Extracurricular Opportunities
Transitioning to College

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Orientation Programs

CATalyst Orientation Program

Catalyst is a pre-Wildcat Welcome program that helps new students transition into college through a five-day trip. CATalyst gives participants useful tools, knowledge, and social connections they can use during Wildcat Welcome and throughout their freshman year.

First Night at Sheil

First Night at Sheil gives new Northwestern students a chance to meet their classmates and spend the night at Sheil Catholic Center before moving onto campus. Activities include a barbecue, campus-wide scavenger hunt, icebreaking games and opportunities to ask upperclassmen questions. After the sleepover, First Night concludes with breakfast before you check into your residence halls.

Freshman Urban Program

The Freshman Urban Program is a pre-orientation program that exposes incoming freshmen to the social and political issues facing the diverse neighborhoods of Chicago. During this five day program, participants will stay in a youth hostel in Chicago's Loop area and volunteer at community centers, urban schools, homeless shelters, and advocacy organizations throughout the city.

Project Wildcat

Project Wildcat is an outdoor orientation program for incoming freshmen at Northwestern. Campers spend a week backpacking, camping, and enjoying the great outdoors with a small group of fellow freshmen and two trained Northwestern-student counselors.

Academic Year Programs

First-Year Experience (FYE)

All freshmen within the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science are registered for a section of the First-Year Experience Seminar during the fall and winter quarters. The seminar is instructed by the student's Peer Adviser. The purpose of the First-Year Experience program is to help new students make a successful transition to Northwestern University, both academically and personally. This course aims to foster a sense of community, promote engagement in the curricular and co-curricular life of the University, articulate to students the expectations of the University, emphasize the importance of personal health, and help students continue to clarify their purpose, identity, and direction. The FYE Seminar is a zero-credit, pass/fail course.