uiuc supplemental essays

UIUC Supplemental Essays 2023-24

If you’re interested in attending UIUC, writing effective UIUC essays is an important step toward gaining admission. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), located in eastern Illinois, stands out as one of the premier public universities in the nation. Consequently, UIUC Admissions assesses thousands of applications and UIUC supplemental essays annually to identify strong candidates.

With UIUC’s acceptance rate hovering around 45%, many students are curious about the key to gaining admission. While a strong academic record is important in any application, the UIUC supplemental essays are crucial to your application journey. Your essays offer admissions officials a glimpse into your academic interests and how they align with UIUC offerings. Therefore, your UIUC essays can be the deciding factor in the success of your application.

Our guide to the UIUC supplemental essays will walk you through strategies to use while writing your UIUC essays. We will explore the UIUC application requirements and analyze UIUC essay prompts, including the UIUC why major essay and why UIUC essay. In each section, you’ll find valuable insights to help you craft outstanding UIUC essays. With this guide, you’ll be ready to craft compelling UIUC essays that are certain to impress University of Illinois Admissions.

First, we’ll go over some UIUC Admissions quick facts. Then, we’ll take a look at the prompts for each of the UIUC supplemental essays and how to answer them. If you’re ready to learn all about the UIUC essays, let’s get started!

UIUC Admissions: Quick Facts

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Quick Facts

  • UIUC Acceptance Rate: 45% – while UIUC’s acceptance rate is higher than other top universities, U.S. News still considers UIUC moderately selective. 
  • UIUC Application Platforms: UIUC accepts the Common Application & myIllni Application
  • UIUC Essay Requirements:
    • 1 (~650 word) personal statement essay
    • 2-3 (~150 word) UIUC supplemental essays
      • Students will respond to specific UIUC essay prompts depending on their choice of major. Your UIUC essays may include a UIUC why major essay and why UIUC essay.
  • UIUC University Application Deadlines:
    • Early Action: November 1st
    • Regular Decision: January 5th 

Please note that essay requirements are subject to change each admissions cycle, and portions of this article may have been written before the final publication of the most recent guidelines. For the most up-to-date information on essay requirements, check the university’s admissions website.

Does University of Illinois Urbana Champaign require an essay?

uiuc supplemental essays

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) requires applicants to submit UIUC supplemental essays as part of the application process. To start, all applicants must complete one personal statement essay, ranging from 250 to 650 words. This University of Illinois essay allows candidates to showcase their unique perspectives, experiences, and aspirations. The good news is that the UIUC essay prompts for this essay mirror the Common Application essay prompts. So, if you are applying to other schools via the Common App, you don’t need to write a new essay for UIUC. 

In addition to your personal statement, applicants must also submit 2 to 3 additional UIUC supplemental essays. The number of essays you write and the UIUC essay prompts you’ll respond to will depend on your chosen major(s). These major-specific UIUC supplemental essays allow applicants to delve deeper into their academic interests. In these essays, students can demonstrate an understanding of their chosen field of study and how their passions align with UIUC.

Ultimately, UIUC supplemental essays play a crucial role in providing the University of Illinois admissions committee with a comprehensive understanding of each applicant. Supplemental essays are UIUC’s main tool for seeing beyond what is reflected in a student’s academic achievements and standardized test scores. Once we go over the UIUC essay prompts, you’ll see just how important and valuable these essays can be to your application.

In the next sections, we will dive deeper into the major specific prompts. We’ll show you how to respond to these UIUC essay prompts to ensure your UIUC essays strengthen your application.

UIUC Major-Specific Prompts

uiuc supplemental essays

For those applying to a specific major at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), you can expect two major-specific UIUC essay prompts. These UIUC essays can be thought of as a UIUC why major essay and why UIUC essay. Together, these prompts are designed to gain deeper insights into your academic and personal aspirations. 

Major-specific University of Illinois Essay Prompt #1

Explain, in detail, an experience you’ve had in the past 3 to 4 years related to your first-choice major. This can be an experience from an extracurricular activity, in a class you’ve taken, or through something else. (150 words)

To craft your first UIUC why major essay, you must recount a recent, significant experience related to your first-choice major. Whether it’s an extracurricular activity, a memorable class, or any other relevant context, the connection to your intended major should be clear. Take the opportunity to provide a detailed narrative that showcases your hands-on involvement and its impact on your academic journey.

Major-specific University of Illinois Essay Prompt #2

Describe your personal and/or career goals after graduating from UIUC and how your selected first-choice major will help you achieve them. (150 words)

Your second UIUC why major essay can also be thought of as a why UIUC essay. In your essay, you’ll want to articulate your personal and/or career goals following graduation from UIUC. However, you’ll also need to explain how completing your first-choice major at UIUC aligns with and contributes to these aspirations. This prompt requires thoughtful reflection on your long-term vision, drawing clear connections between your academic pursuits at UIUC and your personal and professional journey. 

Strong college candidates will have clear goals and a track record of commitment to their education. By addressing these UIUC essays with sincerity and depth, you can present a compelling case for your suitability and enthusiasm for your chosen major.

UIUC Undeclared Major Program Essay Prompts

uiuc supplemental essays

Students applying to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) as an undeclared major can also anticipate two UIUC essay prompts. These UIUC supplemental essays are specifically tailored for students who are still undecided. These UIUC supplemental essays are similar to the major-specific essays in that you’ll still be discussing your academic interests and future goals.

Undeclared Major University of Illinois Essay Prompt #1

What are your academic interests? Please include 2-3 majors you’re considering at Illinois and why. (150 words)

This essay invites you to share varied academic interests, requesting that you include specific majors you are considering at Illinois. Be sure to select specific major programs, rather than more general areas of study, and elaborate on the reasons behind your choices. This University of Illinois essay lets you showcase your curiosity and thought process in exploring potential academic paths. So, even if you’re undecided, you can still show the admissions committee what topics pique your curiosity.

Undeclared Major University of Illinois Essay Prompt #2

What are your future career or academic goals? You may include courses you took in high school and how these impacted your goals. (150 words)

For this essay, you must articulate your future aspirations for college and beyond. You are also encouraged to look back on previous experiences and include details about high school courses that have inspired you. This University of Illinois essay prompt allows you to reflect on not just what you want to accomplish but also why. In your essay, aim to create a narrative that demonstrates the alignment between your educational background and future endeavors. 

Even if you aren’t sure what you want to study, that doesn’t mean you can’t wow admissions with your essays. By responding thoughtfully to these UIUC essays, you can present a well-rounded picture of your academic interests and future ambitions. 

UIUC Second-Choice Major Essay Prompt

uiuc supplemental essays

For those who have chosen a second-choice major, including undeclared, UIUC provides a specific essay prompt to delve into your motivations and aspirations. Although this University of Illinois essay is technically optional, UIUC strongly recommends students select a second-choice major and complete this essay.

Second-Choice Major University of Illinois Essay Prompt

Please explain your interest in your second-choice major or your overall academic or career goals. (150 words)

This University of Illinois essay allows applicants to convey the reasons behind selecting a secondary major or to elucidate their broader academic and professional objectives. In responding to this UIUC essay prompt, consider sharing the factors that fuel your interest in the chosen second major and how it aligns with your overall academic and career trajectory. Whether you have a clear career path or are exploring various academic avenues, use this essay to showcase your thoughtful consideration of your academic journey and your second-choice major’s role in shaping your educational and professional aspirations. Crafting a compelling response to this prompt will strengthen your application by giving the admissions committee valuable insights into your motivations and future plans at UIUC.

How to write UIUC Essays?

You will notice that UIUC essays are uniquely tailored to outline your personal experiences within your interests. This reflects UIUC’s commitment to truly understanding who you are as a student and how your academic environment can contribute to your desired development.

With limited space, your essays need to be focused and concise, and writing them may require a touch of creativity. Approaching the UIUC essays requires careful consideration and authenticity to effectively communicate how UIUC aligns with your academic interests. Therefore, use the following steps to help craft your UIUC supplemental essays:

Self-reflection is Key

Self-reflection is a crucial first step in preparing your UIUC supplemental essays. Take the time to delve into who you are, what matters to you, and why you are an exceptional fit for UIUC. Focus on your individuality and consider what aspects of your personality and experiences have been vital to your growth. This preliminary exploration is pivotal to choosing strong topics for each of the UIUC essay prompts.

Choose the Common App Prompt That Fits You

While the major-specific UIUC essays will depend on your selected major, you do have the opportunity to choose your personal statement prompt. When deciding between the UIUC essay prompts, choose the one that aligns best with your experiences and interests. For instance, if overcoming a challenge has significantly shaped your perspective, consider the UIUC essay prompts related to resilience. Similarly, if you’ve achieved a noteworthy accomplishment, opt for the UIUC essay prompts inviting reflection on success. Your goal when choosing between the UIUC essay prompts is to pick one that effectively showcases your best qualities. (Especially those that make you a valuable addition to UIUC’s academic community.)

Be Creative, Be Different, Stand Out

Given the intimate nature of UIUC supplemental essays, don’t be afraid to be creative! Craft your narrative with innovation, experimenting with storytelling elements such as chronology and story arcs. Use dialogue and imagery to enhance the personal touch of your UIUC essays, providing admissions with a vivid portrayal of your unique qualities. Instead of merely stating preferences, vividly illustrate your interests. For instance, rather than stating a love for reading, you might vividly depict the hours spent engrossed in books.

By adhering to these steps, you will undoubtedly capture the attention of the admissions team. Remember, there is no singular formula for writing UIUC essays. Infuse your personality and distinctive experiences into your UIUC supplemental essays (and answer the prompts!) and you’ll be on the right track. Beyond these guidelines, you can find more detailed writing advice in this article on “How to Write Better Essays.” 

Does UIUC care about essays?

Yes, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) certainly cares about your UIUC supplemental essays. UIUC takes pride in its thorough admissions process. While academic excellence is essential, UIUC recognizes that true potential encompasses more than just grades. This holistic approach is exemplified by the significance attributed to things like your background, interests, and previous accomplishments and challenges. These things are hard to tell from numbers alone, which is what makes your UIUC supplemental essays so important.

The emphasis on UIUC supplemental essays reflects the university’s strategic decision to identify individuals who resonate with its values of academic excellence, innovation, and a commitment to societal impact. The UIUC essays offer applicants a platform to share their personal stories, experiences, and aspirations, enabling the admissions committee to better understand each candidate’s unique qualities and perspectives.

Therefore, crafting impactful UIUC supplemental essays is one of the most important steps in the application process. UIUC essays are not just a showcase of writing skills but a window into your character, revealing your commitment to contributing to UIUC’s academic and innovative community.

What is the UIUC known for?

uiuc supplemental essays

UIUC is renowned for its exceptional academic programs, cutting-edge research initiatives, and a vibrant campus community. UIUC consistently ranks among the top public universities in the United States and is recognized for its outstanding engineering, computer science, and business programs. So, let’s dive deeper into some of UIUC’s best qualities:

Top-Tier Engineering Programs

UIUC is consistently recognized for its outstanding engineering programs, particularly electrical engineering and computer science. (U.S. News has UIUC ranking #5 in Best Undergraduate Engineering and Computer Science Programs). The Grainger College of Engineering has a distinguished reputation for producing graduates who excel in the technological and industrial sectors.

Cutting-Edge Research Facilities

UIUC is a research-intensive institution with state-of-the-art facilities. For example, the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology is a hub for interdisciplinary research, fostering collaborations among scientists, engineers, and scholars to address complex global challenges.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The university strongly commits to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. The Research Park at UIUC provides a supportive ecosystem for startups and industry partnerships, allowing students and researchers to translate their ideas into real-world applications.

Academic Excellence in Business

UIUC’s Gies College of Business consistently ranks among the best in the nation. (U.S. News’ UIUC ranking highlights Gies as one of the Top 10 public undergraduate business programs in the country.) The Gies College of Business offers cutting-edge programs, including the highly regarded MBA. It is known for its emphasis on experiential learning and preparing students for leadership roles in the business world.

Diverse and Inclusive Campus

UIUC takes pride in its diverse and inclusive campus community. With students from around the globe and a wide range of cultural organizations within its 800 clubs and student organizations, the university provides a dynamic environment that encourages cross-cultural understanding and collaboration.

It’s no secret that UIUC is a top-tier institution. Known for academic excellence, research impact, and diversity, UIUC prepares its graduates for success in a rapidly evolving global landscape.

More supplemental essay resources from CollegeAdvisor

As you begin crafting your application for UIUC, consider exploring additional resources from CollegeAdvisor to enhance your preparation. These valuable tools are designed to provide expert guidance throughout the application process, ensuring you present your strongest and most authentic version of yourself. CollegeAdvisor’s resources go beyond the conventional and offer tailored advice for navigating specific aspects of the application journey.

Here are a few resources to check out before you start your application to UIUC:

  • How to Get into UIUC Guide: This guide is a treasure trove of information, offering a detailed roadmap for securing admission to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It provides strategic insights into UIUC’s admissions process, tips for writing compelling UIUC essays, and advice on showcasing your unique qualities to stand out in the competitive applicant pool.
  • College Essay Topics: Crafting impactful essays is a crucial aspect of the application process. This College Essay Topics resource assists you in exploring creative and meaningful ideas for your essays. It provides inspiration and guidance to help you tell your story in a way that resonates with admissions committees.
  • How to Start a Personal Statement: Your very first sentence will set the tone for your entire essay. This resource offers practical tips on how to start a personal statement effectively, helping you capture the reader’s attention from the outset. Learn how to craft a compelling opening that reflects your voice and establishes a strong foundation for your narrative.

Exploring these resources will undoubtedly enhance your understanding of the application process. That way, you can feel empowered to create compelling materials, increasing your chances of success at UIUC and other esteemed universities.

UIUC Supplemental Essays – Final Thoughts

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) presents a unique and dynamic opportunity for prospective students. With UIUC ranking #30 in the nation by Forbes, UIUC stands as one of the nation’s premier public universities in the Midwest. UIUC’s rigorous admissions process underscores its commitment to identifying candidates who both excel academically and align with its values.

The UIUC application process goes beyond standardized test scores, reflecting the university’s commitment to understanding the values and aspirations of each applicant. As such, the UIUC supplemental essays are incredibly important. UIUC essays require self-reflection, creativity, and a genuine connection to UIUC’s academic environment.

Before you go, here are some final takeaways from our guide to the UIUC supplemental essays. 

Navigating the UIUC essay prompts

  • The major-specific UIUC essay prompts offer applicants a chance to showcase hands-on involvement and articulate how their chosen major aligns with their personal and career goals.
  • Undeclared major applicants can express their academic interests and future aspirations through the tailored UIUC essay prompts, providing a glimpse into their exploration of potential academic paths.
  • The UIUC second-choice major essay prompts allow applicants to delve into the motivations behind their secondary major or articulate broader academic and professional objectives, adding depth to their application.

Tips for writing your UIUC essays

  • Resources from CollegeAdvisor, such as the “How to Get into UIUC Guide,” “College Essay Topics,” and “How to Start a Personal Statement,” provide strategic insights and practical tips to enhance your application journey, especially your UIUC essays.
  • UIUC supplemental essays are essential for conveying your unique qualities and commitment to UIUC’s academic and innovative community. Approach the UIUC essays with authenticity, creativity, and a genuine connection to the university’s values, ensuring your application stands out in the competitive University of Illinois admissions process.

With these strategies, you can create UIUC essays that meet the requirements, stand out, and make a lasting impression on the UIUC admissions committee. We wish you the best of luck with your application and writing your UIUC supplemental essays. And good luck on your application journey!

uiuc supplemental essays

This article was written by senior advisor, Ashley Hollins. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.