Enjoy Summer on Northwestern's Beautiful Lakefront Campus

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. You are permitted to explore the on- and off-campus areas unaccompanied by program staff, but must check out of the residence hall before doing so and must return for check-in by the specified time. 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 weekday and weekend 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.

What better place could there be to spend a summer?”

Samantha Hahn, former College Prep student

"I was eager to attend the college prep program for the experience of taking a college level course and getting a sense of campus life.  Northwestern University is known nationally for its academics and for its beautiful campus on Lake Michigan."

READ MORE.

Samantha Hahn

Residential Students

The hardest part of your first year at college can be adjusting to life away from home. Our experienced Resident Directors and Residential Advisors (RAs) will guide you through this transition. RAs are carefully selected undergraduate or graduate students who have completed an intensive training program to foster a strong and supportive social and academic atmosphere in the residence hall. They'll help you learn to balance both your academic and social commitments while living in a diverse community with students. 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 on weekends, 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 China and Portugal! 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 third sequence of the intensive language or the four-, eight-, or ten-week classes 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 all week long 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.

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 Monday through Sunday, College Prep students may, at their own cost, 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

Residential 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

COVID-19 Policy

COVID-19 and Campus Updates  

As our IN-FOCUS seminars plan to be on campus for summer 2023, Northwestern’s College Prep Program is committed to protecting the health of our community while students experience what it’s like to take college courses in person, live on campus, and participate in impactful activities. The current policy is as follows and is subject to change at the discretion of the program/University: 

  • requires students to upload proof of a negative COVID RT-PCR test taken within 72-hours of their arrival. At-home self-administered test results will not be accepted for pre-arrival proof of a negative test.  
  • requires students who test positive while on campus to be placed in an isolation room and must be picked up from campus within 8 hours of their parents’ notification. 
  • requires all students to provide contact information for someone in the U.S. who has permission to pick up the student within the 8-hour window should they test positive and be dismissed from the program 

Refund Policy: (a) if a student tests positive within the 72 hours prior to arriving to campus, they will be offered a class in a later session or online if available or withdraw from the program and receive a full refund including deposit, housing, dining, program fee, and (b) if student is required to leave the program due to COVID, they will receive a pro-rated tuition refund based on the standard refund schedule (deposit and housing/dining/program fee is non-refundable).    We will not reimburse travel expenses. 

If COVID-19 circumstances change, the modality of IN-FOCUS courses may change to an online format.  

Find information on Northwestern’s current status and our COVID-19 response. 

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