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Systems and Apps to Know

There are a number of systems and apps you can get to know before arriving at Northwestern. This page provides you with an overview of systems to familiarize yourself with or apps to explore and download, including Multi-factor Authentication, which is required to access many NetID-authenticated services.

Duo Multi-Factor Authentication

Northwestern requires Multi-factor authentication (MFA) before logging in to many University systems and services. MFA adds an extra layer of password protection and is critical in preventing unauthorized access to personal and institutional information if your password is compromised. You will need to register your device(s) to use MFA.

Register your devices for Duo MFA when it becomes available to you in August. At that time, MFA will be required to access many NetID-authenticated services, such as CAESAR, Canvas, and Zoom.

Download the Duo App for iOS and Android and register online in minutes. 

If you get a new cell phone after setting up Duo Multi-Factor Authentication on a different phone, you will need to learn how to register Duo Multi-Factor Authentication on your new device


CAESAR is the system to help you manage your student account throughout your time at Northwestern. This is the place where you can update your personal profile, pay tuition and fees, track financial aid, and manage classes and transcripts. Purple Prep tasks that require you to use CAESAR: 

  • Authorize someone else to view and pay bills for tuition and fees (optional) 
  • Confirm participation in the Northwestern student health insurance plan or petition to waive enrollment 
  • Complete any financial-aid related tasks 
  • Pay tuition and fees 

Your CAESAR Home Page Changes

When you are officially enrolled as a student in early August, new tiles that allow you to view classes will be added to your CAESAR homepage. Prior to August, your homepage will include the tiles below:

CAESAR home page grid

1 The Profile tile opens to pages for viewing and updating your user preferences and contact details. Another key function of this tile is setting up guest access to let others view and pay bills. From July through September, you can use the Profile tile or the Tasks tile to make your student health insurance coverage selection.

2 The My Account tile leads to pages for viewing University charges and payment options.

3 The Financial Aid tile has information about applying for and managing financial aid. It features a To Do List that will show any aid-related tasks that come up this summer.

4 The Tasks tile is where time-sensitive University to-do’s are consolidated for easy tracking over the academic year. 

5 The home icon—a shortcut to the CAESAR home page—stays in place while you navigate the site.


Canvas is the system that helps you manage all your classes for the quarter once you are registered. This is where you’ll access course materials and the syllabus, submit assignments and tests, and view grades during the quarter. Purple Prep tasks that require you to use Canvas: 

  • Complete placement tests and assessments (as noted). 
  • Access Before the Arch programs (optional), which are posted in the Class of 2027 Canvas course when it launches in June. 
  • Access Wildcat Welcome information, which is posted in the Canvas course when it launches in June. 

For an (optional) tutorial on using Canvas, learn the basics. 

To help manage courses and see assignments and information on the go, download Canvas for iOS or Android devices. 

Duo Multi-Factor Authentication will be required to access Canvas.

Housing Portal

The Housing Portal is where you access services and requests related to housing at Northwestern. Purple Prep tasks that require use of the Housing Portal: 

  • Submit your housing contract 
  • View your assigning assignment in August 
  • Select your move-in time appointment time in August 

Bookmark the Housing Portal in your web browser for quick access.  


NUhelp includes student-support services and features for sharing a well-being concern, finding health/safety/security resources, and connecting with academic assistance on campus. While there are no Purple Prep tasks that require use of NUhelp, you are encouraged to bookmark the website for future use.  

Download TimelyCare for iOS or Android. 


Zoom is a cloud-based audio/video/content sharing conferencing service that is used when virtual meetings are needed. To access your Northwestern Zoom account, log into Zoom using your NetID and password.  

Download Zoom for desktop, iOS, or Android. 

If you already have a personal Zoom account on a desktop or mobile app, you will need to log out and sign back in using Northwestern credentials by clicking “Sign in with SSO.” 

Duo Multi-Factor Authentication will be required to access Zoom.

Please view the NUIT Laptop Requirements. Cloud-based devices such as Chromebook do not meet laptop requirements.