Alma Mater dressed in graduation regalia welcoming new and old students

UIUC Transfer Guide: How to Apply, Step by Step

Welcome! We’re so excited you’re thinking of making the jump to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The UIUC transfer process looks a little different than the steps you may have taken to apply to colleges in high school, so we’re here to lay it out plain and simple. Let’s get started.

Prep Work

Your “prep work” is basically just doing some research. Make sure you can check off these five steps before beginning your application. Our Transfer Guide is a good place to start; it’ll give you a quick snapshot of some of these details for your major.

  1. Know our dates and deadlines. Application deadlines depend on whether you’re applying for the spring or fall semester.
  2. Compare your GPA. Figure out what your GPA is and compare it with our transfer GPA guidelines to get a sense of where you stand among other transfer applicants.
  3. Pick a major. We have over 175 majors at UIUC, but not all of them are open to transfers. Check our open and closed programs list to see if the major you’re interested in is accepting transfer applicants at your level for the term you’re hoping to enroll.
  4. Figure out what courses you need to take in order to transfer. Our UIUC Transfer Handbook describes the recommended course sequences for each of our majors. It may look intimidating at first, but that’s just because it has a ton of information in it! Reference the page that talks about the major you’re interested in; you must complete the courses listed in red italics before transferring.
  5. Figure out which of your courses will transfer. When you come to UIUC, some of your course credits may come along with you. The site Transferology can help you figure out what credits will make the trip. Start by watching their video, which will guide you through the process from start to finish.
students talking on the steps of Lincoln Hall

60-Credit-Hour Rule

No matter how many credits you have when you transfer, you still need to take at least 60 credit hours at UIUC. Most students take around 15 credit hours each semester, meaning that you’re probably going to spend at least four semesters here.

The Application Process

Once you’ve done your prep work, you’re ready to apply! This includes filling out our application as well as submitting some additional materials. Let’s break things down.

Your Application

You’ll submit your application through myIllini, our student portal. Most things 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 so on. We won’t get into all that here, but let’s touch on some of the more substantial parts.

  1. Major. 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). It’s a good idea to refer to our Transfer Handbook to make sure you’ve completed the requirements for the majors you choose.
  2. Essay. Personal essays are always challenging, but the good news is you can check out our essay questions for transfer applicants before you start your application. Our biggest tip? Make sure to answer what we’re asking!
  3. Activities, Honors, & Distinctions. 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. Be certain to highlight the things you’ve done recently at your current institution.
  4. Application Fee. Unless you have a fee waiver, you’ll be asked to pay a fee when you submit your application. If you think you may qualify for a fee waiver, ask a school official (for example, a representative in your financial aid office) at your current college to fill out our fee waiver form and send it directly to our admissions office.
student excited to apply to Illinois

Application Pro Tip

If you have any questions as you’re working, review our FAQ. You can also call or email our admissions counselors—they’re more than happy to help!

Your Supporting Materials

First, congratulations on making it this far—this means you’re almost done! But before you breathe that big sigh of relief, we need just a few more things from you.

  • Transcripts. You’ll be asked to submit official university transcripts from the colleges you’ve gone to, along with an official high school transcript to confirm graduation. (We’ll also accept the GED and other high school equivalency exams in place of a high school transcript.) This information should be sent straight to our admissions office. Note that we’ll only consider your high school performance if you have completed fewer than 36 graded, transferable credit hours since graduating from high school.
  • Test Scores. If you have fewer than 36 graded, transferable semester hours of college coursework when you apply, you can choose to submit official ACT or SAT scores if you feel they will add value to your application. Scores must be sent directly from the testing agency and dated within five years of your enrollment at UIUC.
  • English Proficiency. You must prove you’re proficient in the English language to be admitted. If you spent all four years of high school in the United States (excluding Puerto Rico), good news: You automatically qualify! If this doesn’t describe you, see our admissions website for how to satisfy this requirement.
  • Special Requirements. If you’re applying into a talent-based major like art, dance, music, or theatre, you’ll likely need to complete an audition or submit a portfolio. If you’re an international student, you also have a few more steps to take. Learn more on our website.

Checking Your Application Status

After you’ve submitted your application and supporting materials, make sure to check myIllini to verify we aren’t missing anything. Seriously, there’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve applied only to discover later on that your application was never actually complete!

If you apply for the fall semester, you’ll receive a decision by mid-April. If you apply for the spring semester, you’ll receive a decision by mid-December.

girls looking at applications on a computer

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.

We want your transition to UIUC to be as smooth as possible. Feel free to reach out to our office if you have any questions at all. We hope to see you on campus!

UIUC Admissions

UIUC Admissions

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