University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Ivy Scholars guide to the University of Illinois’ culture, admissions, and other essential information for prospective students and their families.

Location: Urbana-Champaign, Illinois

Mascot: None

Type: Public Research Institution

Population: 51,200 (33,800 undergrads)

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University of Illinois Seal

About Illinois

The flagship university of the University of Illinois system, UIUC was founded as a land grant college to provide technical training and liberal education to the newly minted state of Illinois. A member of the Big 10 conference, the school is one of the top public schools and most competitive athletic programs in the country. Students go on to work in tech, finance, and numerous scientific fields.

Illinois Statistics

Year Founded: 1867

4 Year Graduation Rate: 71%

Gender Distribution: 55% male, 45% female

Acceptance Rate: 62%

Residency: 87% in state, 3% out of state, 20% international

Location Type: College Town

Schedule System: Semesters

Student/Faculty Ratio: 20:1

Average Class Size: 30

Demographics: 45% Caucasian, 20% Other or unknown, 18% Asian, 11% Hispanic, 6% Black

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National Rankings

US News Rankings:

  • #2 Best Undergraduate Accounting Programs
  • #6 Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs
  • #14 Top Public Schools
  • #48 National Universities
  • #52 Most Innovative Schools

Independent Rankings:

  • #14 Public Colleges per Niche
  • #15 Public Colleges per Forbes
  • #22 National Universities per Money Magazine
  • #47 US Colleges per The Times of Higher Education
  • #48 World Universities per The Times of Higher Education
  • #50 Best Value Colleges per Forbes
  • #68 Top Colleges per Forbes

Illinois Admissions Information

Application Deadlines:

  • Early Action: November 15th
  • Regular Decision: January 5th
  • Transfer Deadline: March 1st

Notification Dates:

  • Early Action: Mid-February
  • Regular Decision: Mid-February

Acceptance Rates:

  • EA: 62%
  • RD: 62% 
  • Transfer: 51%

Average Applicant Pool: 39,000

Average Number of Applicants Accepted: 24,000

Average Number Enrolled: 7,500

Application Systems: Common App, Coalition App

Average GPA: 3.83 weighted

SAT Scores: 25th% – 1220, 75th% – 1480

ACT Scores: 25th% – 26, 75th% – 32

*Test mandatory. Writing sections are not required.

Demonstrated Interest:

UIUC does not consider demonstrated interest.

Recommendation Letter Policies:

UIUC does not accept letters of recommendation, and will remove them from a student’s profile if they are included.

Illinois Essay Prompts:

  • Common App Personal Statement (650 words)
  • Explain your interest in the major you selected and describe how you have recently explored or developed this interest inside and/or outside the classroom. You may also explain how this major relates to your future career goals. If you’re applying to the Division of General Studies, explain your academic interests and strengths or your future career goals. You may include any majors or areas of study you’re currently considering. Limit your response to 300 to 400 words.
  • If you select a second-choice major other than the Division of General Studies on your application, write a second essay explaining your interest in this major, too. Again, limit your response to 300 to 400 words.
  • UIUC Essay Writing Tips

Special Notes:

  • Applications are automatically used to determine eligibility for Honors programs and merit scholarships.
  • Art and Design applicants are required to submit a portfolio. Auditions are required from students interested in dance, music, or theatre.


  • Students should reference this page for information on transferring credits and whether their preferred major is available.
  • Transfer students have their own essay requirement: 
    • In 300 words or less, describe how your academic interest and/or professional goals will be fulfilled in your intended program of study at UIUC. If you’re applying to the Division of General Studies, explain your academic interests and strengths or your future career goals. You may include any majors or areas of study you are currently considering.
  • Students must choose their major when applying.
  • High school and university transcripts are required. Test scores are required if you have 30 or fewer semester hours at a college, and recommended if you have 30-59 semester hours.
  • Social work applicants have an additional application.

Illinois Academics


Core Requirements:

  • All students are required to take core courses to gain mastery of certain areas. Core classes will satisfy one or more of the following categories: Composition; Advanced Composition; Humanities and the Arts; Natural Sciences and Technology; Quantitative Reasoning; Social and Behavioral Sciences; and Cultural Studies
  • Comprehensive Degree Requirement Information

Courses of Study: 

  • Majors Offered
  • Option to double major
  • Popular majors include Child Development, Accounting, Economics, Communication & Media Studies, and Cell Biology
  • Changing a major within a school is simpler, changing between schools is much harder.
  • Minors Offered
  • Course Catalog

AP Credit Policies:

Special Programs

Honors Programs:

  • Honors Programs James Scholars and Chancellor’s Scholars are two somewhat overlapping honors programs offered by UIUC. Both offer additional academic and scholarship opportunities. Students are automatically considered for admission when they apply, or may apply to the programs later.
  • Departmental Honors (contact individual departments for more information)
  • University Honors (includes Latin Honors [summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude] based on cumulative GPA)
  • Academic Honors Societies

Research Availability:

Study Abroad: 

Business Options: 

  • The Gies College of Business offers 8 majors each granting a BS degree. They offer a business minor to all students.
  • Students are automatically considered for the Honors Program in business when they apply to the school.
  • Students are automatically considered for Scholarships at the time of their application.

Pre-Med Options:

Pre-Law Options:

Computer Science Options: 

Additional Specialty Programs: 

Programs for High Schoolers:

  • Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE) summer programs offer talented students from around the world a variety of residential programs on the schools campus, where they can take courses and conduct research.
  • Pre-college Summer Programs offered by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences allow students to explore subjects in that school that interest them.

Student Life at Illinois

Motto: Learning and Labor

Mission and Values:

  • Mission: The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is charged by our state to enhance the lives of citizens in Illinois, across the nation and around the world through our leadership in learning, discovery, engagement and economic development.
  • Additional Information
  • Student Testimonials (Niche, Unigo, Grad Reports)

Residential Housing System:

There are 24 residence halls operated by the university. First year students are required to live on campus, many move off-campus or into greek housing after their first year. There are a number of private dorms which are affiliated with but not directly run by the university where some upperclassmen live.

Housing Statistics:

  • 99% of freshmen live on campus

Campus & Surrounding Area:  



  • HomecomingOne of the largest events of the year, featuring a weekend long series of events and celebrations.
  • Eternal FlameLegend states that lovers who kiss in front of this campus statue will have “eternal bliss.”
  • Quad DayStudent organizations gather on the main quad the day before classes begin in the fall to recruit new members.
  • Lincoln’s NoseStudents rub the nose of a bust of Abraham Lincoln for good luck on upcoming exams.

Student-Run Organizations: 


Greek Life: 

  • 25% of students participate in Greek life, including 59 fraternities and 37 sororities.


  • The towns of Champaign-Urbana offer a plethora of nightlife options, including music, restaurants, and art.
  • The party scene is dominated by frat parties, although house and apartment parties are also common among upperclassmen.
  • Ranked the #5 Top Party School in America by Niche

Financial Information

Yearly Cost of Attendance:

  • Total: $50,604-55,698
  • Tuition and Fees: $34,312-39,406 (depending on school and program)
  • Room & Board: $12,252
  • Books: $1,200
  • Personal Expenses: $2,840

Financial Aid:

All students are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to be eligible for aid from the school. Aid comes in the form of grants, loans, and student amployemnt. Illinois residents whose families make $67,100 or less each year are guaranteed full tuition benefits through the Illinois Commitment.

Additional Financial Aid & Student Loan Information


All admitted freshmen are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships. These are primarily given out on the basis of academic performance. Many of the colleges offer their own merit-based aid, in addition to the university-wide programs. The honors programs offer further funding opportunities.

Fun Facts

  • The school purportedly held the first ever homecoming game against the Chicago Maroons in 1910, though this is disputed by other schools claiming to be originators of the homecoming game tradition.
  • The school’s former mascot, Chief Illiniwek, was removed in 2007 due to its insensitive nature. The school has not had a mascot since, although students have held a referendum requesting the belted kingfisher become their mascot, as it is naturally blue and orange.
  • The school was initially named Illinois Industrial University.
  • The campus contains the largest “browsable” library in the US, with over 5,000,000 volumes in a single location.
  • Notable alumni include Hugh Hefner, Youtube founders Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, and President of Ecuador Rafael Correa. 
  • Children’s author Shel SIlversteen attended the school, but was expelled due to poor grades.
Wendy Y.
Below is my son's review. He was accepted to his dream Ivy League school!

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Arda E.
I used Ivy Scholars to mainly help me with college applications. Within weeks of using this service, Sasha was able to simplify the already complex process. When it came to writing the Common App essay, Sasha didn’t just help with grammar and syntax, he brought my essays to life. Sasha also worked tirelessly to help solidify my extracurricular activities, including research and internship opportunities. Without his help, I would have never had an impressive resume.

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