We Asked 101 Students: What Makes UIUC Special?

If you’ve spent any time at all exploring UIUC, you know we have something unique to offer that no other university can match. But you don’t have to take our word for it; we asked 101 University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign students what makes UIUC special to them, and their answers reflected some of the best resources and experiences we have to offer.

Why did you choose to come to UIUC?

“The environment here.”

“I knew no matter what I did, I’d be in a good program.”

“Financial aid, engineering, bang for buck.”

“Most affordable for the best education.”

“The computer science program.”

“It’s a good school, and it let me stay close to my family.”

“I won a scholarship.”

“Funding and school rankings; I have a lot more reasons now.”

“I liked the campus and the atmosphere.”

“Lots of strong programs and majors.”

“I fit in here.”

“It was close to home, but not too close.”

“I toured campus and I liked the vibe. Very welcoming.”

“It was the right balance of hard-to-get-into, but I won’t be suffering in classes.”

“My sister went here and I saw the opportunity. I love the diversity.”

Students from ABE and ECE wokring together at the Student Sustainable Farm.
Students from ABE and ECE wokring together at the Student Sustainable Farm.

What’s made your UIUC experience special?

“The huge focus on undergrad research.”

“Professors that are interested in students’ progress.”

“The wide variety of RSOs and opportunities to explore.”

“Meeting new people, trying new things.”

“An open-minded community, people with different cultural values. The diversity and the social activism.”

“Work hard, play hard!”

“There’s so much to do here.”

“It feels like home; I have a big family of friends.”

“It’s a mini Chicago.”

“So many RSOs that have helped me grow my interests. Opportunities I didn’t know I wanted or needed. Entrepreneurship. Resources and community.”

“The ranking, the corn, and the weather.”

“Being able to learn on my own.”

“Opportunities to work with football and [sports] teams and get hands-on experience with coaches and players. That’s not something you can experience elsewhere.”

“Each unit is dedicated to improving the student experience.”

“Finding my group of friends.”

When you compare UIUC to other schools, what sets us apart?

“It felt right, unlike other schools.”

“The volume of opportunities available and the great faculty.”

“Beautiful campus, Big Ten sports, and a lively college town.”

“The Krannert Center.”

“A tradition of high achieving.”

“The diversity.”

“Opportunities. My friends are always like, ‘You guys have that at your school?’”

“A big school means more connections with others.”

“The social scene and the RSOs.”

“There will be a place for you, both social and academic.”

“A culture of working hard but also finding time to pursue interests.”

“It feels like people pursue their passions rather than just to be competitive.” 

“The research opportunities.”

“A program that supports women in engineering.”

“Seeing campus for the first time, I felt like it was the school for me. Most schools this size are not appealing. They feel lonely and too big. This school feels small, in a good way.”

Graduating Class 0f 2022.
Graduating Class 0f 2022.

What will you miss most about UIUC?

“The amount of social opportunities and the ability to meet all types of people.”

“Resources on campus.”

“Basketball games!”

“The people.”

“Always learning something new, and not just from books.”

“The friends and mentors.”

“The nature.”

“The really great professors.”

“The beautiful campus, and the spirit/collaboration among students.”

“The dedicated study spaces and environments they have … the different diverse areas for different types of days.”

“Having something to do every day or night.”

“All the activities happening on campus and the Quad. The excitement of getting to be a part of clubs and RSOs.”


“It’s a mini city in the middle of nowhere.”

“Feeling like everyone wants the best for you and wants to help.”

We could go on, but you get the point. What makes UIUC special? It depends who you ask. But whether you’re here for the programs and professors, the RSOs and atmosphere, or the natural setting and the squirrels, UIUC has something you won’t find anywhere else. 

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1 comment

  • I got my phd in 1994 (MBA in 1988). Those 6 years 1988-94 were my best ever—and I have been to every corner of the world; so enjoy the smell of the sunsets, the run amidst the corn fields (w/ the occasional smell of horse manure). It will never be the same once you leave UIUC