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Orientation Programs

Get Set for a Great Start!

The Orientation Programs section includes information and tasks related to the programs you’ll participate in that prepare you for your first year at Northwestern.

Northwestern prepares you for your first year as a Wildcat with an orientation process consisting of three components: Purple Prep, Before the Arch, and Wildcat Welcome. Participating in and completing requirements within orientation provides you with a solid foundation in understanding what you can get out of your time at Northwestern. Learn about the orientation process, plus other opportunities, in this section.

Purple Prep

June 6–September 10
Foundational orientation tasks to mark your start as a Wildcat.

Purple Prep provides foundational information and includes all summer tasks to complete, with a new set of deadlines each month. Tasks range from submitting your housing contract to completing your immunization form to attending virtual orientation modules. Purple Prep consists of this website, bi-weekly emails, and your personalized checklist.
View the Purple Prep Email Archive

Before the Arch

July–September 10
Optional virtual opportunities to learn from current students about preparing for life at Northwestern.
Learn about Before the Arch


September 11–18 and 23
(International students: September 8–11)
The final, on-campus component of orientation provides opportunities to take part in campus traditions, build connections, learn to navigate campus, and register for fall classes.
Learn about Wildcat Welcome

International Student Orientation

September 8–11
International students’ Wildcat Welcome experience begins with a track designed to support your unique transition before participating in the remainder of Wildcat Welcome.
Learn about ISO

True Northwestern Dialogue (TND) Series

Part of Purple Prep and Wildcat Welcome

A series of programs focused on providing you with knowledge and skills to transition to the Northwestern community, you will find pre-TND programs in Purple Prep and the TND sessions within Wildcat Welcome.
Learn about TNDs

Optional Summer Academic Programs

Program timing varies

Several optional programs are offered throughout the summer to assist in preparing students for academics at Northwestern—specifically students who are first in their family to attend college, who come from lower-income backgrounds, or who did not have access to AP/IB-level preparation in high school.
Learn about optional academic programs