Frequently Asked Questions

Find Your Community

How can I meet other students?

Many of our students find a home away from home in our Cultural Resource Centers— the Asian-American Center, Center for Black Studies, Disability Resource Center, Latino Resource Center, Gender & Sexuality Resource Center and Undocumented Student Services. These are places rich in history where you’ll meet new friends and broaden your cultural knowledge. Along with our cultural resource centers, our Disability Resource Center and Military and Veteran Services help foster an inclusive campus environment. NIU also has over 200 clubs and organizations for students to connect and engage with and a wide variety of fraternity and sororities. Reflecting the diversity of our campus, our fraternities and sororities not only provide leadership growth and personal development, they’re committed to serving the world around them. Our Sport Clubs, Intramural Sports and Esports are also a great way to meet fellow Huskies. And be sure to get out and cheer on our Division I Huskies at home football games!

How can I access events and activities located off campus if I don’t have a car?

If you live in the areas surrounding campus, you probably live by a Huskie Line bus stop. Visit cityofdekalb.com for more information. The 16 public transit routes that operate in and around the NIU campus and surrounding area include routes that go to the residence halls, routes that travel off campus and routes that go into the surrounding DeKalb community with access to shopping, entertainment and medical facilities. All routes are free to NIU students. Most routes operate between 7 a.m. and midnight. Bus routes can be tracked in real time via the GPS tracking application, ETA Spot. Users can download the application free of charge in the Apple and Android app stores.

What kind of mentoring opportunities does NIU offer?

NIU offers several programs for students with diverse backgrounds, as well as programs that will connect you with fellow students, while other programs will connect you with alumni or faculty members. OFP oversees two mentoring programs— Transfer2Transfer and Student-Faculty/Staff Links. Transfer2Transfer (T2T) matches incoming transfer students with another student who has successfully transferred to NIU within the past year. Student-Faculty/Staff Links provides an opportunity for students to connect one-on-one with an NIU faculty or staff member who can help them learn the ropes of university life, how to get involved on campus, find answers to academic and personal questions, locate and use university and community resources, set goals and learn how to succeed at NIU.

Does NIU offer study abroad opportunities?

Yes, at NIU, you’ll find our Study Abroad Office has over 300 program options (no matter what your major) in 80 different countries. You can study abroad for a week, a full academic year or anywhere in between. Programs are led by NIU faculty or through NIU-affiliate partners, and classes you take will be included in your NIU transcript and GPA. The best part is, it’s affordable. Want to learn more? Visit the Study Abroad Office in Williston Hall, Room 417 and check out the Study Abroad Fair in the fall (9/21/22) to help you explore the program options.

How can I help plan campus events and activities?

NIU Campus Activities Board (CAB) events are planned for students by students who love hosting concerts, parties, comedy shows, gaming events and more for students to attend. Almost all CAB events are free to NIU students. Homecoming week in October has events every day, most planned by the students of CAB. If you love planning events and getting involved, you can be a member of the CAB team too! You can find CAB on the ground floor of the Holmes Student Center, or visit the CAB website.

How can I get involved in sports and gaming on campus?

Our student-run Sport Clubs, Intramural Sports and Esports are a great way to compete, get exercise and meet fellow Huskies. Our large esports arena is a can’t miss on campus. Huskies play 7 days a week, with 24 open play computers, 9 console gaming areas, tabletop gaming areas, a VR room and designated gaming PCs for our varsity teams. The space also includes couches and chairs for students to hang out, do homework and socialize, as well as areas for tabletop games ranging from chess to Dungeons and Dragons and everything in between. And be sure to get out and cheer on our Division I Huskies at home football games and other athletic events!

Explore Resources

What kind of resources are available to help me plan a career?

Along with helping you find jobs both on campus and off, our Career Services team will assist you from your first day on campus all the way through graduation. We’ll help you write effective resumes and cover letters, train you in interview skills, assist with internships, provide one-on-one career counseling and connect you with professionals and organizations in multiple industries. As a Huskie, you’ll have access to our free online job board Huskies Get Hired throughout your NIU journey and even after graduation.

What are office hours?

Professors and instructors set aside office hours as time available for you to connect and ask questions one-on-one. Take advantage of them! Attending office hours, whether in person or online, can give you valuable time to better understand your class content and your professor’s expectations and can have a big impact on your academic success. Office hours can also be an opportunity to get to know your instructor or teaching assistant better, especially in online courses and in larger courses.

Stay on Track

How much time do I need to set aside to study?

Study outside of class for two to three hours a week for every credit hour you take. For example, if you register for 16 credit hours, you should study outside of class for at least 32 hours a week.

What if I fall behind in my classes?

It’s very important that you ask for help. Everyone struggles occasionally. Connect with our Huskie Academic Support Center. The center offers comprehensive academic services and resources, including tutoring sessions, writing assistance and academic skills development. And be sure to go to class and stay in communication with your professors. They’re people too and can help you if you’re struggling. Send them an email or meet with them during office hours. Your academic advisor is another great resource. They can help you set goals, understand academic requirements and guide you in course selection. Schedule an appointment with them every semester using the Navigate Student app.

What if I have a family emergency and need to miss class?

Reach out to the Center for Student Assistance. If you need time away, staff at the center will notify your professors. The center also offers a student emergency fund for short-term financial need and can provide resources and information or direct you to someone who can assist you. If you're facing a difficult situation or need help addressing an issue that affects your personal or academic life, contact the center at 815-753-8300 or studentassistance@niu.edu.

What is a syllabus?


Your professors and instructors in each course will give you a syllabus with the most important information about the class. Be sure to read it. You’ll find course objectives, expectations, assignments, dates of exams/quizzes, university requirements and faculty contact information. It’s a good idea to put all important dates from the course syllabus in your planner right away. This will help with planning your time later in the semester.

Do I need a planner?


Yes! The key to getting and staying organized is mapping out what needs to be done, then doing it in small steps. Use an academic planner to keep track of homework and tests, as well as work, meetings and other commitments.

Is there a calendar available with specific semester dates and deadlines?


Yes, see our academic calendar. You’ll also find dates of exams/quizzes — along with course objectives, expectations, assignments, university requirements and faculty contact information — in the syllabus given to you by your professors or instructors for each course. It’s a good idea to put all important dates from the academic calendar and the course syllabus in your planner right away. This will help with planning your time later in the semester.

What is Blackboard?

Blackboard is a course management system that allows professors or instructors to add and organize course resources for you to access online. To access Blackboard, just visit niu.edu. You’re going to need your Z-ID and password to log in. Blackboard is a great tool to help monitor your class performance. Your professors or instructors will put grades for assignments in your Blackboard. However, your official final grade for classes and GPA are always found in MyNIU.

How can I find a study buddy?

Navigate Student is a great place find a study buddy! It will help you connect with fellow Huskies, advisors and services. The app also allows you to see all your important tasks in one easy-to-view list. It also can help you locate campus resources.

Be Well

What kind of resources does NIU offer on health and wellness topics?

We know that social connection, mental health and physical health all contribute to your wellness, and we offer a variety of services and programs to keep you connected, supported and feeling well. You can learn about how to be well through Mission Wellness, and check out the many opportunities we provide for you to get involved in wellness activities on campus. You’ll find comprehensive mental health support through Counseling and Consultation Services. Health Services offers a variety of services, including leading-edge healthcare through Northwestern Medicine Student Health Center at NIU. You can also connect with a nutrition coach to fuel your body and your mind. And, as a Huskie, you also automatically have access to recreation programs and facilities throughout campus, as well as the chance to take part in Outdoor Adventures.

Are there opportunities for students to get involved in wellness activities on campus?

Yes! The Student Wellness area offers presentations for student organizations or classes, events and activities to influence your wellness, health information in many formats on campus, online training for skill development and the opportunity to connect with or become a peer health educator. Every year Student Wellness at Counseling and Consultation Services trains students to join our peer health educator group, known as the Wellness Crew. You’ll find more information on the application process here.

Where do I go if I need accommodations?

A welcoming spot for Huskies, our Disability Resource Center offers a variety of resources, from alternate testing areas with limited distractions and extended testing time to personalized guidance. If you’re in need of accommodations when it comes to housing, the class environment or other barriers that may impact your experience at NIU, the staff at the center will help you effectively collaborate with faculty and staff and introduce you to the many support services available to Huskies. Reach out to them directly at 815-753-1303 or drc@niu.edu with any questions.

Any campus resources on healthy eating?

Yes! MyDining provides nutrition and food allergy information to help you make decisions about the foods you choose to fill your plate. To help you navigate healthy choices within the dining halls, we’ve identified Healthy Huskie Choices using guidelines developed by our registered dietitian nutritionist. And MyPaw will help you fill your plate with foods from all groups to consume a balanced meal. You can also connect with a nutrition coach to fuel your body and your mind.

How can I get exercise on campus?

As a student, you automatically have free access to NIU Recreation, with facilities throughout campus. Lift weights, squeeze in some cardio or join a pickup game or fitness class at our Recreation Center, featuring multipurpose and racquetball courts, a three-lane track, a TRX room and much more. Or how about a swim in our Anderson Hall pool? Our student-run Sport Clubs are a great way to stay healthy and active as you compete against other schools. Be sure to also check out our intramural sports. With more than 40 intramural sports and activities for men’s, women’s and co-recreational leagues, we offer both competitive and recreational opportunities to be active and involved, meet new people and have fun.

Navigate Your Finances

What resources does NIU offer to help me navigate my finances?

Available at financial-advising@niu.edu or by virtual appointment, Student Financial Advising Services (SFAS) will work one-on-one with you to help you understand your finances. The SFAS team includes financial advisors that can advise all NIU students (undergraduate, graduate, law and international) and their family members on a variety of topics. SFAS also offers presentations on financial topics and can connect you to other campus support services to help you navigate your college journey, including the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office, Office of the Bursar, Center for Student Assistance, Housing and Residential Services, Student Health Services and Undocumented Student Support.

What can Student Financial Advising Services (SFAS) help me with?

Available at financial-advising@niu.edu or by virtual appointment, the SFAS team can help students with financial aid, tuition and fees and general financial literacy. Among the many services offered, the team will help you interpret financial aid offers, understand how financial aid applies to costs, identify scholarship opportunities and identify the process for accepting, tracking and repaying student loans. Other services include completing cost estimates, developing multi-year financial plans and helping you understand the billing process, financial aid disbursement, credit balance refunds, payment plans and more. Please see our SFAS FAQs for answers to other questions about the services we offer.

What is the Huskie Installment Plan?
The Huskie Installment Plan (HIP) is a payment option designed to provide budgetary assistance in meeting your semester education expenses. Through HIP, instead of making a lump-sum payment at the beginning of each semester, you can spread the payments for your semester over four monthly installments. Participation is based per semester. You’ll need to submit a completed application for each semester you wish to participate in the plan. A nonrefundable participation fee of $50 will be charged to your account and divided among the monthly installments. For more information and to sign up, go visit the HIP page on the bursar site.

Keep Informed

How can I stay informed?

It is very important that you check your NIU email daily and check in with academic advisor each semester. By checking, sending and responding to email, you can keep up with important tasks that need your attention. Along with MyNIU — where you can check grades, register for classes, see your financial aid, see your tasks/to do list and more — NIU’s suite of apps are an easy way to utilize resources at the touch of a button. You’re going to want to download the NIU Mobile App, NIU Safe App, Huskie Hub, Navigate Student and Bus Tracker (ETA Spot, available through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store).

What is the NIU Mobile App and why should I download it?

Consider the NIU Mobile App as your official everything app. You’ll find everything from campus resources, event calendars, tech guides and residence hall laundry machine status updates to emergency information, campus maps, dining info, academic resources, social media and more. Be sure to enable notifications so you don’t miss any important announcements.

What is Huskie Hub?

Huskie Hub serves as a one-stop shop for students to discover new organizations and become involved, while learning about events throughout campus. Visit Huskie Hub to find, join and manage organizations and events.

What is the NIU Safe App and why should I download it?

The NIU Safe App strives to keep everyone safe by sending NIU alerts, safety warnings and community awareness messages directly to subscribed phones. The app also provides safety features, available 24/7, like an emergency contacts button that allows you to dial the police dispatchers.

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