Skip to main content

Parent & Family Orientation

Parent and Family Orientation (PFO) is our opportunity to welcome the families of our incoming students and educate our families about the Northwestern experience. 

Please Note:  The safety of our families and campus community is our priority. Plans for Parent and Family Orientation are subject to change as Northwestern follows local, state, and federal health directives and guidelines in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic. The area of Family Engagement will continue to e-mail updates to families as they become available.

Parent and Family Orientation Registration

This year, Parent and Family Orientation will take place virtually. Please stayed tuned for more details later this summer. 

Parent and Family Orientation Webinar Series

Starting in July, the area of Family Engagement will be hosting weekly webinars to help Wildcat families start their transition to Northwestern. Topics will include housing, university resources, an overview of Wildcat Welcome, as well as an opportunity to chat with current students and family members. These webinars will take place on Zoom, Thursdays from 6:30 - 7:30 PM CDT. If you are unable to join us, no worries, all webinars will be recorded and available on our website. The dates for the webinars are listed below:

  • July 30
  • August 6
  • August 13
  • August 20
  • August 27
  • September 3
  • September 27

Parent & Family Orientation FAQ's

Most families wonder when they should plan to leave campus, if they will see their student once student orientation begins, and other travel concerns. You can find the answers to these questions on our FAQ page.

Parent and Family Orientation Schedule

Parent and Family Orientation includes the following programs:

  • Student Enrichment Services Open House for Families & Students
  • Residential College and Residential Communities Faculty and Staff Meet and Greet with Families
  • Parent & Family Welcome from President Schapiro
  • Northwestern 101: Living + dinners with RAs
  • Academic Dean’s Welcome for Families
  • President’s Reception for Parents and Families
  • “A Day in the Life of a Northwestern Student” Skits
  • Courtesy shuttle buses available to take families from the Arts Circle to Ryan Field
  • March through the Arch & Kiss n’ Bye, Weber Arch, Deering Meadow (10:00 am – 11:00 am)
  • Dean of Students Welcome and Panel Presentation
  • Campus Tours
  • Parent and Family Resource Fair
  • CAPS & MSA Session for Families with Students of Color
  • CAPS & MSA Session for Families of LGBTQ+ Students

A note about health and safety: The safety of our students and Wildcat families is our priority. Parent and Family Orientation is subject to change as Northwestern follows local, state, and federal health directives and guidelines. The University has not stated a timeline for decisions as of the beginning of May.

Meet the Family Ambassadors

The Family Ambassadors are a group of 25 phenomenal students at Northwestern who have had a range of experiences and cannot wait to share them all with the family members for our newest Wildcats. Family Ambassadors assist with the execution of Parent and Family Orientation during Wildcat Welcome and will interact with family members throughout the program to ensure all questions are answered and needs are met. Learn more about the Family Ambassadors Program here!

Travel and Hotels

Whether it be by plane, train, or car, there are numerous ways to get to both Chicago and Evanston. We have a few resources that may be valuable as you look into traveling and staying in the Evanston/Chicago area.  Visit the visitor's section of the Undergraduate Admissions page to view travel directions, which includes area maps, specific breakdowns of travel routes, and turn-by-turn directions.  View our Travel and Hotels page to view answers to more specific questions you may have.