Cardinal Camps

First Year Students & Transfer Students: Join Us for a Cardinal Camp Today!

Sign up for a CARDINAL CAMP to get a valuable jump-start to your college experience.  Each unique opportunity is designed to connect you with new friends, faculty and staff while introducing the core values that are central to a North Central College liberal arts education.  Shared moments of adventure, discussion, exploration and service provide an unforgettable immersion into life as a Cardinal – a life that will be shaped into a “curious, engaged, ethical, and purposeful citizens and leaders”.

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 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.

Wilderness Camps | $200* |

Wilderness camps take place in the scenic Northwoods of Wisconsin or the majestic terrain of southwest Utah.  These remote locations provide 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.

On Campus| $175 |

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 

Social Innovation
Want to change the world? You'll learn by example as you hang out with innovative non profit leaders and social entrepreneurs who are solving complex community challenges. Tour creative spaces, learn design thinking strategies, and explore avenues for social change, while frequenting local coffee shops and music venues. 
Led by Whitney Roberts, assistant director for civic engagement

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

See our selection of Wilderness Camps to the Northwoods, Wisconsin and Arches National Park in Southwestern Utah.


Hiking Expedition
Explore the great Northwoods with a backpack, a tent, and a group of new friends while discussing the journey ahead of you in life.  If you can tame the wilderness on this three-day hike, you’ll be more than ready for your college expedition. All levels of experience (or lack thereof) welcome.

Leadership Challenge
Do you have the heart of a leader?  Make the Leadership Challenge Cardinal Camp the first step in your college adventure, and develop your leadership potential. Meet great people, enjoy outdoor activities and learn leadership skills and principles in the beautiful north woods of Wisconsin.
Led by Lydia Pond, Coordinator of Recreational Sports, and Dr. Abby VanHorn, Assistant Director of Leadership Programs

The Nature of Faith
Experience a flashback to summer camp as you reflect on your college journey ahead. With a group of new friends, you'll enjoy the physical world of outdoor activities (canoeing, climbing wall, archery), while exploring a path for spiritual growth and a life of faith in college. 
Led by Rev. Eric Doolittle, College Chaplain

Transfer Student Experience
Start your time at North Central College with a group of new friends and an arsenal of new experiences. Enjoy outdoor activities like a climbing wall and archery and get to know students who are transferring into North Central right along with you. Grow your circle of friends in this amazing experience.                                                                                              
Led by Stephanie Zobac, academic advisor for the college of business                                                                                       


Reading the Desert in Utah *($250)
Reading the Desert will take you into southern Utah canyon country to camp, hike and consider important current issues such as conservation, land use, aesthetics and activism. Readings before the trip will engage students with the ideas of some important environmental writers.
Led by Dr. Jon Visick, Professor of Biology, and Dr. Martha Bohrer, Associate Professor of English

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. Gregory Ruthig, Assistant Professor of Biology, and Dr. Chandreyee Mitra, 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