Evanston, IL
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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Reviews 1262 total reviews with an average rating of 3.5

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3 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: Could Be Better, but Not Bad – Northwestern has a cute downtown area with an Urban Outfitters, Chipotle, Noodles & Company, and such but isn't too extensive. You definitely have to go a bit further to go to a big grocery store. But it's not bad. The local people who live in Evanston don't seem to like Northwestern kids that much though.

3 College Junior

Campus Strictness: Northwestern's policy about drugs and/or alcohol is strict.

3 College Junior

Drug Safety: Low Key – Though a good majority of Northwestern students drink on the weekends and some smoke weed, there are a multitude of options for those who do not wish to partake.

3 College Junior

Nightlife: Limited for Under-21S. Northwestern's party scene is a little limited for those under 21 and without a fake i.d. Every weekend boasts a variety of frat, house, and apartment parties for those who don't have the option of hitting the bars in downtown Evanston or Chicago. For those lucky partygoers over 21, Evanston offers an easily accessible variety of bars.

4 College Sophomore

Facilities: I love my school because I feel an absolute sense of academic freedom. Even though I'm a music student, I feel like I am able to take classes in any subject concentration that I want. Outside of academics, I love everything about Northwestern apart from the weather. I think that my campus is beautiful, and I love the proximity to Chicago. People will always complain, but if you go to school at Northwestern, you have it pretty good.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Campus Housing: I like the on-campus housing situation at Northwestern because each dorm is different. Some dorms are incredibly social, while in other dorms people never even meet their neighbors. A lot of the rooms are too small, but the amount of students in each dorm is small enough that you should never feel overwhelmed.

3 College Sophomore

Campus Dining: Too Expensive – The food isn't terrible, but considering what you pay to eat it, it makes more sense to move off campus and make your own food. Sometimes I feel like you're better off being a vegetarian, because the meat can be terrifying, and should usually be avoided. Toward the middle of the year I went on the waffle diet. It was a great decision. I do like that each dining hall is slightly different. It's still exciting to go to Willard every once in a while because they have a really cool buzzer system that makes you feel fancy.

4 people found this useful Report
2 College Sophomore

Campus Strictness: The school takes it very seriously. Northwestern highly values academic integrity considering how prestigious the university is.

3 College Sophomore

Health & Safety: Smart Phone Thefts – For some reason, recently there have been many attempted smart phone thefts with the excuse that the stranger needs the time or directions.

3 College Sophomore

Guys & Girls: There's a Variety – Most girls tend to be smart and attractive. The guys vary much more from handsome to not so much.

4 College Sophomore

Majors: LOC is awesome because it is one of the most practical majors at northwestern and almost requires you to get a second major or two minors. It is also in the school of social policy that requires you to go find an internship and place to live for one quarter. Best major for real life experience

2 College Sophomore

Campus Housing: Housing Isn't Great – The campus housing is extremely expensive and usually pretty small. The best dorms are BOB and Elder and they are probably the worst dorms to live in, but are the best social dorms. They all pretty much suck but they are livable. Allison is the nicest dorm, but it is really far away from any parties.

5 College Sophomore

Off-Campus Dining: Evanston is the best places with the most variety for off campus dining

4 College Freshman

Majors: Plenty of Internships – Evanston offers a lot of internships for Northwestern students with competitive pay and reasonable time commitment. There are also many jobs and internships on campus, and the people at the University Career Services are absolutely wonderful. They give you personal attention and help you along the way in finding your internship or your job.

3 College Freshman

Parking: Bring a Bike – Freshmen aren't allowed to have cars or parking permits. As you go up in seniority, you get better options, but the campus is very walkable and bikeable, so it's more expensive and more of a hassle bringing a car and trying to find parking spaces (they are limited) than just bringing a bike. There are a plenty of bike storage places all around campus. Both the campus and Evanston are very walkable. Also, the officers ticket hard if you park off limits.

4 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: Evanston and Chicago Are Great Cultural Resources – The Northwestern Evanston campus is definitely not a closed off campus. Although there is a distinction between the campus and the rest of Evanston, it blends in nicely. Downtown Evanston is very accessible from campus, and it has many quaint bookstores, boutiques, cafes, and restaurants, as well as more upscale options. There are a plenty of eating options, and a lot to explore if you keep an open mind. Evanston is very well geared to the typical college town, serving the needs and the tastes of college students. If Evanston runs out of things to do, Chicago is only an El ride away. Chicago, needless to say, is amazing. There are so many things to do on campus, though, that you have to remind yourself to get out a little!

1 person found this useful Report
5 College Freshman

Overall Experience: I love Northwestern and can not imagine having gone anywhere else. NU is home to many brilliant students, yet unlike what one might stereo-typically expect from a prestigious school, the students are extremely down to earth. It is not a crazy and competitive atmosphere, but rather seems much more about self-improvement. Students, in general, are hardworking, but also have more going on in their lives. Most are involved in multiple organizations on campus in addition to their schoolwork and also the motto "Work Hard, Play Hard" applies to campus as weekends bring out the inner partier in many weekday engineering nerds.

4 College Freshman

Campus Housing: The Culture Divide – Dorms at Northwestern vary. There are many that have been recently redone such as Allison and Bobb-McCullough, however, many of the smaller dorms have been overlooked. North campus is home to engineers and the frats. One can live a very quiet life in Slivka, or party it up in America's #1 party dorm (according to the Huffington Post) - Bobb-McCullough. Down south you'll find the more artsy students and sorority row as well as a more quiet environment. North and south campus have a huge culture gap, and therefore where you live on campus can strongly influence your college experience.

3 College Freshman

Greek Life: Not Too Overwhelming – Greeks and non-Greeks certainly intermingle. A large percent of campus is Greek so it's very normal to learn that new acquaintances are greek. Freshmen do not rush until winter quarter, so for the guys who want to rush, a lot of the first quarter is attending events with the frats in order to figure out where they are rushing. For the girls, there's no real emphasis until rush itself - which is a pretty laid back process. The Greeks can often be seen doing fundraisers around campus and supporting events such as Homecoming. Overall, it's mostly another social outlet, but can give students a place that they will always belong.

3 College Freshman

Campus Dining: Good Food, but Can Get Old – Dining is overall fine as long as you take the effort to move around campus rather than going to the same dining hall for every single meal. Most dining halls have a decent variety of stations: grill, sandwiches, pasta bar, salad bar, pizza, stir fry, and entrees. Sargent is known for its sandwiches, Allison has a good salad bar, Hinman excels at its entree area. Personally, I usually eat at Sargent since it's near my dorm, but a few trips south for lunch each week keep that from getting too dull.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Nightlife: Frat Parties on Weekends and the Keg Dominate Scene – Northwestern is by no means a "party school" but finding big parties is easy on any given weekend. Most of the on-campus party life is based in the frats, but there are almost always parties thrown by theatre groups or at off-campus apartments as well. The party scene may seem tame compared to larger state schools, and rarely gets dangerous or out of hand. In the winter, it dies down a bit, because nobody wants to go out in the freezing weather. People go out to bars (particularly The Keg) on Monday and Saturday nights, and almost everyone is underage. The shuttle system is convenient for getting to downtown Evanston or up to the frats. Northwestern nightlife definitely exists on the weekends, and it's enough for many people, but is not anything special.

3 College Freshman

Athletics: Not a Top School, but Great Big Ten Atmosphere – Northwestern's great in that it combines fantastic academics with a Big Ten atmosphere. While we're by no means the top athletic school (except in girls lacrosse?), people go to the games and there is a good amount of school spirit. Big Ten football games are definitely fun, and home games are an important part of campus life. The SPAC recreation facility is wonderful for both athletes and non-athletes. Northwestern definitely puts a higher focus on academics than sports, but they're a good part of campus culture

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Facilities: Gorgeous Campus, Decent Buildings – The facilities are generally nice- there are definitely some beautiful buildings here. The SPAC gym/rec center is absolutely wonderful, but Blomquist gym is not very nice. The library is impressive and gigantic, and the Deering library looks like something out of Harry Potter. In general, the buildings on campus are pretty acceptable, but the dorms certainly vary. It's a pretty gorgeous campus.

3 College Freshman

Health & Safety: Getting Better – I feel pretty safe on campus, but hearing about all the robberies recently made me a little nervous. The university has done a great job communicating with us about both the incidents and how they want to improve safety in the future.

3 College Sophomore

Guys & Girls: Girls Are Average – Girls at NU aren't anything to brag about, and I'm sure the girls would say the same about the guys. there are the occasional hotties but they are few and far between, and usually they know they are hot by northwestern's standards. Most girls go out with their sororities and stay in those bunches. One night stands happen often if that's what you are looking for. Northwestern moves too fast and the quarters are too short to expect much to really happen with dating. There is few is any dating options. It just doesn't happen. Girls can be pretentious but can also be awesome. I've never been to another school and been able to talk to a girl like I can at northwestern. They get in for a reason. In all honesty there is nothing to write home about when it comes to the opposite sex. Then again that is not why a person comes to NU. There is lot of diversity when it comes to girls. The guys are diverse to. Most guys are fairly average as well.

5 people found this useful Report

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Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

Shayna Starr
Houston, Texas
Grad Year
View all previous student authors

At Northwestern, schoolwork can seem overwhelming at points, but students don’t let that stop them from having fun. After spending the school week doing long readings, writing papers, and taking ever-present midterms, students have a knack for finding ways to kick back and relax. This does not always include partying. For those who want to party, the option is always there. If partying is not your thing, there are movies, cool coffee shops to check out, and all of Chicago's cultural offerings just a short "L" ride away.

Northwestern students are generally happy with their choice of school—there is a retention rate nearing 100 percent year after year. There are the usual complaints (cold winters, hard classes, and lack of sleep, to name a few), but everyone has their reason for choosing NU, and the reasons usually do not disappoint. Most students like most aspects of their life at Northwestern. The mid-size student body (8,000 undergrads) allows you to meet new people in various activities or classes, but you are guaranteed to see familiar faces every time you walk outside or eat in a dining hall. Different aspects of the school can be hit or miss, depending on what you’re looking for, but the people you meet and the friends you make will greatly enhance your experience. Students come from many walks of life, but the differences in backgrounds are hardly noticeable on the surface. Everyone has similar goals for the future, and everyone will go places after they graduate. This is Northwestern, after all.

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