New Student and Family Programs

Leatherneck Launch (New Student Orientation)

Leatherneck Launch, our new student orientation program, will launch you into your WIU experience.  Leatherneck Launch programs take place for incoming students prior to each academic semester and for Fall matriculation, throughout the summer.  Western Illinois provides a variety of opportunities for our new students to not only learn about various campus resources, but you'll also engage with other incoming students as you begin your Leatherneck Journey!


Summer Leatherneck Launch

One-day, on-campus Leatherneck Launch (orientation) programs will be held in the University Union on various dates throughout the summer (June/July).  Two programs are scheduled to accommodate students/guests traveling by Amtrak.  Students will register via their STARS account.  A schedule summary is noted below:

  • Check in begins at approximately 9:00am for regular programs and 10:00am for Amtrak scheduled dates.
  • Information tables and an informal social hour with various offices, departments, and resources will occur from 9:00am-10:00am  and 11am-noon (Amtrak programs) each morning in the University Union. 
  • The formal program is scheduled to begin at 10:00am and 12:00pm (Amtrak programs) and conclude around 4:00pm and 5:15pm (Amtrak programs)
  • The program kicks off via our Leatherneck Success Leader team and continues with Financial Aid, Beu Health and a focus on academic success. 
  • Students and guests will enjoy lunch in the Corbin/Olson dining center
  • Throughout the day, information sessions will be facilitated by various resources including: 
      • University Housing and Dining Services 
      • Career Preparation and Student Employment
      • Student Engagement and A cademic and Student Success. 
  • Transfer students and guests will have a few specially designed programs to attend 
  • Campus tours are optional and scheduled at the end of each program day
  • A residence hall show room will be available for viewing (building to be determined)  
  • At the end of the day, we have a special guest who'll welcome you to the Macomb community!
  • PARKING:  Parking is available in any lot where there is an open space (excluding specially designated spots by law).
  • TRANSPORTATION:  If arriving via Amtrak, please take GoWest Route 16W from the City Center which departs for campus at 11:10am.  Go West will get students/guests back to the Amtrak station for their daily 6:19pm departure.  Other transportation arrangements to get to campus via the official Uber/Lyft apps or check out Sue's Ride Service via Facebook.  

Leatherneck First Four Days

Get ready to launch into an amazing year as a Leatherneck! Leatherneck First Four is part of your new student experience.  Leatherneck First Four events take place Thursday through Sunday before classes begin every August.   

Spring Leatherneck Launch  

The Spring 2025 Leatherneck Launch program for students starting class in January 2025 will take place virtually via Zoom.  Exact program date and time to be posted no later than November 1.  On your Leatherneck Launch day, you will hear from various office on campus who'll assist you with your success.  Macomb campus students will visit their STARS page to register for the program and for further details.   

Quad Cities students can learn more about Quad Cities New Student Orientation here.

For Further Questions:

Please contact us at   

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I register for a Leatherneck Launch program?

After you have been admitted, log onto your STARS account and click on "Leatherneck Launch (Orientation). You will be taken to a form to sign up for your Launch date.

What if I reserved a date but want to change it?

Simply return to STARS and select a new program date. You may also contact us at When you are blocked from registering for some dates, these sessions are closed and no longer available for reservation. Please note that if you change program dates, you may receive another Date Confirmation Mailer via e-mail.

Why is Leatherneck Launch so important?

Participating in Leatherneck Launch is one of the first steps students take in their transition to the University. During your orientation experience, you will meet other incoming students, learn about resources, and discover ways to be successful here at Western Illinois University.  

Do I have to attend?

All incoming students must attend and participate in the orientation experience.

How will I know that I am able to attend the program date I reserved?

After you reserve your date online, you will get additional instructions via email within a few business days after registering.

When do I sign up for classes and get my schedule?

If you are a NEW FRESHMAN enrolling at WIU, begin the registration process by following these steps:  
  1. Sign up for a Leatherneck Launch (summer orientation) program
  2. Once you sign up for a Leatherneck Launch program, you will then be invited by the First Year Advising Center to complete New Student Registration Prep 
  3. After completion of New Student Registration Prep, you'll meet with an advisor to register for classes

If you are a NEW TRANSFER student enrolling at WIU, begin the registration process by following these steps:

  1. Sign up for a Leatherneck Launch (summer orientation) program
  2. Contact your academic advisor to set up an appointment to register
  3. The link to the academic advisory directory to find your advisors online scheduling link or email is

Do I need to register for fall Leatherneck Launch events? 

There is no need to register for fall Leatherneck Launch events at this time! You will get information about many upcoming events when you start on-campus this fall. 

When are the Leatherneck Launch (Summer Orientation) Programs?

Leatherneck Launch programs are one day only and offered several times during the summer. Participation is by reservation only and enrollment is limited. The one-day program will begin around 9:00AM and conclude no later than 5:00PM

Specific information will be emailed to your WIU email address before the program.

If you do not plan on attending Western Illinois University, please contact Admissions at 309/298-3157 or toll free at 877/PICKWIU.

What are the costs associated to the program?

There is no additional cost for your Leatherneck Launch day. Students pay an Orientation fee that covers the expense of the one day program, including snacks/meals, and program materials. This fee is billed with all other student fees.

Am I required to arrange overnight housing/lodging for the program?

You are not required to stay overnight for your Leatherneck Launch program. If you would like to stay in Macomb, you can make arrangements to stay on campus with Univeristy Housing and Dining Services , the Univeristy Union Horel or review options to stay in a local hotel.  Specific information is provided on the summer Leatherneck Launch registration form.  

Would I be able to bring any guests?

Due to crowd size restrictions, each student is able to bring one additional guest for the their Leatherneck Launch experience. Throughout the Leatherneck Launch day, we will have optional sessions and experiences for guests to attend.

For Further Questions:

Please contact us at for further questions.  

Terms to Know

Leatherneck Launch

Leatherneck Launch is your orientation and welcome experience. We are launching you into your time as a Leatherneck through education, events, connections, and more.

Leatherneck Success Leader

A Leatherneck Success Leader is an upper division student dedicated to your success. Leatherneck Success Leaders assist incoming students throughout their orientation experience and into their first year while taking their FYE courses, attending events, and more

Academic Advisor

Your first year (FY) advisor will use a developmental approach to help you build a successful foundation consistent with your aspirations, abilities, and values. They will help you navigate all aspects of college life through multiple meetings, workshops, and referrals. A personalized support network will be established through collaboration with all academic colleges, departments, and offices across campus. You can learn more by visiting the First Year Advising Center 

Rocky’s Online Orientation

Rocky’s Online Orientation is comprised on many resources from faculty and staff around WIU to assist with your transition to campus. Rocky’s Online Orientation is housed in WesternOnline, which will be used for your classes when you begin the semester. Being active with Rocky’s Online Orientation will teach you a ton about campus as well as how to be successful navigating your coursework.

New Student Registration Prep

New Student Registration Prep is for first-time incoming freshman and the first step to registering for your classes. You will gain access to New Student Registration Prep two business days after registering for your Leatherneck Launch day. You must sign up for Leatherneck Launch in order to gain access to New Student Registration Prep. New Student Registration Prep will guide you through the first steps of registration, where you will learn more about course offerings and other academic opportunities. After completion, you can meet with your academic advisor and have your class schedule set! If you have any questions, please email*Transfer students do not complete this program*