For high school applicants, Northwestern University has a single-digit acceptance rate. Just like other schools of its ilk—Johns Hopkins, Cornell, and Rice—the overwhelming majority of those who apply end up disappointed. On a more optimistic note, transfer applicants at Northwestern fare much better than freshman hopefuls. This blog will share the Northwestern transfer acceptance rate as well as other essential pieces of information like the Northwestern transfer deadline, the requirements/checklist for applicants, the Northwestern transfer decision date and much more.

Northwestern Transfer Acceptance Rate

Below we present the most current available Northwestern transfer acceptance rate as well as historical data.

In the fall of 2021, there were 2,965 transfer applicants and 387 individuals were accepted. This means that the Northwestern transfer acceptance rate is 13%. If we break this down by gender, the acceptance rates are as follows:

  • Male transfer applicants: 11.6%
  • Female transfer applicants: 14.7%

When trying to get the complete picture on how difficult it is to transfer into a given school, it is important to also look at historical data. Many schools have wild fluctuations in transfer acceptance rate from year to year. Yet, this is not the case here. As you can see, the Northwestern transfer acceptance rate has been consistently between 13% and 17% for the last five years.

Historical transfer rates are as follows:

Year Acceptance Rate
2020 15.4%
2019 17.3%
2018 15.3%
2017 15.1%

Northwestern Transfer Deadline

The university offers only a fall transfer option. The Northwestern transfer deadline for fall applicants is March 15.

Northwestern Transfer Requirements

The Northwestern transfer requirements are as follows:

  • Completed Common App for Transfer
  • Final high school transcripts (noting graduation)
  • Official college transcripts
  • SAT or ACT scores (optional in 2023)
  • College Report
  • One letter of recommendation (second letter is optional)
  • Supplemental materials or auditions for certain programs.

Students who have the best chance to gain admission to Northwestern have done the following:

  • Are in the process of completing at least 24 semester credit hours.
  • Earned exceptional grades in their first year at a community college or 4-year university.
  • Have strong SAT/ACT and AP/IB results.

Northwestern Transfer GPA & SAT/ACT

According to the admissions committee “Strong applicants have completed course work across the full range of the liberal arts and sciences courses and maintained a B average.” In our experience working with successful Northwestern transfers, students with a 3.75 or above have the most legitimate chance.

Northwestern Transfer Writing Supplement

All transfer applicants must complete the Common App essay (same prompts as for freshmen):

The personal essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using one of the prompts below to inspire and structure your response.

For a look at all of the Common App essay prompts, click here.

You’ll also have the “option” to complete a supplement explaining why you want to transfer to Northwestern. However, for serious applicants, this essay is hardly optional. You can view it as required.

Why Northwestern” Statement:

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.

Northwestern Transfer Decision Date?

Northwestern transfer decisions are made on a rolling basis. There is no singular notification date.

Final Thoughts – Northwestern University Transfer Acceptance Rate

Getting into Northwestern as a transfer isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible either. Knowing that they are likely to admit 300+ students should give hope to those with strong credentials.

If you are 100% committed to leaving your current college, you’ll want to apply to other schools in addition to Northwestern University. Even if you have near-perfect college grades, admission into Northwestern is far from a guarantee, so you’ll want to create a balanced list of institutions that include safety schools.

If you are looking for information on how to apply to Northwestern as a first year student, you may find the following blogs to be of interest:

Those searching for application info on other institutions may wish to visit our Dataverse pages/blogs: