What Makes UIUC Unique Compared to Other Illinois Colleges

With so many Illinois colleges and universities to choose from, it can be difficult to determine which one will be the best fit for you. When I was applying to colleges and deciding where I wanted to go, I got the great advice to keep in mind that whatever college I chose would become my new home for the next handful of years. I wouldn’t just be going to school there; I’d be living there, eating there, shopping there, and exercising there. It was just as important that I liked the college town just as much as the college itself.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has many unique characteristics, but its location in central Illinois is one of its most special ones. Champaign-Urbana is a growing small urban location that is full of local small shops and business, while also having key elements like a mall, supermarkets, and national companies that someone like myself, a Chicago native, would love and miss about being in the big city. While you won’t be seeing any skyscrapers, I have found that the biggest thing that makes UIUC unique is the special blend of small town living with urban life.

In the fall at UIUC, you can start your day by visiting the local tea shop, Walnut Street Tea Company, go shopping at Marketplace Mall in the afternoon, and go apple picking all within the same day! Places like the Walnut Street Tea Company, where you can buy any and every type of tea you could ever want, give you the small town experience that’s personal and special – there’s no big chain company that will offer you quite the same experience. Yet, on the same day, you can go out to a fancy dinner with your friends in Downtown Champaign, just like in a large city. Even a diehard city-life lover like myself isn’t immune to the charm of the local shops and eateries in Champaign-Urbana; yet, I’m still able to do a few of my favorite city-life activities.

While the opportunities and traits of the college itself are super important, so is where the college or university is physically located. UIUC really distinguishes itself from other Illinois colleges and universities by offering a special blend of different atmospheres. There really is something for everyone to do within the Champaign-Urbana, which allows a lot of students to feel a bit more comfortable in their transition to college. Hopefully, as the area continues to progress, even more folks will feel like they have a slice of home and comfort. 🙂



Class of 2021
Hey y’all, I’m a History and Gender and Women Studies double major and a French minor from Chicago! I concentrate in all things Black and Black women studies and love long-distance running.

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