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Pre-Orientation Programs


What's POP?

POP. Sounds fun, right? POP (Northwestern's Pre-Orientation Programs) occurs immediately preceding Wildcat Welcome, Northwestern's weeklong intensive orientation program. For those who want an additional opportunity to meet other new students aside from the 7 days of Wildcat Welcome, POP provides 3 unique experiences the week prior to  Wildcat Welcome to take part in programming away from campus.

Two full weeks of programming right before classes start may sound a bit overwhelming, but those who have participated in POP have enjoyed the experience before heading into Wildcat Welcome. Approximately 10% of the incoming class chooses to participate in POP. In 2019 the following pre-orientation programs are available for students to register for:

Note: A backpacking & hiking experience offered in past years is not available for 2019. Those interested in outdoor excursions will have the ability to connect with the Outing Club student organization, which hosts trips throughout the year, once you're on campus!

Dates to Know for 2019

POP Registration, Fees, and Fee Waivers

During this period, you will rank the experiences for which you are interested (you can rank from just 1 to all 3 programs). Though POP registration is NOT first-come, first-served, the time of your registration's final submission will be taken into consideration during placement; due to trip capacities, placement is not guaranteed. You will learn of your POP placement on June 22 by 11:59 p.m. CDT via email; the email notification will direct you to complete your POP payment (or confirmation if receiving a fee waiver) by 11:59 p.m. CDT on July 1. Your spot will not be held if payment or fee wavier confirmation is not received by the July 1 deadline. 

*We suggest to maximize your rankings (i.e. list as many different trips as possible) so as to have a higher likelihood of placement into POP. Ranking only 1 program or ranking a program multiple times does not increase your chances of being placed into that program.

Register for POP here. 

All pre-orientation programs have a $350 fee. 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 or at 847-467-3988 to discuss possible next steps.

Questions about POP?

Wondering about getting to campus for POP, what the registration process is all about, what move-in looks like, or just have questions about POP in general? Be sure to review the POP Frequently Asked Questions page!

Additional Summer Experiences

Faith-Based Experiences

Those not participating in POP and looking for a faith-based experience may be interested in two other programs. Though not hosted by Northwestern, Hillel's Schmooze and the Sheil Catholic Center's First Night programs provide options to connect with others in a one night program. Each of these programs begin in the afternoon before move-in day.

Northwestern University Marching Band (NUMB)

If you participated in your high school band, joining the Northwestern University Marching Band (NUMB) is a really great way to continue playing (you do not even need to be a music major to participate). Big Ten football, lifelong friends, and an opportunity to become an important part of Northwestern are just a few benefits of joining NUMB. Join NUMB by visiting their website or calling 847.491.3412.

By joining NUMB, you would report to campus in late August. Your first few weeks on campus will provide you with an incredible ability to not just participate in band practice, but begin making bonds that will last a lifetime!