What ACT/SAT score do I need to be admitted?
This is the most common question we receive in the Admissions Office at this time of year. The answer is easy…there isn’t a minimum. Here at the University of Illinois we take a more holistic approach to application review. We look at a number of factors before making a final decision.
First we look to see what courses you have taken and will take by the end of your senior year. We look for students who challenge themselves with AP and Honors course if those are available and if they are not, we hope the student has taken the highest coursework that is available. We also look at courses as they relate to your major. If you are applying to Business, math courses are important; to Engineering, science and math will be reviewd; to Art, we’ll look at art courses, etc.
Next we look at your class rank. If your school provides both a weighted and unweighted rank we use whichever benefits the student. If your school does not rank students, we then will look at your GPA and high school profile to determine where in your class you would have ranked. It is important to realize we are not comparing students from different schools here. We simply look at your school and how well you did while there.
The ACT of course is used as well. We take the highest composite from one sitting (the same applies to SAT). If you are submitting an ACT score we will need at least one Writing Score on file as well.
Now is when we get to the fun part. Essays play an important role not only in getting information on what you have accomplished but also who you are as a person. We know this is the hardest part of the application, but take your time because we really read these, not only for admission purposes but also for merit based scholarships and honors programs. Last but certainly not least are the activities, community service, and work experience. This is not a case of whomever has the longest list, wins. We simply want to see what you have done while in high school. What contributions have you made, what leadership roles have you had, where was your time spent.
I know that is a lot of information in one blog so thank you for making it through to the end. To sum things up…it is a good thing that we don’t have a minimum ACT/SAT score. We want to reward students who have worked hard while in high school but may not be the best test taker. We also don’t want students who are great test takers to be able to slide by without working hard at all. By looking at the entire student we are able to make the best and most educated admission decision.
***You may have noticed that letters of recommendation are not a factor listed above. We do not use letters of recommendation as part of the application review. We haven’t seen a bad one so it will have no impact on your application.