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10 Ways to Prepare for UIUC: A Parent’s Guide

Is your child considering the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in their college search? If so, this post was written especially for you! Read on for 10 ways you can learn more about our university and help prepare your child for our admissions process.

1. Get all the facts.

Statistics and rankings aren’t everything, but they do help to showcase what we’re all about. Looking at our campus profile will reveal insight into who we are and what we value in comparison to what your child is looking to get out of the college experience.

For example, will your child feel more comfortable at a large school or small school? Do they want a big-city experience, or would they be more interested in a smaller college town? How close to home do they want to be (and how close to home are you hoping they’ll be)? Now’s the time to discover how UIUC fits with all of these preferences and more.


aerial view of the heart of UIUC's campustown

2. Visit us virtually.

We realize that college visits are a cornerstone of the college search process for many families, but to ensure the health and safety of our campus community, we aren’t offering in-person visits right now. We understand the anxiety you may be feeling on this matter, and we’re very sorry.

But please, don’t panic! We’ve come up with a slew of virtual visit options to help you and your child learn more about everything you’d explore in person, both culture-wise and campus-wise. These include admissions information sessionsone-on-onesmeetings with academic programs, a variety of virtual tours, glimpses into the student experience, and more.

Obviously, we also look forward to hosting you in person once it’s safe to do so. You can continue to check our website for all updates related to in-person visits.

3. Estimate your child’s cost of attendance.

Paying for college gets confusing very quickly, so we offer multiple tools to give you a better idea of what UIUC costs and how much your child will pay to attend.

First comes UIUC’s sticker price. You can view estimated expenses for the current school year on our website. However, the amount your child will pay to attend UIUC will likely be different than what’s listed on this page, since it depends on their chosen major, housing, meal plan, and overall lifestyle, as well as potential scholarships and financial aid. To help account for those extra factors, be sure to view UIUC’s sticker price broken down by major through our cost calculator and estimate the amount of financial aid your child may receive using our net price calculator.

If you still have questions after reviewing these tools, contact our Office of Student Financial Aid. They’re always willing to walk you through the finer points!


explosion of confetti during graduation celebration at Memorial Stadium

4. Understand UIUC as an investment.

UIUC doesn’t just provide the complete college experience—it prepares your child for what comes next. In addition to possessing a strong alumni network, we play host to big-name recruiters from Fortune 100 companies like Amazon, Deloitte, Google, Chase, IBM, AbbVie, Microsoft, ADM, and PepsiCo (just to name a few).

But don’t take our word for it! Discover for yourself the success our students achieve after graduation, including where they’re employed, the average salaries they’re making, and what graduate schools they’re attending. You can even break things down by academic community or, in many cases, major.

5. Get familiar with our academics.

A top university with a legacy of innovation, UIUC provides a challenging, progressive environment to help students realize their goals. With over 150 majors and 7,000 courses to choose from, students can pursue almost any career here. What’s more, they have extraordinary professors to help guide them along the way.

Dig into everything we offer through our program explorer. We include descriptions for each major and share what their graduates do with a degree, including career options, salary data, and sample employers and grad schools. If your child has no idea what they want to do yet (which is perfectly OK!), they can also take a quiz to see which of our majors match their personality type.

6. Explore our campus life and culture.

UIUC’s expansive and encouraging community allows every student a place to thrive. We strive to foster an environment defined by diversity, inclusion, and equity, with support services and resources for any potential need. Your child will have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to housing, and the ways they can get involved on campus are endless.

In addition, we go to great lengths to keep our students safe. For extra peace of mind, you can sign up for our alerts to stay updated on any urgent situations that may arise in the area.


girl exploring options with her mom at home

7. Prepare for the application process.

Your child’s journey to UIUC starts before it’s time to apply. Help them get a head start on the process by reviewing our requirements. This includes the types of courses they’ll need to take in high school, what we expect as far as class rigor, and the standardized tests we accept. We also offer suggestions about extracurricular activities and encourage them to take part in experiences related to their potential major.

Unsure what steps your child needs to take when? Take a quick look at our yearly action plans, too!

Test-Optional Policy for Fall 2021 Applicants

We realize the COVID-19 pandemic has limited students’ opportunities to take the SAT or ACT. For this reason, if your child is applying to UIUC this year for fall 2021 admission, they won’t be required to submit test results. We haven’t made a decision yet as to whether our test-optional policy will be extended for fall 2022 applicants, so be on the lookout for more information soon.

8. Know what we look for in applicants.

Our application review is a holistic one, which means we consider many factors when making an admissions decision. During the review process, we want to get to know your child and learn why they belong at UIUC.

We’ll start by confirming that your child has taken all the required coursework. We’ll also review their achievements in and out of the classroom, evaluate their application essay and any test scores, and more. You can learn everything that goes into making an admissions decision on our website.


collaged grid of images from Undergraduate Admissions' Instagram account, illiniview

9. Follow us on social media.

Stay in the know on everything UIUC by connecting with us on our social channels. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and more. Whether you’re looking for admissions reminders and updates, campus-wide content, or stunning views of our school, we’re here to share it with you.

10. Ask us your questions!

We’ve thrown a whole lot at you in a short amount of time, and you’re bound to have questions we haven’t answered. If so, please ask! You can reach out to us in the following ways:

  1. Email us at admissions@illinois.edu. Our turnaround time is typically within 24 hours and never longer than three days.
  2. Call us at 217-333-0302. We’re open Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 to 5:00 p.m. Central Time.
  3. Text us at 217-600-2234. Our texting hours are 2-4 pm Mondays through Fridays, and we’ll respond as soon as possible within that window. 

We’re always here to help, and we look forward to working with you and your child throughout the rest of their college search process. We realize that these are not normal times, so this process might look a little different than usual. But please know that we’re in it together and doing everything we can to keep it a smooth one for your family. Best of luck, you’ve got this, and I-L-L!

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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