Northwestern's Essay Prompt Explained



More and more students each year are applying to Northwestern as one of their top choice schools. So we’re here to give a step by step guide to writing the Northwestern supplemental essay.

While other parts of your application give us a sense of who you are, we are also excited to hear more about how you see yourself engaging with the larger Northwestern community.
In 300 words or less, help us understand how you might engage specific resources, opportunities, and/or communities here. We are curious about what these specifics are, as well as how they may enrich your time at Northwestern and beyond.

So basically, they want to know “Why Northwestern.” You might already have a plan for how to write “Why X School” essays, but here’s what we’d do. First off, let’s make a brief list of all the obvious characteristics of Northwestern that could make someone want to go there.

  1. Renowned professors who are experts in their fields

  2. Big 10 Football School & school spirit

  3. Proximity to Chicago, but still located in a safe, quiet suburb

  4. Outstanding drama program

But, it’s crucial to remember that they’re really not asking “Why is Northwestern so great?” but rather “Why would attending Northwestern make you great?” We’ve seen many students come in with essays all about Northwestern’s football games or the location next to Chicago, but the school knows that these are their selling points. And they also know that there are plenty of other schools who have similar attributes. So how do you distinguish your essay from the rest?


For every positive attribute you can think of that Northwester has, you must also think of how that attribute is in line with your college goals and career ambitions. So for example, if you’re truly passionate about its proximity to Chicago, why? Perhaps you’re a Sociology major looking to study policing in Black neighborhoods and Chicago is the place you can make the most difference through field research. Or maybe you’re an electrical engineer who is looking to intern at Boeing which is headquartered in Chicago. Whatever it is, connect Northwestern’s attribute to your story.


In addition to that, the Northwestern website is going to be your best friend. Look up your major’s department on the Northwestern website. Check out the recent events or speakers they’ve invited and if professors in that department are doing research that you’re particularly interested in. In other words, it’s not enough to say you want to learn from Northwestern’s renowned Math department, you must give examples of how you would engage with that department.


After you’ve drafted an essay, it’s important to have it edited by several people in order to make sure that it’ll appeal to most readers. 7EDU’s expert instructors have helped countless students improve their essays and get into their dream schools, Northwestern included! Give us a call at (408) 216-9109 or schedule a free consultation with us today!


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