The final, on-campus component of Northwestern’s orientation process is Wildcat Welcome. This required weeklong orientation provides you with opportunities to take part in campus traditions, build connections, learn to navigate campus, and register for fall classes.
September 17: New Student Move-in Day
September 17–22: Wildcat Welcome
*International students start Wildcat Welcome early with the International Wildcat Welcome track from September 16–17.
September 17–18: Parent and Family Orientation
Before heading into Wildcat Welcome, students will have engaged in the first two components of orientation: Purple Prep and Before the Arch.
Complete the Registration Form
While the entirety of Wildcat Welcome is required for all incoming undergraduate students, you also must complete the Wildcat Welcome Registration Form by June 30. The form allows the staff of Student Transition Experiences to prepare for your arrival and participation.
Find the form in your Purple Prep Checklist.
Registration Form commonly asked questions:
- Access Not Granted: If you see this screen after clicking on the link, it means your browser is automatically signed into a personal Gmail account, rather than your @u.northwestern.edu email. You can open the registration link in a private or incognito browser window for quickest sign-in access.
- Submitted but not marked as complete: If you submitted your registration form but it is not marked as complete on your checklist, this likely calls for you to review the NetID you included in your form. Review to ensure your NetID is accurate (3 letters + 4 numbers) and then resubmit the form.
Components of Wildcat Welcome
- New Student Move-in Day: New students move to campus on September 17 and begin Wildcat Welcome programming around 5 p.m. Students are prompted to select their move-in appointment in August. International students participating in International Wildcat Welcome do not need to select a move-in appointment for their September 15 move-in day.
Learn more about the move-in process.
- International Wildcat Welcome: International students’ Wildcat Welcome experience begins with a track designed to support your unique transition. International students move to campus on September 15 to participate in this track from September 16 to 17 and will then participate in Wildcat Welcome with the full class through September 22.
Learn more about International Wildcat Welcome.
- March Through the Arch: One of Northwestern’s richest traditions, symbolically marking your start at the University, is March Through the Arch. This event occurs on Wednesday, September 18, from 10 to 11:15 a.m. and is also included in the Parent and Family Orientation schedule to allow family members to observe this tradition. The event ends with Kiss ’n’ Bye, a 10-minute period for families to say their final goodbyes before departure.
- Parent and Family Orientation: Parent and Family Orientation (PFO) provides information that enables family members to serve as informed support systems for their student during their student's time at Northwestern. Programming begins at the end of move-in day and runs through approximately 5 p.m. on September 18. Once PFO begins at 4 p.m. on September 17, the only overlap available in family and student schedules is on September 18 before 9:30 a.m. or during the above Kiss ’n’ Bye period.
Learn more about Parent and Family Orientation.
- Academic Advising and Fall Quarter Course Registration: The Purple Prep component of orientation includes information and tasks to help you prepare for fall quarter course registration that occurs during Wildcat Welcome. You will meet with an academic adviser who will guide you in your course selection and then you will register for fall quarter courses with your Peer Adviser group. You do not register for fall courses prior to arriving for Wildcat Welcome.
Learn about the Purple Prep tasks found on your checklist connected to your undergraduate school.
- Peer Advisers: Your peer adviser (PA) is an upper-level student with a similar academic interest as you and has firsthand experiences transitioning to Northwestern. Your PA group consists of your PA and a small number of other incoming students who will act as a support system through orientation and, informally, throughout the year. You will first hear from your PA by early August and will be provided virtual opportunities to get to know others in your PA group prior to moving through Wildcat Welcome together.
*International students should note you receive additional peer support from an International Peer Adviser through participation in International Wildcat Welcome. International students hear from their IPA at a similar time as their PA, around late July.
- Support & Community-Building Programs: Each day of Wildcat Welcome includes activities that connect you with other students and help you acclimate to life at Northwestern. Wildcat Welcome will include meetings and events hosted for the entire class and for smaller populations (residential area, school, identity-based), each intended to support and enrich your student experience. A series of programs included in Wildcat Welcome, with pre-requirements hosted in Purple Prep, is the True Northwestern Dialogue series.
The Wildcat Welcome Schedule
All incoming undergraduate students are expected to participate in the entirety of Wildcat Welcome. Those absent from required events will participate in alternative programming/essays during the fall quarter in order to be granted access to winter quarter course registration.
While each day is full, it is carefully balanced with information-based programs, connection-building programs, and downtime for wellness care. The timeline for schedule announcements is:
- August: Wildcat Welcome programmatic overview is released in Class Canvas page
- September: Detailed Wildcat Welcome schedule is released in Class Canvas page
Wildcat Welcome Student Programming Time Blocks
Coming in August. These time blocks provide students with information about when they can expect to participate in orientation and are subject to change.
Stay Updated on Wildcat Welcome
Throughout Wildcat Welcome and your first year, get behind-the-scenes looks, insight from current students, and advice on your continued transition through Northwestern on the Wildcat Welcome social media account.
A Note about Health and Safety
The safety of our students is our top priority. The dates and details above are subject to change as Northwestern follows local, state, and federal health directives and guidelines. Students will be notified of changes via Purple Prep emails throughout the summer.