The New Ivies 2012 Page 5

These top 10 schools are the next generation of excellence

By Explore Editor

What the students are saying about:

Northwestern University

Northwestern University

Braving the winter-quarter weather may not be the hardest part of life at Chicago’s Northwestern University, but it’s certainly one challenge its ambitious, motivated students could do without. However, “complaining about the cold brings us together,” says one sophomore; in lieu of successful sports uniting the student body at this Big Ten university, “there’s the cold, and our sense of academic pride.” This point about academic pride is an important one. Affectionately dubbed “Nerdwestern”, students here are stereotyped as being so focused on their education that they “don’t go out, don’t party, aren’t attractive, and don’t have sex.” But in real life, “it seems as though everyone you meet is a very intelligent, involved, down-to-earth, passionate person,” says a freshman. Students work hard while also “breaking free to have fun in the suburban Evanston community, minutes away from big-city Chicago.” Back on campus, a distinctive feature of Northwestern’s academics is the quarter system—instead of two semesters, the academic year is divided up into four equal quarters, each with its own midterm and final exam schedule. While some “complain about how relentless the quarter system can be in terms of workload”, others call it a highlight. “Because of the quarter system, we can double major within four years, or just take a lot more classes than you can at other schools,” writes a freshman. Adds a sophomore, “The shorter terms make the students work extremely hard, and prepare them for jobs with a great work ethic.” Said another, “Let me put it this way: Stress brings people together. Frigid winters bring people together. Awesome school colors bring people together. If you came to be challenged, you came to the right place.”