Application Tips From a Veteran

Man oh man has it been a stressful couple of weeks! We are in the middle of midterm season here at the University of Illinois, but I’m writing to you to talk a little bit about the application process!

So right about this time last year, I was applying to this amazing school just like all of you, and there are a few things that contributed to my success that I would love to share with you.

First off, I can’t stress enough how important it is to be yourself. If you are a unique person with special talents, do not be afraid to show those talents off! In the essay portion of application, you can, and should, do something a little different if you feel comfortable doing so! Perhaps begin your essay with a story that relates to the assigned topic, or have an abstract idea, such as an allegory, present throughout your essay.

As far as the academic/extra-curricular information goes, do not hold back. If you have done something impressive throughout your high school career, then find a way to put that information in the application! Your accomplishments reflect greatly on the person that you are, and make sure to document any and ALL of your leadership experiences. Those will be a huge part of what the admissions office will be looking for.


If all the admissions office cared about was your academics, then the application would be much shorter! The statistics on a college board with the average test scores and GPA for admission into a specific college are not the only determining factors. I would like to think that my experiences, along with my brain capacity, are what allowed me to become a student at this outstanding university.

So as you finish your applications and await the decision date on February 5, just take a while to sit back, relax, and enjoy your senior year! Everyone says it, but it will be over before you know it—it’s true. Enjoy those homecomings, proms and football games, and do not get too upset about leaving, because you have so many more opportunities to make memories wherever life may take you.

PLEASE feel free to ask me any questions. I would love to talk to some prospective students!


Please note that comments close after 90 days.

Muhammad Khalid

October 15, 2015, 8:45 pm

Hey Alec!

Thanks for your take on the App process- you have some awesome points. I wanted to ask: how did you take advantage of the opportunities offered at U of I and how have they affected you? As a senior, my career choice is as of now Psychology, and I was curious about how current students, no matter their major, grow from their experiences at U of I. How have those activities shaped you? Anything you can provide, introspection or advice, will be much appreciated!



Lyu Kun

October 16, 2015, 2:36 am

Hi, I come from China and have just finished this essay, it is helpful. I really love the University of Illinois and I should do something for my dream school right now.Thank you for sharing your experience.



November 6, 2015, 10:54 am

Hi Muhammad!

Thank you for reading my blog and commenting! There are honestly so many ways for you to make the best of your college experience here at the University of Illinois! At the beginning of the year we have what is called Quad Day where all the clubs and organizations set up booths on our main quad in order for everyone to sign up. I took advantage of this opportunity and signed up for many clubs, but in the end I am highly involved in a select few. Psychology is an awesome major here at the University of Illinois! We have a beautiful Psych building right off the quad! I am (as of now since I’m changing majors) as Political Science major and I have gotten involved in the student government here. There are opportunities, even for freshmen, to hold an executive position on this board as well. I am not entirely sure about the opportunities for Psychology majors specifically, but I always find it helpful to involve myself with activities that do not relate to my major as well. There are so many amazing opportunities here that I honestly think you will appreciate and will make you love it just as much as I do! If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask! Thank you!




November 6, 2015, 10:54 am

Hi Lyu!

I’m glad I could help! Thanks for reading!