Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the benefits of having hands-on learning experiences documented on my transcript?

Whether you intend to find a job, apply to graduate school or pursue other endeavors, you will likely be competing with other candidates with qualifications similar to yours. Transcript notations can help you stand out. They highlight your participation in hands-on learning experiences that have been verified by the university as being extensive, immersive and meaningful. Employers and graduate schools view these experiences as indicators of a quality candidate.

In short, when you’re competing with other candidates with similar degrees and grades, your hands-on learning experiences can distinguish you from the rest, especially when they appear on your official transcript.

How will a prospective employer know I have earned transcript notations?

While many employers do not review transcripts until a hiring decision has been made, you should call attention to your hands-on learning experiences and transcript notations in your cover letter, resume and interview. More than 90 percent of regional employers we surveyed said that doing so will make a difference in your ability to compete.

How do I know if my hands-on learning experience will qualify for a transcript notation?

You can check to see if your program appears in our list of preapproved programs. If it doesn’t, review the specific criteria for the notation you feel best matches your experience to determine if it will qualify. You can ask your mentor or supervisor to assist you with this.

What does the application process for transcript notations entail?

Applications are accepted online through the EngagePLUS application system. There are two main steps in the process:

  • Submit a proposal before you start or during your hands-on learning experience.
  • Submit a summary once you have completed the experience.

Each form will take about five minutes to complete. After you submit a form, the mentor or supervisor you identified will receive an email with a link to the form. They will review what you submitted and approve or deny it. You’ll receive an email when your proposal or summary has been approved or denied.

When are the proposal and summary due?

You can submit your proposal any time before or during your learning experience. You must submit your summary within four weeks of the end of the academic term in which your experience ended. For example, if your experience ended in March, the deadline for you to submit your summary would be four weeks after the end of the spring semester.

Please note: If you are graduating, you must submit a summary two weeks prior to the end of the academic term. Once you graduate, your official transcript is closed and transcript notations cannot be awarded.

What awards are associated with EngagePLUS?

There are two awards available to students who earn EngagePLUS transcript notations. Students who earn notations in two EngagePLUS categories will receive the EngageSILVER Scholar award. Those who earn notations in four categories will receive the EngageGOLD Scholar award. The EngageGOLD Scholar award will appear in the awards section of your official transcript.

What are the EngagePLUS requirements for honors students?

Students pursuing associate honors must achieve EngageSILVER Scholar status (notations in two categories), while those pursuing full honors must achieve EngageGOLD Scholar status (notations in four categories).

Please note: These requirements apply only to those students whose catalog year is 2018-2019 or later.

Does the professional development notation count toward EngagePLUS awards or honors requirements?

No, only the six categories of EngagePLUS notations count toward EngagePLUS awards and honors requirements.

Can EngagePLUS and professional development experiences satisfy requirements for the Business Passport program?

It is possible to use EngagePLUS or professional development experiences to satisfy Business Passport experiences. If you’re interested in pursuing this, answer "yes" to the question in the proposal about Business Passport. The director of the Business Passport program will be informed of your intentions and will evaluate your experience.

What can I do if my application for a transcript notation is denied?

If your proposal is denied, you should discuss why it was denied with your mentor or supervisor. You can work with your mentor or supervisor to adjust your experience to align to EngagePLUS requirements and submit a new proposal.

If your summary is denied and you would like to appeal the decision to the EngagePLUS advisory board, please complete and submit the EngagePLUS petition form.

Is the application process for the human diversity requirement the same as for transcript notations?

The application process is nearly the same for the human diversity requirement as it is for transcript notations, but there are two important differences:

  • The proposal for a human diversity experience must be submitted before the start of the semester in which your experience begins.
  • Rather than submitting a brief summary, the second step in the human diversity application process is to submit a 500-word minimum reflection in response to a prompt that appears in the online form.

If your human diversity requirement application is denied and you would like to appeal the decision, please email equity@niu.edu to inquire about the appeal process.

Learn more about the human diversity requirement.