Evanston, IL
Admission Difficulty
Very Hard
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4 College Sophomore

Facilities: There are a lot of student groups, the student center is very accessible and has a lot of good resources, and people are really active in a lot of things here.

5 College Sophomore

Facilities: Northwestern does a fantastic job of keeping facilities clean and well maintained.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Sophomore

Facilities: Student life would be better if everyone weren't overly stressed out, depressed and suicidal.

3 College Sophomore

Facilities: The engineering and journalism schools are top notch.

4 College Freshman

Facilities: Recently, Northwestern has been vamping up a lot of things on campus, updating and renovating lots of the older buildings (while keeping their historic character) and building new ones as well. There are multiple gyms, libraries, and lots of great study and hangout spots on campus. Most people develop a favorite spot but it's nice having the flexibility to find a nice place no matter where you are on campus.


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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 5th
    Best Performance Venues
  • 152nd
    Greenest Campuses
  • 211st
    Best Athletic Facilities
  • 263rd
    Best Library
  • 351st
    Best Student Centers

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

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

The facilities at Northwestern serve their purpose. While most buildings are fairly old, buildings like the McCormick Tribune Center and Crowe Hall are some of the newer and nicest buildings on campus. Harris Hall, home to many history and social science classes, completed its renovations in 2011. The chandeliers in the main lecture hall and overall polished look have made any lecture class more bearable. The Technological Institute (Tech) is by far the biggest building on campus, large enough to rival many of your high schools. Inside Tech, there is a secret Einstein Bros. Bagels and Tech Express (a café), so if you get lost, which can happen occasionally, at least you won’t go hungry. Kresge Hall is notorious for having difficult-to-climb stairs. If you have a class on the fourth floor, brace yourself for a tiring walk. Overall, many of Northwestern's buildings have history, but nothing is decrepit.

Deering Library is one of Northwestern’s biggest attractions. Legend has it that J.K. Rowling got her inspiration for Harry Potter from walking the halls of Deering Library. The Norris Student Center, built in the 1970s, could use a renovation and a more central location. Students use the center for necessary activities and the occasional non-dining hall meal, yet its location is off the beaten path for most students. Northwestern boasts many athletic facilities. Blomquist, the only gym on South Campus, has cardio equipment and a smattering of weights. Don’t come here expecting to see power-lifters or athletes, though. Patten Gymnasium is the northernmost point of campus, and is home to intramural and club sports, with a weight room in the basement. SPAC (Sports and Aquatic Center) is the fitness jewel of Northwestern. Here, you can find basketball/volleyball courts, an indoor pool and track, racquetball/squash/tennis courts, and weights (both machines and free weights). Anything you need, you will find it at SPAC.

Facts & Statistics

Service & Maintenance Staff
Campus Size
240 acres
Student Centers
Norris University Center
Campus Library?
Main Libraries
  • Northwestern University Library
  • Schaffner Library (Chicago campus)
  • Seeley G. Mudd Library
Popular Places to Chill
  • Friends’ apartments
  • Lakefill
  • Lisa's Café
  • Norris University Center
Bar on Campus
Bowling on Campus
None. The closest bowling alley is in Wilmette.
Coffeehouse on Campus
  • Crowe Café at Crowe Hall
  • Lisa's Café at Slivka Residential College
  • Plaza Café at University Library
  • Tech Express at the Technological Institute
  • Willie's Too at Norris University Center
Movie Theater on Campus
McCormick Auditorium
"Green" Initiatives
There's a GREEN (Group Residence for Environmental Engagement at Northwestern) living community on campus for environmentally conscious residents. The housing features things like cold showers and eco-friendly light bulbs. Basically, if it's something green, it's in this house.
School Slang
  • CAESAR: Computer system that students use to register for classes; also allows students to keep track of their transcripts and financial aid.
  • CTECs: Course and Teacher Evaluations. Read up on student ratings of professors before you commit to taking a class with them. Be careful; if you don't fill out your CTECs during Reading Week, you won't be able to view them next time.
  • DM: Dance Marathon, NU's biggest annual philanthropic event, which involves dancing for 30 hours to raise money for a charity
  • Dormcest: Having an encounter of a sexual nature with someone from your residence hall
  • Lagoon: A man-made area filled with water; watch for ducks and the large fountains that spray all summer long.
  • Lakefill: Area of campus bordering Lake Michigan that has bike paths, a fire pit, and fields
  • North Campus: Generally considered north of Foster-Walker Complex, which houses mostly the fraternity quads and engineering students; a new movement has arisen to call North Campus, "Norcam."
  • Plex: Foster-Walker Complex, a large dorm that features mostly single rooms
  • Points: Units on your meal plan that allow you to buy food at Norris University Center, Tech Express, Lisa's Café, and University Café
  • The Rock: Touchstone of campus that students paint to advertise or philosophize; guarding the Rock is a ritual everyone must go through.
  • South Campus: South of Foster-Walker Complex, which is home to the sorority quads and many theater, music, and journalism students
  • SPAC: Sports Pavilion and Aquatic Center, the largest workout facility on campus
  • Tech: Technological Institute, the behemoth of a building on North Campus that is home to some of Northwestern's largest lecture halls, a secret Einsten Bros., and many of the school's science programs
  • Dance Marathon: This 30-hour dance marathon is a popular event that culminates in a weekend celebration.
  • Dillo Day: Annual festival of music-and copious amounts of alcohol-that takes place on the Lakefill
  • Dolphin Show: The Dolphin Show is an annual student-produced musical.
  • Gone Greek Night: A celebration following rush that results in a good number of drunken hookups
  • Painting the Rock: Students paint the large rock between University and Harris halls to advertise events or ideas.
  • Primal Scream: The Sunday before finals week, students from all over campus stop what they are doing to scream at the top of their lungs. It is a huge stress reliever. The festivities take place at 9 p.m. each quarter.
  • Waa-Mu Show: Waa-Mu is NU's annual music review.
Urban Legends
  • It is said that if you walk across the seal on Marsh Chapel Plaza, you won't graduate.
  • SAE's Paddy Murphy Week is based on an urban legend taking place during the prohibition.
Favorite Things To Do
Between classes, work, and extracurriculars, there's no shortage of entertainment at NU. Students can enjoy one of the hundreds of student theater productions at Shanley Pavilion (a small shack near Norris), share a cup of joe at Lisa's Café, catch a movie brought by A&O Productions, or create something at ARTica Studios. Students can also play beach volleyball, sail, bike ride, inline skate, or catch a show at the Century Theater. Evanston also has a good variety of shopping, so students hit up Urban Outfitters, American Apparel, Francescas, and Crossroads (a second-hand store) quite often!
Student Organizations Web Site
Student Newspaper
The Daily Northwestern
Clubs and Organizations on Campus
It's a simple fact: Students at Northwestern like to be involved. And with more than 200 student groups to join, they don't really run into any problems pursuing their interests. From speech and mock trial to club sports to ethnic and pre-professional clubs, you should be able to find a group that shares what you're passionate about. So the next step is to go ahead and do it. Take advantage of the activities fair, and find the stuff you really like to do-it'll make your time at Northwestern much more rewarding. At the end of the day, college is about a whole lot more than academics.
Student Activities Offered
  • Campus ministries
  • Choral groups
  • Concert band
  • Dance
  • Drama/theater
  • International student organization
  • Jazz band
  • Literary magazine
  • Marching band
  • Model UN
  • Music ensembles
  • Musical theater
  • Opera
  • Pep band
  • Radio station
  • Student government
  • Student-run film society
  • Symphony orchestra
  • Television station
  • Yearbook
Air Force ROTC: No
Navy ROTC: Yes
Army ROTC: No
Did You Know?
  • Northwestern's Center for Student Involvement is a good resource for students looking for extracurricular activities that interest them.
  • There is an initiative to build a new student center that is more centrally located, in the hopes of creating a real environment where students from North and South campuses can meet, mingle, and eat.
  • The University's Associated Student Government (ASG) holds an activities fair every year during Wildcat Welcome Week for new students to check out the plethora of extracurricular activities available to them.

Student Polls

Rate the campus facilities in the following areas    Based on 61 responses

Very poor
  • Athletics/recreation
  • Classrooms
  • Computer labs
  • Dining
  • General aesthetics/architecture of campus
  • "Green" buildings/initiatives
  • Housing
  • Lawns/green space
  • Library
  • Modernity of facilities
  • Performing arts
  • Science/research labs
  • Student center
  • Study spots
  • Visual arts (work spaces, galleries)

How would you describe the student center/union?    Based on 78 responses

  • 6% The student center is in need of a major renovation.
  • 23% The student center serves its purpose but is not a popular hangout.
  • 58% The student center is great but isn't central to student life.
  • 13% The student center is state-of-the-art and the hub of student life.

What is your overall opinion of your school and the campus community?    Based on 60 responses

  • 3% I hate my school and have no school spirit.
  • 7% The school community is okay-we're all just here for an education, nothing more.
  • 48% I like mostly everything about my school, but there are some things I wish were different.
  • 42% I love everything about my school and have a lot of campus pride.



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