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Northwestern College Preparation Program

Frequently Asked Questions

College Prep FAQs

General Questions
Residence Life
Academic Life
Campus Life

General Questions

When will the application system open?
The application system for summer 2020 will open in Winter 2019. The list of courses for credit will be updated on January 13 for summer 2020.

What is the cost of the program?
Tuition differs for College Preparation Program credit courses and IN FOCUS seminars. Visit the tuition page for details on tuition and room and board costs.

Are there any scholarships or financial aid available? 
A limited number of tuition scholarships are available to qualified applicants. Students may also apply for an application fee waiver. Please see these pages for more information.

Will participation in the College Preparation Program affect my chances of getting into Northwestern University? 
While successful enrollment in college-level courses is a great head-start to your college career, many facets of your application will contribute to your acceptance to college. Participation in the CPP is one of the many pieces of your application profile; it alone does not guarantee your acceptance to Northwestern University.

If I have an obligation that requires me to be away from campus during part of the College Preparation Program, may I still attend? 
College credit courses only meet from three to eight weeks, during which professors cover a quarter's worth of information. As a result, missing even one class meeting could be detrimental to your final grade. IN FOCUS Seminars meet for only two weeks, and students are expected to be present at all seminar meetings. Other summertime commitments should be scheduled for before or after the College Prep Program.

Who else takes classes in the summer?
College Prep students enrolled in college credit courses take undergraduate courses with other Northwestern and visiting university students during the summer. Only high school College Prep students enroll in the IN FOCUS Seminars.

How safe is Northwestern?
Throughout the day, there is largely no security threat at Northwestern's Evanston campus. This is because, not only are students everywhere - from the lakefill to the walkways of the main road through campus, Sheridan - but 'blue-light' emergency telephones fast alert Northwestern police if there is any problem. These phones are conveniently located at several key locations on campus. At night, the police take extra measures to guarantee safety to students, embarking on more numerous patrols through the campus.

Does College Prep provide transportation to/from the airport?

Unfortunately, our staff is not equipped to provide students with an airport shuttle service to/from airport. We believe our students are fully capable of utilizing the many transportation services Chicagoland has to offer.

Two major airports serve the Chicago area, O'Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport. O'Hare is located northwest of Chicago, and Midway is located on the south side of Chicago. Both airports are accessible to campus via public transit or car. View directions from both airports.

GO Airport Express
GO Airport Express Shuttle is a ground transportation provider for Chicago's O'Hare and Midway Airports. The Airport Express shuttle service is not affiliated with Northwestern University, but it does have a drop-off and pick-up point near the Ayers Residence Hall. Reservations are required and must be made at least 24 hours in advance of your departure. Make your reservations on the Airport Express website. When making your reservation, choose your Drop-Off Location from the “Universities” drop-down tab. You should choose “Northwestern-Sarget Hall” (approx. $50 one-way). See campus map on p. 30. If you have questions about your reservation, call Airport Express at (888) 284-3826.

Other Options
Taking a cab costs $35 from O'Hare, and $50 from Midway. But you could also take the "Kiss 'n Fly" bus that runs from O'Hare to downtown Evanston for $1.75. This trip takes about an hour. Additionally, the El train runs from both airports to three different campus locations (Davis, Foster, and Noyes) and costs only $2.25 per trip!

How many students participated in the College Preparation Program last year? 
Last summer, the CPP welcomed 344 students from around the country and the world.


Application Questions

Who may apply? 
Information on application requirements is here.

When is the application deadline?
There are different application deadlines for international students, domestic students applying for financial aid, and domestic students who are not applying for financial aid. There is also a late application period. 

Space in the program is limited, especially in the IN FOCUS Seminars. Early applications are encouraged if you wish to avoid being waitlisted.

Will I be notified if my application is incomplete?
Yes. Students will receive an email after an online application is submitted as to whether they are missing any supplemental materials to complete their full application. 

How soon will I know if I have been accepted?
After the admissions committee begins reviewing applications in January, you will receive written notification of the admission decision within approximately two weeks of receipt of your completed application.

Will I be notified by phone or email of acceptance?
The search committee will notify students and parents of our decisions via email, only.


Residence Life

Are the dorms air conditioned? 
Yes. The Residence Halls used by the CPP are air-conditioned.

What is the weather like in Evanston in the summer?
Generally, Midwestern summers are hot and humid. Temperatures can vary from the lower 60s to the upper 90s in the span of just one week.

Can I choose my roommate?
No. An important part of the dorm experience is learning to interact with new people.

Can I change roommates?
No. The decision of the CPP regarding your roommate and room assignment is final and binding.

Will I have a curfew?
There is a 10pm curfew. Students must be in the building and on the residential floors at this time. Students may socialize in the floor common rooms and study rooms. All students must be in their assigned rooms by midnight. Attendance is taken nightly and curfew violations will result in disciplinary action.

What policies related to conduct should I be aware of?
Be sure to read the Student Handbook which outline student responsibilities for conduct, attendance, and academic integrity. Northwestern College Prep puts safety first, and program rules prohibiting involvement with alcohol and drugs are an important factor in our effort to provide you with a positive environment for study and growth in the summer. We support a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to illegal substances. Zero tolerance means that a student found to have attended a gathering where alcohol or drugs are present is subject to immediate dismissal from the College Prep Program. No CPP fees are refundable.



Academic Life

What kinds of courses may I take? 
College Prep students enroll in college credit courses, or intensive noncredit IN FOCUS Seminars. In both, courses are taught by Northwestern faculty and instructors who look forward to the same level of commitment and involvement from you that they do from the rest of Northwestern’s student body.

Generally, CPP participants may take any 100 or 200 level college credit courses — and some 300 level courses — offered on the Evanston or Chicago campuses. College credit courses are available in virtually any subject area. The IN FOCUS Seminars are designed for students who want an intensive learning experience in a specific subject area such as sustainability, global justice, or pre-law.

How many courses may I take? 
We recommend that students enrolling in college credit courses take two six- or eight-week courses, or one intensive course sequence. We do understand, however, that courses at Northwestern are both challenging and expensive, so taking one course is perfectly acceptable.

Where is the bookstore and when can I buy books? 
For college credit courses, you can buy your textbooks at the university bookstores when you arrive or pre-order and pay for books online, and then pick them up when you arrive on campus. Prices vary, but we recommend that you plan for at least $100 for each class (more for science texts) if you plan to purchase course materials after you arrive. If your class is taught in Evanston, you will purchase your books from the Norris University Center bookstore (847-491-3990). If your class is taught in Chicago, you will purchase your books from the Abbott Hall bookstore (312-503-8486).

Campus Life

What kinds of extra-curricular activities are available?
CPP offers a variety of extracurricular activities throughout the summer. In previous summers, students have attended Chicago Cubs games at Wrigley Field, music concerts and festivals, architectural cruises of downtown Chicago and other activities. Small, informal gatherings are held frequently in the Residence Hall, such as karaoke nights and dodgeball tournaments.

Where can I worship?
Please visit Northwestern's Religious Life page for information on religious life at Northwestern University.

Can I bring my car?
Students who attend as CPP residential scholars may not bring vehicles to campus. Commuters may use their cars to travel to and from campus but may not transport other CPP participants. Commuters must purchase their own parking passes from the Evanston Campus Parking office. 

How big is the campus?
Northwestern University is located on a 240-acre campus in Evanston, the first suburb north of Chicago.

Admission Decisions

After the start of the application review period, you can expect to receive an admission decision by email approximately two weeks after your completed application is submitted online and all application materials are received to the College Prep Program office. Admission to the program is on a rolling basis. Admitted students secure their space in the program by submitting their program deposit fee. Please note that admission to the program does not guarantee enrollment.

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