Illinois, United States
Est. 1851Ranked among top 10 universities in US
Northwestern University is a private research university founded in 1851. While the campus is somewhat divided into two halves (the Evanston campus and the Chicago campus), we’re only going to talk about the one at Evanston, since that’s where all engineering students are going to end up. Now while Northwestern is known for the very excellent Kellogg School of Management, it’s important to know that just about every other area of study at the university is quite a handful as well.
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Even though Evanston does have the distinction of being categorized as a city, it might as well just have been part of Chicago, which is just 13 miles away. Clearly, with Chicago next door, you have just about everything you could possibly ask for under the sun.
If you could say one thing for certain about Northwestern, it would definitely be that it’s immensely pleasing to the eye. The campus looks excellent from a distance, and turns out even more fabulous once you actually set foot in it. The buildings are designed in a number of different architectural styles, and although that doesn’t sound entirely great, it appears just that once you look at it. The library system has over 5 million volumes covering subjects from Anything-You-May-Need to Everything-You-May-Need. They have some fantastic recreation centers, athletic centers, and a very beautiful aquatics center.
Almost all grad students live off campus, since it affords them more luxury, more privacy, and more exposure to some amazing dining options. Of course, with a big city come high rents, but finding yourself a couple of roommates is the way to go. Chicago Avenue and Clark Street are a couple of areas students check out before settling for something slightly cheaper, though paying about $500 per head is by no means ‘cheap’ in any language.
It’s probably not the kind of climate that you’re used to, and the first few months might be a task, but people get used to the Chicago weather pretty quickly. All four seasons are distinctly represented, and distinctly different. Summers can get hot and humid, with temperatures between 26 degrees and 33 degrees Celsius. Winters, on the other hand, are pretty cold, with temperatures often going subzero, and an appreciable amount of snowfall. Autumns are perhaps the best time of the year, with just about perfect temperature, though it rains more or less throughout the year. Don’t be too much by the ‘Windy City’ moniker though – there are many cities far windier than Chicago – you won’t be flying without an air ticket.
Although the engineering programs aren’t half as reputed as some other programs (read Management, Theatre), they’re pretty darn good anyway. Thanks to its rather excellent location, NU is able to attract some of the top professors of their respective fields, and the professors in turn teach with a passion and dedication unparalleled in most parts of the world. Of course, at the end of the day, academics are what you make of them, but you can rest assured about one thing – if you want to learn, the professors are always there to make sure you do.
Oh well, it’s a private university, which means you come to it if you can afford it. That said, they naturally aren’t too generous, but if you have the acads to back your demand, scholarships aren’t impossible.
Chicago is a city that’s just begging you to get out and take advantage of the millions of opportunities in it. You can be assured of a good job if you pass out of NU, but make sure that this knowledge doesn’t let your levels of competition slip.
While the engineering school (McCormick) at Northwestern may not live up to the name of its management brother Kellogg, it’s an excellent school anyway. Armed with the undeniable lure of Chicago, it’s definitely one of the better schools abroad.
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