When I was a tour guide for University of Illinois Admissions, I would often be asked by prospective students how I was able to find success here at Illinois. It was a question ramble on about in order to answer; depending on the day, my answer tended to change. I don’t believe there is a one-size-fits-all solution to finding success in college, because ultimately, your experience is what you make of it. However, there are some things you can do to help make your transition to the university—and experience at the university—a pleasant one.
Go to class
This is pretty much common sense, but it can sometimes feel like a struggle if you have an 8 a.m. class. Regardless, you should attend every class and take thorough notes. Your academic success hinges on not only the information you glean from lecture and reading materials, but also your understanding of it and how to utilize it. Going to class ensures that you have a greater understanding of the information; oftentimes, your professor or instructor is very interesting and entertaining.
Join a registered student organization
For incoming freshmen or those transferring in the fall, our annual Quad Day should be a must on your list of things to do when you arrive on campus. There are over 1,600 registered student organizations on campus, so regardless of your interests or major, there is definitely something for you to join and meet people, make friends, and develop relationships right from the start. Even as a non-traditional transfer, I was able to join a few RSOs and feel right at home by attending meetings and events and getting to know other members. The relationships you establish and build here at Illinois will be some of your most valuable and possibly even help you professionally after graduation.
Explore the community
Our campus town is vibrant and has some of the best restaurants and retail destinations you can find in a college town. Additionally, downtown Champaign has The Art Theater, which is an amazing movie-watching experience when you go with a few friends. To top it all off, there are usually several well-known musical artists who stop to play on or near campus regularly! (I saw the Foo Fighters last fall at the State Farm Center!) There’s never a shortage of fun things to do or explore here in Champaign-Urbana.
Cheer on the Illini
There’s no better way to feel a sense of pride in your school than by going to a game. The atmosphere at State Farm Center and Huff Hall is often electric with students cheering and yelling and chanting. Attending a game to cheer on the Illini is a must-have experience during your time as a student here.
Find your “spot”
Our campus is absolutely gorgeous. There’s no other way to describe it. Explore all of the different academic buildings and libraries. Eventually someone will ask you what your favorite location on campus is. Go explore, find a cool building or a cool spot that you like to go to and relax or study.