Skip to main content

Wildcat Welcome

Wildcat Welcome—Northwestern’s orientation program—prepares all new undergraduates for their time as a Wildcat. The Wildcat Welcome experience is designed to help you transition to your first quarter at Northwestern by providing you with opportunities to:

The Wildcat Welcome 2022 Experience

Wildcat Welcome 2022 consists of three parts to successfully launch students into their first year at Northwestern:

Purple Prep

Foundational orientation tasks to mark your start as a Wildcat.
May 3-September 11, 2022

Purple Prep provides foundational information and involves a variety of summer tasks to complete and virtual programs to attend, with a new set of deadlines each month. The tasks range from submitting your housing contract and immunizations form to participating in virtual meetings with your academic adviser and completing fall course registration with your peer adviser group. The Purple Prep Checklist and Purple Prep emails will guide you through this phase of your orientation.

Note: All portions of Wildcat Welcome’s Purple Prep, including advising and course registration, are virtual.

Before the Arch

Virtual opportunities to learn from current students and begin meeting incoming students.

June 1 - September 11, 2022

Starting in June, you will have weekly opportunities to learn from and engage with current Northwestern students on a wide range of topics. The series also encourages and enables meeting and connecting with other incoming students. Programs are announced and hosted on Wildcat Welcome social media accounts and in Purple Prep emails; program recordings are archived for students in the Wildcat Welcome Canvas Course when it launches in summer 2022.

Fall Welcome

Take part in campus traditions, build connections, & learn to navigate campus.

September 12-19, 2022 (International students, please see below note)

Fall Welcome is the on-campus orientation hosted for you over the week immediately preceding the start of Fall Quarter classes, starting with your move to campus. Fall Welcome introduces you to Northwestern's campus traditions, highlights what it means to be a community member, and includes time for peer adviser group meetings and social programs that connect you with classmates as well as returning students. Students will learn about their specific move-in day and time, along with their assigned residence, in Summer 2022; learn more on the Residential Services website.

International Students: Your Fall Welcome experience begins with a track specifically designed for you called International Student Orientation. You move to campus several days earlier to attend this program before you then participate in the remainder of Fall Welcome (referenced above). The date for international student move-in and International Student Orientation will be released in early 2022. Learn more from the Office of International Student and Scholar Services.

Timeline for Announcing 2022 Wildcat Welcome Dates

  • Early 2022: International Student Orientation dates announced
    • Parent and Family Orientation dates announced
    • New student move-in window announced for students to choose from in August
  • May 2022: Summer tasks (including advising and course registration) announced via Purple Prep
  • June 2022: Fall Welcome programming time blocks released (event details not included)
  • August 2022: Students receive housing assignment and select move-in date/time
    • Fall Welcome programmatic overview released
  • September 2022: Personalized, detailed Fall Welcome schedule released

Wildcat Welcome Guiding Notes

Fall Welcome Schedule

Each day of Wildcat Welcome includes activities that connect you with other students and help you acclimate to life at Northwestern. Wildcat Welcome will include meetings and events hosted for the entire class and others by your school, each existing to support and enrich your student experience. Your days will be very full—but not without downtimes for fun, relaxation, and self-care.

Fall Welcome time blocks are shared in early summer to help you plan; however, a programmatic overview of the Fall Welcome schedule is shared in August. One reason we can’t share your detailed schedule earlier: it is personalized to you and your Peer Adviser group!

You should make plans to be on campus for the duration of Fall Welcome. Those absent from required events will participate in alternative programming/essays during the fall quarter in order to be granted access to winter quarter course registration.

Academic Advising and Course Registration

Learning about degree and school requirements, meeting with an academic advisor to discuss class planning, and registering for fall quarter classes is part of the Purple Prep phase of orientation. Students learn more about advising and course registration when Purple Prep launches in May.

Coming to Campus

Students arrive to campus for the first time when they participate in the Fall Welcome portion of the orientation process; students do not come to campus for any other Wildcat Welcome orientation programs during the summer months.

Your Peer Adviser

Your peer adviser is an upper-level student who has been carefully trained to guide you in your transition to Northwestern this summer and during Wildcat Welcome. With academic interests similar to yours and firsthand knowledge of the orientation experience, your PA is an outstanding source of advice and answers to many of your questions. Your PA leads your PA Group, a small group of other incoming students you will begin connecting with over the summer. 

All students will hear from their PA in mid-July. Although questions about course selection will be answered by your academic adviser in August and September, your PA will be with you (virtually) when your PA group registers for fall courses together.

Parent and Family Orientation

Families who hope to learn about how to serve as a support system for their Northwestern student are invited to attend Parent and Family Orientation. The series of programs occurs once a student has moved to campus and is a 1.5 days of events while new students are participating in separate Fall Welcome programs. The dates and time of Parent and Family Orientation will be released in early 2022 while the detailed schedule is released in summer 2022 along with event registration. Learn more about this program on the Family Engagement website. 

March Through the Arch & Kiss’n’Bye

March Through the Arch is one of Northwestern's richest traditions, symbolically marking a student’s start to the University. Though the Fall Welcome schedule overview is released in August, the date and time of March Through the Arch is released in May 2022 to allow families to make informed travel plans.

While not all families choose to remain on campus for this event, those who choose to do so will see the program is included within the Parent and Family Orientation schedule immediately followed by Kiss’n’Bye, a brief time period for families and students to say their goodbyes.

Tasks to complete before arriving

Undergraduate Admission provides you with information on tasks you must complete immediately upon choosing to attend Northwestern, such as submitting your tuition deposit and housing deposit and reviewing financial aid information, if applicable.

All other tasks are organized for students within Wildcat Welcome’s Purple Prep phase-launching in early May- with deadlines throughout the summer. Students, and families, are notified via email when this first phase of orientation launches.

A Note About Health and Safety

The safety of our students is our priority. The dates and details above are subject to change as Northwestern follows local, state, and federal health directives and guidelines. Students will be notified of changes via Purple Prep emails throughout the summer.