Northwestern University Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?

Robb

Academics are outstanding at NU. Its why we go there. Even in large classes, professors make an effort to learn names, TAs always know your name, and in small classes, its all a given. Professors don't usually hang out with students outside of class, but they all have office hours and are really accessible. There are some amazing classes at NU. Like Spring 2013, I took a Philosophy of Religion class that was amazing. It was so good that on the last lecture of the class, my professor got a standing ovation from the class. How often does that happen? However, since academics are great, students have to work hard and study a lot to compete. Its not busy work, and your really learning loads. The quarter system allows us to take more classes at a faster pace, which is great, but it does increase the workload. The studying definitely pays off though. Class participation is really common in literature, philosophy, politics, or language classes. And in science and math classes, everyone is asking great questions that have come up from studying. This also carries outside class. The conversations I have had with friends outside of class have been some of the highlights of my time at NU. NU's majors are rigorous but really encourage learning while preparing you for a job. But ultimately, its what you make of it. NU has amazing resources to help you succeed in this rigorous, competitive atmosphere, but you leave here with great lessons and prepared for the next step in your life.

Deeya

As an economics major, which is one of the most popular undergrad major, I've taken a slew of large lecture classes in my major (mostly intro courses). But as with most schools, class size dwindles as you get more advanced. For distribution requirements, I've taken a combination of large and small classes. Some of my most rewarding courses have been 8-person classes that fulfill one of my liberal arts requirements. If you're coming as a social science/humanities major, you'll find that distribution requirements are pretty easy to fulfill--even in the sciences. In my major, and many of the engineering majors, students are typically assigned 3-8 problem sets per quarter, which can usually be completed in groups. Students use office hours more heavily surrounding due dates and exams. While the curricula of many of the departments cater to academics, the more practical majors provide a strong community for students seeking internships/careers (as opposed to more education). In my personal experience, economics professors have been very understanding of upperclassmen who are going through job recruiting during the school year.

Deeya

As an economics major, which is one of the most popular undergrad major, I've taken a slew of large lecture classes in my major (mostly intro courses). But as with most schools, class size dwindles as you get more advanced. For distribution requirements, I've taken a combination of large and small classes. Some of my most rewarding courses have been 8-person classes that fulfill one of my liberal arts requirements. If you're coming as a social science/humanities major, you'll find that distribution requirements are pretty easy to fulfill--even in the sciences. In my major, and many of the engineering majors, students are typically assigned 3-8 problem sets per quarter, which can usually be completed in groups. Students use office hours more heavily surrounding due dates and exams. While the curricula of many of the departments cater to academics, the more practical majors provide a strong community for students seeking internships/careers (as opposed to more education). In my personal experience, economics professors have been very understanding of upperclassmen who are going through job recruiting during the school year.

Allison

From my experience with both the biology and the english department, the atmosphere surrounding academics at Northwestern seems to depend greatly upon what you're majoring in. The first couple years of a biology major, for example, will involve never setting foot in a classroom with fewer than 200 students. In these entry level classes it is easy to feel bogged down by anonymity, and for some this makes taking anything away from these classes a greater challenge. In addition, a large number of the entry level science classes teach in a style that can be conducive to cramming and then forgetting everything taught at the end of the course. However, this is hard to avoid at any school of a decent size and is bound to be encountered a few times if you are studying science. Once you make it past this hurdle, the classes become smaller, the learning setting more intimate, and the professors more passionate about what they are teaching. Yet, it is important to note that the vast majority of biology majors at Northwestern are there as a prerequisite to applying to medical school. As such, if you are planning on going into a different field it is, at times, harder to find good advice about how to do so. From my experience with the English department, on the other hand, the overall objective appears to be much more inclined towards education for its own sake. In addition, there are fewer intimidatingly huge lecture courses and it is easier to form bonds with the professors as such. What's important to remember is that your enjoyment of a class and what you take away from it is largely your own responsibility here: participation and intellectual stimulation vary greatly from individual to individual. As such, there are students that fall upon the full range of the spectrum, from the minimal participant to the competitive grade-grubber, and every step in between.

Jasmyne

Northwestern academics can be challenging, but awesome. I like that a lot of our curriculum is built around hands-on activities. The university encourages students to use what they've learned through student organizations and often require external work experiences in order to graduate. We often joke about NU students bringing academics into their everyday lives and having philosophical conversations on Facebook and in dining halls. One of my favorite parts of our curriculum is the flexibility to take courses of interest and not just because of requirements. There are so many options and large parts of the curriculum are about exploring and knowledge for the sake of knowledge. I've also had very involved professors that have invited students over for holidays, who commit to personal mentorship, provide personal telephone numbers, advise student groups, and are sources of employment. I've definitely had my share of courses I didn't enjoy, but I survived them and had professors who were as accommodating as possible.

Gabrielle

My favorite class so far has been my second freshman seminar, Food in Literature. We got to read the most interesting and diverse readings ever! Classes here do not seem horribly difficult material-wise, but they do require A LOT of work. Students here are expected to keep up or else the quarter system will kick your butt. I do not see my professors as much as I should outside of class, and that is definitely something i want to work on. Northwestern is known for its "premeds" which drive me insane, because they usually go crazy fighting for grades and are so competitive. I can't say much about the English/Social Studies side of things, but the science education here is way more focused on getting into med school than it is on actual learning.

Amber

Northwestern has strong schools in journalism, engineering, music, theater, liberal arts and more. The academics are definitely rigorous but not overwhelming. Don't be intimidated by higher level classes, even in departments you aren't familiar with. These classes have less students and are often focused on a more specific topic, which I find more interesting than the typical "Intro to...." classes. In journalism, class sizes tend to be smaller and we really get to know our professors well. Several of my professors have been great mentors for me and I know I can always go to them for advice or just to chat, even when I'm no longer in their class. At Medill, we are more of a pre-professional school than Weinberg, the college of arts and sciences. However, our requirements are such that most of our classes are taken through Weinberg and it's common for students to double major or minor in a Weinberg department. Medill wants to prepare us for a professional journalism career and has a fantastic career services program, but also emphasizes the important of being well-rounded people and journalists by forcing us to take an array of Weinberg classes.

Rose

I'm in the School of Education and Social Policy (the smallest and coolest undergraduate school), but I take a lot of classes in Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. This is what I've experienced. Yes, people study. A lot. People still know when and how to take a break and relax, though. I've had lots of really intellectual, cross-disciplinary conversations outside of class. People can be competitive in certain majors, but I've found my classmates to be completely willing to help each other out. Everyone has lots of opinions, and no one is shy about expressing them in class. My professors have been very willing to meet with me individually. Only one of my classes last semester was a large lecture (all my other professors know me by name), and in that class we had a 15-person discussion section that met once a week. My classes have been interesting and engaging. I've learned a lot that I feel I will be able to use later. My assignments have mostly been worthwhile.

Grace

Academics at Northwestern are difficult but manageable. A lot of your experience depends on your major. Anybody who takes organic chemistry is miserable, but that goes for any university. I have had a very light load this quarter, because I am taking a lot of distribution credits and introductory courses. This means larger classes and less personal encounters with professors, but also less work. In the coming quarters, I'll take higher-level courses which are smaller, more intimate and more difficult, but also more valuable. There is not a lot of competition at Northwestern, at least, not in a negative sense. Students are very encouraging to each other and often meet outside of class to talk about an especially difficult reading or a tricky problem set. I have some friends who actually bribe each other with candy to do their physics homework, which generally works. Northwestern's core requirements (for most of our departments) are somewhat extensive. We have to take classes in many disciplines such as natural science, formal studies (math and logic), historical studies, values and ethics, social and behavioral sciences and (for most) foreign language. I like this, because it promotes well-roundedness, but some students just despise these classes (called "distros"). However, some of these requirements can be filled by high AP and IB scores, and we have a lot of leniency in which class counts for what. For example, I like science, but I'm not especially good at it, so I used a linguistics class (Sound Patterns of Human Speech) to count toward a formal studies credit. There are usually ways to make these distribution credits double-count toward your major, too. They also do not hamper students' ability to complete majors, because Northwestern runs on the quarter system. The quarter system basically means we have 3 "quarters" during the school year and one optional summer quarter during which students often study abroad or complete internships if they don't go home. Students typically take four or five classes per quarter, which allows us to take more classes than students at other universities by the time we graduate. Quarters last about ten weeks and culminate in "Reading Week" during which time most classes are cancelled so students can finish paper and projects and study for final exams. (Alternatively, students procrastinate all week and then don't sleep all weekend, which works, too.) Professors are generally very willing to meet with students outside of class. Northwestern legend Gary Morson, who teachers 600 students Russian Literature most quarters, often makes time to meet with groups and individuals if need be (and sometimes just because). Of course, there are exceptions. My English Literature professor still hasn't returned the e-mail I sent two months ago, but in general, our professors are very willing to be helpful outside of class, and if they are not available, the TA's are. Majors are generally geared toward practicality and employability. The New York Times recently published an article that ranked Northwestern students as the #6 most employable grads from around the world (as seen by American business owners). Students in the School of Education and Social Policy (my school) are required to student teach or complete a quarter of "practicum" relevant to their major before graduating. Engineering students work on real-world jobs and sometimes co-op. Foreign language and religion classes take field trips to culturally-relevant sites. However, if you love learning just for learning's sake, there are a lot of students here who do and learn things just because, and that's always okay, too. The quarter system allows for a lot of flexibility if you feel the need to sample a lot of different things.

Ellyn

The intro classes are usually somewhat large, especially classes that have the best professors (Intro to Fiction, Intro to Russian Lit, Intro to Psych). My favorite class here has been Intensive Italian because it was a small class of 10 people and we learned so much in the space of one quarter. My professor brought us food often, which is always great. Also, any language class at Northwestern is pretty much fantastic.

Karen

Your professors always teach the class, and there are so many opportunities to get to know them. Many of my journalism professors are really strong mentors and always willing to help (and stay up really late responding to emails). My professors in my non-journalism classes have also been really accessible and almost always passionate about what they teach. Students definitely have intellectual conversations outside of class, but it certainly doesn't feel pretentious or overbearingly academic. I think Medill is pretty competitive, but I choose for it to be that way by being in extracurriculars or surrounding myself with peers who are as crazy about journalism as I am. It can definitely feel pre-professional at times, but the distribution requirements also allow you to just learn for the sake of learning. One of my favourite classes here was about 70s feminism, and I took another class on International Development where we had the chance to have dinner with awesome speakers from the field every week. Journalism classes are very intimate and you really get to know your class and professor. The professors are always willing to take extra time talking about your articles/multimedia packages and do everything they can to help you publish or pushing yourself to go after the story you want.

Katherine

Classes are challenging but always taught by a professor.

Lauren

Northwestern is known for having top-notch academics, and while it varies greatly from major to major, that is generally quite accurate. Academics are the first priority here. It is not unusual AT ALL to talk about GPA, exam grades, pulling all-nighters to study, and the insanity that is Midterm week. Granted, each major and/or School within the university functions differently. I am a history major, so in larger lectures, professors do not know my name unless I actively pursue them in office hours. In smaller classes such as language classes, the professor absolutely knows your name, and you probably refer to them by their first name. For many liberal arts classes with larger lectures, discussion sections are common and required. In these sections, there is more open participation and dialogue. My favorite classes are smaller, more specific, high-level classes. Larger lectures are great to glean a basis of a subject, but as you take upper-level courses the material is more interesting, the classes is smaller, and there is much more dialogue between professors and students. My favorite course thus far was a small, seminar-style course on populism in Latin America in the 20th century, because it was so specific and so applicable to my studies. Students constantly talk about course work outside of the classroom, and competition is definitely present.

Benison

Let's just say that college is nothing like high school when it comes to academics. There are various and tons of different classes for different majors and fields of study. You have intro classes that people usually take to fulfill distribution requirements that have up to 200 students while there are higher level classes that have only 20 students. Class participation is key and professors are bound to know you if you make an effort to ask questions and really learn. Competition is high but not too many people show it. I have had classes that were ridiculously easy but I have also had classes that kept me up for hours on end, days on days, weeks on weeks. The NU academic requirement is bulky but definitely attainable and satisfying once achieved!

Andy

The coursework is just decent, which was a huge disappointment given the reputation. Classes are usually too large for discussion. Professors are not well-trained or adept at instruction. Most liberal arts majors are poorly structured and class offerings are chaotic and piecemeal. If you want to get the most out of your education, I'd try to find a program that offers entirely small classes where you can get individual feedback and guidance. Look for programs that have been designed based on years of exhaustive research, like the hard sciences or mathematics. You have to be assertive and demand that professors conduct research with you, otherwise they probably won't.

Arthur

Competitive, quarter system is really challenging and fast-paced.

Ryan

just wanted to add that the School of Education and Social Policy also requires a practicum for students majoring in its school (majors include education, social policy, learning and organizational change, counseling and psych services) - journalism, engineering, and theater are not the only majors that give you a quarter of real hands-on experience.

Devin

Academics here are hard, but they won't make you suicidal. I will ask one question that has never been sufficiently answered: NU is on the quarter system, along with schools like Stanford and the University of Chicago. These other schools, however, have a regular course load of three classes each quarter; NU has a norm of four. Why is this?! Why do NU students have to take more classes to graduate than kids who get degrees from Stanford? I don't get it, and taking four a term definitely adds to stress levels here.

Ryan

Pre-med classes were created to weed out the weak students and so emphasis was not put on understanding the material but on tricking the students. I wish I hadn't had to waste so much time studying for these classes and upping my science gpa and could have spent more time on interesting classes that would expand my intellectual horizons. I'm a Spanish major, and the dept sucks. I only stuck with it b/c of my love for the language. They are revamping it, so hopefully it will be better--too late for me though :( Students are super competitive--thumbs down. Northwestern education is geared towards getting a job after college, not towards learning for the sake of learning. If it were the latter, I feel like I would be a much more well-rounded individual. Alas, it is the contrary.

Anjulie

It is hard because there are a lot of smarties here. The student body is not only smart, but hard working. Noone ever looks down on you when you decide to spend the entire day at the library. Engineering at any school is not the most flexible major, thus my classes, especially freshman year, are the same as every other engineering student. NU has an engineering class of about 300 a year, thus in every one of my classes I know tons of people and usually recognize 85% of the people. I was going to go to U of I for engineeirng...according to US News is a better engineering school, but does US News factor in the thousands of kids each year in engineering. Engineering is a difficult major and the reason I have been exceling in it is because of the small classes and team working orientated atmosphere of NU Engineering.

Laura

In the classes I've taken--predominantly anthropology and creative writing--the number of students is kept small enough that professors often get to know your name and facilitate discussion easily within the class in a compelling way. Professors are always available during their office hours, and many often make the effort to help you in any way possible when seeing you one-on-one on these occasions. My favorite classes have been my creative writing classes, in which the professors allow me to be daring in my work, my work is critiqued by my classmates in a highly-constructive manner, and the professors' own critiques and encouragement have really aided my writing. I also loved my psychological anthropology class, in which we learned how self and identity form, how genetics and environment can contribute to the formation of one's actions, and how people create coherent narratives to make sense of the world. The topics were fascinating and the professor was an expert at everything she taught, as well as a great facilitator of discussion. Students do tend to be competitive at Northwestern because everyone is ambitious. No one is outright cutthroat though. The resources for becoming a top student are pretty much available to everyone, so by trying for it and commiting to it, being one of the top is possible. The goal of both students and professors seems to be to genuinely learn more about the world. Several classes, like Russian Literature and the History of the Holocaust are must-take classes, which many students choose to take for the sake of learning even if the classes won't help them toward obtaining a job. Though all students are competitive and want to do the best they can to get the best job, all tend to also be genuinely interested in this type of learning. My major's department--anthropology--is small, but the people there are exceptionally helpful and very interested in getting to know their students. I also am a work-study aid in the English Department, and English is one of the most popular majors on campus. Though the English Department may not get to know all its students quite like the very small Anthropology Department does, its faculty always makes an effort to be as helpful to its students as it can be.

Andy

It depends on your major a lot, but I think it's like that at most schools. Northwestern doesn't really have any complete blow off classes. I ha to study and work hard to get good grades in all my classes my freshman year, so just be prepared for that. The quarter system provides that you are pretty much always writing a paper or studying for an exam. The good thing though is you are never in a class for ore then 9 weeks, so if you hate it, it will be over soon.

Taylor

they're good. classes are pretty interesting, especially the higher-level ones specific to your major. and there are plenty of intro-level courses that you can get easy B's in. easy A's if you actually go to class, but i just don't.

Alex

Professors know our names except if we're in a lecture where they don't interact one-on-one with us. Either way, they're very willing to help us in any way, whether it's in choosing classes (mostly our advisers), understanding material, or thinking about our possible career paths. Students study constantly, yet still find time for extracurriculars. Class participation is common and sometimes even graded. Students have intellectual conversations outside of class, but also conversations about non-intellectual subjects - they're not so smart that they're overbearing and show it off. Students are competitive with themselves only, not with each other. I'm in the Medill School of Journalism, which determines my major for me - and I'm leaning toward broadcast or magazine journalism. It's really intense, and they've been changing the curriculum to incorporate more multimedia. Yet writing is still the core of everything we do. It's challenging but rewarding. Right away they had us doing stories about real events, and eventually going out into Evanston and Chicago to look for non-NU stories. For journalism, Medill and Northwestern are the places to be. We spend time with teachers outside of class often, whether for office hours or advising appointments. And, being in a residential college, I get to spend time with them in a non-academic setting and get to know them. They can prove to be good mentors in this way. Northwestern - or Medill's - academic requirements are not bad, especially if one comes in with AP credits as I did and fulfills some requirements this way. There are a series of journalism classes I have to take in a defined sequence. There are also about 8 areas I have to fulfill distros in. But there's a lot of room to explore after that. Part of Medill's requirements is that I spend a quarter on a journalism residency, where I go to a news market and learn from professionals. Depending on the size of the market, students sometimes get to produce news stories themselves. The education is definitely more about learning for its own sake.

Madison

Some profs know my name, but its really important to participate, great academics. Students are not very competitive with each other which is great. people generally keep to themselves about grades and such. Some people go to office hours, and I know thats really great. I just got into MMSS, which is Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences, and is supposed to get you good internships and thus lot of money in the business field. I haven't felt very welcomed yet, but hopefully that will change once I start taking classes. There are a lot of possibilities to take interesting classes like Cosmology (we have our own observatory) and I love that you can take dance classes, since I'm a dancer. Some professors here are just wonderful. I loved Gender and Society, Linear Algebra with prof. alongi, modern political thought, and the EDC course. it was really cool.

Justin

I majored in Art History--and I'm proud to point out that NU's art history department is currently ranked in the Top 10 departments in the U.S. (#6) The major definitely lived up to its billing--the coursework was tough, but in retrospect, renowned professors like Claudia Swan made it worthwhile and fun. At NU, certain majors are harder than others. For example, almost the entire football team majors in "Communications Studies," whereas only masochists major in certain sub-sections of engineering. Theater at NU is, of course, intense. Journalism too.

Katherine

School here is awesome, every one participates pretty much and the teachers are phenomenal. It is a difficult and rigorous courseload but you learn a lot. The quarter system SUCKS and you are in school FOREVER after everyone gets out for summer break, which is very difficult to deal with. The academics are the best part of Northwestern. If my classes weren't so interesting and my professors weren't so knowledgeable I would transfer out of this place.

Carrie

My favorite class right now is my freshman seminar. Freshman seminars are basically a really cool way of satisfying your writing requirement. Everyone takes two seminars their freshman year, and they cover a huge variety of topics. My first one was about coffee, and the one I'm taking now is about Victorian literature. My least favorite class was probably chemistry. It's not that bad though, you just have to keep up with the work. It varies a lot depending on what classes you take, but students study basically every day during the week. I always say that Northwestern students study hard during the week and play hard on the weekends. One of the really cool things about Northwestern is that students here do have intellectual conversations outside of class. That's something I never really experienced with my friends at home. Students aren't too competitive here, even though in a lot of classes grades are based on a curve. People are actually willing to help you if you're struggling with something.

Natalie

Every quarter I have about 2 classes that are 15 and under and the rest are big lectures. But all the big lectures have smaller discussion sections. People do participate. There isn't much competition at all. People have intellectual discussions outside of class, but not all the time. People study a lot. I think there are too many liberal arts requirements, but I guess you couldn't do with much less.

Adrian

In general, classes are great. There are always unresponsive or uninteresting professors, but for the most part professors know what they're talking about, and want to talk to and help students even if you're in a huge lecture class. As you start taking smaller classes, you really get a chance to bond with some great teachers.

Gabriel

Professors are all the best in their fields and are extremely approachable. Be prepared to learn a lot and spend a whole lot of time studying outside of class. There is NO room for slacking at NU. No skipping classes. And good luck getting an A in any math/science class, as most of them are curved on a B-/C+.

Reese

As a music major, my classes are very small, usually no more than fifteen people. Some have only four or five, and those are always the best! It seems to me that the people around me are constantly studying, but I can't say I study that much unless I have something pressing like a midterm, final or project. Professors and T.A.'s, regardless of teaching ability are very approachable and are always experts in their subjects. Research projects abound at Northwestern and researchers and professors are often looking for subjects or assistants. The music school is strong in many areas (except, sadly, world music) but especially the contemporary era; the graduate student composers teach the aural skills and theory classes. The voice program is about as competitive as you make it: if you fall behind or fail to practice, no one will eat you out (especially since there are so many double-majors and double-degree students in the music school). Northwestern really supports its students in travelling abroad and in studying many different subjects.

Hillary

Freshman Seminars are good for getting to know a teacher.

Brittany

The professors are awesome. I know a lot of professors that know my name, and the classes I've taken with them have been fairly sizeable. They are understanding if you need an extention on a paper or if you have some other scheduling problem. The theatre dept is, in my opinion, the best in the country because it not only offers a world class education in your area of interest (performance, design, etc), but it also gives students an opportunity to study other subjects, which are important to know in this field. they encourage the intelligent artist. the actual theatre-related classes are fantastic. I love my acting class and the design classes I've taken have been very insightful.

Charlie

For the most part the Academics are strong but many people are unsatisfied with the liberal arts program. Weinberg does not offer a lot of guidance and the professors are not very approachable.

Eli

I'm going to focus on research opportunities: It's incredibly easy to get involved in research of some kind here. If you want to, you can! At the end of my freshman year your final General Chemistry Lab was to propose a Biosensor for anything you liked. After my class presentation, the Lab director came up to me and asked if I might be interested in actually creating one. I said yes and this year I am working on that very sensor. Everyone has been very helpful and supportive of me in my endeavor. I think that speaks great volumes about the academic environment here.

Kate

Most teachers are good; you can get as much out of the school as you want. If you don't feel like working hard, you can easily get A's and B's without trying much. If you want to learn a lot, you can do that too.

Harper

Academics are great, but not all students take advantage of that.

Jordan

Most classes freshman year are giant lectures. Pretty much no one attends these classes, however, as you move up into the 300 level classes they get tiny and are mainly round table discussion style, which makes attendance a necessity. I can't tell you how many times, though, that I've emailed a prof or TA after doing poorly on something and they are nice enough to work something out with me. Just come up with a great excuse, thats all i gotta say ;) ;)

Quinn

Top-notch with most professors willing to spend time with you and have conversations. There are a lot of late night conversations on a variety of topics. STudents are competitive, but also generous with their time and will help out others

Chels

It may have seemed hard to get in here. Trust me, its harder to stay in school. The quarter system moves so quickly that you forget where you're life is for 10 weeks at a time. The good news, everyone pretty much feels the same way. Even the professors joke about how quickly they cover material.

Mayan

The Economics department although a great program is very difficult. It tries to hard to keep up with the ivys and in doing so makes Northwestern students get lower grades than the inflated grades of the ivys. The classes are too big and the teachers for the most part are too intelligent to teach. Or their accent is too thick to understand.

Gabe

Academics are good. Some of the classes require a lot from the students and because the students oblige, the professors can continue to do this.

Jamie

Academics are obviously one of NU's strong points. I have taken a number of great classes here, not just good but great. There are also a lot of very engaging, interesting and accomplished professors here. One of my professors, freshmen year, wrote the book for the class and was also a great lecturer. Another of my history professors was the head of the department and the most engaging speaker that i have seen here. Class participation is very common and there are some students who go overboard but, aside from that, there isn't too much competition and students are very helpful to each other.

Danny

Classes are challenging at Northwestern. Unless you are just incredibly gifted, you should come in expecting to work hard. That being said, if you put in effort, good grades are extremely manageable, at least in the liberal arts classes I take. I also find most of my Northwestern classes to be very interesting, and I think most people here would agree. I am a history and philosophy major, and am looking into a business minor. I find that I learn an incredible amount in my classes, but sometimes the quarter system makes it feel rushed and provides a tense atmosphere. Still, I like the fact that we switch classes every 10 weeks instead of every 16. Some students are close to their professors, although I haven't fostered more than a few relationships. Many professors make an effort to know everybody's name. Of course, my Modern Cosmology professor couldn't learn almost 500 names, but my Intro to Macro professor impressively learned upwards of 200. Professors are required to hold office hours, and I have found most to be approachable, willing to help, and interesting people, although there are a few exceptions. By far the strangest class I have taken at Northwestern was a Freshmen Seminar called Searching for ET: Science and Strategies. It was a class devoted to learning about the search for aliens, and we pretty much discussed far flung theories every period and then threw up our hands at the end and said "who know?"

Brock

I love my classes, teachers are great. However, I wish I had an adviser, like a counselor. My freshman seminar teacher is nice, but does not know much outside of her field. Since I am undeclared, there is no one else to help me

Luke

This is a top tier school, academically, to be sure. A diverse course offering makes picking four (or five, for the particularly ambitious/anti-social) classes three times a year an exercise in self-denial. While many students aspire to double and triple major, some just pick one and enjoy the myriad of engaging elective courses taught by brilliant professors. You can bury yourself in work if you like, but for the most part school is manageable. There is, though, a decidedly varied degree of difficulty from one major to the next. Pre-meds don't go out. Humanities majors can drink five nights a week and still skate.

Casey

Class participation is frustrating because there are usually only a few kids in each class that participate. I try to speak in almost every class, but there are kids who go all quarter without talking.

Jared

Professors rarely know my name. My favorite class is the Presidency because the topic is interesting and my teacher is really logical and intelligent. My least favorite is Intro to Fiction because the professor was annoying and repeated himself a lot. Participation is common. Journalism requires a lot of work but it is rewarding.

Jamie

They are pretty good. 'nuff said