Northwestern Traditions

December 31, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Northwestern Traditions

The first institution to be chartered in Illinois is Northwestern University, which is situated in Evanston on the North Side of Chicago. The university served as the University of Chicago’s traditional adversary and was a founding member of the Big 10 athletic conference. Throughout the years, the institution has nurtured Northwestern Traditions that everybody loves.

The tree-covered campus, which is only a few blocks from Lake Michigan, blends contemporary and traditional styles in both its architecture and construction. Northwestern University has one of the best programs in the nation and blends a rich history with a top-notch academic and sports reputation.

What are the Northwestern traditions?

What are the Northwestern traditions? Below, AdmissionSight lists them. Let’s check them out.

Alma Mater/Hymn of Northwestern

The first on our list of Northwestern traditions, Alma Mater/Hymn. Peter Christian Lutkin (1858–1931), who served as the School of Music’s first dean from 1883–1931, wrote the classic hymn (“Quacumque sunt vera”) in 1907.

“Hail to Alma Mater! We will sing thy praise forever; All thy sons and daughters Pledge thee victory and honor. Alma Mater, praise be thine, may thy name forever shine! Hail to Purple! Hail to White! Hail to thee, Northwestern!”

The name "Northwestern" flashed and magnified unto the screen

The University Hymn was first sung by Northwestern students in the tongue of ancient Rome just after the turn of the 20th century. In order to replace the Latin verse in the song, the then-Director of Bands, John Paynter, enlisted the help of undergraduate music student Thomas Tyra (’54) to write the English version of the song.

The “Alma Mater” song is still played today during the halftime of Wildcat football games by the Marching Band and formal and special events like commencement or convocation ceremonies by the orchestra.

The University’s motto, “Whatever things are true,” served as the inspiration for the literal translation of the Latin lyrics. For more information, see the section below on the university motto.

Dillo Day of Northwestern

In 1972, Texans at Northwestern University conducted a tiny celebration in honor of the state mammal as the first Armadillo Day. Dillo Day is the biggest student-run music festival in the country more than 40 years later.

Held along Lake Michigan’s beach at Northwestern University. Two stages feature nationally and regionally recognized performers, and the Dillo Village offers all-day food and entertainment for the 12,000 festival goers. Every year, Dillo Day is organized and put on by the student group Mayfest Productions for the Northwestern community.

Fight Song of Northwestern

Another part of Northwestern traditions is their Fight Song. Theodore Van Etten, a member of Northwestern University’s marching band, originally wrote it. The battle song made its debut during the last football game of the 1912 season and continues to play a significant role in every Northwestern sporting event today.

Students smiling at the camera while doing a thumbs up.

“Go! U Northwestern! Break right through that line. With our colors flying, We will cheer you all the time. U! Rah! Rah! Go! U Northwestern! Fight for victory. Spread far the fame of our fair name. Go Northwestern, win that game! (Whistle) (Yell) Go! Northwestern Go! (Whistle) (Yell) Go! Northwestern Go! Hit ’em hard! Hit ’em low! Go, Northwestern Go! (Repeat chorus.) Wildcat Growl”

Game Day of Northwestern

Wildcat Growl & Claw

The custom of every Northwestern fan raising their arm at an angle and placing a hand in a Wildcat claw. The next step is to make as much noise as you can to confuse the opponent. The custom takes place while Northwestern is in defense, and every third down, the growl is the loudest.

Hands in the Air

Join a guest conductor in raising the roof at Ryan Field before the fourth quarter begins by raising your hands!

Wildcat Dash

Northwestern’s first-year students have the opportunity to lead the squad onto the field as a class prior to the start of the Big10 home opener.

March Through the Arch of Northwestern

There are two types of march on the Northwestern traditions:

March Through the Arch (Wildcat Welcome)

Every year to start the school year, the marching band leads the freshman class through the Weber Arch in a custom known as “March Through the Arch.” Along campus walkways, present students, staff, and others welcome and clap for the newest Northwestern students.

March (Back) Through the Arch (Senior Year)

Each June, Northwestern welcomes graduating students back to the Arch, the starting point of their journey. Senior Week at Northwestern University begins with the “March (Back) Through the Arch” and continues with a number of social activities before Commencement Weekend. Seniors complete their Northwestern education by gathering in front of Deering Library for one final time with the rest of their class and walking back through the Webber Arch.

Paint The Rock of Northwestern

Let’s add the Rock at Northwestern traditions, too. The Class of 1902 initially gave The Rock, originally a fountain. The seniors thought the fountain was the ideal answer since they enjoyed the notion of having a water feature on the south end of campus.

In the 1940s, students started drawing the famous Rock at first as a joke and later as a recognized form of artistic expression. Later on, the custom of defending the Rock for 24 hours before painting it in the middle of the night was created by students. A different group paints a message or symbols to support a certain cause or event almost every night.

Throughout the year, student activism, performances, and charitable endeavors are routinely held at The Rock.

What is the university motto of Northwestern?

What is the university motto of Northwestern? It is “Quaecumque Sunt Vera.” In 1890, the University adopted this Latin proverb as its official motto. It is taken from Philippians 4:8, when St. Paul chastises the Christians in the Greek city of Philippi, and is rendered as ” Whatsoever things are true.”

Willie The Wildcat of Northwestern

Of course, let us not forget Willie and the Northwestern traditions! Willie the Wildcat was not the Northwestern Wildcats’ initial mascot; instead, Furpaw was a live, caged bear cub from the Lincoln Park Zoo.

Furpaw was driven to the field in the fall of 1923 to welcome spectators before each game. However, following a losing campaign, the squad thought Furpaw was a sign of misfortune, and they required a new mascot.

wildcat - the inspiration behind Northwestern mascot

The football players were referred to as “Wildcats [that] had come down from Evanston” by a Chicago Tribune reporter who was covering Northwestern’s game versus the University of Chicago Maroons the following season. Willie the Wildcat, one of the school’s most known icons, was thus “born” in the 1930s and is still around today.

Willie frequently appears at university events, such as Wildcat Welcome, Deering Days, alumni gatherings, and different Norris events. To show off their school passion, students swarm around Willie, the beloved mascot, to get their picture taken with him.

Getting Admitted to Northwestern

After discussing the Northwestern traditions above, AdmissionSight will go through the things that you need to know to increase your chances of getting admitted to Northwestern University.

A weeding out component is intended to make sure that all of the students at Northwestern are intellectually prepared for the demands of college courses, even if academic preparedness is the primary consideration in the admissions process overall.

Being exceptionally successful in school does not ensure acceptance. Academics are a part of Northwestern’s holistic admissions process, but they are not the only thing the university looks for.

Northwestern University is interested in “fit,” or the notion that a student and a college should be a good match. That is, the student’s interests and areas of strength should correspond with what the school is seeking and what it can provide for the student. Students that fulfill Northwestern’s ideal of being passionate, inquisitive, and academically motivated.

Like most other prestigious universities, Northwestern is searching for students that are passionate and focused on their extracurricular activities. Students are more likely to stand out and get accepted if they have significant potential and aptitude in their particular field as specialists. It is more difficult for students to stand out who are competent in a variety of areas but not outstanding in any one.

First-generation college applicants will receive special consideration for admission to Northwestern since the university is committed to the diversity and inclusion of these students, provided they also meet the school’s rigorous academic requirements.

A Northwestern football player against a player from a rival team

Athletes who are recruited will be treated equally and held to the same standards. All of these qualities may improve a student’s chances, but none will ensure admission. Legacy applications will be evaluated similarly.

Who gets admitted to Northwestern University?

Who Gets Admitted to Northwestern University? Let’s examine the composition of the Northwestern University Class of 2025 by demographics:

  • International students now make about 10% of new enrollments, double the percentage from ten years earlier.
  • About 6% of grads are from Chicago Public Schools.

The competition is fiercest among students from states with an inexhaustible supply of qualified applicants, as it is at any highly selective university (New York, California, Massachusetts). This has become one of the many Northwestern traditions. It is more likely that your place of residence will improve your chances of admission if you are from a less populated state like Alaska, North Dakota, or Montana.

The composition of the Class of 2025, when broken down by ethnicity, was as follows:

  • 24.4% are Asian Americans
  • 16.8% are Latinos
  • 12% are African Americans
  • 52.4% are White

Following is a breakdown of all current undergraduate students by gender:

  • Male: 48%
  • Female: 52%

What is the Class of 2026 acceptance rate at Northwestern?

What is the Class of 2026 acceptance rate at Northwestern? The acceptance rate at Northwestern is 7%, out of the 51,554 applicants who submitted applications during the 2021–2022 admissions cycle to create the 2022–2023 freshman class. This is a sharp decline from the acceptance percentage of 9.3% two years ago.

What is the acceptance rate for Early Decisions at Northwestern?

What is the acceptance rate for Early Decisions at Northwestern? About half of the incoming freshman class at the university were selected during the Early Decision (ED) round. Although the director of admissions stated that there were around 4,500 applicants and 1,000 students admitted, no official ED statistics have been issued for the Class of 2025.

This results in an estimated 22% acceptance rate for ED applications. Those applying to ED for the Class of 2024 were accepted at a clip of 25%, which is better than three times the ordinary decision rate of 7%. The logical conclusion is that applicants who are committed to attending Northwestern should strongly consider using the binding early decision.

The “Highest Section” score choice rule is in effect at Northwestern and has apart of the become Northwestern traditions.

SAT Test Regulations

Up until 2020, Northwestern required SAT or ACT scores from undergraduate candidates in order to consider them for admission. Northwestern has adopted a test-optional policy for the 2022–2023 application cycles to help students through the obstacles of testing and college access during the pandemic.

SAT or ACT scores are optional; applicants are not required to submit them. A student may submit extra, optional test results (such as those from Advanced Placement or the International Baccalaureate) for review consideration, whether or not they want to submit their SAT or ACT scores.

Notes and Trends in Admissions of Class of 2026

  • Pell Grants were awarded to 21% of the Class of 2025 students.
  • First-generation college students now make up 15% of the Class of 2025, up from 13% the year before.
  • There were 4,000 more applications for the Class of 2026.
  • Students today are multilingual and hail from 105 different nations.
  • Currently enrolled undergraduates receive financial aid in the amount of 61%.

What is the yield rate at Northwestern?

The yield rate, or the proportion of accepted students who choose to enroll, as a percentage of all admitted students. What is the yield rate at Northwestern? It was 60% for the Class of 2025. Duke University (61%), WashU (46%), and Rice University (44%), other top-ranked private institutions, have yield rates that are comparable. This too has already become one of the Northwestern traditions.

Should you consider applying early at Northwestern?

Early decision is available at Northwestern University, but not early action. Early action lets you apply early without committing, whereas early decision is binding and requires you to enroll if you are admitted.

Northwestern University has a 9% overall acceptance rate and a 25% early decision acceptance rate. Of the 4,399 applicants who submitted early decision forms last year, 1,096 were accepted by Northwestern.

Some students assume that applying early to college will increase their prospects. Applying early demonstrates your serious interest in a school and ensures that your application is taken into consideration before those of regular decision applicants, which may boost your chances of getting accepted.

What are the deadlines for Northwestern applications?

You have the option of submitting your application Early Decision or Regular Decision if you are a first-year student.

  • The deadline for Early Decision applications is November 1.
  • The deadline for Regular Decision candidates is January 2.

If you are a transfer applicant, you may only submit an enrollment application during the academic year’s Fall Quarter. Decisions are made continuously.

  • Apply by March 15 for Fall Quarter (September) entry.

Does Northwestern conduct interviews?

Admission interviews are an optional element of your application for admission and are not required. Northwestern’s regional Alumni Admission Council (AAC), with locations around the country and abroad, conducts all interviews off-campus. Please be aware that Northwestern University does not conduct interviews on campus.

a female student studying with her laptop and looking at the camera

Interviews with alumni provide applicants with the chance to hear from alumni/us about what it’s like to attend Northwestern as a student. Northwestern is unable to offer interviews to every applicant due to the limited number of alumni volunteers. Because interviews are not a necessary part of the application, candidates who cannot or do not wish to participate in an interview are not disadvantaged in the admissions process.

Application Tips at Northwestern

You should be aware of the following if you intend to join the 51,000+ Wildcat applicants for the upcoming admissions cycle:

  • Northwestern University wants to see evidence of high school students who took advanced courses. Multiple advanced courses, especially ones in your academic specialty, are essential.
  • On your application, you must select one of the six academic institutions. Some have various norms and prerequisites for admittance. The institutions are The College of Arts & Sciences; the School of Engineering and Applied Science; the School of Communication; the School of Education and Social Policy; the School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications; and the School of Music.
  • Alumni interviews are a choice offered by Northwestern University.
  • When considering applicants for admission, Northwestern University considers “demonstrated interest.” So, your application will be evaluated based on things like whether you visited the school (during non-pandemic periods), spoke with an admissions officer, etc.
  • Ensure that you give the supplemental essay enough time and effort.

Northwestern can surely give a lot of unforgettable memories to students through the Northwestern traditions. Your college life at this prestigious institution won’t be complete without those traditions. If Northwestern University is your college of choice, we at AdmissionSight are here to provide our quality consulting service and help you achieve your goals. Contact us to learn more about our service from our trusted team.





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