considered complete.
There is no minimum score required by Northwestern. Competitive applicants demonstrate a high level of English proficiency and often score 105 or above on the TOEFL iBT or 7.5 or above on the IELTS.
Admission interviews are not required and are an optional addition to your application for admission. All interviews are conducted off-campus by Northwestern's regional Alumni Admission Councils (AAC), situated throughout the United States and in select international locations.
Alumni admission interviews provide applicants with an opportunity to learn more about the Northwestern student experience through an alumna/us. Given the limited availability of alumni interviews, only a very small percentage of our applicants are ultimately able to schedule an appointment. Interviews are not a significant component of the application. Therefore, applicants who are unable or choose not to interview are not at a disadvantage in the admission process.
Will I be able to defer my admission to Northwestern because of my country's mandatory National Service or for another reason?
Northwestern is familiar with the National Service requirement that is compulsory in some countries. Admitted students who reserve a space in the class may defer admission to Northwestern in order to fulfill this duty. Requests for deferral due to National Service or for another reason must be made in writing to the Dean of Undergraduate Admission and are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. When Northwestern offers a student deferral, it is with the understanding that they will not use this opportunity to enroll for academic credit at another post-secondary institution. Northwestern will not award credit for any course work done during the deferral period.
Results of the Baccalaureate, Abitur, A-levels, and other university entrance examinations will be evaluated on an individual basis for the possible award of up to one full year of academic credit. Northwestern also awards credit in nearly all areas for Advanced Placement (AP) examination scores of 5 and for International Baccalaureate higher-level examination results of 5 or higher. Please refer to our AP/IB credits page for more detailed information.