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

North Central College

Naperville, Illinois

Where the student is central


As a top-tier, comprehensive liberal arts college, North Central blends the highly personalized qualities of a small college with the diversity and resources of a large university. At North Central, students collaborate with faculty who are passionate about teaching and skilled in their disciplines, benefitting greatly 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 as well as easy train Chicago, one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
2,733 undergraduate students
95% of undergrad students are full time
47% male — 53% female
10% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
142 full-time faculty
149 part-time faculty
14 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Moderately residential: 56% of students live on campus.

School Location

Naperville, Illinois—28 miles west of Chicago.


80% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full-time, first-time freshmen)

6-Year Graduation Rate 2015

67% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 2%
Hispanic/Latino 11%
Black or African American 4%
White 69%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 3%
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)


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

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

North Central students realize that how they live their lives is every bit as important as how they make a living. They take advantage of the opportunities to understand, learn, and grow both 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, exploring a variety of choices and environments in which to student teach. Additionally, biology and psychology students have many opportunities to engage in research projects and internships.

Study Abroad

North Central students take advantage of off-campus and study abroad opportunities, too. There are almost 40 programs on five continents 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 as well as explorations of diverse neighborhoods in the Chicago area. Others are networking-building study abroad programs that enrich students’ perspectives through academics and hands-on internships.

Alternative Spring Break

Alternative Spring Break is an exciting opportunity for North Central students to learn outside of the classroom. ASB programs take advantage of the week-long intersession by traveling in groups to perform acts of service. In recent years, athletic teams have built houses for Habitat for Humanity, while 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.

Dynamic Faculty, Challenging Program

North Central faculty have a passion for teaching. In fact, the college has been singled out and honored for its faculty’s devotion to the undergraduate classroom experience. They all work to foster a community of learners who are dedicated informed, involved, principled, and productive citizens and leaders over a lifetime. With its small class sizes, the college fulfills its student-centered mission by recognizing the individual needs of students who are at different stages of life and who come from different ethnic, economic, and religious backgrounds. Professors augment their educational programs with work experiences and research opportunities, providing their students the practical skills necessary for a true understanding of their future careers.

North Central’s low student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1, as well as a small average class size of 19, allow students to work closely with their professors. About 87 percent of North Central’s faculty have doctorates or terminal degrees, and there are no teaching assistants. This affirms the college’s commitment to quality teaching.

Chicago Term Program

Students interact with faculty outside of the classroom in such dynamic contexts as the Chicago Term program. Chicago Term courses are taught right in the middle of the city, which allows students to take advantage of North Central’s convenient location and access the incredible resources and experiences intrinsic to a bustling urban area. Through the Chicago Term, students commute into city with their professors and experience the museums, landmarks, and other metropolitan offerings.

Consistently ranked as a top place to live in the Midwest, Naperville offers students a variety of off-campus opportunities and activities. On campus, students can find a rich array of plays, concerts, clubs, organizations, and leadership opportunities.

Clubs and Organizations

Clubs and activities are strong at North Central. About a third of students are involved in athletics, and over 50 clubs and organizations are available for students to express themselves and enjoy time with friends. Many North Central students participate in fine-arts programs, even if they are not majoring in them, and the college’s student-run radio station is nationally known and lauded.

Cardinals In Action

North Central students 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 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. The affluent suburb offers internship and networking opportunities for North Central students, but the possibilities extended far beyond the professional sphere; an array of opportunities to shop lie two block north, and a beautiful park on the DuPage River borders the campus.


Chicago is easily accessible by a thirty-minute ride on the commuter train. North Central students can live on campus and take advantage of the proximity to Chicago for access to internships, fine arts, museums, and music.

Graduates leave North Central with an appreciation for the liberal arts as well as 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, due in large part to 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 employed or accepted into graduate programs within six months of graduation—many are even happy to stay in the dynamic Naperville and Chicago area.

Career Center and Alumni

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.



7,307 Total Applicants 
4,177 Total Admissions 
599 Total Freshman Enrollment

57.16% of applicants admitted

Freshman Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading    
SAT Math    
SAT Writing    
ACT Composite 22 27
ACT Math 21 27
ACT English 21 27
ACT Writing 7 8


Net Price Calculator


Tuition $35,241
Fees $180
Total $35,421
Room and Board (on campus) $10,089
Room Only $6,999
Board Only $3,090
Estimated Total On Campus $45,510


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

100% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
76% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded student loan aid

$21,651 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid awarded
$8,097 Average amount of student loan aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduates