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About Us

Our Purpose

The Office of Student Transition Experiences supports undergraduate students in navigating their unique transition to and through Northwestern by providing intentional learning experiences and fostering connection through timely community partnerships.

What We Do

Human-centered in approach and individualistic in support, the Office of Student Transition Experiences (OSTE) consists of staff members and student leaders aiming to support undergraduate students through their first three years at Northwestern. In short, OSTE works to turn this place of buildings into a place of people for our newest community members.

Through communication, Wildcat Welcome, the True Northwestern Dialogue series and various programs, OSTE works with undergraduate students from the moment they decide to attend the University continuing to the end of their third year. The work of the office could not be done without the dedicated work of passionate approximately 250 student leaders, who OSTE works intensively to select, train, and mentor each year.

Why a name change in Winter 2022?

During Winter 2022, the office's name was changed from New Student Experience to Student Transition Experiences. The change in name reflects the office’s focus on developing framework and strategies to support students in transition, expanding support from first-year students to all undergraduate students from enrollment confirmation through the end of their third year at Northwestern. The word “experiences” defines the diversity of paths available for students while underlining the office’s goal to support defining and developing an overarching, intentional experience for students as they transition through year three. 

While the COVID-19 pandemic created unique challenges for students as they transitioned to and through Northwestern, supporting the defined needs of students as they move through their time at Northwestern has long been an opportunity to enriching the student experience. The office has new staff positions that will manage support programs for first, second, and third years.

Our Framework

In forming a framework to guide the purpose of programs and support for students as they transition to and through their time at Northwestern, the four-pronged Transition Theory (Schlossberg, Waters, and Goodman, 1995) was used as a foundation. The framework - developed by a group with equal representation from students, staff, and faculty - adapts the theory for modernity and connection to Northwestern. The following are the four core areas of the office’s framework that drives goals and learning outcomes of all programs and services.  

  • Self: Reflect on personal identities, areas of interest, and engage in dialogue related to difference. 
  • Navigation: Become familiar with resources on campus that exist to support your success and understand what it means to be a community member. 
  • Connection: Build supportive relationships with peers, faculty, and staff, develop connection with the University, and access resources of Chicago and Evanston.  
  • Well-being: Establish methods to manage well-being as a college student and develop self-efficacy for seeking wellness-based resources.