College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Advising - Zulauf Hall 201 - 815-753-0114

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why do I have so many advisors?
  2. What – specifically – does my College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS) advisor do for me?
  3. What should I do to prepare for an advising appointment? 
  4. Where can I get help learning how to use MyNIU?
  5. Where can I find information on “study tips?”
  6. I’ve just found out I’m on academic probation. Now what?
  7. I’ve been academically dismissed. Now what?
  8. I’ve received a notification from Student Financial Aid indicating that I need to contact you to review my academic progress in order to continue receiving aid. How do I do that?
  9. Do I need permission to transfer a course to NIU?

Why do I have so many advisors?

Each undergraduate college at NIU has its own advising setup. As a major in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS), it is very important for you to see your major college advisor to keep track of minimum university and college requirements. Your college advisor understands the intricacies of the rules and regulations for your requirements. If you change from one major to another, in our college you can talk with your college advisor and clarify how that change might impact the coursework you have already completed and the courses you are planning for upcoming semesters.

Once you have decided upon a major, you will see your major advisor to track your progress in your major area of study. Your departmental advisor has a strong background in the curriculum of your major and a clear understanding of what courses should be planned with others to best serve your interests and needs. It is crucial to get involved in your major department advising system as soon as you know what you want your major to be. Your CLAS advisor can provide you with contact information for that advisor.

Should you find you are interested in a minor area of study or a certificate, your college advisor can refer you to the advisor you can contact for more information.

If you have any questions about who to see regarding any requirements for graduation, you can always call 815-753-0114 to ask for information.

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What – specifically – does my College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS) advisor do for me?

You should see your CLAS advisor regularly for help in tracking your progress toward meeting university and college requirements related to core competencies, distributive studies, Bachelor of Arts or Science, and upper-division, residency and transfer hours. If you need help understanding your Degree Progress Report or audit, your college advisor can assist you.

You initiate these academic requests through the college advising office:

  1. Class withdrawals beginning the second week of the semester.
  2. University withdrawals (lack of attendance does not constitute withdrawal).
  3. Overload permits for more than 18 hours (9 hours in summer).
  4. Senior transfer credit and concurrent enrollment requests (which must be requested in advance).
  5. Permission for a third enrollment in a class.
  6. Special exceptions to stated academic policy.

The college also provides information and assistance for CLAS students who are experiencing academic difficulties or who are on academic probation or dismissal.

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What should I do to prepare for an advising appointment? 

Think of an advising session as you would think of going to class: Prepare, be on time, and be ready to take good notes.

To prepare, take time to explore some course descriptions and make some tentative choices we can discuss. It is perfectly acceptable to not know exactly what you should take and in what order, but our time together will be more productive if you can tell us what types of courses interest you. If you have fewer than 40 earned hours, most of your selections will probably need to be from the part of the undergraduate catalog dealing with general education requirements.  (Use the navigation on the left to find "General Education Requirements.")

It is a good idea to create and print a wish list for the following semester. If you are not sure how to create a wish list, consult the training tools page at http://www.niu.edu/myniutraining/training/student_training.shtml. If you cannot create a wish list in MyNIU, at least write down what classes you are interested in taking during the following semester.

Bring any notes you have from meeting with your major and minor department advisors. That information could be useful to see how those courses fit with your other university requirements as we help you plan for the next semester or two. If you are inquiring about correspondence you have received from the university, it would be wise to bring a printed copy of the email or letter you received.

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Where can I get help learning how to use MyNIU?

MyNIU is a comprehensive student database used by Northern Illinois University. You can access MyNIU at any time by clicking on the MyNIU pennant icon on the lower left of the NIU homepage (www.niu.edu). You access your private account using your Z-id and password.

You can search for and register for classes; run a Degree Progress Report or audit; pay a tuition bill; update personal information such as telephone numbers, mailing addresses and email addresses; and apply for graduation through MyNIU. Information Technology Services has posted brief tutorials for each of these tasks at http://www.niu.edu/myniutraining/training/student_training.shtml. In addition to written instructions, there are online slide shows that walk you through each step of these processes.

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Where can I find information on “study tips?”

NIU has a variety of resources to assist students in study skills. Please see our online resources for various study tips through ACCESS: http://www.niu.edu/access. These resources include, but are not limited to, managing time, tutoring resources, study groups and supplemental instruction.

Also, the Counseling and Student Development Center at http://www.niu.edu/csdc/coaching/index.shtml provides information on the following:

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I’ve just found out I’m on academic probation. Now what?

As soon as you have learned that you are or that you will be on academic probation, it is important to meet with your college academic advisor. Discussing the status of your current coursework as well as your plans for future semesters will help you understand what is needed to get back to the minimum university standard of a 2.0 and avoid potential academic dismissal. Each student on academic probation is sent a letter to their address on record and urged to come in to see their advisor. Making and keeping appointments to see your college academic advisor is the responsibility of the student.

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I’ve been academically dismissed. Now what?

You have received a letter from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences explaining that you have been academically dismissed. Now it is time to figure out what is right for you.

If you want to petition to return to NIU for the upcoming semester, you will need to write a letter of appeal. Your letter should contain three parts:

  1. What the problems were that led to your current academic status.
  2. How next semester’s situation will improve.
  3. The specific schedule you would enroll in if permitted to return to NIU for the following semester.

Additionally, your letter should include your name, z-id number, address and daytime telephone number.

You may choose to mail or drop off your letter of appeal in our office. Our address is:
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Advising Office
201 Zulauf Hall
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115
You also may choose to fax your letter to us at 815-753-5904.

Your appeal letter will be reviewed by our committee. We will write to the address you provide. Upon receipt of our response, you may call our office and make an appointment with an advisor. If you appeal your dismissal, we would encourage you to follow through with an appointment if you are denied. Be ready to formulate a plan for the future.

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I’ve received a notification from Student Financial Aid indicating that I need to contact you to review my academic progress in order to continue receiving aid. How do I do that?

Each student who receives notification about their academic progress (Satisfactory Academic Progress or SAP) should receive a packet in the mail or a link via email explaining how to proceed with the appeal process. Part of the appeal process is contacting your major college advising office. You will want to follow the letter of appeal, first reading carefully all of the do’s and don’ts of what is appropriate for an appeal. Your appeal letter should include a date of intended completion and, if appropriate, a possible plan of completion. (How will you finish your degree and when?) You should submit your original appeal letter and appeal form to the Financial Aid office. Prior to turning in your letter, please make a copy of it for our office and fill out our request form in Zulauf 201 for our review. With the request you have submitted to our office, we will follow up to the Financial Aid office with a letter of support, pending the person writing the letter has no questions or concerns prior to the submission. It is important to note that WE DO NOT GUARANTEE THAT YOU WILL RECEIVE FIANANCIAL AID BY SUBMITTING A LETTER TO OUR OFFICE. We are one small part of your appeal to Financial Aid and have no bearing on your receipt of monies.

For additional information about this process, see the SAP information posted on Financial Aid’s website: http://www.niu.edu/fa/policies/sap.shtml

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Do I need permission to transfer a course to NIU?

If you are not currently enrolled at NIU, information about course transferability is available at NIU's Transfer Center website:  http://www.transfercenter.niu.edu/.

If you are currently enrolled or are reentering NIU, you should make an appointment with your academic advisor prior to completing any transfer coursework to make sure that the course or courses you are planning to take will apply to your degree requirements.

If you are taking more than two NIU courses in a semester or more than one in a summer session (concurrently enrolled), you must obtain prior approval from your major college. You can do this through an appointment with a college advisor or by stopping by the main office, Zulauf 201, to complete a concurrent permission request.

If you have earned 90 semester hours of credit or if you will exceed 90 semester hours of credit upon transfer of that credit, you must obtain prior approval from your major college. You can do this through an appointment with a college advisor or by stopping by the main office, Zulauf 201, to complete a senior transfer credit request.

Detailed information regarding course transferability to NIU is available in the Undergraduate Catalog:  http://catalog.niu.edu/.

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