First-year Orientation FAQ

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 orientation experience, you will meet with your academic advisor, register for your first-semester classes, learn about campus tools and resources and connect with other new students.

How has orientation changed due to COVID-19?Updated

NIU is offering a select number of virtual orientation programs. When selecting an orientation date, you will have the option to select an on-campus or virtual orientation date. Our on-campus programs will strictly follow safety guidelines NIU established guidelines to Protect the Pack.

We promise to keep you informed and engaged as we welcome you into our Huskie pack. The health and safety of our community come first, as it has before COVID-19. We'll continue to take purposeful and proactive measures to protect our pack.

Do I need to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to attend orientation?New

Students who wish to attend orientation on-campus will have to submit proof of vaccination or have an approved exemption. If you have not met these criteria, you will be required to complete orientation virtually. However, all students must submit proof of vaccination or have an approved exemption to remain enrolled at NIU.

During all on-campus orientation programs, all students, guests and staff are required to wear face masks while indoors and practice social distancing, when possible.

How can I register for orientation?Updated

Once you’ve confirmed your intent to enroll and paid your enrollment fee, you’ll be able to sent an email with a link to select your orientation date. Your orientation registration email will be sent to your NIU student email within 48 hours of your enrollment fee payment. After you’ve paid your enrollment fee, there are no additional student fees to sign up for orientation.

What is an enrollment fee?New

The Enrollment Fee secures your spot at NIU, provides access to enroll in first semester courses, and covers the costs of the orientation experience and week of welcome (WOW) programming. The first-year enrollment fee is $155.

This fee is automatically posted to your student account when you confirm your intent to enroll in MyNIU. You’ll be able to make a payment in the Financial Accounts tile immediately, making a payment through the NIU Bursar payment portal. Once paid, the enrollment fee is non-refundable.

What can families do to help students prepare for orientation?Updated

We understand you might have family members who want to know more about your transition to NIU. That's why they'll have the opportunity to complete an online family orientation. families can access the Family Resource and Support Guide. This online module is available in English and Spanish.

If you plan to bring guests with you to in-person orientation, additional on-site fees may be applicable (summer orientation only). Please note that you'll attend the academic advising portion of orientation on your own.

How will virtual orientation sessions work?
  • Spring-start: If you sign up for a virtual experience, your orientation day will include virtual information sessions that will support you in getting acclimated with important campus departments and key information for your first semester at NIU and academic advising. Your formal orientation programming will run from 9-10:30 a.m. Advising appoints will occur between 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. 
  • Summer/fall-start: Details about summer programming are coming soon.

In addition to your orientation day, you’re required to complete a Pre-Orientation Program (POP) and Post-Orientation Program (POP 2.0). Don’t forget to complete POP three days before your scheduled orientation day—we recommend starting it at least two weeks before.

After you’ve registered for orientation, you’ll begin receiving emails with information about how to make the most of your virtual orientation programming. An academic advisor from your college will contact you through your NIU student email within three days leading up to your registered orientation advising date to provide you with your advising appointment time.

How will on-campus orientation sessions work?New
  • Spring-start: If you sign up for an on-campus experience, your orientation day will include information sessions that will support you in getting acclimated with important campus departments and key information for your first semester at NIU, a department resource fair and academic advising. You should plan to be on-campus from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Summer/fall-start: Details about summer programming are coming soon.

After you’ve registered for orientation, you’ll begin receiving emails with information about how to prepare for your orientation date. You will receive your advising appointment time during orientation check-in.

In addition to your orientation day, you’re required to complete a Pre-Orientation Program (POP) and Post-Orientation Program (POP 2.0). Don’t forget to complete POP three days before your scheduled orientation day—we recommend starting it at least two weeks before.

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

You’ll meet with your academic advisor on your registered orientation date. If you are attending orientation on-campus, you’ll receive your advising appointment time when you check in. If you’re attending a virtual orientation, 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?

Advising is a scheduled part of your orientation experience. You can expect to meet with your academic advisor for approximately 30 minutes. You’ll receive your advising appointment time during orientation check-in when attending an on-campus program. If you are attending a virtual orientation, you’ll receive a meeting invitation from your academic advisor within three days of your registered date.

Will there be a virtual Family Orientation?

We understand you might have family members who want to know more about your transition to NIU but are unable to attend on-campus orientation with you. That's why they'll have the opportunity to complete an online family orientation. families can access the Family Resource and Support Guide. This online module is available in English and Spanish.

If you plan to bring guests with you to in-person orientation, additional on-site fees may be applicable (summer orientation only). Please note that you'll attend the academic advising portion of orientation on your own.

What is POP?New

Our Pre-Orientation Program (POP) is a self-guided module introducing many of the topics you’ll explore during your online orientation. You can access this required component of orientation by clicking on the Undergraduate Orientation tile in MyNIU. Make sure to complete POP at least three days before your scheduled orientation day!

How can I change my major?Updated

Please fill out our online form to request a change in your major. Major changes may impact orientation advising.

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

What if I need an accommodation?Updated

When selecting for your orientation date please fill out the “Accommodations” box on the orientation registration form. Make sure to include a comment about the accommodation you will be requesting to let us know what you will need.

We recommend contacting us at least two weeks prior to your orientation program at 815-753-1535 or at orientation@niu.edu to confirm that your request for accommodations has been received.

Contact Us

Orientation and First Year Programs
Holmes Student Center 250
DeKalb, IL 60115
815-753-1535
orientation@niu.edu

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