Northern Illinois University Your Future, Our Focus Northern Illinois University Your Future, Our Focus

First-year NIU Students

As you enroll in your first semester of course work at NIU, you experience important transitions and connections that will impact your success here. Our faculty, staff and students are here to assist you from the beginning, guiding you throughout your college career. In your transition to college life, we’ll provide you with direction and help you make connections that you need to be successful. But ultimately, your success is up to you.

Here are some simple things you can do to make sure you’re on the right path:

  • Meet with your academic advisor in October and March.
  • Develop, save and follow an educational plan that will help you choose the right courses to complete your degree in a timely manner.
  • Successfully complete (with an A, B or C) all coursework in which you are enrolled.
  • Create and follow a study plan for each enrolled course.
  • Attend classes.
  • Get familiar with and use campus resources (writing center, tutoring, library, workshops, etc.).
  • Identify and research a potential career path.
  • Engage with students, staff, advisors and faculty on campus.
  • Participate in campus activities or explore organizations.
  • Write down your intended graduation date.

A transition so large is bound to be stressful, and sometimes it’s hard to know how you can make it easier for yourself. Below are two charts of common stressors for students in their first year of college. We’ve provided you with the names of programs and services, as well as what you can do, to help alleviate these stresses.

Social Transition

Common Stressors Programs and Services Responsibilities: What can you do?
Making friends and fitting in
  • Get involved!
  • Stay at NIU on the weekends!
  • Develop a social network
Feeling homesick
New freedom, developing personal values and testing boundaries
Roommate issues
  • Develop better communication skills
  • Create a plan to address and resolve issues

Adjusting to a new learning environment

Common Stressors Programs and Services Responsibilities: What can you do?
More work, new courses, new teaching styles, new expectations and methods of evaluation
Less structured than high school, different schedule
  • Read each class’s syllabus thoroughly
  • Create, and use, a study plan for each course
  • Keep a daily planner with deadlines and important dates
Uncertainty about chosen major/career path
  • Schedule an appointment with your academic advisor
  • Build and utilize your support network
Academic planning
  • Academic advisor
  • MyNIU – Academic Requirements Report
    This education planning tool enables students to plan their courses for a specific degree at NIU. Students can monitor and make adjustments to their course loads in order to successfully progress through their degree requirements.
  • Schedule an academic advising appointment (October for spring enrollment; March for fall enrollment)
  • Develop an academic plan
  • Register early!
Dates and Deadlines
  • Keep a daily planner of deadlines and important dates