This is a POP experience. Registration requires you to rank POP experiences in which you are interested (you can rank only 1 or up to all 3). Students will learn of their POP placement by June 22 at 11:59 p.m. CDT. Placement is not guaranteed due to space constraints.
What is CATalyst?
New students will have the opportunity to reflect on past experiences, connect with other incoming first years, and develop their personal leadership style through large and small group activities. Students will spend five days with 100 other incoming students and 15 student leaders, known as facilitators, doing ropes courses, reflecting on how they can become leaders at Northwestern, collaborating with other students, and learning about different aspects of Northwestern. CATalyst uses a challenge-by-choice mentality, asking students to push themselves to be open while still knowing their limits.
See what some of our previous CATalyst participants have said about the trip:
- “CATalyst taught me how to communicate my values and experiences in a way that allowed me to connect with others despite our differences. I came on the program wanting to know people before classes started, but in addition to that I left the trip with a stronger understanding of and confidence in who I am.”
- “CATalyst was an experience where I learned to become comfortable with my ideas, beliefs, and values while meeting other students and finding a community of mentors and peers who wanted to see me succeed when I got on campus. The ropes course was also really fun!”
- “CATalyst allowed me to develop my leadership style through an examination of my strengths, values, and identities. I was able to meet a cross section of Northwestern’s student population, and fostered meaningful relationships and friendships that exist almost two years later. Being a CATalyst participant, I was more aware of what mattered to me heading into my freshman year, as well as what type of friendships I wanted to have. The program itself is challenging and rewarding. It means many things to different people. I am confident in saying that CATalyst changed the course of my undergraduate career, and my life.”
- Thursday, September 12 - Monday, September 16
Students will depart from campus to a campsite in Ingleside, IL on September 12 and will return to campus on the morning of new student move-in day, September 16.
Students assigned to participate in CATalyst will receive more detailed information on check-in times after placement.
- Trip fee: $350
- The trip fee will cover all meals and housing while on the program.
- Fee Waivers: We are dedicated to making experiences accessible to all incoming students. The POP application form includes a section for applicants to designate if they wish to be considered for a POP fee waiver; requesting a Fee Waiver in no way impacts your POP placement (placement is need-blind). Fee waivers are determined by Undergraduate Financial Aid based on financial need. You will learn of your fee waiver status along with your POP placement notification on June 22. If you do not receive a fee waiver and are not able to financially support your placement, please contact New Student & Family Programs at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 847-467-3988 to discuss possible next steps.
What a typical day looks like on CATalyst:
Below is just a sample of what a typical day on CATalyst could look like for participants.
|8:30-9:30 a.m.||Breakfast and prepare for the day||Wake up, get ready, eat breakfast before starting the day|
|9:30-10 a.m.||Icebreaker||An icebreaker with all participants will follow breakfast led by a facilitator|
|10 a.m. -12 p.m.||Large or Small Group Activities||Facilitators will lead activities that help participants get to know each other and build community among the group|
|12-1 p.m.||Lunch||Eat lunch with all participants and facilitators|
|1-5 p.m.||Ropes Course||Participants will be split up into small groups to complete ropes course activities that spark conversations on trust, collaboration, competition, and community|
|5-6 p.m.||Real Life Northwestern||Facilitators will lead small group activities that focus on scenarios that could take place on campus|
|6-6:45 p.m.||Dinner||Eat dinner with all participants and facilitators|
|6:45-7:45 p.m.||Small Group||Participants will break out into their assigned small groups for bonding activities|
|8:15-9:15 p.m.||Large Group Activity||In a large group, participants will engage in activities and conversations to learn more about their own values and recognizing differences among the group|
|9:15-10 p.m.||Small Group||Participants will break out into small groups to reflect on the activities and conversations that were had throughout the day|
|10 p.m.||Free Time||Participants will have the rest of the evening to socialize with each other|