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Wildcat Welcome

Wildcat WelcomeNorthwestern’s mandatory orientation programprepares all new undergraduates for their time as a Wildcat. The Wildcat Welcome experience is designed to build community and get you ready to start fall classes and navigate the University with confidence. Transfer-specific programs build on the experiences students have had at their previous school to start at Northwestern.

Throughout Wildcat Welcome and your first year at Northwestern your Peer Adviser (PA) will be an available support system for you. Your PA is a current student who previously transferred to Northwestern who was carefully selected and trained to guide you through your transition to the University starting in July (expect to hear from them in late July).

2024 Transfer Student Orientation Experience

Transfer student orientation consists of three parts to successfully launch students into their first year at Northwestern: 

  1. Purple Prep for Transfer Students
    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. The Purple Prep Checklist and Purple Prep emails will guide you through this phase of your orientation. 

  2. Summer Engagement Series: Before the Arch
    Starting in July, 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. The July Purple Prep email will tell you more about the launch of the series. 

  3. Wildcat Welcome 
    Wildcat 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. Wildcat 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. 

Wildcat Welcome: Transfer 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. Programs such as March Through the Arch and the True Northwestern Dialogue series focus on Northwestern values.  Your days will be very full—but not without downtimes for fun, relaxation, and self-care. 

Several events are specifically held for incoming transfer students to connect with one another and hear from current students who formerly transferred. Your time during Wildcat Welcome will be focused on learning about the academic and social culture on campus and connecting with campus resources like Northwestern Career Advancement, the Global Learning Office, the Office of Undergraduate Research, and more. 

Details of the Wildcat Welcome schedule will be announced in September’s Purple Prep email. Students who need to know more about their Wildcat Welcome schedule so that they can plan around a work schedule should contact Student Transition Experiences at 


When do I register for classes?

Academic advising and fall course registration is included within the Purple Prep phase of Wildcat Welcome. Transfer students can expect to virtually meet with their academic adviser in July/August and register for fall courses in late August. Please note transfer students register at a different time period than incoming first-year college students.

How will students build connections with others?

Helping students begin to build the foundation of their Northwestern network is paramount to Wildcat Welcome. The schedule will include an array of programs and activities students will be able to take part in to begin meeting other new students and connect with returning students. A student's PA group will prove to be a phenomenal way for students to begin building their foundational network.

There are a host of programs designed specifically for transfer students to build connections with other incoming transfers. The transfer student community will prove to be a great foundation from which to build your network at Northwestern.

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.