Northeastern vs Smith 

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

a female student writing to a piece of notebook

Northeastern vs Smith

When it comes to choosing a university, there are many factors to consider. Two schools that often come up in comparison are Northeastern University and Smith College. While they both offer quality education, distinct differences exist between them. This article will provide a comprehensive comparison of Northeastern vs Smith, covering academics, campus life, cost of attendance, student life, location, admissions requirements, alumni networks, research opportunities, co-op programs, athletics programs, diversity on campus, and campus safety measures.

Northeastern vs Smith: A Comprehensive Comparison

In terms of academic excellence, Northeastern and Smith both have much to offer. Northeastern is known for its co-op program, where students alternate between semesters of work experience and classroom learning.

On the other hand, Smith is an exclusively undergraduate institution that is particularly renowned for its liberal arts education. Northeastern, however, offers a broader range of degree programs, including graduate degrees and professional programs such as law and business.

Campus life at Northeastern and Smith vary greatly. Northeastern offers a typical campus experience, with dormitories, dining halls, and sports facilities on site, while Smith’s campus is more compact and offers fewer facilities. Northeastern also has a strong athletic program, with seventeen NCAA Division I teams. Meanwhile, Smith has no varsity athletic programs and instead focuses on offering students a vibrant arts community.

Group of students sitting on their table.

Another notable difference between Northeastern and Smith is their location. Northeastern is located in the heart of Boston, a bustling city with endless opportunities for internships, networking, and cultural experiences.

Smith, on the other hand, is located in Northampton, a small town in western Massachusetts known for its artsy and bohemian vibe. While both locations have their advantages, students who prefer a more urban environment may be drawn to Northeastern, while those who prefer a quieter, more laid-back atmosphere may prefer Smith.

Finally, it’s worth noting that Northeastern and Smith have different approaches to community service and social justice. Northeastern has a strong commitment to experiential learning and community engagement, with many opportunities for students to get involved in service projects and social justice initiatives.

Smith, meanwhile, has a long history of activism and social justice advocacy, with a strong emphasis on feminist and LGBTQ+ issues. Students who are passionate about making a difference in their communities may find that one of these schools aligns more closely with their values and interests.

Academics: Northeastern vs Smith

Admissions requirements for Northeastern and Smith differ slightly, with Northeastern being slightly more competitive with an acceptance rate of 19%, while Smith has an acceptance rate of 32%. Both schools look for academically strong students who also demonstrate leadership and involvement in extracurricular activities.

When it comes to alumni networks, both schools have strong communities of former students. Northeastern boasts over 200,000 alumni worldwide and has a dedicated Office of Alumni Relations, which connects current students with former students in relevant fields. Smith has a similarly active alumni network, with over 40,000 alumnae and a strong alumnae association that offers mentoring and professional development opportunities.

Another area where Northeastern and Smith differ is in their academic programs. Northeastern is known for its co-op program, which allows students to gain real-world experience through internships and co-op placements. Smith, on the other hand, has a strong focus on the liberal arts and offers a wide range of majors in fields such as literature, history, and philosophy.

When it comes to campus life, Northeastern and Smith also have distinct differences. Northeastern is located in the heart of Boston, offering students access to all the city has to offer. Smith, on the other hand, is located in the small town of Northampton, Massachusetts, providing a more intimate and close-knit community for students.

Location, Location, Location: Comparing the Surrounding Areas of Northeastern vs Smith

Research opportunities at Northeastern and Smith are plentiful. Northeastern is particularly strong in STEM fields and offers state-of-the-art research facilities as well as partnerships with industry leaders. Smith is known for its undergraduate research opportunities, which often lead to publication in scholarly journals. The small size of the college also allows for more personalized research experiences.

Co-op programs at Northeastern and internships at Smith provide students with valuable work experience before they graduate. Northeastern’s co-op program is a defining characteristic of the university, and over 90% of students participate in either domestic or international co-op opportunities. Smith offers a diverse range of internships, particularly in the fields of education, public policy, and the arts, through partnerships with employers both locally and nationally.

Two friends walking in the campus.

Aside from academic opportunities, the surrounding areas of Northeastern and Smith offer unique experiences for students. Northeastern is located in the heart of Boston, a city known for its rich history, diverse culture, and thriving economy. Students have access to world-class museums, theaters, and restaurants, as well as internship opportunities with some of the city’s top employers.

Smith, on the other hand, is situated in Northampton, a vibrant college town in western Massachusetts. The town boasts a lively arts scene, with numerous galleries, music venues, and theaters. Students can also take advantage of the town’s natural beauty, with hiking trails and parks nearby.

Alumni Network: Which University has a Stronger Network?

Northeastern and Smith also differ in their athletics programs. Northeastern has a strong tradition of athletic excellence, with seventeen NCAA Division I teams competing in the Colonial Athletic Association. Smith, meanwhile, has no varsity athletic programs and instead emphasizes physical well-being through fitness opportunities and intramural athletics.

Finally, diversity on campus is a critical factor for many students. Both Northeastern and Smith have made strides in recent years to create more inclusive environments. Northeastern is the more diverse of the two schools, with a student body that is 25% international and 47% students of color. Smith is also committed to diversity and inclusion, with a range of policies and programs to support underrepresented groups on campus.

However, when it comes to alumni networks, Northeastern has a clear advantage. With over 275,000 alumni worldwide, Northeastern has a strong and active alumni community that offers a range of networking opportunities, mentorship programs, and career resources.

The university also has a dedicated Office of Alumni Relations that organizes events and initiatives to connect alumni with each other and with current students. Smith, on the other hand, has a smaller alumni network of around 40,000 members, which may limit the networking opportunities available to graduates.

Research Opportunities at Northeastern vs Smith

Campus safety measures at Northeastern and Smith are also a top priority. Northeastern has a dedicated police department on campus and offers a range of safety resources, such as safety escorts. Smith also has a department of public safety and a campus-wide emergency notification system. Both universities take safety seriously and have implemented a range of measures to ensure student well-being.

Group of students smiling at each other in the library.

When it comes to research opportunities, Northeastern and Smith both offer a wide range of options for students. Northeastern has a strong focus on experiential learning and offers co-op programs that allow students to gain hands-on experience in their field of study. Smith, on the other hand, has a strong emphasis on undergraduate research and offers opportunities for students to work closely with faculty members on research projects.

Another factor to consider when choosing between Northeastern and Smith is the location. Northeastern is located in the heart of Boston, which offers students access to a wide range of cultural and professional opportunities. Smith, on the other hand, is located in Northampton, Massachusetts, which is a smaller town but still offers a vibrant arts and culture scene.


Choosing between Northeastern and Smith is not an easy decision. Both schools offer a quality education and a range of opportunities for students. Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preferences and priorities. Students who are interested in a strong co-op program and a bustling city atmosphere may prefer Northeastern, while those seeking a smaller, more intimate campus experience may prefer Smith.

Regardless of which university students choose, they can be confident that they will receive a rigorous education and be part of a supportive community that will prepare them for success beyond graduation.

It is important to note that both Northeastern and Smith have unique strengths that may appeal to different students. For example, Northeastern has a strong focus on experiential learning through its co-op program, which allows students to gain real-world experience in their field of study.

a male student sitting and looking at the camera

On the other hand, Smith has a strong emphasis on women’s education and empowering its students to become leaders in their communities.

Additionally, both universities have a diverse student body and offer a variety of extracurricular activities and clubs. Students at Northeastern can participate in over 300 student organizations, while Smith offers a range of clubs and organizations focused on social justice, sustainability, and the arts. These opportunities allow students to explore their interests and passions outside of the classroom and build a strong sense of community on campus.

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