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Required Summer Tasks

Class of 2024: All below information is from 2019; this information will be updated for you in April 2020.

You have a list of tasks to complete over the summer!

To help you stay organized and on track, we have 3 different ways to keep up with your summer checklist. 
  1. Purple Prep
    Purple Prep is your starting place to learn about everything you need to do over the summer.
  2. Purple Prep Checklist online app 
    Purple Prep Checklist is the online way to manage the task items you see in Purple Prep, but will only display the tasks relevant to you! You can also sign up for weekly text reminders, if you wish. Learn more below. 
  3. March to the Arch emails
    The March to the Arch emails are sent the first Tuesday of each month from May through September to bring you timely, need-to-know updates along with supplemental information. This email will be important to review as soon as it is delivered as it is the main way Northwestern will communicate with you over the summer. Find the archive of emails on our summer publications tab above.

Purple Prep Checklist

Purple Prep Checklist is the perfect way to manage your tasks from any computer or mobile device. The only tasks this list will not include over the summer are any specific financial aid tasks you must complete, which are listed on your CAESAR account. 

Access Your Personal Checklist

Log into Purple Prep Checklist using your NetID and password. The first time you log in, you will be asked a few questions to help better personalize and populate your summer checklist. 

Add to Home Screen on Mobile

if you're accessing Purple Prep Checklist from your mobile device, once you are logged in and on the checklist page (with the progress wheel), add the site to your home screen for quicker access over the summer. 

  • iOS: Tap the "Share" icon at the bottom middle, and select "Add to Home Screen" on the bottom row
  • Android: Tap the menu button and select "Add to homescreen."
Manage Your Checklist

You will be responsible for managing your checklist throughout the summer; this list does not verify if you have actually completed that item. There are 3 items that will automatically be checked for you once Northwestern has received that information: the completion of your housing contract (by June 1), submitting your high school transcript (this may not be verified by Northwestern until after the August 1 deadline), and completing the Wildcat Welcome Information Form (due July 7). 

Click on a task to view detailed information about the task (the same info you see in Purple Prep) along with a link to completing that task and contact information if you have questions about completion. 

Weekly Text Reminders

You can select to receive weekly text reminders; you can do this by selecting it on the entry screen with questions when you log in for the first time, or by visiting your profile within the checklist at any time during the summer. 

If you opt in, you will receive a text each Sundays notifying you of any unchecked items you have with due dates coming up that week (through the following Sunday). If you have completed all tasks for the upcoming week, you will receive no text message. 

Get to 100%

As you work through your tasks over the summer, you'll notice your progress wheel will slowly start to fill in. Get to 100% by the time you arrive for Wildcat Welcome in September and Purple Prep Checklist will help you celebrate!


Purple Prep

Purple Prep will prove to be your go-to guide for all things you need to know during the summer months prior to your start at Northwestern; we cannot stress enough just how important it will be for you to read through this book upon receiving it. This handy book will include a master checklist for you to keep up with everything in a single place. 

You will also receive access to Purple Prep's online compliment, the Purple Prep Checklist application (a way to keep track of your tasks on-the-go), in May 2020.

March to the Arch Emails

The second most important item for you to read during the summer (aside from Purple Prep) is the monthly March to the Arch e-mail. We streamline all of the need-to-knows, updates, and reminders into a single email each month so you know exactly what to read and when to expect it. You'll receive March on the first Tuesday of each month from May through September via your Northwestern email account. 

Timeline of 2019 Emails
  • May 7, 2019
  • June 4, 2019
  • July 2, 2019
  • August 6, 2019
  • September 3, 2019

Wildcat Welcome Live

A few times during the summer, we host a live, online broadcast with current students answering questions. Wildcat Welcome Live broadcasts will be announced in advance on the Wildcat Welcome social media channels.  An archive of recordings can be find below.

Placement and assessment exams are hosted online during the summer from June 1-July 31. The requirement or need for you to take any placement exams are dependent on the school of your major. You have seen a bit of info in Purple Prep about the summer exams, but you can find more information below.

Chemistry Initial Chemistry Assessment

This assessment is required for all students who plan to take any chemistry course at Northwestern, including students with AP Chemistry credit, by July 31. Every student receives access to this exam within their Canvas account (you receive an email when access is granted around June 1). Receiving access and the email does not mean you must take the Initial Chemistry Assessment, but simply allows you access if you need to take it.

This assessment can be found when logging into Canvas, under the courses section. For more information on the assessment, visit the Department of Chemistry website.

Language Placement Exam

The Language Placement Exam is required for any student planning to continue foreign-language study or to verify foreign-language proficiency; check your specific language to see if a past AP score verifies your proficiency. 

Online foreign-language placement exams: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Korean (Korean exam available September 1-13 only), Latin, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Swahili

On-campus foreign language placement exams*: Greek (ancient), Hebrew, Hindi-Urdu, Japanese, Persian (Farsi), Portuguese, Turkish
*You will take this exam during Wildcat Welcome, not online during the summer

Find specific information about your language (such as the testing link, AP score information, and more) on the Council on Language Instruction website

View Weinberg's language requirement webpage for information (applicable for all Northwestern students) about proficiency and what language courses look like at Northwestern.

Department of Mathematics Math Placement Exam

This math placement exam is required for any student (except for McCormick students) planning to take a calculus course while at Northwestern, regardless of AP or IB exam scores. Every student receives access to this exam within their Canvas account (you receive an email when access is granted around June 1). Receiving access and the email does not mean you must take the math placement exam, but simply allows you access if you need to take it. For more information about the placement exam, visit the Department of Mathematics website.

Physics Placement Exam

Credit for Physics 130-1, 2 and Physics 135-1, 2 may be earned by passing a placement exam. These exams are offered once a year during Wildcat Welcome Week. For more information please contact Dr. Deborah Brown, Director of Placement: Please note: the physics placement exam is not a requirement for students who plan to take first quarter physics at Northwestern. However, students who pass a physics placement exam will receive NU transcript credit that satisfies the prerequisite for the next quarter of the sequence.

McCormick School of Engineering Exams and Assessments

For engineering students, you must take the McCormick math placement assessment, the McCormick physics assessment (Dossier), and the Department of Chemistry initial chemistry assessment (above). For more information, and to access your McCormick Dossier, visit the engineering website

Did you take one or more AP or IB exams? If so, you may receive Northwestern credit for your scores and/or be able to skip introductory courses in some sequences.  To ensure that that happens smoothly, please do the following:

IB results should be requested by July 15; requests for AP reports should be made by August 1. If your AP/IB test scores qualify, you may be awarded credits toward your Northwestern degree. Information about how scores are processed is at . See your school's website to learn how AP/IB credits can apply toward your degree. Credit is awarded only upon Northwestern's receipt of official score reports from the testing service. Bring a paper copy of your scores to use in advising sessions this fall.