Second-Choice Major FAQ for Transfers

After finally deciding on a major, you open our transfer application … and see that we’re asking you to apply to multiple majors. We get it—it can be difficult enough to choose one major, let alone two. While it may be challenging for you to choose two majors, I highly encourage that you do.

Let’s answer some of the frequently asked questions about the second-choice major process:

Why should I choose a second-choice major?

If you only put down one major on your application, that will be the only major you are considered for. We will assume you only want to attend Illinois if admitted to your first, and only, major. There is no disadvantage to providing a second-choice major. By doing so, you increase your chances of being admitted to the university as a whole.

What should my second-choice major be?

Great question! I encourage you to explore our majors if you aren’t sure what your second-choice major should be. At the bottom of each major page, you’ll find a list of related majors, which can help guide your search. Note that a few majors aren’t available as a second choice. You can find that list on the FAQ page of our website.

You can apply to two majors in the same college or to two majors in two different colleges. Remember that many options could be a good fit for you even outside of the main college you’re interested in. For example, if your first-choice major is within the Gies College of Business, you might want to consider Economics, Advertising, and related concentrations within Agriculture and Consumer Economics as your second choice. Or, if you’ve selected a first-choice major within the Grainger College of Engineering, you might want to take a look at majors like Technical Systems Management, Industrial Design, and Chemical Engineering, too.

What else do I need to do?

You will need to write a second 300- to 400-word essay on why you’re interested in this major. But that’s it! If you are applying to two similar majors, it is completely fine to talk about similar things in your essay. I strongly discourage you from copying and pasting the same essay in both test boxes. We do read them!

You can find tips on writing a great Illinois essay on our blog.

I already applied and didn’t list a second-choice major, but I would like to now. What do I do?

You can add a second-choice major via your myIllini Application Status page. Adding a second-choice major after the deadline will not impact your status. You are able to add a second-choice major up until your decision is released.

Is there anything important I should keep in mind when selecting a second-choice major?

Make sure you’ve satisfied the course and GPA requirements for your second-choice major, too. You can view these requirements in our Transfer Handbook. Also note that some majors might not be a good option for you depending on the number of credit hours you’re coming in with. For instance, the Undeclared program in the Division of General Studies gives preference to students who have fewer than 35 transferable hours by their term of entry.

I hope this helps break down how our second-choice major process works. Feel free to ask questions below. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions is also open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST Monday through Friday, and you are welcome to call us at 217 333-0302 to speak with an admissions counselor about any questions you may have. We’re here to help!



Admissions Counselor, Undergraduate Admissions
I'm excited to help transfer students navigate and master the application process to find the right fit for them. As an Illinois transfer student and now an alumni, providing this information is my priority.

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