Northwestern Transfer Acceptance Rate and Requirements — 2024

December 13, 2023

northwestern transfer acceptance rate

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 University transfer deadline, requirements, 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.

For entry in the fall of 2022, 3,264 students applied for transfer admission, and 423 were accepted. This means that the Northwestern transfer acceptance rate is 12.9%. If we break this down by gender, the acceptance rates are as follows:

  • Male transfer applicants: 11.8%
  • Female transfer applicants: 14.2%

For entry in the fall of 2021, there were 2,965 transfer applicants and 387 individuals were accepted. This means that the Northwestern transfer acceptance rate was 13%.

When trying to get the complete picture of how difficult it is to transfer into a given school, it is important to look at historical data. Many schools have wild fluctuations in transfer acceptance rates 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 2023-24)
  • College Report
  • Academic Evaluation
  • One letter of recommendation (second letter is optional)
  • Supplemental materials or auditions for certain programs.

Northwestern University Transfer Acceptance Rate (Continued)

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 (one full-time year of study).
  • Earned exceptional grades in their first year at a community college or 4-year university. In particular, the admissions committee likes to see a range of liberal arts and science courses.

Moreover, transfer students can apply to any of Northwestern’s six undergraduate schools, which include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Communication, the School of Education and Social Policy, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of Journalism, Media & Integrated Marketing Communications, and the School of Music. Many dual degree programs also accept transfers, although some may have limited space. However, there are departmental exceptions, which include the theatre program (only occasionally open to transfers) and the School of Music, which requires auditions. In sum, be sure to thoroughly research the department you’d like to apply to.

Northwestern Transfer GPA

According to the admissions committee, competitive applicants have maintained a B average in their college coursework. In our experience working with successful Northwestern transfers, students with a 3.75 or above have the most legitimate chance.

Northwestern Writing Supplement

All transfer applicants must complete the following two essays:

  1. We want to be sure we’re considering your application in the context of your personal experiences: What aspects of your background, your identity, or your school, community, and/or household settings have most shaped how you see yourself engaging in Northwestern’s community, be it academically, extracurricularly, culturally, politically, socially, or otherwise? (fewer than 300 words)
  2. Please share with us why you would like to transfer to Northwestern. (fewer than 300 words)

Northwestern Transfer Acceptance Rate (Continued)

You’ll also have the “option” to submit the Common App personal statement (prompts are identical to those for freshmen). However, for serious applicants, this essay is hardly optional. You can view it as required.

  1. 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.

Northwestern University Transfer Decision Date

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. Additionally, Northwestern accepts transfers from both two- and four-year colleges. If admitted, resources like the Transfer Student Organization—and its mentorship program—are available to help you transition to campus.

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: