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 Illinois application process and out the other side.
Illinois 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 Illinois.
The Illinois 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 Illinois 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
- all of your test score results
- 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.
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
We also ask you to provide your scores for any standardized tests, like the ACT or SAT. As with your courses and grades, you will self-report these, entering the highest scores for those you’ve taken. (If you haven’t taken these tests yet, we have some advice on how to tackle them!)
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.
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!
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. You can learn more on our website.
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.
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 Illinois 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!