The outside opinion everyone I knew had of NIU was that it was sort of bottom of the barrel. Just one step up from community college. I remember seeing a look of dread on friends faces when they realized it was the only school they had gotten into. I realize now that it was a bit overly dramatic. For being located a bit out in farm country, NIU is surprisingly urban. There is a healthy black student population and it honestly blew my mind going there because I wasn't expecting it and because I'm a white guy from the suburbs and it was just something new to get used to. There's a healthy greek life here and I can see signs of it all around campus but I don't live on campus or north of it where "Greek Row" is. It's not an unspoken requirement to be involved in greek life here and I've really never noticed any especially negative affects of being independent. There's definitely a broad spectrum of students I've seen around campus and it just depends on what classes you are in and where on campus you spend time. Nerds and geeks are in the engineering and natural sciences buildings, intellectuals in psych and liberals arts buildings, artists and musicians, business school types, etc. You'll see more of whichever kind of person that particular field attracts based on the classes you're in. But they're all here.
Chicago people, blacks, whites, Hispanics, frat boys, sorority girls, geeks, blondes, and drunks. I think that these stereotypes are sort of accurate. I think that NIU does have these stereotypes, but personally, I feel that stereotypes are over-rated and that you should be who you are no matter what, and if you are able to find a group of people to identify with that will make your college experience great and everything you wanted, why not be grouped together with them.
Students here are thought to be many things. Like any other campus in the United States, you have greek, geek, partier, broke, pretty much everything. This is all accurate and then some.
There is a stereotype that Northern Illinois is the "Dirty D" and you have to watch your back on campus. This is false. There are incidences that the media covers but what they don't emphasize on is that they are incidences with people that know each other, and 9 times out of ten they are not even students of NIU. Im a white 21 year old female and I see DeKalb as my home. I am comfortable here and don't ever feel unsafe on campus.
the stereotype about my school is that Northern lack diversity and unity among different ethnic background. i can say that they is false to a certain extent, you really have to just keep taking to everyone and you can be friends with anyone.