First-year Orientation FAQs

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Why is orientation required for new students?

All new students must participate in orientation prior to enrolling in classes at Northern Illinois University. The program is designed to be your first step toward student success at NIU.

In addition to offering an overview of the Huskie experience, orientation introduces the many academic resources and support services available to you. Through your virtual orientation experience, you will meet virtually with you academic advisor, register your first-semester classes, learn about campus tools and resources and connect with other new students.

How will orientation change due to COVID-19?

Through this summer, NIU is offering orientation remotely for all new students via virtual presentations, meetings and chats. We encourage you to monitor your NIU email inbox for all you’ll need to know about completing this require program remotely.

How can I register for orientation?

To register for orientation, you will need to log into your MyNIU account using your Z-ID and password. From there, you will select the Undergraduate Orientation tile. You will then be instructed to select a date and and complete the registration form.

You will also access NIU’s required Pre-Orientation Program (POP) in your Undergraduate Orientation Tile. You will find the link to POP in the upper left corner of the screen. We recommend completing the POP at least two weeks before your orientation date.

Will NIU still charge a fee for orientation?

Yes, the $155 fee is still required. However, you have the option to defer your orientation fee payment until your first semester bill is due. However, the charge will appear on your student account within 24 hours of registration—this fee can be paid at any time before your first bill is due.

How will remote orientation sessions work?

Please plan to complete the self-guided Pre-Orientation Program (POP) module at least two weeks before orientation. An academic advisor from your college will contact you within the seven days leading up to your registered orientation advising date to provide you with your appointment time.

Live orientation video sessions and chats will be taking place throughout the summer and will help you to learn more information about financial aid and scholarships, housing and dining, academic and engagement opportunities, and special programs like University Honors and CHANCE. After you register for an orientation advising date, you’ll be sent a unique link to access your online sessions.

You will also have an opportunity to meet with student Orientation Leaders via virtual chats during your Huskie to Huskie meeting. You will receive an invitation in your student email to join the Huskie to Huskie meeting within the three days leading up to your advising date. Meetings will take place through Microsoft Teams and will give you the opportunity to engage with other new students and get you connected within the Huskie Community.

What do I need to do about placement tests now that orientation is online?

Math Placement

All students will be given an initial math placement level based on their ACT/SAT math scores and high school GPA. If you did not submit a high school GPA, you should register for the Accuplacer Math Exam (click on the “Test Registration” button at the bottom of the page to register for this exam).

Your placement results will be emailed from testing@niu.edu to your NIU email address.

If you wish to challenge your math placement result, you may also register for the Accuplacer Math Exam (click on the “Test Registration” button at the bottom of the page to register for this exam).

Please note, to take the Accuplacer Math Exam, you will need a computer with a webcam and microphone.

English Placement

If an English Placement Exam is required you will receive an e-mail to your NIU e-mail address from testing@niu.edu with instructions on how to register for this exam. Please note: not all students are required to take this exam.

Writing Composition Competency

If you do not receive an English Placement Exam e-mail and you would like to take a placement exam for English, you may consider registering for the optional Writing Composition Exam I. Please visit the Testing Services website to determine if you wish to take this exam. Note: you are not required to take this exam.

Literacy Placement

If literacy placement is required, you will receive an email to your NIU email address from testing@niu.edu, with your literacy placement results. Your placement results will be based on your ACT/SAT scores and high school GPA.

If you wish to challenge your placement results you may register for the Literacy Placement Exam (click on the “Test Registration” button at the bottom of the page to register for this exam). Please note: not all students will receive a literacy placement.

Foreign Language Placement

You can visit the Testing Services website to determine if a Foreign Language placement is needed. If so, you may register for the exam (click on the “Test Registration” button at the bottom of the page to register for this exam).

Chemistry Placement

You can visit the Testing Services website to determine if a Chemistry placement is needed for your major. Once the exam is available, you may register for the Chemistry Placement exam (click on the “Test Registration” button at the bottom of the page to register for this exam).

Additional Questions

If you have additional questions about placement, contact Testing Services at testing@niu.edu.

When will I have an opportunity to meet with my advisor?

Once you’ve picked an orientation advising date and registered for your session, monitor your NIU email account for a message from an academic advisor in your college confirming your virtual advising appointment time. You can expect an email with information about your virtual advising appointment within the seven days leading up to your registered date.

How long will the advising appointment take?

Your advisor will schedule an appointment to help you plan for your first semester and prepare to register for classes. Some advising areas also will schedule a college meeting. Most advising appointments range between 30 minutes and one hour.

How can I change my major?

Please fill out our online form to request a change in your major.

We will contact you once you fill out the form if you need to change your orientation date.

What if I need an accommodation?

When registering for your orientation date via MyNIU, fill out the Accommodations section to let us know what you will need. It is also highly recommended that you also contact us at least two weeks prior to your orientation program at orientation@niu.edu to confirm arrangements.

How is the confirmation fee used?

The confirmation fee secures your spot at NIU, covers the costs of your virtual orientation experience and a portion of your Week of Welcome activities taking place this fall.

I have been accepted to the CHANCE Program; do I register for a specific orientation session?

No, but students in the CHANCE Program can expect to hear from their assigned counselor over the summer. The CHANCE Program will host remote information sessions throughout the summer. Your CHANCE counselor will also reach out to you on your orientation advising date — keep an eye out for a meeting invite in your student email.

During the Week of Welcome before the start of the fall semester, students in the CHANCE Program will be invited to attend the CHANCE Leadership Conference.

Contact Us

Orientation and First Year Programs
Altgeld Hall 100
DeKalb, IL 60115
815-753-0028
orientation@niu.edu

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