A-Z Index

First-Year Student Starting Spring

Hi Bearcat!

We offer Orientation and Winter Welcome to help you acclimate to Northwest campus before you join us in the spring!



Orientation is a half-day orientation program in November or December for incoming spring first-time freshmen. During Orientation, you will spend the day on campus learning more about Northwest services and resources, meeting with an academic advisor and receiving your first-semester class schedule.

We understand that you may not be the only one with unanswered questions. You are welcome to bring your parents and family members to attend with you.

Orientation FAQs

How can I register and sign up for Orientation?

Please register for orientation. First-year student orientation for the spring semester start will open October 1.

  1. Go to CatPAWS 
  2. Click: Log In/Enter Secure Area 
  3. Enter your Northwest Network Account username (s#) and password. 
  4. Navigate to the orientation tab. (If you do not see the orientation tab there is a green arrow you can select to view more options.) 
  5. Select “Click here to enter Orientation System.” 

Bearcat Tip: Please do not use your community college or high school e-mail address ( In most cases, the community college or high school e-mail address will be inactivated once the student graduate’s high school. 

What are the dates for first-year orientation?

2024 First-Year Orientation dates:

  • Friday, November 8, 2024
  • Friday, December 13, 2024
  • Online Orientation (for students who are unable to attend in person)

Orientation day schedule

Orientation starts at 10:30 a.m. at the J.W. Student Union, third floor. Plan to arrive around 10 a.m. to allow time to visit with other offices available at check-in, such as residential life and wellness center. 

There is an optional one-hour campus tour that leaves at 9 a.m. from the same location.  

What do I do after attending orientation? Attend Winter Welcome

Winter Welcome is a continuation of orientation. You are invited to attend Winter Welcome with all incoming Bearcats.

Spring classes begin on Monday, January 13. Mark your calendars!

Winter Welcome

Winter Welcome

College is a new world, but it only takes a few days to feel like home. Winter Welcome is your chance to settle in, explore your new home and meet other Bearcats. The events range from academic to fun activities. During Winter Welcome, you meet with your University Seminar class, visit with your academic advisor, and take care of campus business, such as picking up your laptop and textbooks. There are also events to get to know other students, like movie and game nights!

Winter Welcome FAQs


  • Visit the ID Office to take your Bearcat Card photo, if you haven’t already
  • Verify your enrollment in CatPAWS
  • Pick up your textbooks at the Station (verify your enrollment first and take your Bearcat Card with you)
  • Register your car in CatPAWS and pick up your parking pass in Student Account Services if you plan to have a car on campus.
  • Sign the Laptop Agreement inCatPAWS and pick up your laptop at Jon T. Rickman Electronic Support Center (take your Bearcat Card with you)
  • Check your Northwest email account daily. Your email username and password can be found in CatPAWS under “Personal Information”
  • Attend University Seminar class.


Check out the Winter Welcome Schedule!

Winter Welcome Schedule