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Passage Orientation FAQs

Register for Passage Orientation 


Jump To: General | Passage Registration | Communication and Technology | Cost and Payment | Coursework and Credit | Arrival and Move In | Wilderness Site | Northwoods Site | Urban Site

General Passage Orientation Questions

Passage is the ultimate orientation experience for all new Wheaton College students that will help you transition into college by providing opportunities to build community, connect with professors, and welcome you to your new Wheaton home! Students choose based on interest from various site options where you will meet with your small group and engage in learning activities about our Christ-centered liberal arts mission.

All new students should plan to participate in Wheaton Passage. Wheaton Passage is a transition program for launching the Wheaton experience well, and we expect all first-year students* to participate.

 *We strongly encourage transfer students to participate, as we have planned a Passage site and an abbreviated program specifically with transfer students in mind. 

Wheaton has made a waiver process available for students who might have circumstances that keep them from participating in Passage. If you are considering a waiver due to disability-related reasons (including mental health, physical, learning, chronic health, dietary reasons, etc.), please contact Learning & Accessibility Services (LAS) instead of filling out this form. LAS can meet with you to discuss accommodations or adjustments that may be needed for your Passage experience or approve an accommodation for an exemption to Passage participation. We value a student’s right to confidentiality–any information or supporting documentation submitted to LAS will be held confidentially. Please email las@wheaton.edu with any questions.
Wheaton College understands that there are circumstances that may prevent students from participating in Passage beyond disability-related reasons, which is why we have made this waiver form available. Since Passage is the place to start making Christ-centered friendships, begin to know faculty in a meaningful way, and a place for students to develop a Christ-centered vision for their whole college experience, Wheaton encourages students to carefully consider the impact of missing the Passage experience. If you would like to submit a waiver for an exemption to participate in Wheaton Passage, please complete this waiver form.

Family Member Questions

When students return from their Passage site they will continue their orientation experience with on campus events and begin preparing for classes. We ask that parents do not return to campus to meet their students after Passage.

No, there is no programming scheduled for parents after students return to campus from their Passage sites.

Parents are welcome to help their students move into their residence halls and experience the on-campus portion of Wheaton Passage. After students leave campus, parents are especially encouraged to attend the final program exclusively for parents and other family members. This program will be led by President Ryken.

Yes! Siblings are welcome to attend the on-campus portion of Wheaton Passage until students depart for their Passage sites.

Yes, family members can purchase meal tickets at the entrance of Anderson Commons.

Our Parent Engagement website is chock full of valuable information about how to stay informed, what resources are available to students, and a list of campus contacts. Be sure to encourage your parents to update their contact information so we can send them the monthly parent e-newsletter. If they have additional questions, we are at parents@wheaton.edu.

Temporary, short-term parking will be available in the spaces outside your residence hall. After you’ve unloaded your belongings, please move your vehicle to one of the parking lots highlighted on this map. Please note that overnight parking of motor homes is not permitted on Wheaton’s campus.

There are several hotels in the Wheaton area that offer discounted rates to Wheaton College guests. Parents should mention they are a guest of Wheaton when they book their reservation.

Passage Registration

If you already have an account from a previous HoneyRock experience, log in to that account first by clicking on “Sign In” when you get to the registration page. Then go to your account settings and change your account email to match your Wheaton College student email (the one that uses @my.wheaton.edu). Next, navigate to your dashboard and select “Add Registration” to begin your registration for Passage Orientation.

It was provided in your acceptance packet. If you can not find it, email ait.service.desk@wheaton.edu.

Email us at passage@wheaton.edu and we will get it sorted out for you!

If you try to register for a site that is full, it will tell you that you are on the waitlist.

At that point, register for your next choice and we will notify you if a spot becomes available at your preferred site.

No. You will need to sign the risk waivers on your own, so please register yourself for Passage using your Wheaton-provided student email address (it ends with @my.wheaton.edu).

A payment will only be collected if you decide to purchase items as a part of your registration such as a sleeping bag or water bottle. This is optional!

The Passage fee ($895 for first years, $495 for the abbreviated transfer experience) is itemized as part of your fall bill from Wheaton College.

Email us at passage@wheaton.edu with your requested change and we will take care of it for you!

Communication and Technology

Over the last 10 years when we have asked students what the most impactful aspect of Passage is, the answer is always the same – the technology free atmosphere! While phones and other devices provide excellent opportunities to connect with friends, family, and loved ones from a far, we have found that when students have access to these devices their ability to connect with their new community is hindered. By keeping Passage sites phone free, we help expedite the friendship formation process and allow students to focus on the transition to college.

Passage Sites are phone and Wi-Fi free. This means: 

  • Students will not have access to cell phones, laptops, tablets, MP3 or CD players, radios, etc... for the duration of their Passage experience.
  • Students must have hard copies—not electronic versions—of both the Wheaton Passage Workbook and Embracing the Love of God.

Phones, laptops, mp3 players, etc. will be collected within 24 hours of arrival at your Passage site (you’ll have them for all of your on-campus arrival events!) They are stored by group and kept in lockers/safes in locked rooms at each site. Wilderness student phones are sent to the HoneyRock site and stored there for the duration of the experience. All phones are returned on the final day of Passage prior to returning to campus.

We understand that sometimes there is a need for students and parents to connect during the program. Students wishing to contact their parents simply need to speak with their leaders to arrange a time to call. Parents will be provided with site specific contact numbers for program staff who can arrange to have students return calls as soon as possible. In the event of an emergency at Passage, students will be able to contact their parents (see medical FAQ’s below for more information!)

You are welcome to send mail to your student while they are at Passage. Please use the guidance below for each site and allow at least 5 days for letters and packages to arrive, even if you send them with 2-day shipping!

If we could recommend another idea, you might consider packing dated letters in your student's Passage luggage. This guarantees they can receive and read it on the day you specify!


Wilderness students will not receive mail while on their wilderness trip. It will be delivered to them when they return to at the Northwoods site at HoneyRock. You can use the following HoneyRock address:

Student Name - WPW
8660 HoneyRock Rd
Three Lakes, WI, 54562


Student Name - WPN
8660 HoneyRock Rd
Three Lakes, WI, 54562

Urban - Downtown Track & Transfers

Student Name – Wheaton Passage Downtown
HI Chicago
24 E Ida B Wells Drive
Chicago, IL 60605

Urban - Woodlawn

Student Name – Wheaton Passage Downtown
Sunshine Gospel Min
500 E 61st St
Chicago, IL 60637

Cost and Payment

The cost of the program is $895 for first-year students. Transfer students will conduct an abbreviated Passage for $495. Your Passage fee is itemized as part of your fall bill.

The fee is all-inclusive with the exception of meals when traveling between sites, and spending money during the program. It will include your housing, experiences during Passage, transportation, and essential outdoor equipment where needed. A student may want to bring discretionary money for use at some Passage site options. Financial Aid for Wheaton Passage will be determined by Wheaton’s Office of Student Financial Services with the information provided on a student’s FAFSA and aid eligibility. No further application is required.

Student Financial Services will begin distributing Passage Grant notifications in early June to those who qualify. The cost and grant awards will be included in the fall term bill, which will be available in mid-July and is due the first day of the semester on August 24th.

No, you do not need to complete additional forms. Financial assistance for Wheaton Passage will be determined by information provided on a student's FAFSA and aid eligibility. No further application is required to receive financial assistance to put towards Passage Orientation.

Student Financial Services will begin distributing Passage Grant notifications in mid-May to those who qualify. The cost and grant awards will be included in the fall term bill, which will be available in mid-July and is due the first day of the semester on August 24th.


Coursework and Credit

Yes. Passage is a 0-credit, pass/fail course. Passage is the first Wheaton College course that students take and is designed to prepare you for your academic journey. 

The Passage course (CFM 134) requires students to come prepared having read Embracing the Love of God (ISBN: 9780061542695) and having completed the course pre-work in the workbook called Wheaton Passage 2022 (ISBN: 9798765707876). It is imperative to buy the current year's edition of this workbook! These books are available to order through Wheaton’s Campus Store.

If you’re an incoming student currently living outside the US, please email passage@wheaton.edu for special textbook arrangements.

This really depends on you. We asked students to share how long it took them and their answers ranged from 12–26 hours. We really suggest you purchase and review the texts to assess it for yourself.

Pro tip: Don’t compare your speed to others! Take the coursework as an opportunity to lay the foundation for your Wheaton experience.

Arrival and Move In

When you arrive at Wheaton College, you can arrive with your family and spend 2 days settling into your room in your Residence Hall to begin your experience at Wheaton College. For this portion, pack as you would normally to move into a residence. For the Passage excursion that begins two days after your arrival, pack a separate bag following the packing list for your selected Passage site.

Remember that what you pack for a Wilderness or Urban Passage will need to be carried for variable distances. Our Wilderness Passage leaders will help make sure you're only packing the essentials for your trip!

Packing lists for each Passage Track will be posted by March 1, 2022.

Check out our Orientation Schedule information!

On arrival day, you are welcome to arrive with your family to Wheaton College where you will check-in to begin your college journey. You will be met by our Thunder Move-In team who will help you unload your belongings into your residence hall. After you set-up your room just the way you like, we offer campus tours to familiarize yourself with your new home. That evening, Wheaton College presents an opening program to welcome all new students and their families to Wheaton.

Students depart for their Passage site the day after arrival. For example, if you arrive at Wheaton on a Saturday, you will depart to your Passage Site on a Sunday. Before departure, Wheaton has a few events prepared for departure day that culminate in a prayerful sendoff of new Wheaton students onto their Passage journey.

If you are having any difficulty buying or finding the appropriate equipment or resources to participate at your Passage site, please reach out to the Wheaton Passage Office. We would love to work with you to make sure you are fully equipped and resourced for your Passage Orientation experience.

Wilderness Site Questions

Each group will have two group leaders, one of which is a trained and certified Wilderness First Responder and significant previous wilderness trip leading experience. All of our wilderness leaders undergo 2 weeks of intensive training in wilderness leadership. Additionally, we station our senior staff throughout the wilderness trip areas to allow for quick responses to any needs that may arise. Our trip leaders all carry personal and satellite phones, and our senior staff keep track of their progress throughout the week. While it is very rare for there to be a safety concern regarding wildlife, all food and scented items are hung in trees over night and all leaders carry pepper-sprays to ward of any animals. Students participating in water based trips (sea kayaking and canoeing) will spend 1 day training in a safe, secluded bay before heading out on their trip and students in the rock climbing trips participate in belay and climbing safety sessions on the first day of their trips.

No wilderness experience is needed to participate in the Wilderness track. We design our trips to ease all students into the experience and place the more demanding days towards the middle/end of the trip when students’ have adjusted to the routines of life on the trail. If you are able to leisurely walk 3 miles at one time, you are equipped to handle the wilderness trip!


During the wilderness trip component, each group will be led by two leaders, at least one of whom is a certified Wilderness First Responder. Additionally, we station support staff that are not leading groups throughout our trip area and are equipped to quickly respond to all manner of emergencies. Group leaders complete an extensive emergency plan when planning their trips and supporting staff monitor each groups location and status throughout the week. Once students return to the HoneyRock site, the provisions for that site are available (see below). In emergency scenarios, students are taken to the nearest hospital and immediately connected with their parents.


Urban Site Questions

In a similar manner to our wilderness tracks that manage the risk involved in operating in a remote environment, our leadership staff are trained to make wise decisions that manage risk for participants. Part of our robust risk management programs include developing response plans for various incidents that may take place during Passage in an urban environment.

The Center for Urban Engagement (CUE) is a center of Wheaton College that exists to promote just, sustainable, and flourishing urban communities through the academic study of cities and transformational experiences of urban life. CUE staff work closely with Passage staff in designing and running the Urban Passage tracks.

Students in both the Woodlawn and Downtown tracks have access to a variety of medical care options. Due to the proximity to Wheaton’s main campus, Urban students are cared for by the Wheaton College health center and, if necessary, can return to campus to visit the health center. Students in both the Woodlawn and Downtown tracks also have access to a variety of local urgent care and emergency room providers. If a student needs urgent or emergency care and wishes to connect with their parents they will be immediately connected.

Northwoods Site Questions

HoneyRock, the Center for Leadership Development of Wheaton College is located in the Northwoods of Wisconsin on a chain of 28 lakes and in the Nicolet National Forest. It has over 900 acres of facilities and resources for activities, learning, and adventure. Since 1951, HoneyRock has provided college preparation, leadership development, and spiritual formation for youth and young adults.

No! Students at the Northwoods site will have the opportunity to enjoy a variety of indoor and outdoor activities. Indoor options abound – from ping pong and board games to our ceramics studio and coffee shop students will enjoy making new friends in a variety of contexts. Outdoor options are equally abundant – water skiing, canoeing, rock climbing, hiking, horsemanship, biking, and more are available for all students. Beyond activities, all students will eat meals in the large dining hall and sleep in 8-10 person cabins, some with bathrooms attached and others with bathrooms just a short walk away. No matter your interests and no matter the weather, the Northwoods site has something for everyone!

HoneyRock operates year-round. We host 900+ campers and 150+ staff during the summer and have a school year community of 60+ people along with various Wheaton and non-Wheaton retreat groups. Our Health Center had an on-site registered nurse and an on-call doctor, and we have robust protocols for emergency situations.

The HoneyRock site has a health center that offers both self-serve care supplies (band-aids, ibuprofen, tums, Gatorade, decongestants etc.) as well as an on-site registered nurse and on-call doctor. In emergency scenarios, students are taken to the nearest hospital and immediately connected with their parents.