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Pre-Enrollment Programs

Create a home base for exploration

Making the transition to college can be daunting, but we're here to help.

New home, new classes, new friends:  every student faces a transition period when coming to Northwestern that's often exciting and just a little bit nerve-wracking. To help acclimate students to campus, Northwestern offers a variety of programs that are designed to develop academic and social support networks for incoming first-year students.

  • Summer Academic Workshop (SAW) is a 3-week program taking place right before Wildcat Welcome. SAW is facilitated by Student Enrichment Services, in partnership with the Cook Family Writing Program and the School of Communication. During SAW, participants take part in co-curricular workshops and events curated for first-generation and/or lower-income (FGLI) students. Participants also earn course credit through the Cook Family Writing Program and the School of Communication. All co-curricular workshops and events complement what students learn in class and provide them with a wealth of resources for navigating college life. SAW participants will live together in a traditional campus residence hall and experience Northwestern life under the mentorship of six FGLI upper-class peer counselors.
  • Bio&ChemEXCEL is an intensive five-week summer program for incoming Weinberg College students. It is designed to prepare students for the typical course load of a pre-med or science major.
  • Bridge is a five-week pre-orientation program for students interested in any discipline, including the sciences, economics, social sciences, humanities, or journalism.
  • EXCEL is a five-week program for McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science students. EXCEL students academically rigorous coursework, including leadership classes that help prepare them for their first year of engineering study.
  • SESP Leadership Institute (SLI) is a ten-week, intensive academic program that runs for the duration of fall quarter. Students receive two credit units and take two courses: a class in learning sciences about culture and cognition, and a peer-led series of leadership workshops. SLI centers the experiences of students who identify as first-generation college students and/or lower-income; the program is an exploration of how students’ identities can empower them to be leaders and changemakers on Northwestern’s campus and beyond.

Not quite what you're looking for? Check out the other ways that Northwestern supports undergraduates by heading over to our Academic Support page.