The Creative Path to College Success

There is a place for you and your love for the arts at NIU, no matter your major or ultimate career goal.

The Creative Path can help you start down the road to success, and help you stay on that road throughout your four years.


  1. Two-day intensive workshop prior to the start of fall semester classes
  2. Choose one:
    ART 100 - Drawing -or-
    THEA 110 - Acting for Non-majors -or-
    THEA-D 210 - Contemporary Dance
    These are all part of the NIU PLUS program and fulfill degree requirements.
  3. You and your team will also be co-enrolled in:
    UNIV 101 - University Experience -and-
    ENG 103 - Rhetoric and Composition
  4. In second semester of your first year you will take:
    VPA 201 - Creating Art for Others

You and your team will devise and pitch a project that engages a community, design and implement the project and assess the outcomes.

For example, your team may want to promote the NIU Food Pantry to increase donations.  Your team will design the visuals or presentation, deliver or perform, and survey audiences and stakeholders about the effectiveness of your team’s work.


  1. Enrolled within a team of 20 in two studio courses in your first year that a) introduce the tools of art, b) apply those tools to making art, with a focus on collaboration and community engagement.
  2. Immersed in group learning—doing and making—to develop your skills and, more importantly, your artistic vision.
  3. Engaged in more learning opportunities in reading, writing, communication and math to launch you into your college career.
  4. Offered the option to continue the Creative Path throughout your time at NIU.

Post-first year, we will seek to continue engagement via the following programming:

Sophomore year
Peer mentoring and TA for VPA 101 (not required)

Junior year
Evaluation of final projects in VPA 201

Senior capstone experiential learning internship
Community engaged creative process

You know that you love to move, or act, or sing, or paint, or shape or mold, and make.

Now, there is a way you can take your young talent and use it to launch your college career.

NIU is the place for you!

We have a program designed to say "yes" to your passion for the arts!

We put teams of artists together to explore creativity and put it to service to others.