You Are A Fighting Illini! Now Where Do We Begin?

Welcome Home

To the newly admitted students: welcome to the University of Illinois. There are so many amazing things that you will experience here and learn about throughout your time at U of I. Did you know that whipped cream in a can was invented here at U of I? How about the fact that two of the co-founders of YouTube are one of the many notable U of I alumni? Sean Evans, the creator of the YouTube series Hot Ones, and Nick Offerman are also a part of the notable alumni club. We have one of the best (if not the best) basketball teams in the Big Ten and our Morrow Plots is the oldest agricultural field in the United States. There are so many great and interesting facts about U of I and you, along with everyone else, will add to that long list of notable alumni, fun facts, inventions, and so much more (no pressure). But first, let’s talk about some first-year tips. 

Living Options

If you are a newly admitted freshman, you are required to live in university housing. So, hold off on looking for apartments for right now. There are great dorms on campus to live in and, even though you will feel a sense of community while here at U of I, you will find your first group of friends while living in a dorm. There are dorms in Urbana north and Urbana south, as well as Ikenberry Commons North and Ikenberry Commons South (which are both located in the Champaign area). ISR (Urbana north), Wassaja and Nugent Hall (located in Ikenberry Commons North) have recently been renovated, so there are great amenities that come with choosing those halls! Also, there are several dining hall options: Ikenberry, PAR, FAR, LAR, and ISR. As long as you have a meal plan, you’re allowed to eat at any of these dining halls, regardless of where you live. You can find more information at Happy searching!

For transfer students who are sophomores and up, you can live in dorms if you choose, but you have the option to choose apartments, which are also available on the university housing website. You may also search for apartments by searching through other search engines, including different property management companies and Apartment properties, such as Green Street Realty and Community Property Management, also leave a lot of flyers around campus, may send emails, and host events to encourage students to schedule apartment tours. You will see tons of apartment options throughout campus, especially on Green Street. There are so many options, and you will certainly hear about them either from a friend or run into a property that sparks your interest.

Tips for Finding Your Classes

The University of Illinois is a big campus, and that can be overwhelming for first-year students. You can certainly ask someone where a certain building is located and they will be more than willing to help you out; however, depending on who you ask, you may receive different responses. For example, if you ask someone where the Materials Science and Engineering building is, one person might say, “On the Engineering quad”, and another person may say, “On Green Street”. Both are true, but if you aren’t familiar with where either other these locations are, it can be frustrating. This is not to discourage you from asking other people for help, but here are a few tips that I think are useful: 

  • The main quad is mainly composed of the Liberal Arts and Sciences buildings, as well as where the Illini Union is located. The Engineering Quad is located on Green Street and is sometimes referred to as the Bardeen Quadrangle. This is where most of the undergraduate facilities are located. The Beckman Quadrangle includes undergraduate and graduate facilities. The South Quad comprises most of the buildings of the College of ACES. You will also find the architecture and education buildings here.
  • The Google maps app is one of my best friends. As long as you are on campus, you’re never really too far from anything, especially with the buses that run in every direction. Google maps may sound like a cheat code, but it’s very efficient. Put in whatever building you’re looking for and find the bus that will surely take you there. If you’re lucky, it might even be a few steps away. 

Attend Events

The energy at U of I events is thrilling! UIUC sports are always exciting because we have amazing teams and the support from the UIUC crowd is always present. There are movie nights at the union where students can watch throwbacks and newly released movies. Trivia Tuesdays, Karaoke nights, and more at the Illini Union will prove just how competitive, fun, and talented UIUC students are. There is a roller-skating club, cooking classes at the ARC, a skydiving club, and so much more. You can find them all on the registered student organization website. There are social events fit for everyone and their interests. There’s always something fun and exciting to do, whether it is with your friends, on the quad, or with your clubs/ student organizations. Don’t be too nervous to have some fun!



Class of 2022
Born in Chicago, Illinois, I am a senior pursuing a degree in Communication-based on my interests in writing and media. Aside from writing, I love to listen to music and roller skate! I hope to inspire people to discover the great resources and opportunities that UIUC offers and ways to enjoy the college experience!

1 comment

  • Anaya,

    This is such great information! UIUC is such a welcoming place and it is always so exciting to see new faces on campus. I hope you don’t mind, but I wanted to add another helpful first-year tip.

    I recommend checking out The Career Center. We equip students of all majors and degree levels–including first-year students–with the important tools and resources to empower and prepare them for the next step in their academic and and career path. We help with career and major exploration, job internship preparation, health profession advising, and graduate and professional school assistance. We offer a wide-range of FREE services such as career coaching and assessment, drop-in advising, resume and cover letter reviews, LinkedIn profile assistance, and many different workshop and events. Visit us online at: and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

    One more first-year tip. Sign up on Handshake at https;// to find jobs and internships, and to register for career-related campus events.