Pre-Wildcat Welcome Programs

Pre-Wildcat Welcome programs are a great opportunity to meet some new Wildcats prior to move-in day. Each program comes with a particular focus, but they are all incredible.

2015 Schedule: As you browse programs, please note Labor Day is Monday, September 7, 2015

International Students: Most International Students will be participating in International Student Orientation (September 9-11, 2015) and are not able to participate in another Pre-Wildcat Welcome Program

The application for Alternative Student Break (ASB), CATalyst, Project Wildcat, and the Freshman Urban Program (FUP) is now available until July 15. Financial aid is available for these Trips; if you qualify for a deposit refund, your $100 deposit will be refunded.


CATalyst is a leadership development program that packs the fun and excitement of being a first-year Wildcat into a five-day experience. Through CATalyst, you will start Wildcat Welcome equipped with more and better knowledge of Northwestern life with newly-formed friendships.

DATE: September 7-11, 2015
COST: $275
DEADLINE: July 15 (moved from June 1)

CATalyst Website

Freshman Urban Program (FUP)

FUP challenges new Wildcats to discover the story of Chicago through a week of service, neighborhood visits, and group discussions. Get to know the issues facing the city—polarizing politics, urban planning and public education challenges, criminal justice issues, etc.—and meet the people who make the city thrive. Most important, learn how to stay connected to Chicago through volunteering.

DATE: September 5-11, 2015
COST: $250
DEADLINE: July 15 (moved from June 1) 

FUP Website

Alternative Student Breaks

Spend a week traveling the Midwest to visit nonprofit organizations, get hands-on service-learning experience, and learn about communities from the people who live there. Students are accompanied by two trained site leaders who facilitate the activities.

DATE: September 3-11, 2015
COST: $215
DEADLINE: July 15 (moved from June 1)

Alternative Student Break Website

First Night at Sheil

Sheil Catholic Center invites you to spend the night before move-in day with fellow first-year students, returning students, and the fantastic staff at Sheil, who welcome you with Mass, a BBQ and bonfire, games, and other activities.

DATE: September 10-11, 2015
COST: Free
DEADLINE: September 3

Sheil Catholic Center Website

Project Wildcat (P-Wild)

Project Wildcat is a leadership program that brings a small group of new Wildcats together for a week of backpacking, camping, and enjoying the great outdoors with two trained student counselors. Join us for the adventure of a lifetime!

DATE: September 3-11, 2015
COST: $350+rentals
DEADLINE: July 15 (moved from June 1)

Project Wildcat Website

NU Hillel's Freshman Fest

NU Hillel, the home of more than 15 Jewish student groups on campus, welcomes new students to its annual Freshman Fest. The event blends friendship, feasting, and fun with opportunities to get the inside scoop on Jewish life at Northwestern, the campus social scene, sports, Greek life, the most sought-after courses, and much more.

DATE: September 10-11, 2015
COST: $36
DEADLINE: September 8

Freshman Fest Website


Looking for a way to grow in your faith at Northwestern? Want to develop your leadership and communication skills? Excited to meet other Christians who are passionate about making a difference and having fun? Launch is Cru's Pre-Wildcat Welcome leadership retreat! Lodging, meals, team-building activities, and a ropes course are all included!

DATE: September 10-11
COST: $50

Launch! Website