large, blue Block I hanging in front of an orange curtain at Memorial Stadium for Commencement

Applying to College at UIUC: A Complete Guide

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.

students decompress and play volleyball on the Quad in front the Illini Union at dusk

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.

3. Major

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.

5. Essay

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!

high school student meeting with their counselor and taking notes

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.

Additional Requirements

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.

You can learn more about any additional requirements on our website. If you’re ever uncertain, just ask!

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.

a pile of money

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!

UIUC Admissions

UIUC 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!


  • Hi Waseem,
    Unfortunately, this is about the undergraduate admission process only. You can learn more about the graduate admissions process through our Graduate College: Thanks for reaching out!

  • Hey, I am planning to apply to Illinois and was wondering how to fill in the scores for the AP tests I took. I am a US citizen but I have done my schooling in India so I am not sure how exactly should I report these scores.

  • Hi Aroosh,

    Thanks for reaching out! AP scores are not considered as a part of your application. You will self-report if you’ve taken any AP courses on the application under the courses section, but any AP exams taken separately are not considered. If you’re admitted to Illinois and choose to enroll, we may be able to award credit for your AP scores:

    If you have more questions as you apply, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 217-333-0302, email us at, or check out our FAQ: We hope this helps and look forward to seeing your application soon!

  • How do I apply for early action using the coalition app?
    The only option available is
    Fall 2020 First Year, due Jan 5, 2020

  • Hi Advay. Good question! In order to be considered an early action applicant, you will need to submit your application for admission along with the application fee/fee waiver by our early action deadline. There is not a button that you need to select in order to indicate you are wanting to be reviewed as an early action applicant. We go by the date the items are submitted to our office. If you have any further questions, please let us know. You can email us at or call us at 217-333-0302.

  • Hi
    I am presently in my Twelfth grade in India and possess US Permanent Resident status. Will i be able to avail of financial aid ? ( Family has still not moved to US and do not file tax in US)

  • Hi Naman,
    All need-based financial aid is awarded to students based off the information submitted via the FAFSA. If you are not able to submit the FAFSA, then unfortunately no, you would not able to receive need-based financial aid. However, you would still be eligible to be considered for all merit-based scholarships. If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to call us at 217-333-0302 or email us at We’re here to help.

  • Hi Lily! Yes, in order to qualify for Illinois Commitment, you’ll just need to submit the FAFSA; there is no separate application form. Once we receive your FAFSA information, though, we may request and require additional documents to confirm your eligibility. You can learn more about Illinois Commitment on our Financial Aid website: Thanks for reaching out!

  • Hi, Can you please write about how to fill the year 9-11 part, because i don’t know how to fill it out since i am from Cameroon and it is quiet different from ours. I will really appreciate. I am counting on you… Thanks in advance

  • Thanks for reaching out! Our international admissions counselors are the best resource when it comes to entering your 9-11 courses and grades. You can email them at, and a counselor will get back to you ASAP to ask follow-up questions and walk you through your specific situation.

  • When are the new admissions starting? Also wanted to know whether the lectures will be online or in physical classroom?

  • Hi Daisy,
    Thanks for reaching out! Our application deadline for freshmen is January 5, and students will receive decisions in mid-February: Like fall 2020, our spring 2021 semester will include a blend of in-person and remote instruction. No announcements have been made for fall 2021 yet. You can learn more here: We hope this helps! Any other questions, don’t hesitate to reach out at or 217-333-0302.

  • How do I apply to UIUC through the common app for Fall 2022? I don’t see it in the College List, even after the rollover on August 1.

  • Hi Aditi, thanks for reaching out! Because we’re new to the Common App and our application doesn’t open until September 1, we won’t show up on the site until that date. So you’ll want to check back again then! In the meantime, you can learn more about our application process and writing prompts on our website. Any other questions, don’t hesitate to email us at or call us at 217-333-0302. We’re here to help!

  • Hi Katherine,
    Thanks for reaching out! No, you do not need to create a myIllini account when you apply. After you apply through Common App, we’ll create a myIllini account for you, and you’ll receive an email a few days after submitting your application with instructions on how to access it. You’ll use this account to check your application status. If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to email us or call us at 217-333-0302.

  • I a native of Madar, Siraha, Nepal. I wish to apply for undergraduate in computer science. How can I get a application fee waiver?

  • Thanks for reaching out, Aayush. Unfortunately, we do not accept fee waivers for international students, and international students are not eligible for need-based financial aid. If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to email us or call us at +1 217-333-0302.

  • Any idea why UIUC won’t simply pull in academic data from SSAR instead of having to go into the myIllini app and type all these out one at a time?

  • Hi Venkatram,
    Unfortunately, UIUC does not have access to academic data entered in that system since we don’t have a contract with SSAR. If you have any questions when working in myIllini, please don’t hesitate to review our FAQ, email us, or call us at 217-333-0302.

  • I am planning to take a test to meet the English Proficiency in the month of March 2022. Will it have any influence on the decision, as English Proficiency
    is listed as a missing item in the application status?

  • Hi Ajay,
    Thanks for reaching out. To be considered for fall 2022 admission, first-year students must have their app complete by January 15. At this point, we would recommend the Duolingo English Test, as you can sign up and take it within 48 hours from anywhere and get results quickly. We hope this helps. If you have more questions, don’t hesitate to email us at or call us at +1 217-333-0302.

  • The more I go through your website, blogs, videos, etc. the more it makes me hope I get a chance to attend UIUC. Thank you for the encouraging and fun methods of providing information.

    Are English language proficiency tests a must for a student who has studied an international curriculum (iGCSE, IBDP) in India with English as the sole medium of instruction right from kindergarten to IBDP, has good scores in the English language IB exams and is submitting SAT scores?

  • Thanks for reaching out, Mohammed, and for the kind words!

    Since it sounds like you are reporting SAT scores, submitting an English language proficiency test is not required to complete your application. However, we still strongly encourage you to do so to demonstrate your English proficiency. For more details, you can take a look at the “Do I need to prove English proficiency?” question within our applicant FAQ and the test scores section of our how to apply webpage.

    We hope this helps! If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to email us or call us at +1 217-333-0302.

  • I am an International student, Is it mandatory to send scores for all 4 years of high school (9-12) or just 2 years ( 10 & 12).

  • Hi Raj, thanks for reaching out! You need to provide official academic records for all years of school you reported in the application for years 9 to 12, including official copies of all school certificates and external exam results. You can learn more on our admitted international FAQ page. If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact our office.

  • Hi,
    I have completed my 9th, 10th and the first semester of 11th grade in India and then shifted to the US. I will be providing my SAT score to UIUC but I wasn’t sure if the Toefl requirement will be applicable to me in this case. Could you please help me out in this?

  • Is there any financial aid for international students? If there’s, how can you apply for it?

  • I’m searching for masters application process for international students can you provide some links?

  • Hello, I’m an international student taking the IB course in South Korea. Even though I’m not a US citizen, I’ve been studying in an international school for six years, and I was wondering if students like me still have to take the English proficiency test.

  • Do international students like myself who hope to join this school have to do any English proficiency test like the TOFEL or ILETS to have a better chance at getting in? Thanks!

  • Hi Fillah,
    Thanks for reaching out. All students are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships when they apply to UIUC. Unfortunately, need-based financial aid isn’t available to international undergraduates, although a few limited scholarships and loans exist through our International Student and Scholar Services: If you have additional questions about financial aid, you can contact our Office of Student Financial Aid at 217-333-0100. We hope this helps!

  • Good question, Shreyash! Your residency is determined by your citizenship status; if you’re a U.S. resident, you’ll be considered as such. You’ll be reviewed based on the educational curriculum you’ve taken. If you have more questions about your specific situation, don’t hesitate to contact us directly. We’re here to help!

  • Hello, Does UIUC calculate GPA using the high school profile or their own way?
    Thank you.

  • Thanks for reaching out! When evaluating a student’s high school performance, the actual GPA isn’t as much of a factor as the grades you earned in each of the classes you took, along with the strength of those classes and if you took more advanced coursework throughout your four years of high school. You can learn more about how we review on our website. We hope this helps! If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

  • Hi Karan, and thanks for reaching out. We’re the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at UIUC. For information related to graduate programs, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Graduate College:

  • I’m 16 years old but I will be turning 17 before next fall and that’s when I would like to start. Can I still apply at 16 and not be rejected because of age?

  • Hello!
    I am based in California, studying in CA for last 8 years and currently on H4 visa. I have few questions
    1. For fees purposes, i will be treated as out-of-state (domestic) OR international student?
    2. Student stays at college housing for all 4 years OR its optional
    3. Should we consider courses attended at community college (summer/evening) for GPA calculation
    4. Do you have acceptance criteria (student profile) based on school and majors
    5. what is Out-of-state acceptance for collage of engineering?

  • Hi, I was wondering whether UIUC needs an SSR (Secondary School Report). On the Common App, it does not exactly say. Also, if we apply using myIllini, would be need an SSR then?

  • Thanks for reaching out. No, we do not need or accept an SSR for either Common App or myIllini applicants. We hope this helps!

  • Thanks for reaching out! Below are the answers to your questions. We hope they help!
    1. Fees are based on residency status. As you would require a visa to attend, you would be considered an international applicant.
    2. First-time attending students are required to live in university-approved housing. For continuing students, it is optional.
    3. No, you shouldn’t consider courses attended at community college for GPA calculation.
    4. You can view our student profile broken down by academic community on our website:
    5. We do not provide admit rates broken down by residency. However, we do provide admit rates broken down by academic community:

  • Hi,
    Regarding EA and RD, I am planning to major in management/finance and I’m not sure whether EA or Rd would be the right one for me. I have a kind of low GPA but I also have many other extracurriculars and supplements and a pretty decent SAT score so I wanted to know if applying EA or RD would be best for me? One counselor told me to apply EA, and another told me to apply RD, so I was confused and wanted to ask the admission officers themselves. Please let me know and thanks!

  • Hello:
    I have explained Covid impact on my academics in the “Additional question” on Common app.
    Can I explain the same in the questions around “academic challenge” or “low grade or a drop in grades explanation”?
    Will UIUC admissions read the new common app “Additional question”?

  • Hello and thanks for reaching out. We will read what you include in the Additional Information section in the Common App portion. You do not need to copy the same information over into the Academic Challenges section in our application questions. We hope this helps! If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

  • I attend a dual credit high school in Texas. My 9th and 10th grade years were at my traditional high school in my community, but I attended an early college school for 11th and 12th. All of my classes for last year and this year are dual credit, but when I list my high school’s name, dual credit is not an option. If I create a third entry with the college institution’s name, I can list the courses by name and as dual credit. Would that mess up the self-reporting?

  • Hi Jordyn, if you’ll receive a post-secondary transcript for the courses taken at an early college school, you should enter that school as a college and list the courses under that institution. However, if you will not receive a post-secondary transcript, enter the courses under your high school record and list them as Advanced. If you are applying through Common App, you can explain the situation in the Additional Information section. If you are applying through myIllini, you can explain in the Other Academic Information section. We hope this helps! If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

  • Hi, I understand that letters of recommendation won’t be considered. Our school sends counselor recommendation letters for us, which tell about the student’s personal life in general and detail extenuating circumstances. Will these letters not be considered as well?

  • Hi Aarish, thanks for reaching out! We do accept letters of explanation from counselors that provide information regarding extenuating circumstances; however, they aren’t necessary since we ask students to disclose that information in the application. We hope this helps! If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to contact us directly.

  • Hi,

    On my transcript I have Gym and Health each year. However, Gym is 3 quarters and health is 1 quarter. However, I don’t have the option to select 3 quarters for Gym on SRAR. Can you please tell me what I should do?

  • If I apply undeclared, can I still transfer into Grainger if I decide to do engineering?

  • If i summit an application, would I be automatically considered for institutional scholarships ?

  • Hi,
    I am an international student based in India and endeavoring to apply to the undergraduate program @ Fall 2024. Will I be eligible for Merit scholarship?


  • Hi,

    For the essay prompt “Explain, in detail, an experience you’ve had in the past 3 to 4 years related to your first-choice major. This can be an experience from an extracurricular activity, in a class you’ve taken, or through something else.”, do I need to elaborate about a single experience related to my major or should I talk about all the experiences that I feel show my passion for my major?

    Also, for my first major I am planning to do computer science, and for my second choice I am thinking of computer engineering. The experiences related to my first choice major and the reasons for me applying to computer science also apply to computer engineering as well. Do I still need to write the second major essay?

    Thank you so much,

  • Thanks for reaching out, Mihir; we’re excited you’re interested in UIUC! All students are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships when they apply to our university. Although need-based financial aid isn’t available to international undergraduates, a few limited scholarships and loans do exist through our International Student and Scholar Services. If you have additional questions, check out our Office of Student Financial Aid website or contact them directly at 217-333-0100.

  • Hi Betrand, yes, when you apply to UIUC, you’re automatically considered for our merit-based scholarships. Many of these are for first-year and transfer students in any college based on academic excellence, though awards are also given out based on major. You can learn more about scholarship opportunities on our website:

  • Sorry for the delayed reply, Vikas. Yes, possibly. The transfer process into Grainger is competitive, and you’d need to complete certain prerequisite courses and meet a minimum GPA. You can learn more on our Inter-Collegiate Transfer (ICT) website. Please note that you can’t transfer into our Computer Science major through ICT. We hope this helps, and thanks for reaching out!

  • Thanks for reaching out, Rohit, and apologies for the delayed response. Regarding the prompt, even if you’ve had multiple experiences over a long period of time, we’re looking for a more in-depth, detailed description of one of those experiences that helped draw you to that area of study. In addition, yes, you do still need to write an answer for the second prompt. It’s okay if there is some overlap, especially when it comes to your experiences. Please note that Computer Engineering isn’t available as a second choice on our application; you can learn more about other majors that aren’t available as a second choice in our applicant FAQ. We hope this helps!

  • Hello, are we allowed to use “Mathematics and Computer Science” as a second choice major? Thank you.

  • I am applying for Fall 2024 admission.
    Are the 2 questions about the academic challenges optional?
    ; Explain any challenges (outside of COVID-related) you have faced throughout your academic career,  including the dates or timeline below.
    ;If you have a low grade or a drop in grades that you have not already explained, do so below.
    I am applying through the common app,
    Are these questions required?

  • Hi Rohit, thanks for reaching out. Not all majors are available as a second choice due to space constraints, including Mathematics and Computer Science. To see the full list of other majors not allowed as a second choice, visit our Second-Choice Major FAQ.

  • Thanks for reaching out, Hyunsoo! No, the academic challenges questions are not required; they are completely optional. We hope this helps!

  • Hi Josh, yes, it is! High school equivalency exam results can be submitted in lieu of a final high school transcript. We must receive official GED test results from the testing agency. Thanks for reaching out, and we hope this helps!