Northwestern vs Middlebury: A Look at the Pros and Cons

July 14, 2023
By AdmissionSight
View of students talking next to each other.

Northwestern vs Middlebury: A Look at the Pros and Cons

When it comes to choosing the right college, many factors come into play. Location, academics, student life, diversity, athletics, career opportunities, tuition and financial aid, admissions processes, sustainability efforts, faculty and resources, alumni networks, and campus safety all play a role in deciding where to enroll. In this article, we’ll compare two top colleges, Northwestern vs Middlebury, across all of these categories to help you decide which school is right for you.

Location and Campus: A Comparison of Northwestern and Middlebury

Northwestern University is located in Evanston, Illinois, just north of Chicago. The campus spans 240 acres and has a mix of historic and modern buildings. It is situated near Lake Michigan, offering stunning views and ample shoreline to explore. Middlebury College, on the other hand, is located in Middlebury, Vermont, a small town in the rural countryside.

The campus spans 350 acres and has a mix of traditional and contemporary buildings. It is surrounded by rolling hills and natural beauty. Both campuses offer unique settings, but Northwestern may appeal more to students who want to be in or near a major city, while Middlebury may attract those who prefer a more rural environment.

In addition to their physical locations, Northwestern and Middlebury also differ in terms of their academic offerings. Northwestern is a large research university with a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs, including highly ranked programs in journalism, engineering, and business.

Middlebury, on the other hand, is a small liberal arts college with a focus on undergraduate education. It is known for its strong programs in languages, environmental studies, and international studies.

Another difference between the two campuses is their student populations. Northwestern has over 20,000 students, with a diverse mix of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.

Middlebury, on the other hand, has a much smaller student body of around 2,500 undergraduate students. This smaller size allows for a more tight-knit community and personalized attention from faculty and staff.

Academics: How Do Northwestern and Middlebury Compare?

Both Northwestern and Middlebury are highly respected institutions with rigorous academic programs. Northwestern offers over 100 majors and is particularly known for its programs in journalism, engineering, and performing arts.

Middlebury offers over 50 majors, with strong programs in international studies, environmental studies, and languages. Both schools have small class sizes and dedicated faculty, but Northwestern has a larger student body and offers more opportunities for research and internships.

Young woman holding her books while walking.

Additionally, Northwestern has a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, with many opportunities for students to combine multiple fields of study. Middlebury, on the other hand, has a unique focus on experiential learning, with many programs that allow students to apply their knowledge in real-world settings.

Both schools have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, with active programs and initiatives to support underrepresented students. Overall, while Northwestern and Middlebury have different strengths and areas of focus, they both offer excellent academic programs and opportunities for students to grow and succeed.

Student Life and Culture: A Closer Look at Northwestern vs. Middlebury

Student life at Northwestern and Middlebury is vibrant and diverse. Northwestern has over 500 student organizations on campus, ranging from political groups to cultural clubs to sports teams. Middlebury has over 150 student organizations, with a focus on sustainability and activism. Both schools have lively social scenes and offer opportunities to explore the surrounding areas.

On-campus housing is available at both schools, with Northwestern offering a wider variety of options. Northwestern is also known for its Greek life, with over 30 fraternities and sororities on campus.

However, Middlebury has a unique tradition called “Feb” where students have the opportunity to take a semester off during their sophomore or junior year to pursue internships, travel, or engage in other experiential learning opportunities.

This program allows students to explore their interests outside of the classroom and gain valuable real-world experience. Northwestern, on the other hand, offers a wide range of study abroad programs, allowing students to immerse themselves in different cultures and gain a global perspective.

Both schools prioritize student wellness and offer resources such as counseling services, health clinics, and fitness centers to support students’ physical and mental health.

Diversity and Inclusion: Northwestern vs. Middlebury

Both Northwestern and Middlebury are committed to promoting diversity and inclusion on campus. Northwestern has a diverse student body, with students from all 50 states and over 100 countries.

The school offers resources and programming to support underrepresented students, including the Black House and the Latina/o Center. Middlebury is also diverse, with students from all 50 states and over 70 countries.

The school has a strong commitment to sustainability and social justice and offers a number of programs to support diversity and inclusion, including the Anderson Freeman Resource Center and Queer Studies House.

Students smiling at the camera while doing a thumbs up.

Additionally, both Northwestern and Middlebury have taken steps to address issues of systemic racism and promote racial justice on their campuses. Northwestern has established a Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, which includes a task force to examine and address issues of racial inequality within the university.

Middlebury has also taken steps to address systemic racism, including the creation of a Racial Justice Task Force and the implementation of mandatory anti-racism training for all students, faculty, and staff.

Athletics: Which School Offers a Better Sports Program?

Northwestern and Middlebury both have strong athletic programs, with a variety of intercollegiate and intramural sports offered. Northwestern is a Division I school, with standout programs in football, basketball, and women’s lacrosse.

Middlebury is a Division III school, with standout programs in skiing, cross-country, and field hockey. Both schools offer excellent facilities for sports and fitness, with Northwestern’s Ryan Fieldhouse and Middlebury’s Virtue Field House being particularly impressive.

However, Northwestern also has a strong reputation in other sports, such as swimming, diving, and wrestling. The university has produced numerous Olympic athletes in these sports and has a state-of-the-art aquatic center for training and competitions. Middlebury, on the other hand, has a unique program in ultimate frisbee, with both men’s and women’s teams consistently ranked among the top in the country.

Aside from intercollegiate sports, both schools also offer a wide range of intramural sports for students to participate in. Northwestern has a popular intramural program, with options such as flag football, volleyball, and dodgeball. Middlebury’s intramural program is also well-regarded, with options such as broomball, inner tube water polo, and spike ball.

Career Opportunities: Comparing Post-Graduate Success Rates of Northwestern and Middlebury Alumni

Both Northwestern and Middlebury have impressive post-graduate success rates, with many alumni going on to pursue careers in a variety of fields. Northwestern has a large alumni network and offers robust career services to students and graduates.

Middlebury has a strong focus on sustainability and environmental responsibility, with many graduates pursuing careers in that field. Both schools offer a wide range of resources and programming to support students in their post-graduate endeavors.

However, there are some differences in the types of careers pursued by alumni of each school. Northwestern has a strong reputation for producing graduates who go on to work in finance, consulting, and technology. On the other hand, Middlebury has a higher percentage of alumni who pursue careers in education, non-profit organizations, and government. This may be due in part to Middlebury’s emphasis on social responsibility and community engagement.

Tuition and Financial Aid: Can You Afford Northwestern or Middlebury?

Attending a top college like Northwestern or Middlebury comes with a price tag. Northwestern’s tuition for the 2020-2021 academic year is $58,701, while Middlebury’s is $58,316. Both schools offer need-based and merit-based financial aid to qualifying students, but Northwestern has a larger endowment and may be able to offer more aid.

It’s important to consider the cost of attendance when deciding where to apply but also to remember that financial aid resources are available.

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Additionally, it’s worth noting that both Northwestern and Middlebury have resources available to help students navigate the financial aid process. Northwestern’s Office of Financial Aid provides personalized counseling and assistance with completing financial aid applications, while Middlebury’s Student Financial Services offers workshops and one-on-one appointments to help students understand their options. It’s important to take advantage of these resources and ask questions to ensure that you are making informed decisions about your college finances.

Admissions Process: Northwestern vs Middlebury

Both Northwestern and Middlebury are highly competitive schools and have rigorous admissions processes. Northwestern has an acceptance rate of 8.9%, while Middlebury’s is 24%. Both schools require strong academic records and extracurricular involvement but also look for students who will contribute to the campus community. It’s important to research the admissions requirements and deadlines for each school and to put together a strong application.

One factor to consider when comparing the admissions processes of Northwestern and Middlebury is the size of the applicant pool. Northwestern receives over 40,000 applications each year, while Middlebury receives around 9,000. This means that while Middlebury’s acceptance rate may appear higher, the competition for spots is still fierce.

Additionally, both schools consider factors beyond grades and test scores, such as essays, letters of recommendation, and demonstrated interest in the school. It’s important for applicants to showcase their unique strengths and passions in their application to stand out in the competitive pool.

Sustainability Efforts: Northwestern vs Middlebury

Both Northwestern and Middlebury are committed to sustainability and environmental responsibility. Northwestern has a strong focus on energy conservation, waste reduction, and sustainable transportation. The school has received several awards for its sustainability efforts, including a gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

Middlebury is known for its Environmental Studies Program and its commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2028. The school has also received various accolades for its sustainability efforts, including being ranked the #1 Green College in the U.S. by The Princeton Review.

In addition to their sustainability efforts on campus, both Northwestern and Middlebury have also taken steps to promote sustainability in their surrounding communities. Northwestern has partnered with local organizations to promote sustainable practices and has implemented programs to reduce waste and increase recycling in the surrounding area.

Middlebury has also worked with local businesses and organizations to promote sustainability and has implemented a community-wide composting program.

Furthermore, both schools have made significant investments in renewable energy. Northwestern has installed solar panels on several buildings on campus and has also invested in wind energy. Middlebury has installed a biomass gasification plant, which converts wood chips into energy, and has also invested in solar and wind energy projects.

Faculty and Resources: Northwestern vs Middlebury

Both Northwestern and Middlebury have dedicated faculty and resources to support students academically and personally. Northwestern has a mix of tenured and non-tenured faculty, with a focus on interdisciplinary research and innovation. The school also offers resources like the Writing Place and the Learning Center to support students.

Group of students looking at a laptop in a table.

Middlebury has a strong focus on experiential learning, with opportunities for internships, research, and fieldwork. The school also offers resources like the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Research and the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life.

Despite their similarities, there are also notable differences between Northwestern and Middlebury’s educational support systems. Northwestern has a larger faculty-to-student ratio, allowing for more personalized attention and mentorship opportunities.

Middlebury, on the other hand, has a smaller student body and a more tight-knit community, which can foster closer relationships between students and faculty. Additionally, Middlebury’s location in a rural area provides unique opportunities for outdoor and environmental education, while Northwestern’s urban location offers access to a wider range of cultural and professional experiences.

Alumni Network: Northwestern vs Middlebury

Both Northwestern and Middlebury have strong alumni networks, with graduates often staying connected to the schools and offering support to current students. Northwestern has a large alumni network, with graduates working in a variety of fields around the world.

The school offers networking opportunities through the Northwestern Network and the Career Advancement Office. Middlebury also has a strong alumni network, with graduates pursuing careers in a variety of fields. The school offers networking opportunities through the Middlebury Professional Network and the Center for Careers and Internships.

However, when it comes to networking in specific industries, Northwestern may have an advantage. The school has a strong presence in the business and technology sectors, with many alumni working at top companies such as Google, Amazon, and Goldman Sachs. Northwestern also has a well-regarded journalism program, with alumni working at major news outlets such as CNN and The New York Times.

On the other hand, Middlebury has a strong focus on environmental studies and sustainability, with many alumni working in fields such as renewable energy and conservation. The school also has a renowned language program, with many alumni working in international relations and diplomacy. Middlebury’s alumni network may be particularly beneficial for those interested in these fields.

Campus Safety: Northwestern vs Middlebury

Both Northwestern and Middlebury prioritize campus safety and have measures in place to ensure the well-being of students and staff. Northwestern’s campus security is provided by the Northwestern University Police Department, which has a strong community policing program.

Young student looking away while walking.

The school also offers resources like the SafeRide program and the WildCARD offices to enhance safety. Middlebury also has a strong campus security presence, with the Department of Public Safety responsible for ensuring safety on campus. The school also offers resources like the LiveSafe app and the Safewalk program to enhance safety.

Closing Thoughts

Choosing between Northwestern and Middlebury ultimately depends on personal preferences and priorities. Both schools offer exceptional academic programs, vibrant campus communities, and resources to support students both during and after their undergraduate experience. We hope this comparison of the pros and cons of each school helps you make an informed decision!

If you’re set on getting into a world-class college but aren’t sure how to make it happen, we can help! AdmissionSight is a leading college entrance expert with over a decade of experience helping students just like you get into the schools of their dreams.

At AdmissionSight, we focus on offering a wide range of services, all aimed at helping students perfect their applications to catch the attention of admissions officers. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about what we offer.

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