What is Northeastern Known For? Is Northeastern a Good School?

Established in 1898, Northeastern University is a private research university located in Boston, MA. It is tied for being the #49 best university in the country, according to the 2022 edition of US News and World Report’s annual list of college rankings.

The school’s modest, 73-acre campus is urban, positioned in the heart of one of the most iconic college towns in the United States. 

First- and second-year students at Northeastern are required to live in one of the college’s six on-campus residence halls but are permitted to live off-campus for their final years of study. 

Students interested in exploring all the historical and recreational opportunities the lively college town has to offer can use Boston’s robust subway system, which is colloquially known as the T. The university even has its own designated stop on the T’s route. 

As of the fall of 2020, Northeastern has a total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,000 students. With an acceptance rate of just 20%, it can be said that Northeastern is highly selective in its admissions process.

The cost of one year of attending Northeastern is nearly $58,000, making the school somewhat more expensive than the average for American colleges. 

On the bright side, 75% of first-year students receive some form of tuition assistance, making the school more affordable. 

In the 2020 academic year, the college awarded more than $300 million in financial aid. In addition, Northeastern offers many different scholarship and grant opportunities.

You have likely heard of Northeastern University, as the school is an established, well-respected institution for higher education. 

Here, we have compiled everything you may want to know about NU, such as why it is considered such a good school, what its best sports teams and clubs are, its strongest academic programs, and much more. 

What Majors & Academics Are Northeastern Known For?

Northeastern University
Sdkb, Northeastern University in fall 2021, CC BY-SA 4.0

At Northeastern University, students have the opportunity to customize their courses of study through one of the university’s more than 170 combined major programs. 

On top of that, across its eight colleges, Northeastern offers over 270 singular major programs, meaning that the possibilities are nearly endless.  

One of the defining characteristics of Northeastern’s approach to undergraduate education is the emphasis the school places on hands-on, real-world, work experience

Over 90% of Northeastern students participate in one or more professional co-op programs prior to graduating. 

Students have two different options regarding the time it will take to complete their degree programs. First, students may opt to earn their degree in the expected four-year period, with up to two co-ops.

The alternative is to take five years to complete a degree. The added year of study gives students the time to complete a total of three co-ops prior to graduating.

Over their years of study at the school, Northeastern students alternate between traditional semesters of academic coursework and full-time employment. 

This model allows students to apply what they learn in the classroom to the workplace while it is still fresh in their minds, as well as to explore and adjust their professional aspirations as they learn. 

Northeastern’s integration of academics and work allows the school to produce graduates who are highly capable, employable, and in-demand in whatever industry they aspire to pursue. 

In fact, just nine months after graduation, 93% of Northeastern alumni are either employed or enrolled in a graduate program. 

With over 2,000 potential participating employers to choose from, Northeastern’s co-op program firmly establishes the school as one of the world’s leading institutions in terms of experiential learning opportunities.

Is Northeastern a Good School?

Northeastern is undoubtedly a good school. In fact, NU’s extensive co-op program has been named the #1 program of its kind in the nation, surpassing even elite Ivy League schools such as Stanford. 

In other words, Northeastern is not just a good school — it is perhaps the best school out there in terms of experiential learning opportunities. 

Beyond career programs, Northeastern is also well-renowned for pushing boundaries in many ways, from its cutting-edge curricula to its state-of-the-art facilities and more. In fact, NU has been ranked the #11 most innovative school in the United States.

The college has also been highly ranked in terms of senior capstone experiences and service learning, occupying the #14 spots in the country in those areas. 

Another piece of evidence supporting Northeastern’s status as a great school is the median high school GPA of accepted students. 

The middle 50% of NU first-year students earned a GPA between 4.1 and 4.5, meaning that the average freshman at the school completed high school with almost exclusively As in all classes, many of which must be AP or IB courses.

Thus, it can be said that Northeastern only accepts the most high-achieving students to become a part of the campus community. 

Northeastern Traditions

Northeastern University
Edward Orde, West Village C Entrance, Northeastern University, CC BY-SA 4.0

Since its founding, Northeastern University has established numerous traditions that play a significant role in student life on campus. 

The first NU tradition new students get to experience is Welcome Week, during which freshmen and their families learn about campus resources, participate in events, and get acquainted with one another. 

Shortly after Welcome Week comes Fall Fest, a celebration of the start of the semester with live music, games, food, giveaways, and many other fun activities.

Northeastern’s many campus events do not stop when the weather cools down. For one, there is Winter Wonderland, an annual festival with food, ice sculpting, and other cold-weather goodies. 

Another wintertime tradition at NU is Interfaith Harmony Week, a part of the United Nations concurrent global celebration. During this week, NU students are given a chance to learn more about the school’s religious/spiritual diversity. 

In the spring, there is the highly-anticipated New England StepFest, a schoolwide tradition since 1974. Hosted by Kappa Alpha Kappa — the oldest Greek life organization created by African American women — StepFest is an event where students show off their skilled footwork. 

Prominent Clubs & Extracurricular Activities at Northeastern

Northeastern University is home to more than 400 student clubs and organizations, so students at this school are sure to find an extracurricular that suits their interests.

Out of the hundreds of student groups at NU, 11 are sororities, and 16 are fraternities. Greek life membership at the school is slightly lower than the national average, with 9% of students joining a fraternity or sorority. Still, Greek life remains an influential aspect of campus life at Northeastern.

Among Northeastern’s prominent clubs is Acting Out, a student-led theater performance group that aims to promote social change through acting. Each semester, Acting Out puts on two plays, one of which is an original, student-written show. 

Open to all students regardless of skill level, Acting Out facilitates discussion regarding the relation between performance and social activism, encouraging others on campus to get involved. The club also hosts a variety of other events, such as comedy nights and readings.

Another of NU’s many prominent student groups is the Real Food Challenge. An extension of the school’s long-held commitment to sustainability, this is a small group of students who work with campus dining services to analyze NU’s food purchases over time. 

The data is then analyzed, sorting food into four categories: locally sourced, environmentally friendly, humane, and fair. This information is used to create better food policies for the college, as well as an action plan for implementing those policies.

What Sports Are Northeastern Known For?

Northeastern University’s sports teams are known as the Huskies, with black, red, and warm gray being the school’s colors. The school is a NCAA’s Division I member, competing in the Colonial Athletic Conference. 

Over 3,000 students participate in one or more of the college’s 25 intramural and 64 club sports. Of these, Northeastern is perhaps most well-known for its fiercely competitive men’s basketball team. 

From 1981 to the present, the basketball Huskies have claimed just short of a dozen conference championship titles, the most recent of which took place in 2018. On top of that, they have also brought home nine tournament wins.  

The women’s outdoor track and field team are also among Northeastern’s most robust athletic programs, securing 13 conference championship victories between 1991 and 2007.

When it comes to men’s track and field, Northeastern has a strong record indoors. From 1985 to 2005, the men’s indoor track and field team emerged victorious from a total of 10 conference championships.

Why Northeastern?

Students choose to attend Northeastern University for a vast array of different reasons, such as the world-class experiential learning programs they offer, the campus’ picturesque location in Boston, its robust career outcome statistics, and more. 

One way to evaluate how satisfied students at a particular school are is to look at that school’s first-year retention rate. 

On average, around 97% of NU freshmen choose to return to the school for an additional year of study, suggesting that students are generally more than content with everything the university has to offer.

Another reason to choose Northeastern is that they offer small class sizes, with nearly 62% of classes having 20 students or fewer.

In addition, the student-to-faculty ratio at NU is 14:1, so students are able to benefit from an intimate classroom environment, developing close academic relationships with fellow students and course instructors.

Furthermore, there is hardly a better place to attend college than Boston, the largest urban center in New England. With as many as 35 colleges and universities packed into the city and surrounding areas, it is no surprise that many people consider Boston to be the best college town in the United States.

All in all, Northeastern University is an excellent college.