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Systems and Apps to Know

There are a number of systems and apps you can get to know before arriving to start at Northwestern. This page provides you with an overview of systems to familiarize yourself with or apps to explore and download.

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. Purple Prep tasks that require you to use Multi-factor Authentication: 

  • Register your devices for Duo MFA once you have activated your NetID as soon as possible.

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


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

Tiles on your CAESAR homepage will be added in early August as you are officially enrolled as a student, adding tiles to view classes. Below is what your homepage looks like until August:

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: 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 of your classes for the quarter once you are registered. This is where you’ll access course materials, 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), posted in the Class of 2026 Canvas course when it launches in June. 
  • Access Wildcat Welcome information, 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. 


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 by clicking “Sign in with SSO.” 


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 or download the app for future use.  

Download NUhelp for iOS or Android. 

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.