Northwestern University is a well-respected private institution located in the Chicago suburb of Evanston. Students are close enough to an urban atmosphere to be able to take advantage of a variety of activities. With just over 8,300 undergraduates, the school is small enough to offer classes with a six to one student to faculty ratio, but large enough to attract impressive professors.
The school was established in 1851 and is spread over 240 acres. There is another campus located in Chicago that covers 25 additional acres. The picturesque Evanston campus is right next to Lake Michigan, giving students a gorgeous view from the University Library, Norris University Center, and Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. The campus is largely divided into two sections. The North Campus is made up of Science and Athletics. (Including the fraternity buildings, the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion and Norris Aquatics Center, and the Technological Institute.) The South Campus is mostly Humanities and Arts centered. (With the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, and the sorority buildings.)
Northwestern is known for its rigorous academic curriculum, but also for allowing its students control over the classes they take. Unlike most universities, there are no common core classes required for all students. Each major sets its own standards for necessary classes as determined by the professors in each major. In fact, Northwestern University offers 90 majors as well as 89 minors and certifications. The most popular majors include social sciences, engineering, communication/journalism and visual and performing arts.
But the university is not just about academics. The school also treasures the many traditions that have developed over the years, including Painting the Rock, the Dance Marathon, and Primal Scream where students are allowed to scream out of their windows during finals week. There is a significant Greek presence on campus, with around 40% of women in a sorority and 32% of men in a fraternity. There are 38 fraternities and sororities to choose from on the Northwestern campus. Additionally, many students decide to live in residential dorms and about 60% decide to stay in college-affiliated housing throughout their undergraduate years.
Students looking for a flexible path towards their desired major should look into the university. Northwestern prides itself on providing individualized courses of study, while still offering consistently challenging classes. Students interested in a beautiful campus close to a major city should consider Northwestern University.