North Central College - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
North Central College
"North Central is an historic and vibrant Midwestern college where students are constantly challenged...

North Central College

Naperville, Illinois

Where the student is central

One of the best comprehensive liberal arts colleges in the nation, North Central blends the highly personalized qualities of a small college with the diversity of a large university. Here students collaborate with faculty who are passionate about teaching and skilled in their disciplines, and benefit from a curriculum that prepares them to think, speak and write clearly. North Central offers the best of both worlds — a beautiful 65-acre campus in the middle of the Naperville Historic District, yet only a train ride away from Chicago, one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world.

Student Profile

Fall 2014 Enrollment
2,782 undergraduate students
93% of undergrad students are full time
45% male — 55% female
8% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2014-2015 Academic Year
138 full-time faculty
138 part-time faculty
15 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Moderately residential: 56% of students live on campus.

School Location

Naperville, Illinois—28 miles west of Chicago.


78% of students began in Fall 2013 and returned in Fall 2014 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2014

63% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 2%
Hispanic/Latino 9%
Black or African American 4%
White 73%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 2%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 3%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 8%


NCAA Division III, College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin. 23 varsity sports (12 men’s: cross-country, football, soccer, golf, swimming, basketball, tennis, volleyball, wrestling, baseball, track & field (indoor and outdoor); 11 women’s: cross-country, volleyball, soccer, golf, tennis, swimming, basketball, lacrosse, softball, track & field (indoor and outdoor) and a variety of intramural sports for men and women


North Central College is a private, selective, four-year, comprehensive, liberal arts college affiliated with the United Methodist Church and founded in 1861. 

Academic Programs

Accounting, Actuarial Science, Anthropology, Applied Mathematics, Art, Art Education, Art History, Athletic Training, Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Biology, Business Administration, Broadcast Communication, Business Management, Chemical Microscopy, Chemistry, Chinese, Classical Civilizations, Conflict Resolution, Computer Science, Dance, East Asian Studies, Economics, Elementary Education, Engineering, English, Entrepreneurship & Small Business Management, Environmental Studies, Exercise Science, Finance, French, Gender & Women’s Studies, German, Global Studies, Health Education, History, History of Ideas, Human Resource Management, Information Systems, Interactive Media Studies, International Business, Japanese, Jazz Studies, Leadership,Management, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Mathematics, Music, Music Education, Musical Theatre, Neuroscience, Nuclear Medicine Technology, Nursing, Organizational Communication, Philosophy, Physical Education, Physics, Political Science, Print Journalism, Psychology, Radiation Therapy, Religious Studies, Secondary Education, Social Change & Public Advocacy, Social Science/History, Sociology, Sociology & Anthropology, Spanish, Speech Communication, Sport Management, Theatre, Urban and Suburban Studies

More Distinctions

  • Listed in U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 percent of Midwest Colleges for the past 20 years.

  •  One of Princeton Review’s “Best in the Midwest” Colleges

  • One of Forbes magazine’s “America’s Top Colleges”

  •  A “Military-Friendly School” by G.I. Jobs Magazine

Engaged Students

North Central students realize that how you live your life is every bit as important as how you make a living. They take advantage of the opportunities to understand, learn, and grow mentally and personally through their leadership, travel, and social activities…

Pursue and Conquer

  • North Central offers over fifty undergraduate majors. The most popular are elementary education, biology, and psychology. Education majors take advantage of the college’s proximity to suburban, rural and urban areas, offering students a variety of choices for their student teaching experiences. Biology and psychology students have many opportunities to engage in research projects and internships.
  • North Central students take advantage of off-campus and study-abroad opportunities, too. There are almost 40 programs on five continents available for students to choose from. The college’s December term, a significant break between Thanksgiving and the beginning of the new calendar year, allows North Central students to participate in unique trips both domestically and abroad. Some involve faculty-led trips to cultural events and explorations of ethnic neighborhoods in the Chicago area. Others are study-abroad programs that often involve internships.
  • Alternative Spring Break is another opportunity for North Central students to learn outside of the classroom. In recent years, athletic teams have built houses for Habitat for Humanity and other groups have helped with hurricane relief and rebuilding efforts. The ENACTUS group, which competes nationally in business, entrepreneurial, and leadership activities has traveled to Guatemala to meet with coffee producers as part of an effort to promote free-trade goods.

Great Teaching

North Central faculty has a passion for teaching. Recognized by US News & World Report as one of the top six Midwestern Master’s Universities for teaching, North Central was singled out for faculty devotion to the undergraduate classroom experience.

Dynamic Faculty, Challenging Program

  • North Central’s mission is to foster a community of learners dedicated to preparing informed, involved, principled, and productive citizens and leaders over a lifetime. The college fulfills its mission by recognizing the individual needs of students at different stages of life and from different ethnic, economic, and religious backgrounds, while ensuring that all students experience quality teaching in small classes and are held to common standards. Educational programs are augmented by work experiences and research opportunities, providing practical skills necessary to prepare North Central graduates for successful careers.
  • North Central’s low student to faculty ratio of fourteen to one, and small average class size of nineteen allow students to work closely with their professors. About 87 percent of North Central’s faculty has doctorates or terminal degrees, and teaching assistants do not teach undergraduate students at North Central, affirming the college’s commitment to quality teaching.
  • Students also interact with faculty outside of the classroom, including under the Chicago Term program. Chicago Term courses are taught in the city, taking advantage of North Central’s convenient location. Students commute into Chicago with their professors and experience the museums, landmarks, and other urban offerings.
  • North Central provides a quality experience on campus, as well. The Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center and a LEED certified residence hall and recreation center combination  are newer additions to the campus.

Vibrant Communities

Living in a town consistently ranked as a top place to live in the Midwest, students at North Central College enjoy not only on-campus activities but also all that Naperville has to offer. On and off campus, students can find a rich variety of plays, concerts, or stroll on the River Walk and enjoy Chicago-style deep dish pizza…

Fresh Perspectives

  • Most of North Central’s undergraduate students live on campus in traditional residence halls and townhouses. The Res/Rec Center has many “green” features making it a LEED certified building. Clubs and activities are strong at North Central. About a third of North Central’s students are involved in athletics, and there are over 50 other clubs and activities to join. Many are tied to academic programs. A high number of North Central students participate in fine-arts programs, though they may not be majors. The college’s radio station is nationally known, and students run it 24/7. North Central students, known as Cardinals after the college’s mascot, actively participate in community service. A service-oriented program called Cardinals in Action gives students the chance to make a difference in the lives of at-risk groups. Students also work on animal rights and environmental issues.
  • Naperville, often ranked by Money magazine as one of the best places to live in the country, has a national reputation. It is a top-rated suburban community of about one hundred and forty thousand with a lively and historic downtown. The affluent suburb offers internship and networking opportunities for North Central students. Great dining and shopping is available within two blocks of North Central, and a beautiful park on the DuPage River borders the campus.
  • Chicago is easily accessible by commuter train, and the trip takes only thirty minutes. North Central students can live on campus and take advantage of the proximity to Chicago for access to internships, fine arts and museums, and music. North Central students feel they are attending a first-rate college in the middle of somewhere.

Successful Outcomes

Graduates leave North Central with an appreciation for the liberal arts, and the skills and confidence to think, write and speak clearly. They are equipped to take the next steps with the support of an active alumni network…

Lead with Confidence

  • North Central students are well-prepared for the real world because of their hands-on experiences. They learn and exercise their minds both in and out of the classroom. Nearly 97 percent of North Central’s graduates are in jobs or in graduate programs within six months of graduation, and many stay in the dynamic Naperville and Chicago area.
  • North Central’s career center brings alumni back to campus to connect with current students in small seminars. Alumni also return for the annual Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony, highlighted by recent graduates’ moving stories of the importance of their North Central experiences.
    • In addition, there are a dozen alumni clubs across the nation, providing networking opportunities for alumni and graduating students. Alumni also meet with potential students, assisting in the admissions process. Famous alumni include F. L. Maytag, founder of the Maytag Corporation, and a former speaker of the House of Representatives.



5,807 Total Applicants
3,475 Total Admissions
576 Total Freshmen Enrollment

59.84% of applicants admitted


The minimum requirements to be considered for admission are:

  • GPA of at least a 2.5 on a 4.0 scale
  • A minimum of a 20 on the ACT (940 on the SAT)
  • Involvement in school and/or community
  • Completion of an online or paper application
  • Submission of official high school transcripts
  • Having an ACT or SAT score forwarded to North Central


Net Price Calculator 


Tuition $34,050
Fees $180
Total $34,230
Room and Board (on campus) $9,795
Room Only $6,795
Board Only $3,000
Estimated Total On Campus $44,025


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

99% of full-time first-time undergraduates receiving any financial aid
74% of full-time first-time undergraduates receiving student loan aid

$20,032 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid received
$8,017 Average amount of student loan aid received by full-time first-time undergraduates

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