Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where is Northern Illinois University?
A: Northern Illinois University is located 65 miles west of Chicago and 45 miles southeast of Rockford. NIU is a comprehensive educational institution that has a regional and national reputaion for the quality of its students, faculty, staff, facilities, and research activities. NIU's 514-acre main campus in DeKalb is located one mile north of the East-West Tollway (Interstate 88) near the junction of state highways 38 and 23.

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Q: What is required for a camper to apply for camp?
A: Parents will need to complete the entire application packet, which is available to download on our website, and return it to us by fax or mail along with the deposit or full payment.

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Q: What is in the application packet?
A: The application packet consists of the camp application, parental consent form, health form, behavior contract, teacher recommendation form, and $100 deposit or full payment.

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Q: Why is a teacher recommendation required and does it have to be a current teacher?
A: Due to the nature of these camps being academic, we require a teacher recommendation to determine the academic interest of the camper. The teacher should speak about what they feel the camper could get out of the experience and what the camper will put in to the experience. It does not have to be a current teacher.

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Q: Do the camp fees cover everything?
A: Yes, the camp fees cover food, lodging, instruction, and all camp materials. Campers may want to bring snacks and money for souvenirs during the week.

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Q: Are discounts available?
A: We have an early bird registration discount of $30 if you apply before June 1. In addition we also provide a $25 discount for multi-camper families, multi-camps, returning campers, and NIU employees.

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Q: Are there payment plans or is full payment required at the time of application?
A: In order to reserve the camper's spot in the camp, you need to provide a $100 deposit. Please note that the balance for the camp must be paid in full at least two weeks prior to the start of camp.

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Q: Does NIU provide any financial aid or scholarships for campers?
A: This changes from year to year depending on available funding. Those awarded scholarships are expected to pay the balance owed for the camp. All scholarships are awarded in the form of discounted registration fees. Please fill out Scholarship Application Form and submit it. Parents of campers who are on the free or reduced lunch program that are applying for a summer camp may contact us for an additional discount.

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Q: If NIU is not providing financial aid for a camp I am interested in, where can a camper look for financial support?
A: Many local organizations offer financial support for campers. Check with your local service groups, booster clubs, and your school guidance counselor.

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Q: Who are the counselors at the camp?
A: Counselors range from college instructors, graduate students, undergraduate students, and teachers. Each person working in our camps is required to have a background check.

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Q: How big are the camps?
A: Our camps are limited in size ranging from 20 or less to up to 50. The adult-camper ratio is approximately 1 to 6.

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Q: Are all camps residential? May campers leave at night and come back in the morning?
A: All high school camps are residential and campers must stay overnight. Only under extraordinary circumstances would commuting campers be considered. This year we are offering two junior high day camps: creative writing and film.

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Q: Do campers stay in the residence halls on campus?
A: Yes, campers reside and dine in the Summer Conference Center, a residence hall on NIU's campus in DeKalb, Illinois. Two campers share a room; campers may request a specific roommate. Linens and pillows are not provided. There is adult supervision at all times as camp counselors live in the residence hall alongside the campers.

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Q: What is the penalty for a lost room key?
A: Parents will be billed $150 for each occurrence to replace all lost keys.

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Q: What should campers bring to camp?
A: Campers should bring casual clothes and comfortable, sturdy walking shoes. We also recommend campers bring an umbrella and/or rain gear and a sweater. Campers should bring towels, all personal hygiene necessities, their own personal pillow, bed linens, or a sleeping bag. They also might want to bring a small fan, a small radio, and extra money for snacks, souvenirs, etc.

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Q: What should campers NOT bring to camp?
A: Please refer to the behavior contract in the application packet. Please, note that NIU is not responsible for any lost or stolen personal items.

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Q: When and where should campers arrive at camp?
A: Camp check-in and orientation are on Sunday in the main lobby of the Summer Conference Center at the assigned residence hall on NIU's DeKalb campus. Please note there will be no dinner provided for the campers on Sunday. Campers will pick up their camp materials and meet the camp staff during this time.

Sunday
6:30 - 7:30 p.m. - Arrival & Check-In at the assigned residence hall
8:00 - 10:00 p.m. - Orientation at residence hall
10:00 - 11:00 p.m. - Back on floor, room check & lights out

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Q: When and where should campers depart camp?
A: Between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. on Friday in the main lobby of their assigned residence hall.

Friday
7:15 - 8:00 a.m. - Breakfast
8:15 - 8:45 a.m. - Departure Preparation
9:00 - 11:30 a.m. - Feedback Sessions
11:45 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. - Certificate Presentation
1:30 - 2:30 p.m. - Camp Conclusion & Departure at assigned residence hall

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Q: Where do we park to pick-up or drop-off campers?
A: When you arrive on Sunday, you can drop off campers and luggage in front of the residence hall tower they will be staying at for the camp. If campers drive themselves, they must obtain a free parking permit from the residence hall front desk the day they arrive. While the camper is at camp, they will not be allowed to drive their vehicle.

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Q: What if a camper needs to be picked up early?
A: A parent or guardian must give the camp director a dated and signed letter that explains:

  • Who is picking the camper up and their relationship to the camper (aunt, uncle, friend, etc...).
  • The date and time the camper will be picked up.
  • The date and time the camper will return (if applicable).

For safety reasons, we cannot release any camper without a dated and signed letter from their parent or guardian.

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Q: What is a typical schedule for a camp?
A:

7:30 a.m. - Breakfast
8:15 a.m. - Morning Session
Noon - Lunch
1:30 p.m. - Afternoon session
5:00 p.m. - Dinner
6:30 p.m. - Special evening activity
10:00 p.m. - Campers return to residence halls
10:30 p.m. - Room check
11:00 p.m. - Lights out

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Q: What is a typical schedule for a day camp?
A: TBA

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Q: My child has food allergies, how will that be handled?
A: Please, alert us to any food allergies on the health form.

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Q: What if my child becomes sick while at camp?
A: You will be contacted to pick up your child early from camp depending on the serverity of the sickness. If that is not an option, your child will be placed in a room by themselves and we will contact the student's guardians to alert them of the sickness and for further guidance.

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Q: Who do I contact for additional information?
A: If you still have additional questions, please contact Mark Pietrowski, Coordinator, at 815-753-1456 or pietrowski@niu.edu.