First-Year Orientation FAQs

When can I meet with an advisor?

You will have a scheduled appointment with your academic advisor on the second day of First-Year Orientation if you have attended all of the programming on the first day.

I can't attend both days of orientation. Can I just attend one day?

No. In order to register for fall semester classes, you must attend both days of orientation.

What if I need special accommodations?

When registering for your orientation program via MyNIU, fill out the section titled, Accommodations, to let us know how what you’ll need.  NIU and your orientation program will have numerous support services for students who have a temporary or permanent health impairment, physical limitations, psychiatric disorders or learning disabilities.

If you will need assistance during orientation or need to request an accessible room for your overnight stay, please call us at 815-753-1535 or at at least two weeks prior to your orientation program.

How long is the orientation program? Where is new student orientation check-in?

Orientation is two days with a mandatory overnight experience. You’ll arrive for check-in between 9:10-10:40 a.m on day one in Grant North Residence Hall. The program will conclude on day two by mid-afternoon.

How long and during what time is the family orientation program? Where is the family orientation program check-in?

Family orientation runs concurrently with new student orientation. Students and families will have opportunities to attend sessions together and separately. Family orientation is a one-day program, with optional sessions on day two. Your family will check in for Family Orientation at Grant North between 9:10-10:40 a.m. Families can expect to conclude their day one sessions around 7:40 p.m. Day two sessions will conclude by noon.

Families can expect to conclude their day one sessions around 7:40 p.m. Day two sessions will conclude by noon.

I live really close to NIU, do I really have to spend the night for the orientation program?

Yes, all new students are required to stay in Grant North Residence Hall for the duration of the orientation program. Orientation is designed to help you transition and start your path towards student success. Staying for the entire program is part of your transition to NIU.

I'm commuting to NIU. I don't want to spend the night for the orientation program.

All new students, even those commuting to NIU this fall, are required to stay in Grant North Residence Hall for the duration of the orientation program.

I've been accepted into the Honors Program, do I register for a specific orientation session?

No, but students in the Honors Program must make plans to attend their mandatory meeting at 9:40 a.m. during the first day of orientation.

Can a student and a family member room together on campus during orientation?

No, students will be staying in Grant Hall. Family members have the option to spend the night on campus in New Hall or at a local hotel.

I'm a non-traditional first-year student. Do I need to spend the night for the orientation program?

Depends. Contact us at or 815-753-1535. We'll discuss options for your orientation program.

Can I pick my roommate for the overnight stay?

No, students will be paired randomly by gender. 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 by calling us at 815-753-1535 so that we can help your stay in Grant North be a comfortable part of your NIU orientation experience.

Do I need to bring sheets and towels?

No, linens are included in your orientation fee. You may want to bring your own pillow or blanket. View a complete list of what to bring.

How is the confirmation fee used?

The confirmation fee secures your spot at NIU and covers the costs of your orientation program. This includes all meals, parking, and the student's stay in the residence hall. The fee also covers facility rental, technology use, printing, transportation, and staff salaries.

Is the confirmation fee refundable?

The confirmation fee is nonrefundable, so it is best to be certain of your student's plans to attend NIU before making a payment.

Can my family come to advising and registration?

During the orientation program, families will get to meet with their student's major college.  Families can ask questions and gather contact information on day one of the program. On day two, only students will attend advising/registration.

Do I have to take placement tests?

Yes, students must take needed placement tests prior to orientation. New students can contact Testing Services to learn what placement tests they need and to schedule their test date 815-753-1203 or visit their website.

Students must not come to orientation without completion of the required placement tests for their major.

I’ve been accepted to the CHANCE program; do I register for a specific orientation session?

No, but students in the CHANCE program will have mandatory meetings during the first and second day of orientation.

I already have college credit, but I'm not a transfer student. Do I have to attend the overnight orientation program?

Yes, all new students participate in the overnight orientation program.

I've made my orientation date already but need to reschedule.

Contact Orientation & Family Connections at or 815-753-1535 to reschedule.

I've made my reservation, but I haven't gotten my confirmation. What do I do?

First, double check your NIU email or email you gave on your application to NIU. Make sure to check your spam and junk folders, too. If it's not there, email us at and we'll resend your confirmation.

I need to change my major.

Please fill out the online form to request a major change. 

We’ll contact you once you fill out the form if you need to change your orientation date. Some majors don't advise every orientation day or your new major might be full on your orientation date.

My family and I are traveling from a pretty far distance. Can we spend an extra night in the orientation residence hall?

If you need an additional night before or after orientation, please contact Orientation & Family Connections at to make arrangements. Every extra night will cost $44 per person to spend the night in New Hall West or $66 plus tax to stay at the Holmes Student Center Hotel.

I’m a student athlete (playing an intercollegiate sport at NIU). Do I register for a specific orientation session?

Please contact your coach to discuss your orientation date options.

What is Express Orientation?

Express Orientation is an abbreviated program providing you with the most essential information/resources on campus, an appointment with an advisor and registration for the upcoming semester. You’ll also get to visit Financial Aid and get your student ID (OneCard). If Express Orientation is an option for you, you’ll see it when you register in MyNIU.

Contact Us

Orientation and Family Connections
Holmes Student Center 605
DeKalb, IL 60115