Freshman Admissions

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Frequently Asked Questions for Freshmen

  1. What are the application deadlines?
  2. How long will it take to process my application?
  3. Is my application processed more quickly if I apply online?
  4. How much does it cost to apply?
  5. Does NIU accept AP credit?
  6. How do I find out what courses I should register for?
  7. Is there housing available on campus?
  8. Can I bring a car to campus?
  9. How much is tuition?
  10. How do I apply for a scholarship or financial aid?
  11. How can I get a catalog or class schedule?
  12. Does NIU offer health care and medical insurance for students?
  13. What kind of assistance does the university provide for students with disabilities?
  14. What kind of career planning services are offered to prepare students for life after graduation?
  15. What is the relationship of ACT scores and high school rank to graduation rates?
  16. Is it safe at NIU?
  17. What are official ACT or official SAT Test scores? 
  18. What are official high school or official college transcripts

1. What are the application deadlines?

Application deadlines are posted on the Application Timeline page.

2. How long will it take to process my application?

Applications are processed as soon as all fees and supporting documentation are received. The admission process can take four to six weeks from time of receipt of all required documents during peak processing periods. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that a completed application and all official transcripts and supporting documents have been submitted to NIU Admissions. Applicants will not be contacted if any requirements have not been received at NIU Admissions. Applicants are encouraged to check their application status.

3. Is my application processed more quickly if if I apply online?

Yes. Applications completed online are received immediately by the NIU Admissions office. The online application is the preferred, best method to apply to NIU.  Remember to tell your high school college guidance counselor you applied to NIU.  Notification will be sent to the student verifying receipt of the application. Applicants must submit all official transcripts from all previously attended institutions to support their application for admissions. All official transcripts and documents required to support the online application must be received by NIU Admissions before the evaluation process can begin.

4. How much does it cost to apply?

The application fee is $40.

Applicants who meet the qualifications for an extreme economic hardship waiver are exempt from the fee. In order to qualify for this waiver, an application must be submitted along with a request for a fee waiver signed by the high school guidance office or other qualified official.

To be considered for an application fee waiver, you must be currently enrolled in high school and submit an NIU Application Fee Waiver Form.  You may also have a letter from your high school counselor or social worker submitted which states that you meet the criteria listed on the application fee waiver form.

5. Does NIU accept AP credit?

Yes. Northern Illinois University accepts AP, CLEP and IB credit. Students need to have their scores sent to the Office of Testing Services to have their scores evaluated. The evaluation information is available from the NIU Office of Testing Services.

6. How do I find out what courses I should register for?

Every new NIU undergraduate student must attend New Student Orientation where they will meet with an adviser and receive priority registration.

7. Is there housing available on campus?

Yes. NIU has five residence halls. For more information, visit campus Housing and Dining.

8. Can I bring a car to campus?

Yes. See our Parking & Transportation page for more information.

9. How much is tuition?

Tuition and fees information is posted on the Office of the Bursar's Web Site.

10. How do I apply for a scholarship or financial aid?

Information and applications for financial assistance are available from Student Financial Aid. That office also maintains information on Veteran's Assistance. Scholarship information is available on the Scholarship Office site.

11. How can I get a catalog or class schedule?

The Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs are available free online. Printed catalogs are provided to all undergraduate students at Orientation. Class schedules are searchable using the NIU Course Finder.

12. Does NIU offer health care and medical insurance for students?

Yes. Health Services provides medical care to all students, full-time or part-time, who are registered and have paid on-campus tuition and fees. Students may use Health Services without being enrolled in the student Health Insurance Plan.

The university offers a Student Health Insurance Plan designed exclusively for NIU students. Enrollment in the plan is automatic for students registered for 9 or more on-campus hours and all international students.

13. What kind of assistance does the university provide for students with disabilities?

The university provides support services for students with a variety of disabilities. A wide range of services can be obtained including, but not limited to, housing, transportation, adaptation of printed materials, testing accommodations, sign language interpreters and advocacy with faculty and staff.

14. What kind of career planning services are offered to prepare students for life after graduation?

NIU helps students secure internships and full-time employment by offering job and internship fairs, career counseling, resume and cover letter reviews and an online job search database. For more information, see our Careers & Employment page.

15. What is the relationship of ACT scores and high school rank to graduation rates?

NIU's graduation rates are similar to the average graduation rates of other NCAA 1-A institutions. For more information, see about NIU.

16.  Is it safe at NIU?

Yes! Northern Illinois University has the advantage of being located in a smaller city with lower crime rates than more populous communities. But even in this relatively secure environment, people must act responsibly to ensure their own well-being. For more information, see our Campus Safety site.

17. What are official ACT or official SAT score reports?

Official ACT or official SAT score reports are ACT or SAT test score reports sent directly to the Northern Illinois University Admissions Office from ACT Inc. (ACT) or from the College Board (SAT).

  • The ACT test is known officially as the American College Test.
  • The SAT test is known officially as the SAT Reasoning Test
  • NIU will accept either official ACT or official SAT score reports to meet or exceed NIU admissions criteria. 
  • Be sure to order your official ACT and/or SAT score reports to be sent to NIU Admissions directly from the testing companies to support your application.
  • For more information:
    • See the ACT Company web site ; to order an official ACT score report sent to NIU, use NIU's ACT Code # 1102
    • See the College Board web site ; to order an official SAT score report sent to NIU, use NIU's SAT Code #1559.


18.  What are official high school or college transcripts?

Official high school or college transcripts are copies of a student's permanent academic record at a particular institution, received at the NIU Admissions Office in their as issued original, sealed, institutional envelope under the seal of the Registrar or Records Office of the issuing institution. 

  • Official transcripts are required to be copies of the most current academic record and must be received at NIU Admissions within one year of the institution's transcript issuing date.