First-Year Experience

Starting college is a big step. It is truly a voyage—a time when you will be exposed to new people, places, and ideas. Professors, University staff, and your fellow Vikings are here to help you throughout your first year on campus, and that's what Voyage is all about.

During your first year, there will be many exciting and challenging things to discover about the University, Chicago, and yourself. These interactions and experiences make up the North Park Voyage first-year experience. We invite you to explore, get involved in our community, and try new things.

We believe that the experiences you have during your first year of college set the tone and foundation for your ongoing success. By taking advantage of these programs and seeking out additional ways to meet people, explore your strengths, and develop your mind, you will establish a solid base for college success.

Here are the elements of the Voyage first-year experience.

Threshold and COMPASS: New Student Orientation

  • Threshold is North Park's opening-week orientation for new students. Before classes begin, you'll get your bearings on how the campus works, meet new people, and take care of all those final details. This orientation makes sure you get a jump on crossing the threshold as a new member of the North Park community.
  • COMPASS is an intensive program designed to provide you with additional necessary tools to handle the academic and social challenges of college and adjust to life on campus.

Cornerstone and Connection Events

  • The Cornerstone course series introduces you to the academic culture of the liberal arts by focusing on the question of human and individual identity. You will read classical and contemporary texts on human identity, learn the essential skills of college-level writing and analysis, discuss and debate the "big questions" with your fellow students, and establish an intellectual foundation for your future college work.
  • First-Year Connection Workshops and Lectures are designed to help you transition to college and become engaged, successful members of the University community. Through your Cornerstone class you will be introduced to the fundamental skills of academic success, North Park's liberal arts curriculum, and distinctive University policies and expectations.

Campus Activities Board

  • The Campus Activities Board (CAB) organizes campus-wide programs that bring the entire North Park University community together. Some of these events are aimed at you in your first year, but they all insure plenty of opportunity for you to connect with one another and with faculty and staff, to explore your personal, academic, and spiritual interests.

Academic Program Outreach

  • During the first few weeks of the fall semester, academic departments and schools hold formal or informal gatherings to introduce you to their academic field. These sessions, varying in style, are a great opportunity to meet faculty and upperclassmen in the major and to learn more about studying a given subject.

Campus Theme and Essay Contest

  • Every year the University coordinates a set of learning opportunities around one of life's great questions as the annual Campus Theme. Early in the fall semester, a special lecture for new students will help you engage key ideas in your first year of college.
  • First-year students are invited to participate in an essay contest addressing the current year's Campus Theme question. This gives you the chance to showcase the excellent college writing skills you're developing in the Cornerstone course. Winning authors receive cash prizes and the opportunity to publish their essays.

Diversity and Ministry Events

  • The annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference provides an opportunity to develop knowledge and skills you'll need to lead on campus and in diverse organizations. You will increase your competence in working with diverse groups, and you'll learn how to use this knowledge and skill to be change agents at North Park and in other communities you're part of.
  • North Park is shaped by its Christian identity and urban campus setting, which seeks to foster intercultural dialogue and understanding. As a first-year student, you are invited to participate in a host of events with University Ministries and the Collaboratory for Urban and Intercultural Learning.

Wellness Opportunities

  • Your first year at North Park includes a balance of activities. You'll discover that there are countless health, wellness, and fitness activities offered at the Helwig Recreation Center and throughout campus. Join in, have fun, and be well—whether it's through a group fitness class, an intramural sports team, or intercollegiate athletics.

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