Advertiser disclosure

How to Respond to the Northwestern Supplemental Essay Prompts

Northwestern University is a small private, four-year university in Evanston, Illinois. At schools as selective as Northwestern, supplemental essays are a crucial part of students’ application in order to stand out from the crowd. The Northwestern supplemental essay is a great way to tell the admissions professionals why you chose their school. If your GPA and SAT or ACT scores are great, then they are going to need something else to narrow down the applicants– these essays are how they do it! 

Questions to ask yourself before you begin writing

  • Have you chosen your major yet? If so, why did this major at Northwestern draw you in?
  • Have you looked into clubs or student organizations that you may want to be a part of?
  • What opportunities offered by Northwestern are you most looking forward to?

Northwestern supplemental essay prompt

“In 300 words or less, help us understand how you might engage specific resources, opportunities, and/or communities here. We are curious about what these specifics are, as well as how they may enrich your time at Northwestern and beyond.”

300 words and under is the perfect number to get your point across in a college application essay. You do not have to feel pressured to write exactly 300 words, and you can always go over, as long as you go back through and revise to make it shorter. Start by writing what you feel, and then go from there.

What should I write about?

You may be asking yourself, “What should I write about?” This essay can be either challenging or easy for many people because it is so open ended. Do you know why you chose Northwestern over other schools? If you do know, hone in on what makes this university special compared to other universities that you have looked into. This is a big point to note– highlight Northwestern’s unique attributes without writing negatively about other schools. It is great that you love Northwestern, but it is a red flag to admissions staff if they see students talking negatively about other schools. 

Use specific examples

You’ll want to use specific examples in an essay like this to immerse the reader. Walk them through step-by-step as to how you will utilize resources, opportunities, and communities. Let’s say that you are very interested in studying abroad while in college. You can go onto Northwestern’s Buffett Institute for Global Affairs website and check out the information regarding different study abroad programs to see what interests you. There are so many programs to choose from, but a specific program that stands out is Public Health and Development in Stellenbosch, South Africa for the Spring Quarter. If your major is public health, this would be a great option to dive into and speak on how Northwestern has created this amazing opportunity for you to get hands-on experience in your field of study, while also offering you cultural and global experiences. 

Final thoughts for students

Northwestern University’s supplemental essay is not here to scare you– it is an opportunity for the admissions professionals to get to know you better. As long as you are honest and open about what you expect to learn and experience at their university, they will be interested in hearing more. 

Additional resources

As a rising college student, we understand that you have a lot on your mind. Even once you’ve finished your Northwestern supplemental essays, the work is far from over. That is why we want to take some of the stress off of your shoulders and make things easier! Check out our guide on how many colleges to apply to, or our guide on how to plan college tours.

Maybe you are thinking that Northwestern University is not the school for you, and that’s okay! We have supplemental essay guides for other schools too, as well as tips and tricks for scholarships. Good luck with the rest of your collegiate endeavors! 

Start your scholarship search
  • Vetted scholarships custom-matched to your profile
  • Access exclusive scholarships only available to Scholarships360 members
Get Started