First-Year Experience

College is a big change. You’re leaving home, meeting new people and making your own decisions, many of which could affect the rest of your life. Your first year will set the stage for your college learning and living, so Northwestern’s First-Year Experience aims to help you have a first year that is as successful as it is memorable.

The First-Year Experience people and programming will help you …


You’ll be welcomed into the Northwestern family before classes even begin during Envision Orientation Weekend. Your upperclassmen RA and O-Staff leader will be your go-to guides as you move into your dorm, meet with your faculty adviser, get acquainted with your First-Year Seminar classmates and professor, and participate in an Orange City community service project. By the time you take your first Northwestern class, you’ll know what it means to be not just a student, but a member of a Christ-centered learning community.

Engage in learning

At Northwestern, we believe learning is an act of worship for God who gave you the ability to think and act. A foundation of your First-Year Experience will be the First-Year Seminar, a first-semester class in which you’ll read, write, speak and build community with other learners who also want to use the next four years to develop their minds and faith.

Know yourself

Key questions asked during the First-Year Seminar are: Who am I? What do I believe? How will I live in the world? Your answers will help you uncover and refine your unique talents, values and passions and enable you to envision how you might employ them to inform your choices in college and beyond.

Discover differences

Another key First-Year Seminar question is: Who is my neighbor? Your Northwestern family will include people with diverse backgrounds, values, ethnicities and cultures. Explore those differences. Celebrate and embrace diversity. Expand your worldview.

Prepare for life

Succeeding in your classes is only part of succeeding in college. You’re becoming an adult, and adults manage their own time, money, career decisions, and health and wellbeing. Weekly Thrive Workshops during your first semester of college will teach you life skills and be a supportive environment where you can interact with others navigating their way to independence.

In addition to our top-10 U.S. News & World Report ranking, we’ve received national recognition for excellent academics, student volunteerism, affordability, conservation and other achievements. Learn more


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