Frequently Asked Questions

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LSAT

What is NIU College of Law's LSAT code? 1559
How can I obtain LSAT registration information? You can contact the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) by accessing their website or by calling 215-968-1001.
Does NIU Law accept the June LSAT for admission in August of the same year? Yes, NIU College of Law does accept the June LSAT prior to August entry. However, since we do not receive the scores until late July, people taking the June LSAT should have all other documentation submitted well in advance of taking the test. An almost complete application will ensure that as soon as your scores are available, they can be acted upon by the admissions committee. If possible, all financial aid forms should also be submitted well in advance of the test.
Should I take an LSAT preparatory program? The most important advice we can give you is to make sure you take several weeks or months to prepare for the LSAT. Take the test as if you could only take it once. There are prep materials with sample exams available for self-study. You must ultimately decide if you are a good "self-studier" or if you need the more structured environment of a prep program.
Does NIU Law average my LSAT scores if I take the LSAT more than once? We use the highest LSAT score. If there is a significant difference in your scores, however, the admissions committee may desire further information. If there is a significant discrepancy in your scores, we suggest that you submit an addendum explaining the difference.

Application Process

How much is the application fee? NIU Law does not charge an application fee.
What are the application requirements? See our Apply page.
What additional application requirements are there for international students? In addition to the LSAT, which everyone must take, international students must take the TOEFL unless they are from English-speaking countries. The only exception to this rule is for an international student who has obtained a bachelor's degree in the United States. NIU College of Law follows the standards set by the NIU Graduate School. For more information, please see the general regulations in the graduate catalog.
How do I attach an addendum to my application? Please add an additional page to your personal statement. Please include proper headings.
What if I forgot something when I submitted my application? Incomplete applications will not be sent to the admissions committee. If you are missing your personal statement or your resume, you may mail/email them to our office. If you are missing transcripts or letters of recommendation, you must submit them through the LSAC Credential Assembly Service (CAS).
My contact information has changed. What should I do? Please email law-admit@niu.edu, and we will update your file.

Timeline

How long does it take for a decision to be made once my file goes to the admissions committee? One important thing to remember is that your file will not go to the admissions committee until it is complete. It is your responsibility to make sure your application is complete. Once complete, your file is first reviewed by the admissions committee. The review process can take anywhere from four to six weeks.
Are applications accepted after the April 1st deadline? Yes, we do accept applications after the April 1st priority deadline. We encourage you to submit your applications as early as possible so that we can start advising you about financial aid and other concerns. The downsides to submitting a late application are that classes may already be filled and that many of the scholarship opportunities will no longer be available.
My file has been in review for over six weeks. Whom should I contact for help? First, check your online status to see if your file has been completed. If not, please check to make sure that all of your materials have been submitted properly. If your application is complete, please contact the NIU Law Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.
How will I be notified of my final decision from the admissions committee? All decisions will be automatically updated via the online status checker. Additionally, you will be mailed a copy of your decision letter.
How long does it take to obtain in-state resident status? Beginning fall 2018, there will no longer be out-of-state tuition rates for U.S. students. This group of law students will be assessed tuition at an equivalent in-state rate.

Weighing Your Options

What does being put on the waitlist mean?Placement on the waitlist is an indication that you have the potential to be a law student at NIU College of Law. The admissions committee takes individuals off of the waitlist periodically, up until one week before classes start. Individuals on the waitlist are not ranked. When the decision is made to select someone from the waitlist, all files are reviewed.
I have been put on the waitlist: should I submit additional materials? Yes. You may submit updated transcripts, notices of promotions, updated resumes, additional letters of recommendation, new LSAT scores or any other relevant documents. Please submit everything but LSAT scores directly to the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. LSAT scores will be automatically updated via the LSAC Credential Assembly Service (CAS).
If I am admitted, can my admission be deferred? All requests are reviewed on an individual basis, and there is no guarantee that a deferment will be offered. To be considered for a deferment, you must submit a letter of request to the director of Admissions and Financial Aid before the start of orientation, indicating why you wish to defer admission. If the deferral is granted, a full deposit is required to hold a seat in the next year's class.

Academic Programs

How does attending on a part-time schedule work?

NIU College of Law does not offer an official part-time program. However, a small number of students will be allowed to attend NIU College of Law on a part-time schedule. If you would like to do so, you must meet with the associate dean for student affairs to determine your schedule. Please note that NIU College of Law does not offer evening classes.

Whether attending on a part-time or a full-time schedule, all students must complete the same required courses. If you are on a part-time schedule you must enroll in at least nine credit hours each semester, except in your final semester at the College of Law. You may switch from a part-time to a full-time schedule, and vice versa, during your educational career. Each semester, students on a part-time schedule work directly with the associate dean for student services to determine their schedules and credit hours.

All students, whether seeking a part-time or full-time schedule, must fulfill the same admissions requirements.

Does NIU College of Law offer evening classes? NIU College of Law's classes are offered only during the day.
Does NIU College of Law offer classes at any of NIU’s satellite campuses? No, NIU College of Law only offers classes at the DeKalb campus.
How is the first year of classes set up? The first-year class is divided into two sections of approximately 50-55 students, and each of these sections is divided into three or more legal writing sections and even smaller legal research sections. First-year students are assigned randomly to sections, and they are on campus with these sections Monday-Friday. You can view a current course schedule.
How do I register for classes? You are automatically enrolled in your first-year courses. Your booklist and course schedule are available a few weeks prior to orientation. You will be given detailed instructions when it is time for you to register for upper-level classes.
What types of experiential learning opportunities are available to students? NIU College of Law offers students a number of externships and clinical courses. Externships allow you to gain practical experience under the supervision of a practicing attorney or judge and with the guidance of a faculty member. In a clinical program, you will work with and be taught by staff attorneys at various clinics.
Does NIU College of Law offer an LL.M program? No. NIU College of Law does not offer an LL.M program.

Student Life

What type of programming occurs during orientation? Is it mandatory? Orientation is mandatory for first-year students, and it occurs the week prior to the start of fall classes. It introduces the academic and organizational skills that a first-year law student must master to successfully complete law school.
Are there apartments close to campus? NIU is surrounded by various apartment complexes. Prices and types of accommodations vary widely. We encourage anyone considering these options to ask the complex managements if they have quiet or graduate student complexes, so that you are not interrupted by the activities of undergraduates who might not be as dedicated to their studies. For more information, please contact Military and Post-Traditional Student Services.
Where can I park on campus? If you plan to park on campus, you are required to purchase a parking sticker. More information about on-campus parking can be found at on the Parking Services website.
Is there on-campus transportation available for students? As a student at NIU College of Law, you can ride for free on the Huskie Line bus line. It travels all over campus and the city of DeKalb, including the surrounding shopping facilities.
Does NIU College of Law offer free internet and email service to its students? Yes. Prior to orientation, you will receive your personal NIU email address from the Office of Admission and Financial Aid. There is wireless access throughout Swen Parson Hall.
Do NIU College of Law students have access to other NIU facilities such as the Holmes Student Center and the Student Recreation Center? Yes. NIU College of Law students have the same privileges and access as NIU undergraduate students.
What types of student organizations can I join while at NIU College of Law? For more information, see Student Organizations.

Financial Aid

When can I begin to apply for financial aid?You may fill out the FAFSA at any time. You may apply for financial aid once you receive your NIU Z-ID.
How do I apply for financial aid?
  1. Please visit the costs and funding page on our website for more information about financing your education.
  2. Complete and submit the Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA). You will need your federal income tax return and W-2 forms to complete the FAFSA. You must have a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID). For instructions on how to create an FSA ID, go to the FSA site. Be certain to select NIU (School Code 001737) as a recipient of your FAFSA.
  3. The U.S. Department of Education will send you your Student Aid Report (SAR). Review your SAR and, if necessary, make changes or corrections to your FAFSA.
  4. After you complete and submit the FAFSA, submit any other application or information requested by the SFAO. Your financial aid offer will then be posted to your myNIU account within a week, beginning in April.
  5. If you are accepted to NIU Law, you will be sent directions that explain how to log onto myNIU.
  6. Log on to myNIU and view your financial aid awards.
  7. Decide how much to take out of each award type. Awards are broken down into three categories: scholarships, federal direct loans, and graduate PLUS loans.
    • Scholarships: Because we place a strong emphasis on providing a quality legal education at an affordable price, we have a relatively small number of scholarships to award. Furthermore, if you have been awarded a scholarship, it will not appear in your myNIU account until later in the summer.
    • Federal Direct Loans: You may borrow up to $20,500 per year in federal direct loans. You are responsible for paying the interest that can accrue on the loan from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. As soon as your loan is disbursed, interest begins to accrue. After you graduate, these loans have a six-month grace period before repayment begins. A federal direct loan has forbearance and deferment options, may be consolidated, may be paid back under several different repayment plans and may be eligible for forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
    • Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loans: If you do not have adverse credit, you may secure the additional amount of aid for which you are eligible by applying for graduate PLUS loans. A graduate PLUS loan is federally guaranteed, interest accrues while you are in school and repayment begins following graduation. A graduate PLUS loan has forbearance and deferment options, may be consolidated, may be paid back under several different repayment plans and may be eligible for forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program
    The cost of attendance is re-calculated each academic year. This cost of attendance is the maximum amount of financial aid of any type you are allowed for a year, but it is by no means necessary that you take out the full amount. Also, you should carefully consider the cost of living and how much you will need. If you have received a scholarship, remember that this amount will be deducted from your total loan eligibility.
  8. If you choose to apply for a graduate PLUS loan, you can apply online (select "Graduate/Professional Students").
  9. Accept or decline your awards. Your federal direct loan eligibility amount will be viewable after you complete the FAFSA. Your graduate PLUS loan eligibility amount will be viewable two weeks after you complete and submit the application.
  10. If you have accepted your unsubsidized federal direct loan eligibility, you must complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN). You can access the MPN online (select"Graduate/Professional Students"). Additionally, you must complete an MPN for graduate PLUS loans.
  11. You must complete online entrance counseling for graduate PLUS loans online (select "Graduate/Professional Students").
  12. Your awards will be applied to your account. You will receive any excess aid in the form of a reimbursement during the first several weeks of classes. You will receive a refund check in the mail unless you have set up direct deposit.
What is NIU's FAFSA School Code?001737
When can I start working on my FAFSA?The FAFSA is available each January. Complete the form online as soon as possible.
How do I make changes to my financial aid award?Contact the student Financial Aid office at 815-753-1395 or finaid@niu.edu.
What are the tuition and fees for NIU Law?Tuition and fees increase on a yearly basis. To help you determine the cost of attending NIU Law, use the NIU Planning and Cost Estimator. NIU Law also provides an  estimate of tuition and fees. Please note that the student loan borrowing eligibility may be impacted by any scholarship awards received.
How much can I borrow for law school?Qualified borrowers may borrow up to the cost of attendance as set by Northern Illinois University. The cost of attendance varies between universities and, for public law schools, it varies depending on whether you pay in-state or out-of-state tuition. NIU does not have an out-of-state tuition rate.
Which federal loans are available for me to borrow?Please see Financial Aid and Scholarships above.
Are there any loans after law school to help with the costs associated with the state bar exam?

Loan assistance from private lenders is available to you for purposes of assisting with bar exam expenses, bar application fees and associated living expenses. Bar loans are made payable directly to you and, because they are not a component of your financial aid package from NIU Law, you may choose to borrow from $500 to $15,000. These loans are commercial loans and are based upon your credit worthiness and, as such, the interest rate/fees will vary from lender to lender based upon your credit criteria. NIU does not recommend any particular lender.

More information about private student loans and a private loan comparison chart can be found on the FinAid site.

As always, the NIU Law Office of Admissions and Financial Aid strongly encourages you to minimize borrowing. To this end, we encourage you to carefully think through the impact of borrowing additional money, because cumulative borrowing can significantly impact your post-graduation lifestyle for the ten or more years you will be in repayment.

Contact Us

Admissions
Swen Parson Hall 151
815-753-8595
law-admit@niu.edu
Dean's Office
Swen Parson Hall 270
815-753-1068