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.


As a first-year student, your Voyage Passport is your guide to exploring North Park and earning the chance to win great prizes along the way. Here's how it works:

  • When you arrive on campus in the fall, you'll receive a Voyage Passport. Keep this with you all semester long.
  • Throughout the fall semester, you'll identify a range of experiences you want to participate in to learn more about North Park, to get involved in the community, and to set yourself up for success in college. Many of these experiences will be connected to the programs and opportunities listed below, so read on to get a taste of what you might choose from.
  • Find opportunities for Voyage experiences on OrgSync.
  • Collect stamps in your passport at each event you participate in.
  • Bring your stamped passport to the end-of-semester Voyage event: every stamp you have equals a raffle ticket for great prizes! You could win tickets to a Bulls, Blackhawks, or Bears game; Broadway in Chicago or concert tickets; cool gadgets; and maybe even a laptop.

Voyage Experiences

There will be dozens of Voyage experiences for you to choose from during your first semester. Most will fall into the categories below. Read on for a taste of what's ahead.

Threshold and COMPASS: New Student Orientation

  • Threshold is North Park's opening-week orientation for new students. 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. You'll also receive your Voyage Passport during Threshold.
  • 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 Class

  • 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.

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 Program

  • 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. Events will continue throughout the year.

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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