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Congrats, Class of ’27!

Now that you’ve said yes, get set for a great start.

Purple Prep is the first component of the orientation process for incoming students, serving as your single starting point for everything you need to know and do over the summer. The Purple Prep website for the Class of 2027 will go live right here in the first week of May.

Hi, New Wildcat.

The many questions you may already have—about living on campus, connecting with others, choosing classes and more—will be addressed during orientation. It’s designed to be a source of support and inspiration for your unique student journey. It also acknowledges what we know to be true:
You belong at Northwestern just as you are.

Orientation Overview

Orientation has three components—Purple Prep, Before the Arch, and Wildcat Welcome—that extend from early May through the start of fall quarter. Completing orientation’s required tasks and fully participating in the process will give you a solid understanding of what your time at Northwestern can be. Keep in mind that Purple Prep and Before the Arch are virtual; you won’t travel to campus until move-in day and the start of Wildcat Welcome in September.

Preview Purple Prep

Purple Prep kicks off in early May with this website launch, your first Purple Prep email, and access to your Purple Prep checklist.

Purple Prep Checklist

Stay on top of summer tasks and opt in to text alerts about what's due each week.

Preview your summer tasks

Once you access the Purple Prep checklist, you can start completing tasks right away. The first tasks include the three shown below. (Tip: If you’ll spend extended time away from the internet this summer, look ahead at checklist due dates and plan to complete tasks early.) 

To do immediately

Use your NetID and password to log in and activate your email account—the University’s official means of communicating with you now through graduation. 

Due in May and June

Apply for Northwestern’s optional summer academic programs tailored for students who are first in their family to attend college, who come from lower-income backgrounds, or who did not have access to Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate courses in high school. 

Due June 1

Sign and submit your housing contract—including your residence and roommate preferences—by 5 p.m. CDT on June 1. The contract is available three business days after your housing deposit is submitted. For complete  maps, photo galleries, room amenities, and rates visit the Residential Services website.

Purple Prep Emails

Receive helpful info from the Office of Student Transition Experiences.

Learn more about emails

Starting in May, you’ll receive an email every first and third Tuesday of the month until you come to campus in September. Each email will provide updates and advice on getting yourself ready for Northwestern. 

Preview the 2023 Fall Calendar

Refer to the dates below as you plan travel to and from campus during fall quarter.


Sept. 7
Move-in day for international students
Sept. 8-11
International Student Orientation
Sept. 11
New student move-in day
Sept. 11-12
Parent and Family Orientation
Sept. 11-18 and 23
Wildcat Welcome
Sept. 16
Returning student move-in begins
Sept. 19
Fall classes begin


Oct. 20-22
Family Weekend 


Nov. 23–26
Thanksgiving break 
Nov. 27
Fall classes resume


Dec. 2
Fall classes end 
Dec. 4–9
Final exam week 
Dec. 9
Student residences close for winter break (residences reopen Jan. 1 at noon)

Connect with Other 'Cats

Students with trumpets

Social Media Connections

Connect with other new Wildcats from your region, meet classmates in your Northwestern school, and ask questions of current students on the Wildcat Welcome Board of Directors. Follow Wildcat Welcome on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Spotify. Join the #NU2027 “Finsta” that’s exclusively for the Class of ’27. 

Instagram logo   twitter logo   tiktok logo  spotify logo

Peer Adviser and PA Group

A PA is a current student whose school, major, or academic interests align with yours and whose experience and knowledge will be great resources for you. Peer advisers reach out to new Wildcats in late July/early August to connect you with your peer adviser group—fellow new students with similar academic interests. Your PA and PA group will be there for you as you go through orientation together and navigate your first year.
Crowd of students in Northwestern t-shirts cheering and smiling

Got Questions? We Have Answers!

Email Student Transition Experiences at or call us at 847-467-3988. 

Join the Purple Prep website webinar “How to Prepare for Northwestern” on May 10 at 7 p.m. CDT. More details to come in your first Purple Prep email.

To Parents and Families

Northwestern provides information that enables you to support your student during the college transition. Visit the Family Engagement website to sign up for Wildcat Family emails, learn how to participate in summer webinars, and register to attend the on-campus, Parent and Family Orientation on September 11–12 during Wildcat Welcome.