What is Northeastern University Known for?

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Northeastern University has changed a lot since its founding in 1898. Originally a commuter school, today Northeastern University is counted among the best of the 35 colleges, universities, and community colleges that call Boston home—including Boston University, Boston College, and UMass Boston—not to mention institutions like Harvard, MIT, and Wellesley College, which are located just outside the city proper. 

 

Find out details about Northeastern to help you write your application and know if the school is right for you!

 

 

Overview of Northeastern University Admissions

 

Location: Boston, MA

Undergrad Enrollment: 13,900

Acceptance Rate: 18%

Middle 50% SAT: 1470-1540  

Middle 50% ACT:  33-35

 

What does it take to get into Northeastern? Northeastern University prides itself on its holistic approach to admissions. The university considers not only a student’s academic profile when making admissions decisions, but also looks at factors like extracurricular involvement, entrepreneurial pursuits, and characteristics such as leadership and passion. 

 

Students are required to have completed a minimum of:

 

  • Four years of English
  • Two years of history
  • Two years of the same foreign language
  • Three years of science
  • Three years of math

 

Most competitive applicants exceed the minimum requirements and will have completed four years of all five major subjects.

 

Unique Aspects of Northeastern University

 

Academics

 

Northeastern’s Cooperative Education Program (“co-op”) is what sets it apart from a majority of other top-tier colleges and universities. Northeastern’s co-op program is one of the oldest and broadest in the nation—it was established in 1909—and includes opportunities across the globe (148 countries since 2006) in a broad spectrum of fields.

 

Northeastern’s co-op program blends classroom and experiential learning to ensure students graduate with the skills and experience needed to immediately step in and make an impact after graduation. Through co-op, students alternate between six months in class and six months in a career-related experience such as employment or research. 

 

Because of the sterling reputation of Northeastern’s co-op program, graduates are highly sought after; 93% of NU graduates are employed or enrolled in graduate school nine months after graduation. Co-op isn’t required, although almost all students participate in this valuable program. 

 

In addition to work experience, Northeastern affords students a wide swath of academic fields to explore. NU offers more than 90 majors in areas ranging from accounting to theatre. Popular majors include business, marketing, engineering, and biological sciences, while computer science and bioengineering are among the fastest-growing majors at Northeastern. 

 

Location

 

NU’s 73-acre campus has an abundance of green space and the close-knit feel of a smaller school while providing access to one of the U.S.’s most historic, healthiest, and innovative cities. 

 

Northeastern lies in Boston’s Back Bay, which offers excellent access to nightlife and shopping, and puts the city’s iconic Fenway Park and Prudential Center within walking distance. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is located right across the street from Northeastern. The MFA contains more than 500,000 works of art and provides Northeastern students with free admission. 

 

The “T,” what Bostonians call the subway, runs right through Northeastern’s campus, making it convenient to explore more distant parts of the city, and eliminating the need for a car.  

 

Extracurriculars

 

Northeastern isn’t as notable for its athletics as some other colleges in town—after all, it canceled its football program after 74 years in 2009—however, sports have a rich history at NU. Northeastern’s Matthews Arena, founded in 1910, is the oldest hockey arena in the world, the original home of the Boston Bruins, and where the Huskies play their home hockey games. 

 

One of the big athletic events of the year is the Beanpot Hockey Tournament. The Beanpot is a two-round tournament held every February since the 1950s between Northeastern, Harvard, Boston College, and Boston University. In 2018, the Huskies won the Beanpot and ended a 30-year drought—they subsequently won the next two (2019 and 2020) and are still the reigning champs, since the tournament wasn’t held in 2021 due to COVID-19. 

 

Another interesting athletic tidbit is that Northeastern’s campus was the location of the first modern baseball World Series. Huntington Avenue Grounds, home of the games, may have been demolished over a century ago, but a statue of Cy Young now marks the site of the ballpark’s pitching mound. 

 

There are numerous opportunities at NU for students with interests outside of athletics. The university is home to 45 international and cultural awareness organizations and more than 500 student clubs and organizations. The college has a global feel—143 countries are represented in Northeastern’s student body and, in 2019, it hosted the third-most international students in the U.S.

 

Traditions

 

On Parents’ Weekends, Northeastern students show who really runs the city for the now-annual Underwear Run. For this fun tradition, students strip to their skivvies and run through the city!

 

Another unique tradition of Northeastern is the “middler year.” Because of co-op, NU students don’t follow a traditional collegiate timeline and take longer to earn their degrees. Consequently, using traditional terms like “sophomore” and “junior” can get murky. “Middlers” is a loose term used to describe NU students who are somewhere between starting and finishing their time at Northeastern.  

 

Dorms

 

All freshmen and sophomores are required to live on campus at Northeastern, and the majority of new students will share a room with one or two other students in traditional residence halls. Most upperclassmen live in apartment-style housing.  

 

More than a dozen living-learning communities are available for first-year students. The communities encompass communities relating to fields of study or areas of interest including:  

 

  • BouvĂ© College of Health Sciences
  • Khoury College of Computer Sciences
  • Women in Khoury College of Computer Sciences
  • College of Engineering
  • Connections (Women in Engineering)
  • College of Science
  • Global Visions (D’Amore-McKim School of Business)
  • Honors
  • NU Journeys (NU Explore Program)
  • Pre-Health
  • Politics, Philosophy, and Economics
  • Community Service
  • Creative Expressions
  • Cultural Inclusion
  • Fusion
  • Healthy Living
  • Leadership (Leaders of the Pack & Sports Leadership)
  • Musical Motifs

 

Financial Aid

 

Northeastern guarantees to meet 100% of the demonstrated need of accepted students who are eligible for federal financial aid. The “Northeast Promise” assures NU students that scholarships and grants won’t be reduced during their undergraduate program, need-based grants from Northeastern will rise at the same rate as tuition, and if a student’s family has a change of financial circumstances, their financial aid package will get reevaluated. 

 

Northeastern ranks highly for return on investment. The website Payscale places NU at 164 out of 2,006 colleges and universities on its list of best value colleges. 

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Resources

 

Northeastern’s Snell Library was built in 1990 at the cost of $35 million dollars. The roughly 200,000-square-foot library sees more than 2 million visitors a year and houses almost half a million books. Looking for a distraction-free place to study on campus? The library’s third floor is designated for quiet study.  

 

Northeastern University is classified as an R1 doctoral university and is considered to have the “highest research activity.” In 2019-2020, the school provided $180.2 million in external research awards and $158.3 million in research expenditures. Notable research facilities on the school’s campus include:

 

  • Barnett Institute for Chemical and Biological Analysis
  • Coastal Sustainability Institute
  • Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute
  • Experiential AI Institute
  • Experiential Robotics Institute
  • Global Resilience Institute
  • Kostas Institute for Homeland Security
  • Network Science Institute
  • Chemical Imaging of Living Systems Institute
  • Institute for the Wireless Internet of Things

 

Students adverse to winter weather will be interested to learn about the network of underground tunnels connecting NU’s classrooms, the library, the student center, and the bookstore. They can be tricky to navigate, and they’re not always the fastest way to get from point A to point B, but they are a nice alternative to braving the traditionally fickle New England weather.   

 

What Are Your Chances of Acceptance at Northeastern University?

 

Admission into Northeastern is becoming increasingly competitive. Comparing Northeastern’s middle 50% SAT/ACT to another notable Boston-area university located just across the river in Cambridge sheds light on the high academic standards it demands: Northeastern (1470-1540/33-35) vs. Harvard (1460-1570/33-35). 

 

Standardized test scores just tell one story, however, and Northeastern practices holistic admissions and considers a host of other factors like GPA and extracurricular activities. CollegeVine can help you solve this complex equation and discover your chances at Northeastern, along with over 600 other colleges and universities. 

 

Our free admissions calculator uses the same data points that schools like NU use when making admissions decisions (such as GPA, test scores, and extracurriculars) to provide you with an estimate of your odds of admission. Furthermore, it can make the college application process easier by helping you find best-fit schools based on everything from your chances to school size to location to majors. 

 

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Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.

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