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Wildcat Welcome Primer

What to expect as Northwestern welcomes new students

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September 12, 2013 | by Stephen Anzaldi
Class photo
March Through the Arch and the annual class photo are highlights of Wildcat Welcome.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University kicks off the school year Sept. 16 with the annual Wildcat Welcome orientation for new students. The weeklong program includes an exploration of college transition issues, advising and course registration. And it gives new students the chance to get to know fellow members of the Class of 2017.

Read about how the new class is the strongest in Northwestern history and what to expect next week.

Moving in

When new students and their families arrive on campus Monday, Sept. 16, they’ll be greeted by current students and peer advisers ready and willing to help unload those boxes.

Academic advising and class registration

During Wildcat Welcome, students will meet academic advisors and register for classes. And there will be plenty of time to buy books before first classes.

College transition discussions

Known as Essential NU, these informative and engaging sessions are designed to help students get used to college life. Topics will include diversity, alcohol and drugs, campus safety, academic integrity and social responsibility.

Take it from a peer adviser

These current students have been trained, and they know what to expect during the first year at Northwestern. They are available for new students who have questions and concerns or who just need to be pointed in the right direction.

Making friends and Wildcat fans

Wildcat Welcome makes ample time for socializing and getting to know new classmates. Students will take part in the traditional March Through the Arch, a mass excursion to Chicago’s Millennium Park and side trips to The Second City comedy club and Six Flags Great America amusement park. Students are urged to come out early on football game day Sat., Sept. 21, when the Wildcats host the University of Maine. There will be a pregame tailgate party and pep rally outside Ryan Field, and all new students are invited to dash across the 50-yard line before kickoff.

Parent and family orientation

Parents and family members also are experiencing the thrill and stress of the college transition. As new students are getting settled into residence halls, parents and family members will take part in informational sessions and a resource fair.

Wildcat Welcome, extended

The New Student and Family Programs office has launched a pilot program this fall to extend the Wildcat Welcome orientation experience throughout the academic year. A group of about 500 new students will take part in the pilot as they gradually acclimate over the course of the first year at Northwestern. The IGNITE program will include small group sessions with peer advisors and faculty to continue the conversations started during the first week of school. Students also will be encouraged to take in social and cultural events on campus and in Chicago.