Preparing for Orientation and Enrollment

1. Review your Orientation and Enrollment Guide

Read the Orientation and Enrollment Guide carefully. You'll learn a lot about what happens at orientation and how to prepare. 

2. Register for Orientation and Pay your Confirmation Fee

Once you select your orientation date in MyNIU, you'll be asked to pay the confirmation fee, which reserves your spot at NIU and pays for orientation. Remember, this fee is nonrefundable, so be certain of your plans to attend NIU before you pay this fee.

3. Your Major

It’s very important that we have your correct major at orientation. If you've changed your major since you've applied to NIU, please make sure you fill out a change your major form. After you submit your form, you'll receive confirmation of this change within 48 hours. Please note: when you change your major, you may have to change your orientation date. If this happens, staff will contact you to reschedule.

4. Register Family Members for Family Orientation

If you’re bringing family members to orientation, make sure they are registered to attend. You can register family members and guests for orientation through your MyNIU account. Once you’re signed in, go to the Student Center and click on “Orientation Sign-Up” at the bottom of the page.

Already registered for orientation? Scroll down to “Family Options” to sign up family members and guests.

Still need to register for orientation? You can register for your orientation and sign up your family at the same time. Fill out “Family Options” to register family members and guests.

For more information see Family Orientation.

5. Take Your Placement Tests

Placement/proficiency testing must be complete prior to attending orientation. If you arrive for orientation but have not completed testing, you will be required to reschedule your orientation date. Review the Testing Services website to help you determine if testing is required or recommended for your selected major as well as testing dates.Testing questions should be directed to Testing Services by phone at 815-753-1203 or by email at

6. Prepare for Academic Advising and Registration

Depending on your major, advising during your orientation day will vary. Your advisor is an important resource at NIU. Advisors help you meet your academic and career goals. They will help you map out your courses and plan for the future. Your advisor is excited to meet you at orientation!

Prepare for Advising at Orientation

  • Review the General Education Degree requirements.
  • View your major course descriptions and requirements in the Undergraduate Catalog.
  • Explore your major college’s advising website. This will help you to be familiar with advising expectations by your college.
  • Make a list of potential courses you are interested in taking and that you want to discuss with your advisor.
  • Take a look at your college’s four-year degree path. The goal is to promote student success by guiding you to completion of your degree within a reasonable amount of time.

Course Registration at Orientation

After you've completed the orientation program and met with your advisor, you can register for classes. The orientation program will have computer labs for you to use and staff will be available to help you.

7. Submit your photo for your OneCard (student ID)

Avoid long lines at orientation by submitting your photo for your OneCard prior to coming to your orientation program. Submission form and photo guidelines.

8. Travel and Parking

Orientation participants should park in Lot W (Grant Drive East). Check your NIU email for your orientation parking pass and print it. Didn't get your pass? Just email us at We’ll send you another one.

After you park, it’s a short walk to the start of the orientation program. Arrive early enough to avoid the last minute rush and to make sure you have time to check in and to put your overnight items in your room.

Make sure you arrive at orientation on time (between 9:10-10:40 a.m.). If you arrive after 10:40 a.m., please call us at 815-753-1535 to reschedule. All information shared at orientation is critical for your success at NIU. You cannot miss any portion of the program.

View campus map and directions

Do you live near Crane High School (2245 Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL) and need transportation to orientation? NIU is offering free transportation to select orientation dates for new students and their families. Get more information about our free shuttle service

9.  Program

Check in for orientation between 9:10-10:40 a.m. at Grant North. If you arrive after 10:40 a.m., you will be asked to reschedule.

For a sample schedule overview, check out the student and family links below. When you check in, you’ll receive the final printed schedule.

Please note that separate activities for siblings or young children are not provided. You are strongly encouraged to not bring younger children to orientation.

10. Staying Overnight at NIU

Staying overnight at NIU is for first-year students only and is a required component of the program. You are required to stay in your assigned room overnight. Students stay in a traditional double occupancy room in Grant North Residence Hall. Bathrooms are community style. Roommate assignments will be random and with another student of the same gender.* No other guests are allowed in rooms or on floors.

*Aligned with NIU’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, Orientation will support students being housed in the residence halls based on the gender they identify. If the gender listed on your NIU application does not match your gender identity, please let us know by emailing or calling 815-753-1535 so that we can help your stay in Grant North be a comfortable part of your NIU orientation experience.

Remember — you won't be staying with your family during the overnight program — pack separately!

Each room will have a linen packet for each student. This includes two flat sheets, two towels, one pillow case, one wash cloth, one pillow and blanket. Please note that items missing from the room or linen packets will result in fines. See Polices and Fees for additional information.

11. What to Bring

You should bring the following:

  • Orientation confirmation email
  • Photo identification (required)
  • Laptop, tablet, or mobile device (strongly recommended). You'll need to get online at certain points throughout the orientation program and at night when you complete your college homework.  
    • Please note - it is your personal responsibility to ensure the safety of your laptop, tablet and mobile device at orientation. NIU Orientation & Family Connections does not assume responsibility for loss or stolen property.
  • A watch or electronic device to keep time
  • Variable clothing for hot weather and air-conditioned rooms. Some buildings and lecture halls will have room temperatures that cannot be adjusted or controlled
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Part of the program is at the Student Recreation Center so bring clothing you can play in! This includes athletic shoes.
  • A water bottle to stay hydrated. There are hydration stations in the Holmes Student Center, Neptune, Grant North, and the Student Recreation Center.
  • Snacks (if desired, as meal times are staggered)
  • An alarm clock
  • Other basic toiletries (i.e. shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.)
  • Robe and/or shower shoes (bathrooms are community style)
  • Extra pillow and blanket (if desired)
  • Non-perishable food item for the Orientation Service Project