Keystone logo
© Eli Haney, Northwest University photographer
North Central College

North Central College

North Central College


Since 1861, North Central has been a place where new ideas lead to unlimited possibilities. We’re an independent college dedicated to the power of the liberal arts and sciences to transform students into leaders both in their careers and communities. Our nearly 3,000 students study across more than 65 undergraduate and graduate programs, with their education, made richer by supportive faculty and staff, world-class facilities, and countless opportunities to learn beyond the classroom.

A College on the move

Building on the foundation of more than 150 years of excellence, North Central continues to grow with numerous new facilities, programs, and initiatives in the works.

The College opened with 40 students in a single two-story building in Plainfield, Illinois. Since then we’ve changed names twice (to North-Western, then North Central), moved once (from Plainfield to Naperville), and grown steadily (to about 3,000 students).

Over the years, thousands of dedicated students, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends have helped us thrive through the toughest challenges – wars, economic crises, social upheavals, and more – and build a future brilliant with hope and promise.

We’ve met the changing needs of students from Civil War veterans to millennial entrepreneurs. And we’ve always stayed true to our heritage of moral courage and forward-thinking.

Today we’re a top-ranked private comprehensive college of the liberal arts and sciences. U.S. News & World Report counts us among “America’s Best Colleges,” one of the top six schools in the Midwest for a “strong commitment to undergraduate teaching.” Students choose from more than 55 undergraduate majors and five graduate program areas.

Although the College originally discouraged organized athletics as a distraction from weightier matters, our 26 intercollegiate sports in NCAA Division III make our athletic department the largest in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW). North Central is proud of its 32 team national championships and 123 individual national champions.

Though affiliated with the United Methodist Church, we welcome and encourage students and staff of all faiths. We are thoughtfully expanding our academic programs to respond to the needs of our ever-changing world, recently adding Middle Eastern and North African Studies, along with Arabic. And we’re transforming our facilities – most dramatically with a new interdisciplinary Science Center located at the corner of Brainard Street and Van Buren Avenue.

It’s been an amazing 150+ years. But it’s clear that the best is yet to come!


Freshman Applicants

A complete file for admission consists of:

1. Application

2. Official high school transcript and college work

  • Download our Transcript Request Form and send it directly to your previously attended schools to request official transcripts.
  • To enroll as a degree-seeking at North Central College, you need to have a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent of a high school diploma*
  • North Central College does not accept degree-seeking students who only meet requirements to show an ability to benefit or who are only beyond the age of compulsory attendance in the state of Illinois

3. Official SAT or ACT scores (official scores on a high school transcript will be accepted)

  • Test-optional alternative
  • SAT, North Central College code: 1555
  • ACT, North Central College code: 1096
  • Classic Learning Test, accepted in lieu of the SAT and ACT for students applying to Shimer Great Books School

4. Optional information we will consider:

  • Writing samples
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Documentation of extenuating circumstances

Admission Requirements

Because we look at each application on an individual basis, we encourage you to contact your admission counselor to discuss your individual circumstances. While not required, you may wish to submit additional information such as:

  • An admission essay
  • Updated transcripts
  • An admission interview
  • New ACT or SAT score

International Students

1. Select the application that fits you

  • Freshman (students who are completing high school at the time of application) or
  • Transfer (students who have attended/are attending a post-secondary institution).
  • Submit your application through the Common Application.

*All applications are free.

2. Submit Official Transcripts

All Applicants:

  • Official high school transcripts/records and certification of graduation.
  • Transcripts should include all grades earned in the most recent three (3) academic years.
  • If you haven't yet graduated, please submit official transcripts for the three most recent years and send your certificate after graduating.

Electronic transcripts must be sent directly to North Central College by the issuing institution through the following sources:

  • Credentials eScrip-Safe
  • National Student Clearinghouse
  • Parchment (formerly Docufide/Avow)
  • Common Application Portal

If your school or Ministry of Education does not use any of these sources, you must ask them to send an official transcript in a sealed envelope via postal mail to our office.

3. Submit Documentation of English Proficiency

Applicants must demonstrate English proficiency in one of the following ways:

  • TOEFL (ibt) Minimum score of 79 1555
  • IELTS total score of 6.5 or higher and with sub-scores of 6.0 or higher.
  • SAT Minimum score of 490 on the EBRW section 1555
  • ACT Minimum score of 19 on the English section 1096
  • EIKEN Minimum Grade Pre-1
  • Successful completion of the Advanced Level of North Central College's full-time English Language Institute (ELI)

Transfer Students:

Students applying for transfer from a U.S. college or university who have completed two English composition courses with grades of C or higher are considered to have met the English proficiency requirement

4. Optional Documents

It is not mandatory but applicants are encouraged to submit a letter of recommendation and a personal statement to support their application. North Central international admission team will review them if submitted.

  • A personal statement (1-2 pages typed) explaining why you want to attend North Central and how North Central can help you achieve your degree and career plans. This can be emailed to International Admissions. (Be sure to include your complete name and the semester for which you are applying.)
  • A letter of recommendation from a teacher or instructor.


  • Naperville

    North Brainard Street, 30, 60540, Naperville