POP: Registration & Fee Waiver

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 6 days of Wildcat Welcome, POP provides 4 unique experiences the week prior to  Wildcat Welcome to take part in programming away from campus. Experiences to choose from include topics such as Chicago emersion, leadership, backpacking, and community service. 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 13% of the incoming class chooses to participate in POP.

Dates to Know for 2018

  • May 3: POP Registration Opens by 11:59 p.m. CDT
  • June 10: POP Registration Closes at 11:59 p.m. CDT
  • June 20: POP placement, and fee waiver status if applicable, announced 
  • July 1: POP payment due, or confirmation for those receiving a fee waiver
  • July 3: Students placed on POP waitlist (notified June 20) receive status update

POP Registration

During this period, you will rank the experiences for which you are interested (you can rank from just 1 to all 4 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 20 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 does not increase your chances of being placed into that program.

Complete the registration form by June 10 at 11:59 p.m.

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 Frequently Asked Questions page!

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 20. If you do not receive a fee waiver and are not able to financially support your placement, please contact New Student & Family Programs at firstyear@northwestern.edu or at 847-467-3988 to discuss possible next steps.

A Little About the POP Experiences

Alternative Student Breaks - POP (ASB-POP) is a 6-night POP spent traveling to a US city to work with nonprofit organizations, get hands-on service-learning experience, and learn about communities from the people who live there.

CATalyst is a 4-night POP in which participants build confidence, knowledge, and self-awareness to help them succeed as leaders at Northwestern through challenge-by-choice activities at a location away from campus.

The Chicago Undergraduate Program (CUP) is a 5-night POP that challenges new Wildcats to explore the story of Chicago through a week of community engagement, neighborhood excursions, and group discussions. Get to know the issues facing the city and meet the people who make the city thrive.

Project Wildcat (PWild) is a 6-night wilderness program that challenges new Wildcats (both new and experienced hikers) through a backpacking and camping experience while exploring the great outdoors.

The Jewish Holiday of Yom Kippur falls over our Pre-Orientation Programs. If you would like to observe Yom Kippur while attending a pre-orientation program please let us know when you register for POP and we will follow up with you to provide you with more information and answer questions. 

Faith-based Experiences

For 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 Freshman Fest 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!