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 first-year application process and out the other side.
Looking to transfer to UIUC? Check out our transfer guide instead!
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 all eight variations of that password you’ve been using since you were 10!).
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.
The UIUC Application Process
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 the Common App or myIllini. Common App is a shared application that allows you to apply to multiple schools at once, while myIllini is our university application. We don’t care which one you choose, so just 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 to help you maintain your focus while filling out applications. A pair of headphones and a good playlist 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 the 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. Note that if you apply through the Common App, you’ll add this information in our self-reported academic record (SRAR) a few days after submitting your application.
2. Test Scores (if provided)
UIUC is test-optional, meaning you’re not required to submit ACT and/or SAT test results when you apply. 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 first-year applicant FAQ.
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 major (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’re applying to college, we also have an undeclared option.
4. Major-Specific Prompts
You’ll answer two to three major-specific prompts in our application, depending on what you’re applying to. Your answers will help us determine if your interests and goals are a good fit for your selected program, so be specific. You’ll also want to be direct, since you only have 150 to work with for each prompt.
You’ll also write an essay. The good news? You have lots of prompts to choose from, and they’re available even before our application opens. This means you can knock your essay out early! Our two best pieces of advice when writing are to 1) answer the prompt, and 2) have a teacher, family member, or counselor proofread it.
6. 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.
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.
Your Application Status
After you submit your application, it’s important that you check your myIllini status page 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 view your status page and confirm everything is good to go by clicking on your application in myIllini. If you’ve chosen to apply through the Common App, we’ll create a myIllini account for you that you’ll use moving forward in the process; it will become available to you a few days after submitting your application.
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 contact us. We’re here to help!