How to Get Into Northeastern: Acceptance Rate and Strategies

May 29, 2023

northeastern acceptance rate, how to get into northeastern

Anyone who went to college thirty, twenty, or even ten years ago, would likely be shocked if you told them that Northeastern University, once viewed as more of a commuter school than a nationally-recognized institution, the Northeastern acceptance rate is in the single digits (the Northeastern ED acceptance rate is much higher). This Boston-based private university was founded back in 1898 and one hundred years later, U.S. News ranked NU as the 162nd best school in the country. What has happened since that time is nothing short of amazing. In 2000, the average incoming SAT was 1157; today it is 1484. The school now rests comfortably among the top 50 universities according to U.S. News and receives in excess of 96,000 applications every year.

Given that the process of gaining acceptance into Northeastern becomes increasingly challenging with each passing year, we will touch on the following topics:

  • Northeastern acceptance rate – Class of 2027
  • Northeastern ED acceptance rate – Class of 2027
  • SAT, ACT, and class rank of accepted Northeastern applicants
  • Admissions trends from the Class of 2027
  • The demographics of current Northeastern undergraduates
  • Northeastern’s yield rate
  • How Northeastern’s admissions officers evaluate candidates
  • Tips for applying to Northeastern
  • How to assess whether applying to Northeastern is even worth the $75 application fee (for you)

Let’s begin with an examination of the most recent admissions data.

Northeastern Acceptance Rate – Class of 2027

Northeastern received 96,327 applications for its 2023-24 freshman class. They have not released an official Class of 2027 acceptance rate, however, the following is known…they aim to bring 2,600 hundred total students to main campus and 200-300 to the campuses in London and Oakland, CA. Based on this data, the estimated Northeastern acceptance rate to the Boston campus is around 5-6% for the Class of 2027, an all-time low.

For comparison, the acceptance rate in previous years has been drastically higher:

  • Northeastern acceptance rate Class of 2026: 6.8%
  • Class of 2025: 18%
  • Class of 2024: 20%

Northeastern ED Acceptance Rate

In building the Class of 2027, Northeastern accepted 39% of ED applicants. This is higher than the 33% acceptance rate for the Class of 2026, but lower than the 51% clip for the Class of 2025.

NU offers both ED I and ED II, with November 1 and January 1 deadlines.

Northeastern Admissions – SAT, ACT, and Class Rank

The median SAT for Class of 2026 members was 1500, the highest to date. Eighty-one percent of test-takers scored a 700+ on the EBRW section and 94% earned better than 700 on the Math section. The mid-50% ACT score was 33-35. An overwhelming 77% of Class of 2026 members finished in the top decile of their high school class; 95% placed in the top quartile.

Admissions Trends & Notes – (Class of 2027)

  • The school received 91,100 applications for the Class of 2026 compared to 96,327 in this most recent cycle.
  • The number of applicants has increased by 49.5% over the last four years.
  • ED applications increased by 30% in the 2022-23 admissions cycle.
  • Since 2015, Early Decision applications have risen from 772 to 5,872.
  • 71% if the applicant pool identified as non-White.

Who Gets Into Northeastern?

Let’s look at the demographics of Northeastern undergraduates:

Geographically, 48 U.S. states are presently represented across the NU undergraduate population. As with all selective colleges, those from lower-populated, more remote areas of the country (e.g. Wyoming, South Dakota, and Alaska) enjoy a boost to their admissions prospects.

The states with the strongest undergraduate representation are:

  1. Massachusetts
  2. New York
  3. New Jersey
  4. California
  5. Connecticut
  6. Pennsylvania
  7. Florida

Northeastern Acceptance Rate (Continued)

Looking at ethnic identity, the breakdown of students was as follows:

  • Asian: 18%
  • Hispanic: 11%
  • African American: 6%
  • White: 43%
  • International: 15%
  • Two or more races: 6%

The breakdown by gender is as follows:

  • Male: 46%
  • Female: 54%

Northeastern Acceptance Rate (Continued)

Let’s now take a college-by-college look at where/what current undergraduates are studying (most recent data available):

  • College of Arts, Media, and Design: 1,514
  • Bouvé College of Health Sciences: 2,134
  • D’Amore-McKim School of Business: 4,449
  • College of Engineering: 3,958
  • Khoury College of Computer Sciences: 2,938
  • College of Science: 3,374
  • College of Social Sciences and Humanities: 1,860
  • University Programs: 611

NU’s Yield Rate

Northeastern’s yield rate — the percentage of accepted students who elect to enroll, divided by the total number of students who are admitted — was 33% last year, much higher than in previous years. For comparison, schools like Stanford & Harvard are typically over 80%, and the University of Chicago, MIT, and Yale all sport 70%+ yield rates. Northeastern still finished well behind other elite private institutions such as Vanderbilt, Rice, and Carnegie Mellon. This tells us that NU is eager to know if you are their first choice, and there is a great admissions advantage to signaling such a leaning.

How Northeastern Rates Applicants

There are five factors that Northeastern ranks as being “very important” to their admissions process: rigor of secondary school record, GPA, standardized test scores, the application essay, and recommendations. Rating as “important” are: extracurricular activities, talent/ability, character/personal qualities, and volunteer/paid work. “Considered” factors are: first-generation status, race/ethnicity, class rank, demonstrated interest, and geographical residence.

Northeastern Acceptance Rate (Continued)

In the words of Northeastern admissions officers themselves: “Candidates who bring diverse experiences, perspectives, and interests to our community are identified by the Admissions Committee following a holistic application evaluation.” With a goal of building a diverse and talented freshman class, “the Admissions Committee seeks to enroll students who have been academically successful and who have been actively involved in their school and community.”

Tips for Applying to Northeastern  

If you plan on joining the 96,000+ Husky hopefuls for the next admissions cycle, you should know the following:

  • There are no interviews offered through the university. As such, you’ll need to use the essay and recommendations to forge a personal connection with an admissions officer.
  • Northeastern does consider “demonstrated interest” so it is important that you make contact with the admissions office, connect through social media, and visit campus or meet Northeastern reps at a college fair near you.

Does Northeastern Have Supplemental Essays?

  • In the 2022-23 cycle, Northeastern no longer utilized any supplemental essay prompts. Therefore, the primary Common App essay takes on an even greater level of importance when applying to the university.

CT Advice: With only one essay to complete for Northeastern, applicants need to channel their efforts into the Common App essay of their choice. For more on the prompts themselves, which might be best to select, and how to begin brainstorming, visit our previous posts.

Northeastern Acceptance Rate – Final Thoughts

With Northeastern growing more competitive each year, you will likely need to possess stellar SAT scores, near-perfect grades, and earn a place in the top 10% of your high school class. Applying ED will provide a sizable edge if you find yourself “on the cusp” from an admissions standpoint. All college-bound teens need to make sure that they formulate an appropriate college list, containing a complement of “target” and “safety” schools. You’ll definitely want to do this in conjunction with an admissions professional (including your own high school counselor).