I’m currently in my fourth year (out of 5 heaven help me,) at NIU and in my time here, I’ve really come to appreciate this university. I’d been on quite a few college visits at different universities, so when I first came to NIU, I thought it was just another university in a small town with nothing to do. But over time, I’ve come to love this university and I hope that you’ll feel the same way too! With that being said, I’d like to share with you a few reasons why Northern Illinois University is a great university that I’m sure you’ll love.
1. The diversity.
When I first came to Northern Illinois University there was an event called Diversity Day and a lot of students came to find organizations they’d be interested in. There’s also a variety of cultural resource centers on campus, such as the Center for Black Studies, the Latino Resource Center, the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Resource Center, and the Disabilities Resource Center just to name a few. Trust me, there’s more!
2. Freshmen will be prepared to start.
…Even if they don’t feel like they are. There are so many activities for freshman to participate in, from freshman orientation to Welcome Week to the UNIV course, there are plenty of ways for students to transition to life on a college campus quite smoothly.
3. The food.
I’m not going to lie, dorm room food can get tiring after a while. But I’d be lying if I said that Northern Illinois University’s food isn’t pretty satisfying. One thing I have to talk about is the funnel cake fries. Have you ever been to an amusement park and decided to treat yourself to a delicious funnel cake? Now imagine that glorious delicacy turned into the shape of a French fry. Now imagine a bunch of those things… Amazing, right? It may not be the healthiest food option, but that’s definitely something I’ll always remember NIU by.
4. The wide range of degree program opportunities.
In my own personal experience, I didn’t know Northern Illinois University had a theater program, let alone a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting program, which is amazing (yes, I’m incredibly bias). There’s also an LGBT Studies minor option, which is relatively new and not all universities offer this.
5. Plenty of off campus housing.
I currently live in an apartment off campus where a lot of other college students live. The dorms can be expensive, but there’s a housing option known as U Plaza, which offers a studio apartment feel with the safety and security of a dorm. Picture a customized dorm with much more freedom. Also, most apartments are very close to campus.
6. The Campus Safety.
Northern Illinois University offers a late night bus route service specifically for its students. It’s a safe way for college students to return safely to their dorms after a long night of… whatever. It’s an incredibly beneficial service to take advantage of.
7. The beautiful campus.
No matter what time of the year it is (though I’m not a huge fan of being outside in the winter), the campus is absolutely gorgeous and you can’t help but to stop and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
8. Always having something to do.
There is always some event put on by some organization on campus throughout the entire semester, whether you’re going to a sporting event, seeing a theater production (*cough cough), or anything else.
9. The many ways to get involved.
There are countless clubs and organizations on campus, including Greek sororities and fraternities to rush. Still not convinced? We’ve got a Quidditch team, I kid you not.
10. Huskie Bucks can be used virtually anywhere.
In a nutshell, Huskie Bucks work like an NIU debit card. It’s money on your school account that’s used primarily for laundry, but can also be used at certain restaurants and vendors, such as Chipotle, Subway, and other places.
11. Various counseling services.
I cannot stress this enough; your mental health is JUST AS important as your physical health. If you find yourself in need of help, please don’t be afraid to reach out to someone. Counseling services are paid for with tuition at NIU, so take advantage of this if you need it.
12. Tutoring options that are available.
This is something that I didn’t take advantage of when I was a freshman and I really wish I would have. There are tutors for various subjects and just like basically everything else I’ve mentioned, it’s free too. Don’t let yourself fall behind in your classes if you’re having a hard time in class. Use these resources and get the help that you need.
13. The ResTech Services.
You know the Geek Squad at Best Buy? ResTech is essentially an on campus version of that. If you’re having computer problems, you can take your computer to ResTech and they’ll fix whatever issue you’re having FOR FREE.
14. The Career Services help.
This is an amazing service that helps college students with upgrading or creating awesome resumes for potential employers. They also work to prepare students for internship fairs, job interviews, etc.
15. Fitness & Dietary services and classes.
There are tons of ways to have fun and burn a few calories at NIU’s recreation center. Take a couple of friends and sign up for a fitness class, which is always more fun with more people. If you’re thinking about switching up your eating habits as well, there are dieticians available for consultations as well. There are even options for personal trainers.
16. Essentials for students in need.
Let’s be real here: college is expensive. And a lot of students want to pursue their education, but it comes at a very high cost. NIU realizes this and provides services for students who need a little extra help here and there. NIU has a student food pantry available for those who need it. And if getting accepted to college is an issues, there’s the NIU Chance Program, designed for students to get acceptance into the school if they may not meet the standard admission requirements for NIU.
17. Generally, everything is really close.
I definitely prefer to be in a larger city, but the great thing about Dekalb is that everything is relatively close. And everything you would need as a college student is pretty close to campus. Driving, you can get to anywhere in less than 20 minutes, which is great on days where you’re running late.
18. It is close to Chicago.
On the other hand, the big city isn’t far away at all. If you’re like me and craving having a lot to do in a big city, Chicago isn’t too far away. This is great for the students here, many of which are from Chicago and the surrounding areas. If you don’t have your own method of transportation to get the city, don’t worry. There’s a shuttle on campus that takes students to the train station in Elburn, which is about 30 minutes away for a very small fee.
19. Coffee is EVERYWHERE.
There’s a small Starbucks in one of the residence halls (Gilbert Hall, specifically, but this dorm is for upperclassman), multiple coffee shops in the Holmes Student Center, one in the basement of the Founders Memorial Library, and there’s an actual Starbucks across the street from Dunkin’ Donuts. There is also coffee served in the dining halls as well as in a few of our academic buildings as well. When I was a freshman, I had no idea how important this would be to me later on in my college career. I didn’t start drinking coffee until college and now it’s a daily essential.
20. A lot of free NIU swag.
This is often for freshmen because there are so many events at the beginning of the first semester of college geared towards freshmen. These events are put on by organizations that give away tons of stuff. Normally, this free stuff includes the usual college merchandise: lanyards, water bottles, T-Shirts, (you also get a free NIU hoodie for signing up with TCF Bank). However, a couple years ago, Samsung and Windows came to NIU to promote their new devices and software and were giving out TONS of awesome merch to students just for trying out these products. Of course, joining organizations and becoming involved is another way to get free NIU swag. Not that that should be the only reason for joining an organization, but who doesn’t like free stuff?
Choosing Northern Illinois University was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’ve definitely benefited from all of the things I’ve listed above and I hope you will you will too!