In that one word, I can sum up the appearance of Northwestern University, located in the college town of Evanston, Ill. However, there is more to it than meets the eye.
Known for its engineering program, journalism program, and business school, it is home to about 15,000 students, 8,000 of which are undergraduates. Tuition is about $38,000 per year, with room and board adding $11,000 more.
The variety and quantity of majors available to undergraduates are spread among nine of 12 schools and allow students to pursue their dreams. Future journalists can apply to the Medill School of Journalism, home to visiting prominent journalists, and future doctors can apply to the Feinberg School of Medicine, where they will acquire the skills needed for saving lives. Graduate and professional programs are also offered at 10 of their schools.
Northwestern not only has a diversity of majors, but a huge expanse of sports. It is a Division I school and is the only private institution within its conference. Northwestern’s 19 intercollegiate varsity sports are members of The Big Ten Conference, which features such names as the University of Michigan, Michigan State, and Purdue.
Being a member of the Big Ten Conference makes for exciting and spirited football games. The band also adds to the excitement and can be found practicing down by the lake, which also serves as a peaceful and breathtaking study spot.
The two beaches by the lake are also available for use by students and provide a scenic view of nearby Chicago, which is only 20 minutes away by train. It is a city full of opportunities for internships and entertainment.
The pond in the middle of campus adds to the beauty of the surroundings and serves as a distraction for any student looking for a little relaxation time and a break from the stress of school.
Students who have family visiting from out of town don’t have to look far for a place to accommodate them; there is a hotel located right on campus. It’s so luxurious that Oprah Winfrey decided to extend her one-night stay into a four-night stay because she enjoyed it so much. She also taught a business course for the undergraduate program of the Kellogg School of Management in 1999.
Northwestern Wildcats don’t have a problem finding ways to express themselves. The rocks that line the shores of the lake are decorated by students with favorite quotes and other messages. There is even a rock in the quad that is painted every few weeks by the various clubs and groups at the school.
Rumor has it that the rock-painting tradition began when some freshmen decided to paint the rock, which angered the seniors, leading them to force the troublemaking freshmen to clean the rock with toothbrushes.
When those freshmen became seniors, they decided to paint the rock again, this time with positive messages and images. The president of the school liked it so much the procedure became tradition.
Today, the rock is guarded for 24 hours to establish a group’s right to decorate it. Once painted, it must be guarded for another 24 hours so the creation is not replaced by another group before it has had time to be admired.
The school spirit doesn’t stop there. A few times during the two weeks leading up to finals, everyone on campus is urged to let out their frustrations through screaming. Once a signal is given, students everywhere on campus are urged to stop whatever they’re doing and let out their loudest screams.
The Purple Mafia is also one of the main features that Northwestern boasts. Not to be confused with the traditional murderous gang, it’s a group of Northwestern alumni that serve to help future students in their area. They provide prospective students with insight into the university and can also be used as contacts for future jobs.
In addition, each student is assigned a mentor from the college he or she is applying to. The mentor stays with them through the rest of their college years and can also be used as a contact for future jobs.
There are opportunities for everyone to express themselves by way of joining various clubs, and if the club they want to join doesn’t exist, all they need are a few friends and an idea. The Northwestern campus also features a museum, art gallery, theater, and concert hall where students are allowed to show off their talents.
Northwestern has a different class schedule than most colleges. It is organized into trimesters, rather than semesters and includes a fall session, which runs from mid-September to mid-December, a winter session, which runs from the beginning of January to mid-March, and a spring session, which runs from the end of March to mid-June.
This trimester schedule is closer to that of a high school, but students at Northwestern don’t mind it. Having classes go later into the summer gives students a chance to enjoy the warm weather at the Northwestern beaches and spend Labor Day with their families.
The schedule also allows students to experience the varying temperatures of Evanston. It can be anywhere from the upper 20s in January to the mid 70s in July.
Chicago may be a stretch for students from the Attleboro area, but this can also be an advantage. Colleges tend to accept students that live farther away because it provides more of a variety for their campus.
So whether it’s the excitement of the Big Ten, the royal purple that surrounds every inch of the campus, or the concern for the welfare of its students that serves as the selling point for students, there is no way to go wrong with a choice like Northwestern.