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5 Ways to Prepare for UIUC as an International Student

Making sure you’re ready for the college of your choice is always a challenge—especially when that college is in a different country! Today we’re giving you 5 things you can do right now to prepare for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).


female student studying in the Illini Union

1. Explore our majors.

With its highly respected programs and award-winning professors, UIUC will help you thrive in whatever career you choose to pursue. It’s just a matter of deciding what you want to do!

Think about the classes you’re taking and the activities you’re involved in. What sparks your curiosity? What makes you excited? When you have some idea of what you’d like your future to hold (or even if you’re still unsure), take some time out to explore our majors. For each major, we provide a description, career options, post-graduation stats, and more.

Because UIUC admits its students directly into majors, seeing what we offer now will help whenever it comes time for you to apply.

Computer Science + X

Some of our more unique majors include a number of Computer Science + X options that allow you to incorporate a strong grounding in computer science with technical or professional training in the arts and sciences. These majors are a great option for students with multiple interests, blending our core computer science coursework with coursework in another discipline. As technology continues to enhance and change many areas of study, these flexible programs will keep you at the forefront of your field.


2. Visit us virtually.

UIUC offers a variety of online resources to show you what campus looks and feels like. We suggest beginning with one of our info sessions, where a counselor will walk you through the admissions process, talk about everything the Illinois legacy can offer you, and answer your questions. You can also sign up for a one-on-one call with a counselor, connect with our colleges, or attend a student Q&A.

And that’s just the start. If you’re looking to see campus, we offer a number of virtual tours, including videos of special landmarks and buildings, a photo gallery of spaces across campus, and a virtual reality experience showcasing UIUC activities and events. You can also experience what a day in the life of one of our students looks like, learn more about Champaign-Urbana, and more. So start exploring!


3. Know what courses you need to take.

You should take certain courses now in order to later qualify for admission to UIUC. You can learn what these courses are and how many years we recommend on our website. We understand that some countries have a national curriculum. If your country is one of them, don’t worry; we’ll have different guidelines for you to follow when you eventually apply. If you’re ever confused, talk to your counselor or college advisor. They work very closely with us and can help make sure you’re staying on track, too.

Note that you can also increase your chance of being accepted to UIUC by taking advanced courses. It probably goes without saying that you should always work hard to make strong grades, but don’t stress if your grades are slightly lower in your advanced courses. We do take the level of difficulty into consideration!


4. Know what tests you need to take.

You should prepare to take either the ACT or SAT I. We accept either and we don’t prefer one over the other. We do not accept SAT Subject Tests.

You also need to demonstrate a command of the English language. If your first language isn’t English or you’re attending high school in a non-English-speaking country, we also highly recommend that you take the TOEFL or IELTS.

If you’re curious to see how admitted students have performed on these tests in the past, you can view last year’s middle 50% range on our website. We know it’s hard, but try not to worry too much when it comes time for you to take these tests. Our review is holistic, meaning we look at much more than just test scores.


the Quad bustling with students walking to their next class

5. Ask us questions. (Please!)

UIUC admissions counselors are here to help you whenever you need us. We realize the college admissions process can be confusing, and it’s our goal to make things easier for you. You can reach out to us in any of the following ways:

  1. Talk to us in person. We normally make trips abroad each fall and spring, so pay attention to your school’s calendar as well as any U.S. college fairs in your area. We’d love to meet you!
  2. Email us at international-admissions@illinois.edu. This email address is specifically for international students.
  3. Call us at +1 217-333-0302. We’re open Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 to 5:00 p.m. Central Time.

College Prep Resources

You may have more general questions as you begin the college search process, like “What’s college like?” and “How do I narrow my search?” If so, our collection of college prep blogs can also help!


We hope these tips prove helpful as you begin to prepare for UIUC. The fact that you’re already in planning mode means you’re well on your way to success!

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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