Applying to UIUC: A Complete Guide

Applying to college is key, and you want to get it right. It can also be a complicated maze full of twists and turns (including different requirements and deadlines for every school on your list!). We’re here to guide you through the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign application process and out the other side. 

UIUC Dates & Deadlines

As you’re applying to colleges, the number of dates floating around your head can be overwhelming. Although you don’t want to miss an important deadline, you deserve to save your brain space for more important knowledge—like how to tame llamas in Minecraft.

So without further ado, grab your planner and add these dates to it. They’re the ones you need to know when it comes to UIUC.

Application Pro Tip

Don’t confuse our early action option with early decision options offered at other colleges (because yes, it’s confusing!). Unlike early decision, early action is what we call “nonbinding.” Applying early action to UIUC may give you the best chance for being admitted to our most selective programs, along with special attention for merit awards and honors program admission. However, you won’t be locked in to attending our university unless you choose to. You’ll also still have until May 1 to make your decision.

The UIUC Application

You can’t apply to a college without submitting an application, and there’s a lot to unpack in ours! Let’s dig in.

Choosing Your App Type

When you’re ready to begin your UIUC application, you have two options: You can apply through myIllini, our university application, or Coalition, a shared application that allows you to apply to multiple schools at once. We don’t care which one you choose, so pick the one that makes the most sense to you.

Things You’ll Need

Before you start your application, make sure you have the following things on hand:

  • A copy of your high school transcript 
  • Any test score results you choose to report
  • A credit card to pay your application fee (if you don’t have a fee waiver)

We also suggest a quiet place devoid of distractions—including any llama-taming—to help you maintain your focus. A pair of headphones and a good playlist (might we suggest ours?) can go a long way as well.

Application Pro Tip

Things you won’t need? Letters of recommendation or the like, since we don’t accept them. You also don’t need to send official transcripts or official test score results our way; we only ask for the official versions of these if you enroll at UIUC.

Stuff Our App Includes

The majority of our application will be fairly easy to fill out, but it can take some time (so make sure you don’t wait until the night before a deadline to start!). You’ll begin by adding some personal information, like your name and address, where you go to school and your graduation date, and so on. We won’t get into all that here, but let’s touch on some of the more substantial parts.

1. Courses & Grades

We ask you to self-report your high school courses and grades, which means you’ll enter them directly into our application. Be sure to refer to that copy of your transcript we mentioned above so that what you provide is accurate.

2. Test Scores (if provided)

Because the COVID-19 pandemic has limited your opportunities to take the ACT or SAT, we aren’t requiring you to submit these scores this year. If you do choose to provide yours, you’ll self-report them just like you do your courses and grades.

We encourage you to report your scores if you feel they accurately represent your ability. Carefully consider your decision, since you won’t be able to change it later on! You can learn more about our test-optional policy within our freshman applicant FAQ.

3. Major

Before you apply, you can learn more about the majors we offer through our program explorer. In our application, we’ll ask you to select both a first and second choice (in case you aren’t admitted to your first choice). If you still aren’t sure what you’d like to major in by the time you apply, we also have an undecided option.

4. Essay

Our essay prompt is available even before our application opens, which means you can knock it out early. Whenever you choose to start writing, we have some tips to help (spoiler alert: make sure you answer the question we’re asking).

5. Activities, Honors, & Distinctions

Finally, we’ll ask you to provide a certain number of activities, honors, and distinctions. Take some time to think about the things you’ve been involved in and the things you’ve accomplished. Whatever is most important to you belongs on this list!

Application Pro Tip

If you have any questions as you’re working, review our FAQ. You can also talk to your high school counselor, who can give you more guidance on how to answer certain questions. You can even ask them to fill out our application worksheet as it pertains to your school.

Additional Requirements

Sometimes, students need to do more than just submit our application. For example, if you’re applying into a talent-based major like art, dance, music, or theatre, you’ll need to complete an audition or submit a portfolio. Or, based on whether you choose to report the ACT/SAT and where you’ve completed your most recent schooling, we may strongly recommend or even require the TOEFL or IELTS.

You can learn more about any additional requirements on our website. If you’re ever uncertain, just ask!

Your Application Status

After you submit your application, it’s important that you check its status to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything. Seriously, there’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve applied only to discover later on that your application was never actually complete.

You can confirm everything is good to go by clicking on your application in myIllini. Even if you’ve chosen to apply through the Coalition Application, we’ll create a myIllini account for you that you’ll use moving forward in the process.

a pile of money

Applying for Financial Aid

Although financial aid is a crucial part of the college application process, you actually have to apply for it separately. How? By submitting the Free Application for Student Financial Aid, or FAFSA. To learn more about that process as well as other ways to cut your cost of attendance, read our Guide to Paying for College. Note, though, that financial aid funding is only available to U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents.

We hope this guide will serve you well throughout the UIUC application process. If you get lost in the maze at any time, don’t hesitate to email us or call us at 217-333-0302. We’re here to help!

Illinois Admissions

Illinois Admissions

We're here for you as you prepare for college. Whether you're looking for guidance on the college search process or have questions about Illinois, we hope our blogs will help!


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  • Hi Waseem,
    Unfortunately, this is about the undergraduate admission process only. You can learn more about the graduate admissions process through our Graduate College: Thanks for reaching out!

  • Hey, I am planning to apply to Illinois and was wondering how to fill in the scores for the AP tests I took. I am a US citizen but I have done my schooling in India so I am not sure how exactly should I report these scores.

  • Hi Aroosh,

    Thanks for reaching out! AP scores are not considered as a part of your application. You will self-report if you’ve taken any AP courses on the application under the courses section, but any AP exams taken separately are not considered. If you’re admitted to Illinois and choose to enroll, we may be able to award credit for your AP scores:

    If you have more questions as you apply, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 217-333-0302, email us at, or check out our FAQ: We hope this helps and look forward to seeing your application soon!

  • How do I apply for early action using the coalition app?
    The only option available is
    Fall 2020 First Year, due Jan 5, 2020

  • Hi Advay. Good question! In order to be considered an early action applicant, you will need to submit your application for admission along with the application fee/fee waiver by our early action deadline. There is not a button that you need to select in order to indicate you are wanting to be reviewed as an early action applicant. We go by the date the items are submitted to our office. If you have any further questions, please let us know. You can email us at or call us at 217-333-0302.

  • Hi
    I am presently in my Twelfth grade in India and possess US Permanent Resident status. Will i be able to avail of financial aid ? ( Family has still not moved to US and do not file tax in US)

  • Hi Naman,
    All need-based financial aid is awarded to students based off the information submitted via the FAFSA. If you are not able to submit the FAFSA, then unfortunately no, you would not able to receive need-based financial aid. However, you would still be eligible to be considered for all merit-based scholarships. If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to call us at 217-333-0302 or email us at We’re here to help.

  • Hi Lily! Yes, in order to qualify for Illinois Commitment, you’ll just need to submit the FAFSA; there is no separate application form. Once we receive your FAFSA information, though, we may request and require additional documents to confirm your eligibility. You can learn more about Illinois Commitment on our Financial Aid website: Thanks for reaching out!

  • Hi, Can you please write about how to fill the year 9-11 part, because i don’t know how to fill it out since i am from Cameroon and it is quiet different from ours. I will really appreciate. I am counting on you… Thanks in advance

  • Thanks for reaching out! Our international admissions counselors are the best resource when it comes to entering your 9-11 courses and grades. You can email them at, and a counselor will get back to you ASAP to ask follow-up questions and walk you through your specific situation.