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Scholarship Resources and Tips

Incoming students may be awarded scholarships based on their application for admission to NIU.  When applying for scholarships, start by making a complete list of your awards and accomplishments as well as activities, jobs, and volunteer work. Once you have this information organized it will be easier for you to determine the scholarships for which you may be eligible.

Visit the NIU ScholarshipFinder System! You will also want to consider scholarships outside of NIU. Check with the following:

  • Your high school guidance counselor or college advisor
  • Employers (both yours and your parents')
  • Local organizations or affiliations (Kiwanis, 4-H, Lions Club)
  • Places of personal volunteerism (local hospitals, clubs, etc.)
  • Unions
  • Your church
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Local library - there are numerous reference books on scholarships and foundations.
  • The Internet
  • Newspapers - watch for firms or organizations offering scholarships as well as listings of local students who have won.
  • Yellow Pages - find out if any professional/social organizations have chapters in your area.

Once you have determined the scholarships for which you are eligible, you will need to request scholarship applications. There is not a single form for all NIU scholarships; therefore students must request individual applications from the offering department or office. The NIU ScholarshipFinder System provides contact information for each and every scholarship. Applicants can call or visit in person to obtain application materials.

Important Tips

  • Prioritize the scholarships by deadlines. Concentrate on the ones that are due first. Scholarship deadlines tend to fall between December and March prior to the academic year for which you are applying. February 1st is a common scholarship deadline at NIU.
  • Treat each scholarship individually. Although you may be able to reuse essays, references, or recommendations, double check to make sure that they "match" the application requirements. Do not make something "fit" just to save time.
  • Ask references well in advance if they will help you, especially if they need to write a letter of recommendation. Be sure to have a brief conversation with your references so that they understand the extent of your search.
  • Fill out the applications completely. Make sure that your information is correct.
  • Be honest in your responses!
  • Do not pad your application with extra material. While this may make you stand out, it may not be in a positive manner. Most committees do not have time to review materials that they have not specifically requested.
  • Spend time on the essays. Make certain that you are addressing the question(s) being asked. Also, consider utilizing the NIU Writing Center.
  • Send or drop off your application in advance of the deadline. Verify that your materials were received before the deadline.