Northeastern welcomes record-breaking class of 2025


Marta Hill

The class of 2025 attended the annual President’s Convocation Sept. 6 in Matthews Arena. The ceremony features speeches from President Joseph E. Aoun, the student body president and all the academic deans.

Grace Comer, news staff

Despite the unprecedented circumstances this past year’s applicant pool found themselves in, more students chose to apply to Northeastern than ever before. 

Northeastern saw a 17% increase in applicants from last year, receiving 75,223 applications, according to an email to The News from university spokesperson Jessica Hair. International applicants, while inhibited by restrictions on travel due to COVID-19, still showed an increase of 6%.

Some incoming first-years who spoke with The News said Northeastern’s appeal comes from its unique programs. 

The co-op program is one of Northeastern’s biggest and most popular career-building initiatives, as it is a program that few other American universities offer. 

“What made me apply was the co-op program,” said Lorena Sosa, an incoming first-year environmental studies and political science combined major. 

The co-op program allows students to apply skills learned in the classroom in a real-world job, gaining valuable work experience while still a member of the university. 

“I think the concept of co-op is just so cool. You get so much experience for your planned career before you even graduate,” said Lucas Dunker, an incoming first-year planning to major in computer science.

Additionally, Northeastern’s combined majors attract students with multiple interests because they allow students to pursue multiple topics within one degree. 

“I realized that I could combine two interests that I have, because I have various avenues of interest,” Sosa said. 

“I knew that at Northeastern, I could do data science too, if I wanted to,” said Avi Krishna, an incoming data science and business administration combined major. 

For some incoming first-years, the location of Northeastern’s Boston campus was important as it offers the benefits of living in a city, while also having a central campus.  

“Northeastern stuck out to me for its location right on Huntington Avenue,” Dunker said. 

While these opportunities have been available in past years, Northeastern’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic may explain the increase in applicants from the 2020 application season. 

As universities across the country shut down due to COVID-19 outbreaks, Northeastern made headlines by taking a strong stance against students breaking their COVID-19 safety guidelines. Northeastern’s testing requirements were also some of the most stringent, with each student required to receive a COVID-19 test every three days. 

These strong guidelines enabled many Northeastern classes to be offered partially in person last year. This fall, Northeastern is planning for a “normal fall semester,” and the NUflex system used last year for hybrid learning will be limited to students who face issues with “travel restrictions, co-ops or other individual circumstances”

“I’m so excited to take in-person classes and experience that as a first-year,” Sosa said. 

After a year of enforcing strict COVID-19 rules and requiring that all students be vaccinated against COVID-19, the likelihood of a more traditional first-year year experience is higher. 

In an effort to attract new students, Northeastern also developed a series of webinars and Q&A sessions for potential applicants to compensate for the limited availability of in-person tours. 

These seminars were helpful for students in deciding whether or not to apply, Dunker said.

“I felt like they did a very good job at keeping up interest during this process, especially during such an uncalled time,” he said.

Northeastern students, alumni and faculty were able to provide insight to admitted students. 

“I spoke to the undergraduate coordinator for the theater department, and I didn’t realize how many opportunities there were for theater majors or how fleshed out of a program it was until I spoke to him,” said Ashley DiLorenzo, an incoming media and screen studies and theatre combined major. 

With this rise in applications, Northeastern’s acceptance rate was at a historic low at 18%, according to Hair. 

Additionally, more of these accepted students chose to attend Northeastern than ever before, with an 8% increase since fall of 2020. 

Hair said the incoming class of 2025 includes a 147% increase in Black students and a 107% increase in Hispanic students, showing a step towards Northeastern becoming a more diverse institution. This comes after the appointment of Dr. Karl Reid as senior vice provost and chief inclusion officer this past April as part of a pledge from the university to further its commitment to diversity. 

In an effort to prevent a housing shortage with this large class, Northeastern has renewed old contracts and created new contracts with local Boston hotels. Hair said that these contracts add an additional 1,744 bed spaces outside of traditional dorms. 

“This number of hotel beds alone is enough to accommodate 74 % of the total increase in first-year students on campus during Fall 2021,” Hair said. 

Hair also noted that the removal of COVID-19 space restrictions allows some dorms to revert back to doubles and triples, increasing on-campus housing by about 500 beds. 

Living on campus is another exciting aspect for first-year students, and Northeastern’s promise of roommates even during the pandemic is appealing to many. 

“I have a really great roommate, and I’m excited to live with her,” DiLorenzo said. 

With the growing undergraduate population, Northeastern still fosters a sense of community, felt even by the applicants. 

“I remember sitting on the chairs in Centennial Common when I saw a group of guys wearing watermelon hats, then they spontaneously burst out in ‘Watermelon Sugar,’” Krishna said, when recalling his visit to campus. “It was just so fun because the whole commons just got in on the joke, and I felt like I was part of the community.”