Kick off your college experience at a Cardinal Camp!

Going to college is one of life’s most important transitions. Studies show that if you start college well, you’ll not only finish well but make the most of the amazing opportunities in between. Cardinal Camps are the best way to begin your college experience.

Each camp is uniquely designed to connect you with new friends, faculty and staff while introducing you to life as a North Central Cardinal—before classes even start.

Cardinal Camps dates are August 13-17, which intentionally flows right into Welcome Week. Camps are open to both first year and transfer students. Check out these awesome camps below!

students hiking through Utah

Urban Camps | $200 |

All urban camps take place in downtown Chicago and introduce you to the cultural diversity of one of America's great cities.  You'll reside at a hostel in the Chicago Loop with convenient access to museums, entertainment venues, and unique neighborhoods where you will learn and serve.  You'll get a taste of the food, art and culture that make Chicago a great neighbor.

Lake Williamson Experience Camp | $125 |

Wilderness camps take place at a scenic camp only three hours south in Illinois.  This remote location provides the perfect backdrop to connect, reflect and transition to college while making great memories with new classmates, faculty and staff. Enjoy an adventure in the great outdoors while being challenged to sharpen your character, teamwork and leadership. All abilities are welcome and can enjoy this incredible experience. 

On Campus| $100 |

All on-campus camps are based here at North Central College.  The camps will introduce you to new, innovative, and exciting real-life examples and hands-on experiences. Create your first memories of your college experience in North Central College, or the surrounding Naperville area!

Urban Camps

See our selection of Urban Cardinal Camps below.

Chicago Theater
Experience a variety of top-notch theater productions, meet industry professionals, and discuss the Chicago theater scene. Whether you are an aspiring theater professional or simply love a good show, you’ll have to suspend your disbelief about the amount of fun you’ll have.
Led by Carin Silkaitis, assistant professor of theater  

Mind | Body | Nature: A Journey of Self-Exploration  
This hybrid camp will stay both on-campus and in the city. Maximize your body and your mind through trips to various parts of the Chicagoland area including Chicago's lakefront, Naperville yoga studio, wellness centers, Chicago Botanical Gardens, and more. This camp is perfect for anyone looking to explore ways to get your body and mind to its peak performance before starting college. 
Led by Tatiana Sifri, Director of Dyson Wellness Center 

Windy City Sports
Explore, learn, and play in one of America's greatest sports towns; visit games, tour parks, meet sports industry professionals, and get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how it all happens.
Led by Jared Bogan, director of alumni engagement

Wilderness Camps

Find out more about our amazing Wilderness Camp opportunity--all abilities are welcome!

Lake Williamson Experience Opportunity

Cardinal Camps in the wilderness is all about making friends, learning about life at North Central College and working together to kick off college on the best foot forward. 

We know that some of you do not like the idea of "camp", but here's the thing, we have heard students say that before and after they have experienced Cardinal Camp, they say they had a blast and that they are so glad they did not miss out on this amazing opportunity. Plus, that "camp" is air-conditioned and comfortable living spaces.               

Through high ropes, escape rooms, field days and so much more, you will walk away with a lifetime of memories and a group of friends to take with you as you navigate through your first year at North Central. 

Led by:

Rachel Pridgen, director of student involvement and transition programs
Rev. Eric Doolittle, college chaplain
Lydia Pond, director of campus recreation and TRAIL outdoor adventures
Dr. Abby VanHorn, associate director of leadership, ethics and values

Dr. Kristin Geraty, associate dean for engaged learning

On Campus Camps

See our selection of On Campus offerings below.

Science Immersion
On this camp, you will get hands-on experience conducting research with North Central faculty. You will conduct outdoor field work as well as laboratory research, exploring the scope of research performed at North Central College. You also will meet with science professionals at national laboratories to learn about all of the opportunities available to you and get a head start on what you'll experience in the sciences in a comfortable, fun setting.
Led by Dr. Joanna Weremijewicz, Assistant Professor of Biology


Premier Scholars | No Cost |

The Premier Scholars program is a unique opportunity for students who otherwise may face a disadvantage in college because of economic, cultural or educational circumstances. You'll experience a real class, live in your residence hall, get acclimated to campus and make some great friends. When you're not immersed in campus life, you'll explore the cultural, service and recreational activities in the Naperville and Chicago areas.
Led by Dorothy Pleas, Director of Multicultural Affairs