Pre-Wildcat Welcome Programs

Excited to meet other new students prior to Wildcat Welcome? Interested in starting off your Northwestern career with a meaningful experience? Pre-Wildcat Welcome Programs provide opportunities for you to meet new friends and become better connected with the Northwestern community before the official Wildcat Welcome orientation program begins.

On this page, you will find Pre-Wildcat Welcome Programs sponsored by the:

Programs Sponsored by the Center for Student Involvement (CSI)

The programs sponsored by the Center for Student Involvement include Alternative Student Break (ASB), CATalyst, Freshman Urban Program (FUP), and Project Wildcat (PWild); learn more about each program and apply on the Center for Student Involvement website. Applications for the programs are due by June 1, 2014. 

Programs Sponsored by the Sheil Catholic Center

First Night at Sheil Catholic Center

Sheil Catholic Center is the heart of Catholic life at Northwestern, and all incoming students are welcome to be part of the Sheil community. First Night at Sheil is an activity-filled overnighter packed into the 14 hours before Wildcat Welcome and is an ideal way to meet other new students and returning students eager to make you feel at home. After First Nighters get acquainted and have dinner together, they participate in a photo shoot, enjoy a bonfire on the lakeside campus, paint the Rock (a favorite Northwestern tradition), find out about Sheil involvement opportunities, and hear returning students share need-to-know information about starting out at Northwestern. After a good night’s sleep at the Sheil Center, you’ll rejoin your parents to start moving into your student residence.

  • When: September 14-15, 2014 (students will be finished the morning of move-in)
  • Where: On campus at Sheil Center
  • Cost: No cost

Information to be announced

Sheil Kairos Retreat

Kairos is a four-day retreat that provides an introspective look at your relationships with yourself, with others, and with God through small-group sessions, witness talks by upperclassmen leaders, group-bonding activities, and so much more. Kairos builds friendships that last a lifetime, and the days before Wildcat Welcome are the perfect time to build new, close friendships and enter Northwestern with a renewed sense of identity and purpose in life. Most importantly, this retreat is open to students of all faith backgrounds, providing a great opportunity to learn about your peers while spending the weekend having an incredible amount of fun. Come on Kairos and learn from other freshmen and upperclassmen about yourself and what it truly means to be a Northwestern student!

  • When: September 12-15, 2014 (students will be finished the morning of move-in)
  • Where: Cabrini Retreat Center (Des Plaines, IL)
  • Cost: $225 if submitted by June 15; cost will be $250 from June 16-August 15 (a small number of scholarships are available)
  • Apply by: August 15, 2014, along with a $75 deposit by mail to Sheil Catholic Center (2110 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60201)
  • Contact: Lisa Izquierdo,

Programs Sponsored by the Louis and Saerree Fiedler Hillel Center

Hillel's Freshman Fest

Fielder Hillel - the vibrant core of Jewish life at Northwestern and headquarters for more than 15 Jewish student groups - invites you to join its 18th annual Freshman Fest, an overnight celebration of your arrival on campus and an opportunity to get your feet wet before plunging into Wildcat Welcome. Starting the afternoon before move-in day, you'll join other incoming and returning students at Hillel in activities that will lead to new friendships, feed your appetite for fun and food, and satisfy your curiosity about many facets of Northwestern student life. You'll have the inside scoop on how to enjoy the social scene on campus, become involved in sports or Greek life, get into the most sought-after courses, and take full advantage of campus life!

  • When: September 14-15, 2014 (students will be finished by morning of move-in)

Information to be announced

Programs Sponsored by Cru @ NU


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!

Information to be announced