Free Application Campaign provides great opportunity to students

Two science students smiling at camera

Pictured: Senior Olivia Rud, left, is a biology major who applied to NSU during Free Application Week.

ABERDEEN, S.D. – For Northern State University freshman Lily Tobin, applying to college during Free Application Week was a great opportunity.

“Just economically, it makes sense,” said Tobin, a freshman graphic design major from Aberdeen. “If you can apply for free, why wouldn’t you?”

Now, students will have even longer to take advantage of this great opportunity. This year, the South Dakota Board of Regents announced an extension of its Free College Application Campaign from one week to six weeks. Application fees at all South Dakota colleges and universities are waived now through Nov. 30.

The campaign launched in conjunction with the Dakota Dream coalition, a Regents initiative aimed at encouraging South Dakotans to pursue post-secondary education.

“Pursuing higher education can help make many dreams come true, while supporting the vitality of communities across South Dakota,” said Brian L. Maher, the regents’ executive director and CEO, in a BOR news release. “As workforce demand for jobs requiring at least a bachelor’s degree increase, ‘Our Dakota Dream’ will help demonstrate that college for South Dakotans is accessible and affordable – and that college can make dreams a reality.”

Affordability was a major factor in the process of choosing a school for NSU senior Olivia Rud.

“Northern offers private school opportunities at a public school price, which other schools couldn’t compete with,” Rud said.

Rud said she also chose Northern because of everything it has to offer.

“The facilities for the science department are incredible and have provided me with so many opportunities in classes and for research. The professors are outstanding and are very willing to sacrifice their own time to help you succeed,” she said. “Northern is the perfect size and Aberdeen is a great community to go to college in because of the local support. I also was fortunate enough to be offered a scholarship to play volleyball for the Wolves.”

Rud, a biology major who plans to attend Physician’s Assistant school, also applied to NSU during Free Application Week.

“The reason I chose to apply during Free Application Week was to save money on applications,” she said. “It also gave me a deadline to apply for school, which helped motivate me to get my applications completed. I used Free Application Week as a personal deadline, which helped make sure I was on the right track for my future.” 

Tobin said originally, students could only apply to three colleges during Free Application Week. Last year, though, that changed, and she ended up applying to five because she wasn’t sure what her plans were. “And if it was free, why wouldn’t I?”

Northern, though, was in her original three choices, and ended up ultimately being her choice.

“It’s close to home, which makes things more economical,” Tobin said.

Even though she’s living on campus, it still helps with other expenses, such as gas mileage. Tobin also chose Northern because it gave her the most money in scholarships, and it had the degree she wanted.

“And they have a good fine arts program, which was appealing,” she said.

Tobin’s favorite part about NSU is working as sports photographer for the Exponent. She’s also really enjoying the art faculty and studio spaces.

Rud’s favorite part about Northern is all of the different areas of campus she’s able to be involved in.

“The opportunities that NSU has to offer encouraged me to participate in many things I never would have seen in my future as a high school student,” she said. “Northern has enabled me to be a part of a strong Honors Program, have an on-campus job in the Marketing Department, and be involved in four different clubs on campus.”

For more information about the Free College Application Campaign, click here or visit Our Dakota Dreams.

Apply Now

The Free College Application Campaign lasts through Nov. 30, 2021. To apply to Northern State University, click here.

About Northern State University

Northern State University is a student-centered institution that provides an outstanding educational experience, preparing students through the liberal arts and professional education for their future endeavors. A regional university, Northern offers rigorous academics; diverse civic, social and cultural opportunities; and a commitment to building an inclusive environment for all points of view. Northern also offers a broad-based athletics program, sponsoring 15 NCAA Division II intercollegiate varsity sports that compete in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NSIC). The university strives to enrich the community through partnerships such as its Educational Impact Campaign, which opened a new South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired; new athletic and recreation fields; and an on-campus regional sports complex. With the $55 million campaign, NSU has been the recipient of more than $150 million in privately funded building projects and scholarships within a decade. To learn more, visit NSU Admissions