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Color Testing Information

Northwestern continues to partner with Color Genomics to offer their COVID-19 test to Northwestern students, faculty and staff. 

About the Test

Color’s test has emergency use authorization from the FDA. It is approved for unobserved, self-collection. The test is a LAMP assay, which is highly sensitive and has strong conformance with PCR tests. These tests are run at Color’s labs in San Francisco and Boston.

All undergraduate, and most graduate and professional students are required to complete a weekly Color test. Faculty and staff can voluntarily complete up to one Color test per week.

Setting up Your Color Account

You will need to setup your Color account prior to arriving for testing. You can create your Color profile at any time. To set-up your Color account go to and complete the registration. Please be sure to use your Northwestern University email address to be eligible for free testing through the university.  Using your NU email also ensures your results are shared with Northwestern for case management and compliance tracking purposes.

Scheduling and Checking-in for Your Test

No appointments are needed for Color tests. When you check in for your test, you will need to have your NetID and the password to your Color account. Some find it easier to write their NetID on a small piece of paper and hand it to the testing site staff. You should also bring your Wildcard in case there are issues with your NetID.

The testing staff will verify that you are eligible and due for your next test. If you have recently tested and are not due for your next weekly test, the staff will ask you to come back on a later date.

Testing Options, Locations, and Times

There are two options to complete your Color test:

  • On-Site Testing is available at the Jacobs Center – 2001 Sheridan Rd (Evanston) and 345 E. Superior Street (Chicago). In Evanston, you will enter the Jacobs Center at the East entrance into the Owen L. Coon Auditorium.
    • You will pick-up and activate your test, complete your sample collection, and drop-off your sample before leaving.
  • Pick-Up/Drop-Off Testing: You can visit one of the alternative sites where you can pick-up your test kit, complete your sample collection at a place convenient to you, and drop it off later. Please note that these testing sites do not offer on-site testing and only have pick-up and drop-off capabilities

All Color testing sites are open Monday through Friday from 9am - 12pm and 12:30 - 3:30pm. Sites close at this time to ensure samples can be transported to the labs each day.

Getting Your Results

You can expect to receive your test results within 2-4 days of testing. You will receive your results online. Color will send you a text and an email when your results are ready and you will log into your account to view your results. You can also visit your account dashboard to check if your results are ready. You’ll need to sign into your Color account.

Completing Your Test: Important Steps

You must follow these steps in order for your sample to be accepted and a test result generated:

  1. Activate your test kit by visiting and use your NU email. Please note – if you do not receive a confirmation text or email – your kit has not been activated. Do not move forward until you’ve confirmed kit activation or the lab will not process your sample
  2. Collect your sample immediately after activating your kit
  3. Drop-off your sample by 3:30pm that same day

You must activate your kit, collect your sample, and drop-off your sample all in the same day. If you do not, your sample will not be valid and you will not receive a test result.

Testing Reminders from Color

If you are required to complete a weekly or bi-weekly Color test (or if you are an employee who has voluntarily enrolled in weekly testing), you will receive outreach from Color when your next test is due. You can also see this information in your online Color portal.

Color Genomics Testing Questions

For questions not addressed below, please take advantage of the following resources:

Questions about your testing program in general? Email

I forgot my password, what should I do?

Please visit reset your password. Color will send you a link to your email that will allow you to reset your password. You can also request a one-time single sign in link to sign into your account securely, even without your password.

I forgot my username, what should I do?

Your username should be your email address that you used to create your account. Please contact Color at if you need login assistance.

What if I’m having kit pick-up or drop-off issues?

If you are unable to drop off your completed kit by 3:30PM CST on your designated testing day, your test will not be able to be processed.  Please email for guidance on next steps.


The system says that I’m not eligible, what do I do?

Please ensure that you are accessing the website from the link provided by Northwestern and you are entering your email address correctly. If you are still experiencing an error, please email

What should I do if I already have a Color account for my personal use set up with my Northwestern email address?

Only one email can be associated with each Color account.  Given testing through Color needs be completed using your Northwestern email address, you’ll need to switch your personal account over to your personal email address.  Outlined below are the steps needed to complete the process so that you’ll be eligible for testing with your Northwestern email address.  If you have questions regarding this process – please reach out to Color directly at or call (844) 352-6567

  1. Sign in to
  2. Open (under account settings)
  3. Edit Email Address to personal email
  4. Follow the instructions. This will send an email to their old and new email, which you'll need to click on to complete the process.
Verify by signing out and in with your personal email. (Very important! This completes the process.)

What email address should I use to create/sign in to my Color account?

In order to be eligible for COVID testing through Northwestern University, you need to use your Northwestern email address for all testing related activities and communications.

What email address will communications from Color (notifications etc.) be sent to?

Communications from Color will be sent to the email address associated with your account and activated kit.

When will I receive notifications?

You will receive email and text notifications to remind you ahead of your next test and if you forgot to activate or return your kit. You’ll also receive email and text notifications when your results are ready.

Can I turn off the notifications?

Color will only send you important notifications and reminders that pertain to your COVID-19 testing - reminders and results.

What should I do if I forgot to activate my kit?

Your kit must be activated in order for your sample to be processed and to receive results.  If you collected your sample and still have your kit but forgot to activate it, please return your expired kit to one of our designated testing sites in order to receive a new kit.  If you submitted your specimen but realized after the fact that you forgot to activate, just know that the lab will not process your sample and you will not receive test results. Students will need to complete another test to ensure you remain in compliance with your testing requirements.  

My barcode cannot be validated, what should I do?

Please ensure that you have typed in your barcode exactly as it appears on the kit label. Just enter the numbers and letters listed – not the dashes.  If you are still unsuccessful, please contact Color at with your barcode number, name, and date of birth.

My roommate/friend/partner mixed up our kits, what do we do?

Please contact Color at to cancel your test. You will need to visit 2001 Sheridan Rd (Evanston) or 345 E. Superior St (Chicago) to obtain a new kit and collect a new sample.

My kit is broken (e.g. top won’t stay on, crack in tube). What should I do?

  • If your kit has already been activated: Please contact Color at with your kit barcode number, name, and date of birth to have your broken kit information deactivated from your account. Please return your kit to one of our designated sites in order to receive a new kit.
  • If your kit has not been activated: Please return your kit to one of our designated sites in order to receive a new kit.

How long will it take to receive my results?

Results typically take 2-4 days, though the actual time may vary. If you feel you are experiencing severe or worsening symptoms, do not delay seeking medical care while waiting for your results. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people experiencing the following symptoms get emergency medical attention immediately: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to stay awake or wake after sleeping, bluish lips or face.

How will I receive my results?

You will receive your results online. Color will send you a text and email notification as soon as they are available. You can also visit your account dashboard to check if your results are ready. You’ll need to sign into your Color account.

Who will my results be shared with?

All results will be shared with you, Northwestern University and Northwestern Medicine. We will also share your results with your state and/or local health department, as required by law.

How do I get a new kit?

Please visit one of our designated sites in order to receive a new kit.