Saint Xavier University Chicago Campus Residence Halls

First-Year Programs

From the summer before your first semester through the end of your first academic year, all first-year students will participate in a number of programs designed to welcome, acclimate, engage and support new, incoming students. These programs include: Via, Cougar Trax, Welcome Week and Transitions.


Via (formerly known as FOCUS), summer orientation for new students, is a tribute to the University motto Via, Veritas, Vita (Latin for "Way, Truth, Life" as it appears on the Saint Xavier University Seal). Via (translated as "the Way") will help students find their way as new members of the SXU community. Via is designed specifically to make your transition to college life as smooth as possible, by providing an overview of University programs, policies and services and introducing you to Saint Xavier's Catholic, Mercy heritage and the Sisters of Mercy. New undergraduate students, including first-year and transfer students, entering SXU in the fall semesters must attend orientation. Via offers students the opportunity to meet with new classmates, current SXU students, academic advisors and faculty as well as receive their first semester class schedules.

Cougar Trax

Cougar Trax is a mandatory, two-day program designed to welcome all new first-year students to the academic community and to allow them to experience a unique SXU tradition. This program includes a New Student Induction, meetings for students, parent/family info sessions, and more. Welcome Week events will begin at the end of Cougar Trax and continue throughout the weekend and first week of classes.

Welcome Week

The first week of the fall semester is known as Welcome Week. This annual tradition is designed to welcome all students -- new and returning -- to the new semester. The week includes a series of social, recreational, cultural and artistic programs held on campus, in the residence halls and in the Chicagoland area.


To continue the transition into college, first-year students are enrolled in Transitions, a one-credit, semester-long course that aims to aid students in adapting to university life from a variety of perspectives. The curriculum includes an introduction to the Saint Xavier University community; development of an appreciation for the broader culture of a university education; and diversity, wellness and success strategies.

For more information about New Student Programs, call the assistant vice president for Student Affairs at 773-298-3123.