Orientation Information and Reservation

Please review the below links below to learn more about the orientation program prior to making a reservation. Attending orientation at NIU requires advance planning and preparation. 

After reading the information below, you may
Make an online orientation reservation

     Freshman Online reservation     Transfer Online reservation     Reenter Online reservation

print and mail in your reservation (PDF)

What is the Orientation Program at NIU?
It is a one-day academic introduction to the university which provides orientation, testing, academic advising, and registration opportunities. At Orientation, you will meet an academic adviser, university faculty and staff members, and other transfer students.

Attendance at the complete one-day program is required for all new undergraduate students who wish to register before classes begin. You will be able to register for courses only after attending the orientation program and completing academic advising.

Optional Financial Aid Session - An informational financial aid session will be offered preceding check-in at 8:00 a.m. in the Holmes Student Center, Regency Room. This is the only opportunity for students to attend a general financial aid session.  Please note there is a financial aid session offered as part of the family orientation program. Although family members are welcome to attend the early morning session, the financial aid information will be repeated later in the day.

For Military Students - An informational session on benefits and other services provided by Military Student Services will be offered preceding check-in at 8:00 in the Holmes Student Center, Room 405. For more information, contact Military Student Services at 815-753-0943 or via e-mail at veteranassistance@niu.edu.

What are the orientation dates for students entering NIU for the spring semester of 2014?

Orientation Dates:

Tuesday, November 12 (Transfer/Re-enter Only)

Thursday, November 14 (Freshman, Transfer/Reenter)

Wednesday, December 4 (Freshman, Transfer/Reenter)

Friday, December 6 (Freshman, Transfer/Reenter)

** Reenter students have previously completed at least one full semester of enrollment at NIU.

Why should I attend the Orientation Program at NIU?
When you attend an orientation program, you will receive a personal introduction to the university and your academic college, and you will:

  • learn about academic requirements, course selection, and registration
  • hear about student support services and programs that can help you become a successful transfer student
  • be able to use Northern’s registration system following your academic advising session
  • take care of important university business, including obtaining your NIU OneCard (student ID), and computer ID (Z-ID).

How do I participate in the program?

To reserve a date, either make an online reservation and payment or mail the reservation form with the new student fee. A limited number of students can be accommodated on each orientation day. Reservations are made on a "first come, first served" basis. Many dates fill quickly so it is to your advantage to make an online reservation or return your form and fee promptly. When a date is filled, we will assign and confirm the next available date. There are no waiting lists. It is not possible to make a reservation by phone, e-mail, or fax. Once a reservation has been made, the date will be confirmed by an e-mail sent to your NIU Z-ID e-mail account.

Reservations are necessary so that we can have your records at the proper college advising office on the day you attend.

How long will Orientation last?
The one-day program begins with check-in at 8:30 a.m. in the Holmes Student Center, Gallery Lounge. For most students, the program will end by late afternoon. Plan to reserve the whole day for your orientation activities.

What about placement and proficiency testing?
Make sure to review the Testing Services website (http://www.niu.edu/testing/). This site provides information to help you determine if testing is required or recommended for your selected major. Opportunities to take two placement or proficiency tests also are offered as part of the orientation program; however, we highly recommend that you complete any required testing before your orientation date. Testing questions should be directed to the Office of Testing Services at 815-753-1203, or e-mail testing@niu.edu.

Should family members attend Orientation?
A separate, concurrent orientation program is offered to family members and is designed to help them:

  • become acquainted with university academic departments and student services
  • understand what life at NIU will be like for their students
  • understand the educational goals of NIU
  • understand the importance of their continued communication and support during the college years.

The family program generally concludes around 12:30 p.m.  The university encourages at least one family member to participate in the family orientation session. The orientation programs are not designed for children preschool age or younger.

Can my new student fee be refunded?
The new student fee is nonrefundable, so it is best to be certain of your plans to attend NIU before returning your form and fee, making an online reservation and payment, or requesting a deferral (see below). If you choose not to attend NIU this term, be advised that the new student fee or requesting of deferral can be applied to a later term but cannot be refunded.

New Student Fee Deferral
A new student who demonstrates full financial need ($0 Expected Family Contribution on the FAFSA and a full financial aid package awarded by the NIU Student Financial Aid Office) may be eligible for a deferral of the new student fee until financial aid becomes available to cover this expense. The fee will be billed to the student's university account and the same terms apply to payment by deferral as any other form of payment. Once a deferral has been requested and a reservation is processed, the student is responsible for payment even if the choice is made to not attend NIU. There are no waivers of the New Student Fee. Be advised that the new student fee, paid or deferred, can be applied to a later term but cannot be refunded. Contact the Orientation Office for more information. 

Items of Importance

  • The program begins promptly at 9:00 a.m. and provides a great deal of important information in a short time. Individual instruction cannot be provided for missed portions of the day.
  • You must reserve a date and attend on the date confirmed so that your records will be available at your college advising office. If it is necessary to change your date, call 815-753-1535 as soon as possible.
  • Transfer students should review their Transfer Credit and Degree Progress Report. To access this report, log on to MyNIU at www.niu.edu/myniu . Print a copy to bring to your advising appointment. If you are now enrolled at another college or university, bring a copy of your current course schedule so you can receive proper advising. If you have transfer credit from an institution outside the state of Illinois, bring a catalog from your former school.
  • To obtain a University OneCard (NIU ID) during orientation, bring a government-issued photo Id (driver's license, state ID, passport, or military ID).
  • You should have received residence hall application information by this time. If not, contact Housing & Dining at 815-753-1525.
  • Financial aid applications should be completed and filed as soon as possible so that financial aid may be available to meet university billing deadline dates. 
  • If you intend to earn a Bachelor of General Studies (BGS) degree completely at an NIU off-campus location, consult with the BGS adviser (815-753-7961) before sending the orientation reservation or making an online payment.


 I am ready to make a reservation for Orientation.

If your questions were not answered on this website, feel free to contact this office by phone (815-753-1535) or e-mail (orientation@niu.edu).