Strange time of year

It’s a strange time of year. On one hand, we have been working hard to make sure that everything is ready for our next group of recruits. On the other hand, however, we are doing things to make the transition as smooth as possible for those students who are joining the ILLINI family this fall. With that in mind, we have two things that I thought I should mention.

First, our essays have been posted online. If you wanted to get a jump on essays, now is your chance. We tend to rephrase essay questions annually, based on the types of responses we get the previous year. If we didn’t get the kinds of things we were looking for, we adjust the questions in hopes of getting information most beneficial to us. The application period won’t be open until September 1st, but at least you can start working on the part of the application that is likely the most time intensive.

The other thing I will mention is something that I am working with in regards to our incoming class – senior year grades and transcripts. It’s rare to find someone who goes from earning A’s to earning F’s, however we do run into students who start earning C’s and D’s who have never earned those before. Don’t fool yourself. It is a concern. We do ask for explanation. We do rescind admissions offers. We don’t like to do it. We fight with ourselves every year when we do it. But, we do it nonetheless. What’s the moral of the story? Take your senior year seriously. Keep getting great grades. Keep working hard. When you get on campus you will thank me. It’s like working out. Keep yourself in top shape and you can take a day off to do something else you might enjoy. Stop working out and when you start again you will work twice as hard to get back where you were. Trust me.

I’ll talk a little bit more about essays in my next post. It’s my favorite part of an application. Regardless of your grades, they can make or break your application.


Please note that comments close after 90 days.


August 31, 2007, 6:50 am

I just have a quick question: How much emphasis do you place on the difficulty of the schools when evaluating grades? I had to move between my freshman and sophomore years and my current school is a great deal more demanding than my previous one. As such, it appears that there is a “slip” in my grades when in actuality I have been working harder than ever. Thank you for taking the time to write these blogs. I find them really helpful.

P.S. I love the working out analogy!



August 31, 2007, 3:23 pm

We do a holistic review. That means we look at many factors when making decisions. Do we take into account that you moved to a more rigorous high school? You bet! I am always curious of the reasons students change schools. Be sure to tell us.

P.S. I’m glad the analogy worked. It really was appropriate.

P.P.S. If there’s something you would like to hear about, feel free to comment here or send me an email. I do want these to demystify our process.



September 18, 2007, 12:06 pm

While my grades and test scores are significantly higher than your typical UIUC student, I was denied or currently wait listed admission to some of the nations’ top schools (Notre Dame, Duke, Michigan, Northwestern etc…). My question is, if I do not get into the schools of my choice, would it hurt my admission chances to UIUC if I disclosed that I have no intentions of ever graduating with a U of I degree but instead enrolling for a year to bring my grades up to the level where I can be admitted to the school of my choice?



September 24, 2007, 10:31 am

The simple answer to your question, A.P., is that it shouldn’t hurt your chances for admission if you declare you have no intention of graduating from ILLINOIS. The key word in that sentence is shouldn’t. I don’t see an upside with stating your intention. While it may not hurt your chances, it won’t help you gain admission. It is a relatively short application. I think you should use the available space to augment your chances of admission!

Did you know there are thousands of colleges and universities in the United States? There’s a reason ILLINOIS is considered one of the top 40 universities, and one of the top 8 public universities, in the country. You never know. Spend a month on campus taking classes from the faculty member who is working on the cure for cancer. Spend a month joining a few of thousand student organizations. Spend a month in class interacting with incredibly bright students from all over the country and the world. After one month on campus you may realize that ILLINOIS is actually the place that you belong!


Christie Price

October 11, 2007, 11:04 am

My son who is a high school Sr. would love to go to UIUC but doesn’t quite have the grades or ACT score. I have heard of students living on campus in private housing and attending Parkland college for 1 year and then transferring in. How successful is that?



October 12, 2007, 10:30 am

Christie – At this time, most of our programs require the completion of 60 hours of transferable credit. You should become familiar with the requirements, which vary by college and major. You can find out more information here:

ILLINOIS does enjoy sharing Urbana-Champaign with Parkland, however we don’t give special consideration to Parkland students. We accept transfer students from a many different four year and two year colleges. Our biggest concern is that the potential student meets the requirements listed in the link above. Your son should feel free to contact the Office of Admissions to talk about the requirements regardless of which community college he chooses.



October 17, 2007, 9:03 pm

If you have not taken two-three years of a foreign language but have done all of the other requirements is it possible to be admitted into UIUC and just take the foreign language durring your first year or do you have to take it before you are admitted?



October 18, 2007, 10:02 pm

Maria — You should use the part of the application that asks for additional information to explain why you haven’t completed the foriegn language requirement. We can, and do occassionally, waive the foreign language admission requirement. You will, of course, complete our foreign language graduation requirement if admitted.



October 28, 2007, 8:06 pm

I am currently just over half way through my first semester at a liberal arts university and I’ve realized that I don’t wish to pursure what I originally began to study. I’ve checked the admissions requirements for transfer students and it says that students with less than sixty credit hours may be restricted. I am not entirely sure what this means. I plan on applying for admission with 30 hours of transferable credit. Does this mean that I have less of a chance of being acceptied at UIUC?



October 29, 2007, 10:38 am

Mike – The statement essentially means that we give preference to students who have 60 hours of transferable credit. If there’s space we will certainly look at students with less than 60 hours. Certain colleges habitually look at transfer students with less than 60 hours. You can find out what we are doing each transfer application period by checking our Open and Closed list:



November 7, 2007, 11:16 am

I have applied to transfer and my application status says under decision that it is under committe review, which means it is being held for final review, but I was just curious as to how likely I am to get in under these circumstances. If you have any idea that’d be great! Thanks



November 13, 2007, 12:28 pm

Lindsay – Most applicants go through that period. It’s fairly normal, so I wouldn’t read into that status. It doesn’t mean bad and it doesn’t mean good. It simply means it’s working it’s way through our process. In other words, your odds of admissions have not changed.



November 25, 2007, 9:46 pm

What is the average GPA(from the student’s junior year out of a scale of 4) of accepted undergraduate applicants?



December 3, 2007, 7:42 am

I applied for the early action process and sent my documents for application early last month,it should take about 1 week to be delivered, but it seems that the university haven’t received them yet. I’m quite worried about it. What could be done in this case?



December 5, 2007, 9:58 am

P.R.P. — GPA’s vary so much from school to school that the number doesn’t tell you much. In general our admitted class was in the top 5% to 15% of their graduating class. If you want a break down by college you should look at this webpage: P.R.P. — GPA’s vary so much from school to school that the number doesn’t tell you much. In general, much of our admitted class is normally in the top 5% to 15% of their graduating class. If you want a break down by college you should look at this webpage:

Gib – You wouldn’t believe the amount of mail that comes in near the priority filing date. Every case I have encountered this year, and there have been many as you might imagine, is just a case where we are still processing the application materials. We should be caught up by today. You should double check the status today. If it’s still showing as missing I would call the admissions office (217.333.0302) and double check with someone personally. Rest assured if it was post marked by November 10 we will consider the application a priority applicant.



January 6, 2008, 2:17 am

I am applying as a transfer student, and was wondering if it would hurt to send my transcripts and application a few days early to get them to UIUC on the starting day of the filing period?



January 10, 2008, 5:51 pm

Rachael — If you are applying with a paper application it won’t hurt at all. It won’t help with the admissions process. But it won’t hurt.



January 19, 2008, 1:25 am

I am applying as a transfer student. For the individual colleges when they give a GPA guideline to get in, is that a guideline or a requirement? I think i missed the one i was looking at by .2 is that ok?



January 19, 2008, 8:15 pm

I read in a previous response that sometimes the foreign languauge requirement is waived for transfer applications. It also said that I should have put a reason why it hasn’t been completed on the application. As fate would have it, I did not do this. Do I have any chance of getting the requirement waived?



January 28, 2008, 11:56 am

Amanda — Glad to see you posted under Dan’s blog. He responded to you there.

V — I am cross posting your question to our transfer blogger here:



February 19, 2008, 11:25 pm

Hi, I’m a junior in high school looking at classes for my senior year. So far, I have taken 3 years of band at my school. My question is whether it is more valuable to colleges to take 4 years of band or 3 years of band and possibly an accounting or extra science course?




February 22, 2008, 9:58 am

Paul — It largely depends on the major you plan to apply for. If you are planning on a music-related degree, then certainly the extra music. Otherwise I would advise you to take the more academically rigorous coursework.



February 29, 2008, 12:11 pm

Hey, I am currently planning to finish high school with 4 years of Social studies, Math and Science. How will having 4 years of each compare to having just what the freshman requirements state. Also , what is the average amount of AP classes admitted students take during their senior year. Thanks



February 29, 2008, 2:30 pm

Mike – We do look at the strength of a student’s schedule. The student who goes above and beyond, in terms of the number of academic courses and the strength of courses, is certainly looked at more favorably. I don’t have a true statistic for the number of AP courses that our average applicant is enrolled in their senior year. Anecdotally, I would say it’s around two to three. It sounds like you are doing good things academically. Keep it up!



March 2, 2008, 10:32 pm

Haha Thank you. Also, what would you say the average GPA of an admitted freshman is. Heres kinda my position, I’m worried that my “decent” GPA in freshman year of high school will hold me down so I’m stepping it up in Junior and Senior year with AP and Honors classes which I know i can excel in now that I’m motivated to get into a good school.



March 3, 2008, 5:41 pm

Mike — When reviewing applications we do look at trends. So if you did “decent” your freshman year and then proceeded to excel academically, we will notice it. Depending on how drastic the changes were, it could be a big deal or a not so big deal. My advice is simple. Work hard to finish your junior year strong and enroll in a rigorous schedule your senior year. You can worry about essays and the rest of the application next year. Focus on the things you can control right now; your grades.



March 6, 2008, 12:56 am

What is the GPA you would like us to maintain for our second semester of senior year in high school if we were accepted.



March 6, 2008, 12:18 pm

Derek — There really isn’t an expected GPA. My general response is that we would like for you to maintain or improve your GPA. Just keep doing what you have been doing, or improve, and everything will be fine.



April 13, 2008, 1:37 pm

If I put UIUC as my first choice, do I have better chance at getting accpeted to UIUC?



April 21, 2008, 11:33 am

Jaehyun – It sounds like you mean whether or not it matters if you list ILLINOIS as the first school on the ACT or SAT score report. Where we are listed on the score report does not help nor hurt your chances of admissions. I hope I answered your question. If you meant something else, feel free to post again.



August 7, 2008, 5:41 pm

I was wondering when I can apply for early admissions? I have been searching for it online for at least 20 minutes and i could not find out. Thank you for taking the time to help me out.



August 11, 2008, 10:09 am

Marcin — Illinois does not have an early admissions process. We do have a priority filing date. They are very distinct processes. This year the priority filing date insures that you will get an online response from the admissions office on December 12, 2008. You will get a response via snail mail a few days later. These decisions are not binding.

You can find the details here: