Northwestern University Top Questions

Is the stereotype of students at your school accurate?

Dave

Northwestern is not as liberal as we portray ourselves to be. There is hardly any student activism and segregation is a big problem. Northwestern as the ivy league of the midwest is a pretty fair assessment. Many students come from a wealthy background but not the majority.

Alex

Yeah.

Nicole

Although I would definitely say this isn't a party school, I've never been bored here. I think what's great about Northwestern is that, though it's a small school, almost everyone finds their niche and interests within it. If you like to be social, it's pretty easy to find something to do on any night of the week.

Veronica

For the first one- only during the day. And on weekdays. For the second one- depends on who you're talking to.

al

In some ways, they are. Northwestern caters mainly to economics students when it comes to careers, and the theater population is definitely huge. But we actually aren't nerds at all - I go out just as much as friends at state schools, and because we go out in Chicago, the experience is definitely heightened. The money stereotype is harder to pinpoint as accurate or not - there is not a ton of variation among my friends, for example, most are fairly wealthy, with the exception of a few.

Robin

Some more-so than others. For the most part, every kid you meet here is intelligent. Whether they let on, or act otherwise, they are at least fairly intelligent and academically motivated. There are absolutely a ton of Jews, Asians, and rich spoiled kids, but the student body is diverse enough so that you get a pretty good mix of kids. Also, despite the inherent social awkwardness of about 90% of the student body, a small sect of the fraternity and sorority scenes are similar to a toned down version of a state school greek social scene. They drink, go out, smoke, skip class, but all on a smaller scale, and while each of them still subconsciously worries about succeeding.

Becca

NO! Before I moved in, I would complain to my friends from high school about Northwestern's reputation for being a non social (no parties/bad parties) university. It is not true! I enjoy the social life at NU. There are plenty of parties and they are more tame than state school parties.

Sean

for the most part, yes

Rachel

To an extent, but they are really just generalizations

Tate

I feel like there is some fragment of accuracy to these stereotypes, as with all stereotypes. But at the same time a lot isn't really true. I am from CA and this was my dream school, I didn't apply to any Ivy Leagues. Also, although the social scene here may be smaller than at some other schools, those of us that do go out love to party and there is never a lack of things to do. I think we may even party harder than most schools because we work so hard that we want to let loose and party really hard. I could easily find a party/bar any night of the week. Also there ARE actually hot, hip people here. Not everyone is Midwestern (no offense, my stereotype is that Midwesterns are ugly and unhip). And people do have sex!!

Kristin

Yes. We may not be the best at football or basketball, but we continue to be competitive as the only private school in the big ten.

Kay

yes

Robin

Northwestern definitely is pre-professional, grade-deflated and prestigious. Northwestern students definitely embody the "work hard, play hard mentality". They hit the books Sunday through Thursday, but take the weekends off to have fun. Northwestern students are a little less goal-oriented than they're made out to be, many don't know what they're going to do once they leave and chose Northwestern because it is strong in many different areas and has a rather amiable atmosphere. Many believe Northwestern is frat-dominated, but that depends on the view of what frat-dominated means. 40% of the student body may be in Greek organizations and Greek life is definitely strong on campus, but it is by no means the only social outlet at NU and non-Greek rarely, if ever, feel pressured to join the frats. The social atmosphere at NU is varied and diverse, and students tend to be very respectful and open to other's choices; there is no one prevailing "campus culture". NU is grade deflated in some areas but not others. Science classes are particularly harsh, as even honors sections of some classes are curved to a C+ or a B-.

Lauren

Sometimes, but there are a lot of us who are neither spoiled nor rich. Even if there is an occasional person like this, the overwhelming atmosphere of NU is really friendly and welcoming.

Jennifer

yeah pretty much

Jack

NO!!!

Liz

Every university has both overly self-important academics and complete idiots obsessed with the social scene. Overall Northwestern is a blend of the best of both of these worlds were you can take what you'd like from each and create your own experience.

Kim

Absolutely. But you have to be intense to survive here. And it's not a bad intense, just goal-oriented. But nearly everyone is indeed preppy.

Sarah

I think that a little bit of each of these stereotypes exist in NU students, but we are much more complex and diverse than they make us out to be. Everyone has something quirky or interesting about themselves that makes them stand out.

Colleen

Yes. But there are other people who are not nerdy and don't try to be the shit. They are called the normal people.

Jenna

No! If you have the right attitude, you can find a good deal of things to do at night and on weekends. There's plenty of fraternity parties and off-campus house parties. And even if there isn't something appealing to do on campus, if you can't find something fun to do in Evanston or Chicago it's your own fault! And as for the attractiveness of the student body, I personally don't have a problem with it but I do hear people complain about it a good amount. Personally, I think there is a good amount of pretty girls and good looking guys. Maybe it's a smaller number than usual relative to the size of the student body but there's definitely attractive people at Northwestern. Also, it seems that the attractive people seem to congregate a little, so if you're in the right group you can find a large number of attractive students.

Ray

The campus is mostly not frat boys and sorority girls, but for underclassmen, their social activities primarily dominate the social scene, at least until you turn 21. It is mostly expected that as a student at Northwestern you will go on to either graduate school, business school, law school, or med school. However, most seniors take at least 1 year off to do volunteer work abroad or teach for america in the US. There are definately students who stress too much about the work they have to do. But if you just remember to keep things in perspective, the workload is fine.

Grayson

Everybody's not from the Midwest... there's a lot of Californians here. Not everybody's rich, but it's a pretty privileged community, but I don't think most people are stuck-up. But they do tend to be pretty tame.

Ryan

Obviously stereotypes exist for a reason, and there is a large cohort of people that are anti-social and awkward. However, good times and fun people definitely exist at Northwestern, and it's not that hard to find them. Go to Hundo or a PWild party and you'll realize that NU students like to throw down every once in a while.

Sarah

Although there are the students that devote more time to academia, this composes a small sector of the student body. As a Northwestern student myself, I would describe the student body as fun yet studious, extremely dynamic and involved, and active for causes that are important to them.

Willie

All of these exist in part on campus. There are dedicated partiers, though for the most part usually either Friday or Saturday will be significantly better than the other, you never know which. Bar nights throughout the week too. Essentially its a question of scale. The entire campus isnt in perpetual Mardi Gras, but a particular house or frat can be packed. You can be any type of partier here Sports: There are some die hard sports fans, but its also a small school, so there are also die hard sorority sisters who just came by to watch their pledge daughter do backflips at half time. All sports are free though, and NU is competitive within the Big Ten, far more so than records show. Theres a big showing at "non marquis sports" but Football has a decent turnout. Basketball Id like to see bigger crowds. My biggest pet peeve is that there are a ton of Midwesterners who still like their home team. A lot of them come around after freshman year, but its still disheartening to see ohio state colors in the student section Pre Med kids will cut you, as will journalists for a prime editorship. everyone else is chill

Catherine

We are nerdy - you kind of have to be smart to get in to this school - but most people still know how to have fun. Of course, there's not a very large party scene on campus, but the bars tend to make up for that. I think it's a good balance between work and play. It is true about the boys - there's cute, and then there's "Northwestern cute". The standards are certainly lowered.

Dawson

All of them are true to some extent, they are all exaggerations however.

Casey

Well, relatively speaking I suppose they are.

Lindsay

Everyone here has really nerdy aspects about them, but many do there best to try and hide it

Riley

I'm not sure. I know the nerd thing is true--everyone is very intelligent. But the party thing--yeah, people definitely party here and get drunk (or "shwasted"), but I'm not sure if that's a "Northwestern's a PAR-TAY school! WOO!" thing or a college thing.

Maddie

its true that everyone is really smart, its true that there is only a small percentage of people who go out regularly on weekends, but its not true that the athletes aren't smart. This stereotype is pretty much everywhere but I don't think it necessarily applies to northwestern athletes

Torry

To a certain extent. There is a group of people who go out all of the time at Northwestern but compared to the student population I wouldn't say that it is a large percentage.

Jordan

I don't think we're really below-average in attractiveness. I think people always think this about their community, no matter where they are. This is something everyone always complains about.

Melissa

Some

Tristan

They can be true depending on which "group" you belong to. I think there's a split between people who spend all their time focused on schoolwork, don't participate in extracurricular activities, have jobs, or anything like that and spend all their free time in the library (or playing video games) and the people who are more involved either with Greek life, extracurriculars, internships and jobs, or whatever. I think you have a choice when you get to Northwestern on which group you want to belong to and that the possibilities are endless.

Chelsea

There is some truth to every stereotype. As far as the Northwestern social scene is concerned, there is definitely a significant part of the student body that rarely, if ever, goes out. Many, however, have more of a "work hard, play hard" mentality. Lots of students spend endless hours studying during the day and on quieter nights so that they can party all weekend. Sometimes the campus may seem dead and house parties are not as frequent, but a large part of this is owed to the rich bar scene right at Northwestern's doorstep. Chicago nightlife is very popular, as are local bars right here in Evanston (and neighboring towns). Despite all this, however, academics still remain a top priority for most Northwestern students. There are definitely quite a few previous Ivy-League hopefuls at Northwestern, but this is absolutely not true of everyone. Northwestern has many programs that trump those of Harvard, Princeton and Yale. Our journalism school is widely recognized as the best in the country, and the theater program is definitely in the top five. In addition, Northwestern has a top-notch engineering program. For many students, Northwestern was undoubtedly their number one choice. The average income level of a Northwestern student's parents is very high. Most at this school are at least in the upper middle class, and many are unbelievably wealthy. Still there are definitely some students whose families fall in lower income brackets. Northwestern, while not known for is aid packages, is nonetheless a well-endowed private institution that can and has provided significant financial aid to students who might otherwise be unable to attend. Campus involvement is relatively slacking - though I would bet this trend is not unique to Northwestern. Political demonstrations are not widely attended and there is a sense of apathy among some students. It is something that is very upsetting for many more active students as well as many professors who remember well the hey-day of political activism in the 1970s.

Molly

Nope! The stereotypes paint a horrible picture of the school . Yes, the students are smart but they are not cut-throat. Yes, a lot of students are well-off, but most are very down to earth about it. Yes, it is not uncommon for a NU kid to stay in on a Friday night, but MOST people go out, party, and have fun! Yes, we don't always win football games, but that doesn't mean tailgates and games aren't tons of fun.

Aubrey

This is only partially true. We're all geeks, but only when compared to the rest of the population. In relation to the NU social scene, it is a completely unfair stereotype. We have parties and friends just like every other college campus.

TJ

To an extent. We really are the worst in the Big Ten, and you'll see lots of Marc Jacobs bags floating by...c'mon, this school costs $50,000 per year. And here's a secret: Northwestern kids know how to party. Who doesn't need to blow off some steam after an entire week spent in the library?

Conor

True! Northwestern students definitely seem to intellectually overcompensate and too frequently disparage the Ivy(s) taht rejected them. Flase! Northwestern has a very active social scene, largely through Greek life, but Northwestern students generally are out four to five nights a week.