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First-Time Students

First-Year Experience

Journey to Community:

Your First-Year Experience

Northwest Nazarene University’s First-Year Experience is designed to guide new students on a journey to authentic community at NNU. You may have heard it said that community is NNU’s defining factor, but we recognize that it may take some time to become fully and completely integrated. To alleviate the pressure of doing it all on your own, we’ve created a roadmap that represents a typical first-year student’s experience at NNU. It makes all the difference between looking in from the outside and knowing you belong!

2022 Scarf Ceremony guy girl

Admitted Student Days

Experience life as an NNU student through a visit event designed exclusively for accepted seniors.

Jumpstart Events

Get a jumpstart on your first year when you:

  • Pre-register for fall semester and finalize class schedules.
  • Complete financial aid checklists.
  • Settle student accounts.
  • Confirm on-campus housing (85% of first-year students live on campus).
  • Set up an ID card and campus mailbox.

New Student Orientation & Scarf Ceremony

New Student Orientation (NSO) starts the Friday before classes begin. New and transferring students join us for move-in day, when campus-wide events welcome the new arrivals and their families! The Scarf Ceremony allows parents to ceremonially say goodbye to their students as they symbolically release them with a keepsake Nighthawks scarf.


One more chance for students to get to know classmates, staff and faculty — On Sunday evening following New Student Orientation, NNU faculty and staff community members open their homes for groups of first-year students to enjoy a home-cooked meal and games.

Week One

Activities designed to help new students transition to campus life and start cultivating meaningful relationships.

Week One events include:
A campus-wide scavenger hunt
Root Beer Fest
The Brick Floor Party
Mess on the Lawn
and more!

First-Year Retreat

A Labor Day weekend retreat held at Trinity Pines Camp and Conference Center, the First-Year Retreat is open to the entire first-year class.

Cornerstone Course

Cornerstone builds a foundation for students to experience a glimpse of what awaits them during their NNU journey. It’s a first-semester course introducing NNU’s core values—transformation, truth, community and service—and highlighting how:

You can become the kind of person employers want to hire.

You can make good decisions about life paths.

College courses, even outside your major, can help with these questions.

Campus-Wide Events

In your first-year journey to community, we encourage you to attend as many annual campus-wide traditions and events as possible!

Some of our traditions are:

  • The formal Black Tie
  • This or That – a pick one-of-two event
  • Fall Party
  • TWIRP – the world’s biggest group date!
  • Homecoming and Family Weekend – the second weekend in November
  • Week Back – following Christmas break


A student-led gathering held every Wednesday night.

This weekly event is put on entirely by and for students. It includes Spirit-filled worship and a student testimony and is a student favorite!

More First-Year Exclusive Events

Dorm Activities

NNU’s First-Year Dorm Resident Directors work with Resident Assistants (RAs) and Dorm Council to offer exclusive first-year events and gatherings.

  • RAs cultivate a popular desk culture with desk events.
  • Each dorm wing holds wing events and meetings.
  • The men’s and women’s residence halls for first-year students combine to host events together.

Peer Mentors

NNU’s Wellness Center trains and partners with Peer Mentors—student volunteers in at least their second year—who act as a contact point, support, listening ear and mentor for first-year students.

Connect Groups

Residence hall Resident Assistants (RAs) and Peer Mentors (PMs) hold weekly wing meetings known as Connect Groups.

Ways to Get Involved

Build community when you get involved with:

  • Intramural Sports
  • Student Government Association (SGA) & Class Council
  • Journeys Outdoor Club
  • Career Development

Important Dates to Watch

For the current academic year’s calendar of events visit NNU’s annual calendar.