If your considering Northern, please read this, itll be worth you time:
I've been at NIU for 4 years, I've seen this school go from a potential Big 10-type school to seeing it hit rock bottom.
-First and foremost, NIU is not a traditional university, it's a "Communiversity," or backpack school. Everyone is from Chicago or the Chicago suburbs, so everyone goes home starting Thursday and we'll come back Monday morning.
-Getting admitted to NIU is not hard, they accept almost anyone these days.
You'll catch alot of ghetto black people, dumb frat-type white people, etc.
I didn't stereotype people or say racist comments until I came to this school. But all those things are true. Grant Hall (the worse dorm, like a project) is nicknamed "Cabrini Grant," when the weather gets nice, all youll see if monte carlo's, oldsmobile aurora's banging the latest Soulja Boy in front, like were still on the South Side of Chicago at a Side Show or something.
-Academics in Business, Nursing, Physical Therapy, and a few others are top notch. If your just here for purely academics and no social life. Then go here for those majors. Just work the system if you have to, alot of teachers are available for office hours and we'll take about any excuse if your late on homework/exams.
-The social life is weak here, the NIU police and Dekalb police proactively try to stop any type of party going on in Dekalb. The fine for a keggar during the first week of school is about $1,000-$2,000. The fine for underage drinking is $200. The Dekalb police are out and about the first weekend of school and hand out hundreds of fines to students. The NIU police will search dormitories, use shady practices to find 18 yr. old students drinking/smoking in their rooms.
-You have your average white fraternities/sororities here. The sororities won't take any girl if their not "pretty" or "hot." This is coming from alot of fraternity members I've talked to. The fraternities are you typical guido-fist-pumping-electro-house-frat-boy-hollister-abercrombie kids. No style, culture, smarts etc. Greek row is known for fights, murders, roofies etc. Almost all fraternities on campus are on suspension/explusion from the University for hazing, etc.
Overall, there are better schools out there, look elsewhere if you can. University of Illinois is a top-notch school to go to, try your hardest to go to a Big-10 school if you can, you won't regret it. You actually get the "college experience" at those schools.