Skip to main content
Northwestern University

Preview Student Life

Give us an hour or give us a day.

Northwestern places a strong focus on the undergraduate learning experience. Observing a class in session can provide a helpful glimpse into Northwestern’s academic environment. Or, if you are a junior or senior, consider a Purple Preview for a more in-depth look at our campus.

Attend a class

Scheduling a visit

While our undergraduates have thousands of classes to choose from, we can only make certain classes available to prospective applicants. To find out if any class observations are available during your visit to campus, please contact the academic department directly with your trip dates and area(s) of interest.* Contact information can be found through our Majors and Minors page.

Majors and Minors

Need help choosing a class?

With so many classes to choose from, deciding which to attend can be a challenge. To help narrow things down, feel free to browse our course catalog, which includes a list of class descriptions. Note that 100-level courses are introductory, while 300-level courses are more advanced and specific.

Class Descriptions


It is a good idea to have several class sections in mind because, in some instances, students may be taking exams or classes may not be meeting on a given day. Additionally, there are some departments that don't offer specific classes due to small class size, laboratory safety, and/or attendance procedures. Although we gladly welcome visitors, our first priority is our current undergraduate students and their learning experience.

If you are set on visiting a class, you should avoid coming to campus during reading periods, finals, university holidays/breaks, and summer quarter. For more information on specific dates, please visit Northwestern’s academic calendar.

General etiquette

  1. Please contact professors prior to visiting and introduce yourself to the professor at least five minutes before the class is scheduled to begin.
  2. Please stay for the entire class period.
  3. Please avoid use of mobile phones or other other electronic devices that might cause a distraction while visiting.


Purple Preview

To fully experience academic and student life at Northwestern, consider spending the day shadowing a current student. From 9:00 a.m. to 3 p.m., you'll attend classes, explore campus, grab lunch, tour a residence hall and ask all of your questions about life at Northwestern. End your day back at the Segal Visitors Center where you and your family can speak with an Admissions counselor about the admission process and ask any lingering questions.

Availability and Scheduling

Purple Preview is generally open to prospective students (i.e. current high school juniors, high school seniors, and transfer students) on select weekdays from October through May on a space-available basis. Please note that hosting is based on the availability of our undergraduate student hosts and that we cannot guarantee that you will be matched with someone of the same academic interest. To help personalize your experience and best serve students given our limited availability, we have tailored the program calendar as follows:

October: Applicants Considering Early Decision
High school seniors who are prospective or active Early Decision applicants are welcome to register for Purple Preview dates in October.

November-February: Applicants Considering Regular Decision and Juniors
High school seniors who are prospective or active Regular Decision applicants or high school juniors looking ahead to the college process are welcome to register for Purple Preview dates between November and February.

March-April: Regular Decision Admits
High school seniors who have been admitted through Regular Decision are welcome to register for Purple Preview dates in March and April.

May: Transfer Applicants
Transfer applicants who have applied or been admitted are welcome to register for Purple Preview dates in May.

We need some time to arrange your visit, so please register online at least one week in advance.

Register for Purple Preview

Back to top