CHANCE Admissions Procedures


Applying to Northern Illinois University

New freshmen (high school seniors or students who have not attended college since graduating from high school) may start the application process. 

Here's what we require:
  • Online application
  • Application fee (or fee waiver)
  • Official high school transcript
  • Official ACT/SAT scores (you won't need to submit your SAT/ACT score if you are applying for fall 2021)
  • Recommendation Letter (not required but encouraged)
  • Personal Statement

All applicants should complete their financial aid paperwork as soon as possible.

Official Transcript

We require you to submit your official secondary/high school transcript(s) before the application deadline. This should be sent by your school online or can be mailed.

Application Fee

Applications must be submitted with the application fee in order to be considered. Submitting the application and the online fee or fee waiver begins the admission process and should be done as soon as possible to avoid delays. More information can be found at Undergraduate Admissions.

Freshmen Applicants

Applicants may be admitted three ways:

Preferred Profile of Admitted Student

Students who meet the following requirements will be considered for automatic admission:

  • Have completed or in progress required high school coursework.
  • Earned a 3.0 or higher high school cumulative grade point average.
  • Achieved a minimum ACT composite test score of 17; SAT composite of 910 or high percentage rank of 70 percentile or higher in their graduating class on or before the application deadline. Starting in fall 2021, we won't consider ACT/SAT test scores.
  • Have submitted all required documents by the application deadline.

Review of Applicants

If an applicant does not meet the preferred profile of an admitted student, further consideration will be determined by the CHANCE staff once all required application documents have been submitted

Factors considered:

  • Must have a minimum high school grade point average of a 2.0 cumulative grade point average on a 4.0 grade point scale.
  • Must have a minimum ACT composite score of 13 or SAT composite of 740 and pass the CHANCE math test. The math test is distributed only to students invited by the CHANCE staff to attend an on-campus admissions interview. Starting in fall 2021, we won't consider ACT/SAT test scores.
  • Academic achievements, class rank and SAT and/or ACT scores as well as completion of required coursework will be considered. Starting in fall 2021, we won't consider ACT/SAT test scores.
  • All students must submit a personal statement/essay which may include information about their interest in attending college, personal experiences, involvement in extracurricular activities, community service, leadership, employment and summer activities as well as any talents, awards and honors
  • Students admitted through the holistic review process are expected to be successful academically at NIU as well as demonstrates qualities and personal insights that will enrich the NIU student body.

Alternative Admission Decisions

Transfer Applicants

Each year the CHANCE Program receives over 4,700 applications for its freshman class, which means there are more applicants than can be admitted.

If NIU is unable to offer an applicant full admission they may pursue the following option:

Transferring to NIU through CHANCE in the spring semester

Applicants must have a minimum of 13 and no more than 23 transferable college credit hours from an accredited institution.

Notification of Decision

Admission decisions are made throughout the application period. Students may check MyNIU for admission decision updates.

Tracking Your Application Status

After submitting your application you will receive an email with your identification number and with instructions on how to access information about your admission to NIU. To ensure all documents have been received:

  • Allow two-three weeks to process each document submitted.
  • Notify us of any discrepancies regarding your admission’s application materials immediately via MyNIU.
  • Your admission decision will be posted on MyNIU.

Frequently Asked Questions

All admissions decision students are based on students’ high school grades, ACT scores, personal statement, math admissions test scores and recommendations (optional). 

Starting in fall 2021, we won't consider ACT/SAT test scores.

No. due to the increasing number of students who qualify for admission to NIU, we must closely monitor our class size to determine how many students from holistic review may be admitted and when. The goal is for the majority of students applying for the fall semester to receive a decision by May.

Yes, we will only consider documents that were received by the admission deadline. This includes updated transcripts reflecting a new class rank.

No, students will remain "in review" until an admission decision is made. The goal is for all students applying for the fall semester to receive a decision by the end of May.  If have not heard from us, please contact our office at 815-753-0201 regarding your admission.

Attention all applicants: If you think your application may not have been received, please contact the CHANCE Program at 815-753-0201 or 800-892-3050 for assistance. Please do not send in a duplicate application before talking to our office.

Please note electronic applications may be processed more quickly than paper applications.

Contact Us

McKinley "Deacon" Davis CHANCE Program
Campus Life Building 240
815-753-1929 (fax)
800-892-3050 #3 (toll free)