Feb 25, 2021  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
    
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog

2021-2022 Test-Blind Admission Policy


Test-Blind Admissions

Starting with the fall 2021 freshman class, NIU will no longer consider ACT or SAT scores for general admission or merit scholarships. We will look at your high school GPA instead. Research shows that GPA is a better indicator of success in college. You may need to provide your ACT or SAT score for certain other scholarships. You will also need to provide your ACT or SAT score if you’re applying to the nursing program, a limited admission program. Read more about admission to the nursing program.

This is how the policy will change NIU’s admission page for the 2021-2022 academic year:

Application Procedure

Application Materials   

(See the current Admission  page for the policies in place for the 2020-2021 academic year.)

Correspondence about undergraduate admission to the university should be addressed to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, Northern Illinois University, 1425 W. Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, Illinois 60115-2857. All applicants may be requested to submit the following materials:

A formal application for admission.
An official high school transcript indicating courses completed.
An official transcript from each college attended.
Application fee.

Any homeschooled students, students who attend high schools that do not provide grades, and those with a GED passing score will be asked to submit additional qualitative information such as a personal statement(s) and/or an admissions interview which look for characteristics that can include special talents, significant activities and accomplishments, leadership potential, personal commitment and goal orientation.  

Application Deadlines

The completed application and all supporting documents must be on file in the Office of Admissions by the dates listed below. However, early application is strongly recommended.

Spring - December 1, 2020

Summer - May 15, 2021

Fall - August 1, 2021

Space limitations and/or budget constraints may necessitate earlier deadlines.

The size of the freshman class will be determined by the level of university resources available to maintain the quality of academic programs. The schedule on which applications will be reviewed provides for competitive admissions on a space-available basis.

Individual colleges and departments may also have earlier application deadlines. Please refer to the section titled “Limited Admissions and Limited Retention Requirements” for specific dates.

If any published application deadline date falls on a Saturday or a Sunday, complete applications and all supporting documents will be accepted on the immediately following Monday.

ACT/SAT Scores Not Required

ACT and SAT scores are not required for admission to Northern Illinois University. For those applicants, regardless of GPA, who are applying to programs with limited admissions requirements (which may include an SAT or ACT), they must still meet those requirements for admissions consideration. See Limited Admissions and Limited Retention  . The ACT code for NIU is 1102 and the SAT code for NIU is 1559.

Admission Criteria

Freshmen

An applicant for freshman admission must be a graduate of a secondary school at the time of enrollment or have attained high school equivalency through the General Educational Development (GED) test. Applicants must submit:

A formal application for admission.

An official high school transcript indicating GPA and courses completed or an official GED score report.

Application fee.

Any homeschooled students, students who attend high schools that do not provide grades, and those with a GED passing score will be asked to submit additional qualitative information such as a personal statement(s) and/or an admissions interview which look for characteristics that can include special talents, significant activities and accomplishments, leadership potential, personal commitment and goal orientation.  

Individuals applying for admission will be evaluated and notified of their admission decision according to the “Criteria for Admission” and “Schedule for Application Review.”

Please note that the actual size of the new freshman class will be determined by the level of university resources available to maintain the quality of academic programs. The schedule on which applications will be reviewed provides for competitive admissions on a space-available basis.

Criteria for Admission

Individuals will be considered for admission if they meet one of the following sets of criteria. Weighted and unweighted GPA will be considered.

Applicants who have graduated or will graduate from a secondary school prior to enrollment at NIU will be assessed for admissions utilizing the following criteria:

Applicants who have a GPA of at least 3.00 on a 4.00 scale are eligible for automatic admittance to NIU.

Applicants who have a GPA between 2.50 and 2.99 on a 4.00 scale will have their application go before the Office of Undergraduate Admission for a decision based on a holistic review. Applicants who are not initially admitted by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions can make an appeal for an additional holistic review by the University Review Committee. The University Review Committee is composed of key stakeholders from across the university, including one member from each college at NIU.

Applicants who have a GPA between 2.00 and 2.49 on a 4.00 scale will have their application go before the University Review Committee for a decision based on a holistic review.

For those applicants, regardless of GPA, who are applying to programs that require a portfolio review, audition, or other limited admissions requirements (which may include an SAT or ACT), must still meet those requirements for admissions consideration. See Limited Admissions and Limited Retention  .

To support NIU’s mission, the Holistic Admission Review is flexible, highly individualized, and evaluates academic and contextual factors such as:

  • Academic course rigor pursued compared to available courses.
  • Academic performance and grade trends in core courses.
  • 7th semester High School academic performance.

For select applicants, additional qualitative information can be requested and considered such as a personal statement and/or an admissions interview which look for characteristics that can include special talents, significant activities and accomplishments, leadership potential, personal commitment and goal orientation.

All applicants must have successfully completed the following high school courses (one unit equals one year).

English. Four units (three of which must be courses emphasizing written and oral communication and literature).

Mathematics. Three to four units of college preparatory mathematics, including one year of geometry and one year of advanced algebra and/or trigonometry. For students intending to major in mathematics, science, business, or engineering, four years of college preparatory mathematics are strongly recommended. Further, all students, regardless of intended major, are strongly encouraged to take a mathematics course or a course with a mathematics prerequisite during the year before they enroll in a mathematics course at NIU.

Science. Two to three units (two of which must be courses in the physical or biological sciences). One unit must be a laboratory science course.

Social Studies. Two to three units (one of which must be U.S. history or a combination of U.S. history and government).

Foreign Language, Art, Music, or Vocational Education. One to two units (one of which must be course work in foreign language, art, or music).

Additional Course Work. Up to three units of the required fifteen may be distributed throughout any of the five categories of course work listed above. Vocational education may satisfy up to three of the units.

Students who complete the required fifteen units in college preparatory courses, including two years of a foreign language, advanced mathematics, composition, literature, and at least one unit in chemistry or physics, will be more likely to (a) qualify for advanced placement or proficiency credit, and (b) complete their programs of study within the amount of time anticipated for a given baccalaureate degree from NIU.

Applicants who have attempted transferable college-level credit at the time of application, and are entering the University in the academic year following their graduation from secondary school or its equivalent are evaluated using freshman admission requirements.

Applicants who are not high school graduates must have attained high school equivalency through the General Educational Development (GED) test. In addition to a GED passing score, applicants will be required to submit qualitative information such as a personal statement(s), and/or an admissions interview which look for characteristics that can include special talents, significant activities and accomplishments, leadership potential, personal commitment and goal orientation. Applicants with a GED passing score will have their application go before the University Review Committee for a decision based on holistic review.

Freshman Petition Review

Applicants with a GPA less than 2.00 on a 4.00 scale do not meet the GPA requirements for admission. However, upon admission denial, they can make an appeal for a holistic review by the University Review Committee.

To request such a review, prospective freshmen must have a letter of petition on file in the Office of Admissions by the dates listed below. The letter should describe circumstances relevant to the petition, including information about academic potential that is not reflected through high school performance.

Term         Petition by
Spring       November 15
Summer   May 1
Fall           July 15 

International Students

International undergraduate students are asked to submit the following materials for admission to NIU:  Official school records from all schools attended (with official English translation), all official test scores (including TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic), admissions application, and an application fee. Note: the ACT or SAT is not required for international freshmen applicants. F-1 and J-1 students must also submit proof of financial ability in order to receive their immigration documents.

McKinley “Deacon” Davis CHANCE Program

The McKinley “Deacon” Davis CHANCE Program provides academic, social, financial and organizational guidance through personalized coaching and a unique campus-wide support system to ensure long-term student success. NIU will conduct a holistic review of each student application to determine eligibility for the CHANCE program and if the student would benefit from its services. Identified students are anticipated to participate in the CHANCE program.