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College Preparation Program

Campus Life

There's more to learn at college than what's in your books. Take this summer to get involved and be independent. Learn time management skills that'll give you an edge and the freedom to have some fun! In the College Prep Program, you can experience the fun and excitement of college life as either a Residential or Commuting Scholar. Residential Scholars live on campus in Northwestern University residence halls. Commuting Scholars attend classes while commuting from their homes in the Chicago area or staying with relatives living nearby. With either option, you can participate in campus-wide Summer Session activities including lunchtime entertainment on Lake Michigan, barbecues on the beach and an evening outdoor film festival. Other University-sponsored activities, such as theatre and music performances, are open to all students.


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Residential Students

The hardest part of your first year at college can be adjusting to life away from home. Our experienced Resident Director and Resident Advisors (RAs) can guide you through this transition. They'll help you learn to balance your academic and social commitments and live in the diverse community of the residence hall. RAs do not only enforce rules; they also host movie nights, theme parties and ethnic dinners. In the past, our RAs have held bonfires on the beach and led students in a colorful Northwestern tradition: painting The Rock outside University Hall.

Experience life in a typical residence hall:
  • Stay in a double room with a fellow College Prep student
  • Watch a movie or hang out with friends in one of the common areas
  • Make use of the quiet study rooms for those late-night study sessions
  • Eat in a university dining hall, which offers a great variety of dining options from pizza and burgers to stir fry and vegan dishes. A dietician is on staff to help students with special dietary requirements.
In addition, you will have full access to the University's resources. With your WildCARD — Northwestern's student identification card — you can:
  • Get your own Northwestern email account
  • Use the University's libraries and computer labs
  • Work out at the athletic facilities
  • Swim and play volleyball on the private beach

In your free time you can sing in a community chorus or stargaze at the Dearborn Observatory. The RAs also plan a variety of fun outings, such as an evening with the iconic Blue Man Group and an afternoon in the bleachers at Wrigley Field.

The College Prep residential option has attracted students from across America and around the world - last year, students came from as far away as Belgium and China! Because of this unique opportunity to experience college dormitory life and make lasting bonds with fellow students, the residential option continues to be the most popular way to experience the College Preparation Program.

The residential option is available for all IN FOCUS Seminar students, as well as those enrolled in college credit courses for a maximum of six weeks. Students interested in the eight-week courses or in the three three-week intensive course sequence must apply as Commuter students.

Commuting Students

If you are a talented high school student who lives within commuting distance of Northwestern, you may opt to apply as a Commuting Scholar. This alternative to the on-campus residency program is designed to make College Prep available to the entire Northwestern University community, including local residents from Chicago and its suburbs, as well as to visiting students who are staying with relatives.

The same exciting activities and cultural events that are planned for residents will enhance your summer experience as a Commuting Scholar. You will be able to take advantage of the same academic and social benefits as the residents, including the Get Ready Series and all excursions. In your free time you can sing in a community chorus or stargaze at the Dearborn Observatory. The College Prep RAs also plan a variety of fun outings, such as an evening with the unusual Blue Man Group and an afternoon in the bleachers at Wrigley Field.

In addition, with your WildCARD — Northwestern's student identification card — you can:

  • Get your own Northwestern email account
  • Use the University's libraries and computer labs
  • Work out at the athletic facilities
  • Swim and play volleyball on the private beach.

Commuting Scholars are also able to purchase meals in the campus dining halls, where you can eat with other College Prep and Summer Session students. The dining halls offer a great variety of options from pizza and burgers to stir fry and vegan dishes. A dietician is on staff to help students with special dietary requirements.

The Commuter option is available for all IN FOCUS Seminar students, as well as all students enrolled in college credit courses between one and nine weeks in length.

Summer at Northwestern

With a variety of cultural and recreational activities, Summer Session on the Northwestern campus offers something for everyone. Enjoy the outdoor cinema series, summer concerts and Lunch on the Lake, as well as recreational and sporting opportunities on the spectacular shore of Lake Michigan.

In addition to formal program activities, College Prep students may take advantage of a number of recreational opportunities both on and off campus.

Recreational activities include:

  • Playing soccer, tennis, or volleyball
  • Learning to sail or windsurf on Northwestern's lakefront
  • Watching an outdoor movie at the Norris University Center
  • Playing or singing with one of Northwestern's performing musical ensembles
  • Learning Latin dancing, ceramics, or photography in a minicourse

Resident Advisors also arrange a number of off-campus activities. In previous years, these included visits to:

  • The Chicago Architecture Foundation boat tour
  • Chicago Cubs baseball games
  • Rock, jazz and classical music concerts
  • Outdoor music and arts festivals throughout the city
  • Chicago's Museum Campus
  • The Museum of Science and Industry
  • Navy Pier attractions and entertainment