It is considered a "Midwest Ivy" and ranks on US News as the Number 11 top undergraduate university in the US.
You: Going to school, man.
Me: Oh yea? What school do you go to?
Me: Dude. I'm sorry.
But at least you're not pregnant.
The student body is divided among three social strata. First, fraternity and sorority members that are for some reason much more popular at NU than they ever hoped to be in high school, and eager to flaunt their newfound social superiority. Second, McCormick tryhards that will never touch a drop of alcohol in their college career despite achieving lower GPAs than perpetually-wasted Comm majors. Third (and most prominently), the great unwashed mass of students who do the bare minimum classwork necessary, get drunk on weekends and wonder why they aren't hooking up with anyone without ever actually attempting a kiss.
Athletically, Northwestern's Wildcats tend to fare well in sports that only the players' relatives care about, such as women's lacrosse and tennis. Interestingly, these sports are scandal-prone. In any given year, one may find pictures of scantily-clad Northwestern female athletes wearing thongs -- of either kind -- gracing the pages of the Internet. Revenue sports (football and basketball) remain poor year after year, despite being the only events students actually care about.
Northwestern is famous for its graduates who have gone on to pursue careers in showbusiness, and many students come to NU with interests in the arts. Unfortunately only 1/100 of these students actually make money upon graduation. The rest commit suicide or become strippers.
Real classes at Northwestern (i.e., not School of Comm) are relatively difficult, as the administration tries desperately to prove the school's academic mettle by assigning too-low grades, ignoring the fact that no matter what, NU will never have a reputation on par with the Ivy League schools it strives to emulate.
You'll kiss $64K (in 1985 dollars) goodbye!
Go U! NU!