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Frequently Asked Questions

Why would I benefit from having a co-curricular experience on my transcript?

Employers and graduate programs are looking for evidence that you have developed essential skills in decisions making, critical thinking, teamwork, organization, etc., and that you are able to put classroom learning into practice in real-world scenarios.  EngagePLUS provides you with an avenue to document co-curricular activities on your official transcript, which provides meaningful evidence of your abilities and ultimately helps you compete in the job market and for graduate school positions. 

What programs qualify?

There is not a list of approved programs, but rather sets of criteria for the various EngagePLUS categories that are used to evaluate students’ engaged learning experiences.  Review the criteria to determine whether an experience may qualify.

How do I apply?

The EngagePLUS Application consists of two parts:

  1. A proposal that is submitted before or early on in the engaged learning experience and
  2. A reflection that is submitted upon completion of the experience.

Both the Proposal and the Reflection must be approved by your mentor or other NIU staff (depending on the details of the experience) to be considered for a transcript notation.

Will this show up on my degree audit?

Yes.  Once your proposal has been approved, an EngagePLUS notation will appear as an in-progress milestone on your degree audit.  When you have submitted your reflection and your EngagePLUS application has been approved, a milestone on your degree audit will show as complete and the notation will be added to your official transcript.

Can I receive campus honors through EngagePLUS?

Yes. Students have the opportunity to receive the honor of Engage bronze, silver or gold scholar. The Engage Bronze Scholar award is given to the student who has earned one EngagePLUS notation.  The Engage Silver scholar award is given to the student who has earned EngagePLUS notations in two different categories. The Engage Gold Scholar award is given to the student who has earned EngagePLUS notations in four different categories and this award will appear on the official transcript.

What kind of Reflection will I need to write and submit at the end of my experience in order to complete my application and be considered for a transcript notation?

As you complete your application in the EngagePLUS system, you will be prompted to write a guided reflection about your experience.

EngagePLUS Reflection

The reflection prompt for EngagePLUS is as follows:

“Your reflection should go beyond merely summarizing your experience. You should think carefully about how your past learning experiences influenced this one, how you grew during this experience, and how you see this experience influencing your future. Your reflection should include a synthesis of all of the questions listed below (i.e., address these questions throughout your reflection rather than answer each question one at a time) and should be 500-800 words in length.

  • In what ways were you able to put your previous classroom learning experiences into practice in “real-world” scenarios?
  • How would you describe the benefits of this experience to your personal and professional growth?
  • What challenges did you encounter during this experience and how did you handle or overcome these challenges?
  • In what ways do you anticipate what you learned during this experience will impact your future personal and professional endeavors?  Consider both the benefits and challenges of your experience.”

Human Diversity Requirement Reflection

The reflection prompt for the Human Diversity Requirement is as follows:

Please select the social category that you focused upon in your engaged learning experience.

  • Ability
  • Age
  • Citizenship
  • Gender
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Wealth/material resources

Your reflection should go beyond merely summarizing your experience.  You should think carefully about the social category you focused upon and how membership in this category influences access to resources and opportunities.  Your reflection should include a synthesis of all of the questions listed below (i.e., address these questions throughout your reflection rather than answer each question one at a time) and should be 500-800 words in length.

  • To what extent are people in this social category able to access resources and opportunities?
  • To what extent does membership in this social category account for differing access to resources and opportunities?
  • How would you describe the power structures/dynamics that you observed during this experience?  How are people in this social category impacted by them?
  • What did your analysis of power during this experience reveal about differing access to resources and opportunities among people of different social categories?”

How can I appeal if my application is denied?

If your EngagePLUS application is denied and you would like to appeal the decision, please complete and submit the EngagePLUS Petition form.

If your Human Diversity Requirement application is denied and you would like to appeal the decision, please send an email to equity@niu.edu to inquire about the appeal process.