Northwestern University Top Questions

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?


Absolutely not.




Yes and no. There are always going to be kids who fall under distinct categories/stereotypes while there are going to be those who very much surpass or trail off, out of the social norm. Life tip: Don't believe, act upon or make stereotypes or judgments on anyone. It gets you no where in life and more often than not, those people who MAY have come off as a certain "type" of person or student is bound to surprise you.


What makes Northwestern a difficult school to summarize is that all of these are true, but in different ways. Northwestern is characterized more than other schools by insular campus cultures. That is, it is rare for theater majors to hang out with athletes, rare for frat boys to hang out with the studious Asians who seem to make up a silent majority on campus, etc. So, while all of these stereotypes are true, they cannot be generalized; in my experience, dedicated 'frat boys' are rarely socially awkward, while the said silent majority of Asian engineering and computer science majors cannot often be described as upholding the 'play-hard' end of the 'work-hard-play-hard' relationship.


Unfortunately that is true. Not in all cases though. Since our school is on quarters, students have to stay on top of things more.


I would say there's definitely a dichotomy on campus between North and South Campus. The engineers and hard science students are mainly on north campus and include many men. South campus are more of your liberal arts buildings and so that's where people with those majors tend to be. As far as relationships are concerned, I feel like that is probably true for most people in college.


Yes if you're pre-med or econ...otherwise no.


We definitley study, there are a lot of asian kids, but most importantly NORTHWESTERN IS FUN! Northwestern should be known for its great balance between academics and social-ness.


People seem to be ambivalent about Northwestern's position among other colleges because it exists in an odd position as a top school overall--particularly in journalism, creative writing, and its drama program--yet it is not one of "the" top tier schools. In places outside of the Midwest, some haven't heard of Northwestern, including me until I began looking at colleges. However, while not all of the academic departments are absolutely outstanding--which they could hardly be at any university--Northwestern has many strong departments, a large number of diverse programs aimed at helping students develop their academic passions, and a fantastic student campus that is at once determined and ambitious while also being passionate and socially-active. These attributes make it unique and, in my opinion, one of the top schools around. While the campus, which stretches lengthwise along Lake Michigan, is certainly divided into a North and South Campus with certain students on one side and others on the opposite side, there is a lot of fluidity between both sides of campus. Those who live on North Campus are not the only party-goers, to which those who make the 15-minute walk from South to North Campus every weekend can attest. Many engineering, math, art, drama, and social science students live on the side of campus opposite to the side that houses their classes, though a majority may choose to be closer to their classes on the side of campus stereotypically relegated to students of their "type." The same is true for athletes, who can be found on both sides of campus but more often on North Campus, because their athletic training takes place in the facilities on North Campus.


Kinda. Obviously everyone at Northwestern is smart and cares more about school then students at state schools, so we don't go out and party as much as they do. But, it's not like all we do is study. If I wanted to, I could probably go out 4 or 5 nights a week, but my grades would be terrible. You have to balance studying and partying when you go here.


for a lot of us. its like 35% normal people who go out, 35% of people who you'll never see cause they're studying all the time, and 30% in between


no - everyone is pretty well-rounded, and NU students do their share of partying like anywhere else


Kind of. You can find cool people between the rich and awkward people.


Yes. Exactly.


YES!! The people (for the most part, of course there are a few, but very few, exceptions) are pretty boring, socially awkward and too "smart" for their own good.


The part about being socially awkward Ivy League rejects is mostly untrue. The majority of the people I've met here aren't the least bit socially awkward, and for a lot of them Northwestern was their first choice school. The dating scene isn't great. Sometimes it seems like you're either practically married or you're just hooking up. There's not a whole lot in between. I think part of the reason is because Northwestern students realize that the reason you go to college is so that you can be successful later in life, not to find your future spouse.


Not accurate - there is a lot of social life for anyone who wants it. However, everyone has a little bit of nerd in them, which doesn't mean they're not still cool.


To some extent, but not really. There are people who think they're "all that" just because they got in, but for the most part people are down to earth and we have a decent amount of diversity.


There is always some degree of truth to stereotypes or they wouldn't exist in the first place.


Yeah, but they also party hard in between.




No. The only one that has some standing is the awkward students one. Also, there are a lot of gay guys, but that is part of what makes this such a diverse and awesome place to be! There are a handful of huge nerds, but thats part of why I love it!


somewhat. i've found most people to be very nice and helpful. it's not like people are sabotaging each other. the dating scene is pretty difficult, but it is a personal thing and depends on how many groups of friends you have and how often you go out. I know a lot of people who are in "serious" relationships, "serial daters," and single&looking.


I was surprised by the type of people at Northwestern. Most of the kids I met were the "golden boys" or All Americans of their high school- Captains of their basketball teams and NHS Presidents.


No, we're no more nerdier than any other top University.


For a lot of students, yes. Northwestern University is surrounded by some of the wealthiest suburbs in the country; a lot of students come from those suburbs or backgrounds, but not all.


Only the last one - the rest are contradictory.


Yes and no. You get to choose your friends. If your in to partying live up north, join a frat or sorority (like me) and your just like any other school. If your the opposite than live down south (most theater, music journalism majors live down south). The two parties rarely associate themselves with each other, sad but true.


in part. Northwestern students are pretty smart and do tend to work hard. They also like to relax and think about what else is out there




Only the study too much. People have fun and party and all aren't socially awkward, but they do study too much.


Not all of them. Many of the students here like to go out and have a good time as well as doing well in school. Also, not every student is extremely well off; NU gives need-based financial aid so less privileged students can come here too.


The stereotypes of Northwestern are accurate to varying degrees. While there is no doubt that Northwestern students are focused on their futures, I believe most students recognize that college is about more than just getting grades and getting ahead. People still go out, and like to party and have a good time with their friends. Not everyone is equally social, there are a few hermits, but there is still plenty of fun to be had. Also, I believe that an element of competition is unavoidable at Northwestern, and all schools of similar caliber. Still, it is not nearly as prevalent as people think. People collaborate and help each other with studying all the time. There certainly are no problems with sabatoge or anything like that. There is no doubt that people here live up to the stereotype of being hard workers. However, I view this as a positive thing. Personally, I enjoy being around people who don't just view college as an excuse to do nothing for 4 years. People care about doing well in school, and almost everyone is involved in one or more activity. Finally, Northwestern is often accused of being pretty inactive and uninvolved politically. To an extent, this is true. We are not as political as many other schools like Brown or Cal. I would go as far as to say we are not all that liberal, at least as far as colleges go. Northwestern draws heavily from the Midwest and I suspect that there is a pretty healthy mix of liberals, conservatives and moderates here. However, to say that Northwestern students are unconcerned about causes beyond their school work or future would be extremely unfair. Alternative Student Break trips are extremely popular and Dance Marathon is one of, if not the biggest, campus-wide fundraiser in the country. Many people participate in some form of community service.


it is easier to see the truth behind them, but the rumors are exaggerated. There are for sure some cute girls


while there are many who fit these stereotypes there are also many who don't, many students are very socially and are your more "typical" college student




For the most part, especially the one about them being intellectual


It does get cold, but there is a social scene at NU. It may not be Wisconsin, but the composition of the student body is such that it amounts to the perfect balance of social life and hard work. Also, there are some morons.


Absolutely not.


To some extent - the school has great academics, and thus many of the kids at the school have such a high intellect that they have difficulty with normal social interactions. Yes, it is cold in the winter, and while there are many attractive girls here perhaps it is because of this cold that they are not seen too often. As for sports - girls lax is a 3-peat national championship program, but other than that there isn't much. But look out, the football team was 6-6 last year in the Big Ten and many big time players are returning. From what I've heard, the basketball team may have a bright future as well.


Stereotypes are sometimes based in fact, but in Northwestern's case, I feel like we get a worse rep than we deserve. Firstly, our student body tends to live by the "work hard, play hard" mantra. There may not be parties every night, but when we do throw down, you can be sure that the parties will be memorable. Secondly, Northwestern is home to a multitude of theater majors. If you're a girl or a gay guy, there's more than enough eye-candy to go around. As far as "Ivy-wannabe" goes, I know that personally I chose Northwestern over 3 Ivies. Northwestern is a mid-western school, and you can tell. While academics are rigorous, you don't find the same level of competition among students as you would among the Ivy schools. I find it refreshing, not something to complain out.


Definitely not! They dating scene is not very popular, though the hook up scene is!




There are a fair amount of rich, spoiled, over-achieving, socially awkward, non-athletic students at Northwestern. But I would definitely not call that stereotype accurate. Many people are on financial aid and lots of people got in on natural smarts and don't need to over-achieve. The social scene is much better than advertised.


While there certainly are kids like I described above, the percentage of these kids at Northwestern is no greater than the percentage of this type of person at other universities.


Overall most people care about doing well and are pretty driven, but I'd say the percentage of "normal" kids at Northwestern is probably much higher than most schools of its caliber.


To a degree. I feel like the campus has a lot of cliques and they keep to themselves. Especially in the greek community.


I would say that some students are certainly on the compulsive side, focusing too much on getting the grade rather than learning the material. But the average NU student is also intelligent, interesting, and very conversive. NU students are knowledgeable in a full range of disciplines, making them individuals with which I enjoy being friends.


It is true.. we do study about 10 hours a day because of the quarter system and we end up learning alot more, in a small amount of time, than other non quarter system schools. Not to mention it is Northwestern and we are in the top 15 in the US.. so its hard and we all are nerds at heart right? We dont ALL come from high incomce families, and alot of us are on scholarship, even if Northwestern financial aid really needs alot of improvement and needs to get rid of Early Decision. and I guess we are geniuses. The greek life stereotype, though, is not true here.. and one could realize this after spending a quarter here.....hell, i would NOT have joined a sorority if it was at a state school or a non elite school.


for the most part.