Pre-Orientation Program: CATalyst
CATalyst is a Pre-Orientation Program that 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, CATalyst provides a unique experience 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 CATalyst have enjoyed the experience before heading into Wildcat Welcome. Approximately 100 incoming students choose to participate in CATalyst. This is a 4-night program that introduces new students to different leadership practices as they set goals and expectations for their transition to Northwestern. Students will develop reflective and interpersonal skills through various activities and dialogues. They will also be introduced to available campus resources and involvement opportunities.
Note: CATalyst is the only pre-orientation program offered for 2020, aside from academic-based programs. Programs offered in past years, such as hiking, Chicago excursion, or service-learning, are not available for 2020.
Dates to Know for 2020
- May 4: CATalyst Registration Opens by 11:59 p.m. CDT
- June 14: CATalyst Registration Closes at 11:59 p.m. CDT
- June 22: CATalyst POP placement, and fee waiver status if applicable, announced
- July 1: CATalyst POP payment due, or confirmation for those receiving a fee waiver
- July 10: Students placed on CATalyst POP waitlist (notified June 22) receive status update
CATalyst POP Registration, Fees, and Fee Waivers
Though CATalyst registration is NOT first-come, first-served, the time of your registration's final submission will be taken into consideration; due to trip capacities, placement is not guaranteed. You will learn of your placement status on June 22 by 11:59 p.m. CDT via email; the email notification will direct you to complete your CATalyst 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.
CATalyst has a $350 fee. We are dedicated to making experiences accessible to all incoming students. The CATalyst application form includes a section for applicants to designate if they wish to be considered for a CATalyst fee waiver; requesting a Fee Waiver in no way impacts your 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 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 email@example.com or at 847-467-3988 to discuss possible next steps.
Questions about CATalyst ?
Wondering about getting to campus for CATalyst, what the registration process is all about, what move-in looks like, or just have questions about CATalyst in general? Be sure to review the CATalyst Frequently Asked Questions page!
Additional Summer Experiences
Those not participating in CATalyst 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!