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How to Get Into UIUC Guide–General Information

The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC) is Illinois’s largest and most well-known public university. It was founded in 1867 and is home to 33,500 undergraduate students and 17,800 graduate students.

What we’ll cover in this How to Get Into UIUC Guide:

  • University of Illinois GPA requirements
  • Average UIUC SAT scores
  • University of Illinois Acceptance Rate
  • Details on UIUC Early Action
  • UIUC Application Deadline
  • How to approach the UIUC Supplemental Essays
  • UIUC Interview

When thinking about how to get into UIUC, make sure every aspect of your application—including your GPA, UIUC SAT scores, UIUC supplemental essays, and all Common Application materials—is top-notch. You do not need to conduct a UIUC interview. You should also start planning how to get into UIUC well before the UIUC application deadline.

Figuring out how to get into UIUC takes strategy. We can help. CollegeAdvisor.com’s network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former admissions officers) includes UIUC graduates. Want to maximize your UIUC admissions odds?  Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272. 

How to get into UIUC

As mentioned, the question of how to get into UIUC involves many factors. Although there is no formal UIUC interview, the application process does include written components, test scores, activity lists, and a review of your high school academic record. Beating the UIUC acceptance rate requires excellence across all of these metrics. 

One important factor to consider is when to apply. Many students choose to apply to UIUC Early Action in order to increase their chances of admission. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of applying through UIUC Early Action (or “priority admission”). 

Although there is no official UIUC Early Action deadline, they do offer priority admission to students who submit their applications by November 1st. This priority admission is very similar to a UIUC Early Action deadline, as it gives students first priority for places in the most selective programs at UIUC. Those students also get first consideration for merit awards and scholarships.

How hard is it to get into University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign?

According to US News and World Report, the University of Illinois’s acceptance rate is 63%, making it a more selective school. The University of Illinois acceptance rate for Illinois residents is almost 10 points higher than the rate for non-residents (70% vs 60%). So, your chances of getting in are lower if you are not an Illinois resident. 

UIUC has an overall ranking of 47 among US universities. Among public universities, UIUC ranks 15th. UIUC also has top ten programs in Accounting, (#3), Computer Science (#5), and Engineering (#6). These programs have acceptance rates that are slightly lower than the average University of Illinois acceptance rate. So, the University of Illinois GPA requirements are stricter for how to get into UIUC in these programs.

What is the average GPA for University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign?

When thinking about how to get into UIUC, GPA is an important factor. The University of Illinois GPA requirements vary between UIUC’s many colleges. However, the middle 50% of students overall have a GPA between 3.50-3.94. The most selective colleges in UIUC are the Gies College of Business (3.61-3.95) and the Grainger College of Engineering (3.75-4.00). 

The average UIUC SAT scores range from 1300-1500 without the writing section. The average ACT scores range from 28-34. However, if your GPA is lower than 3.5, don’t worry; you can still get accepted. We’ll go over strategies for how to get into UIUC throughout this guide.

Although the University of Illinois’s acceptance rate does not seem low, UIUC is still a competitive school. This is especially true in Business and Engineering, where the University of Illinois GPA requirements are stricter. No matter which field you want to pursue, you must craft a strong application. 

Start early so you have time to plan before the UIUC application deadline. And even though you cannot apply to a UIUC Early Action program, you can still apply with priority admission.

What does the UIUC application look like?

The UIUC application consists of the Common Application or Coalition Application plus the UIUC supplement, which includes the UIUC supplemental essays. Students can also apply through the school’s Myillini portal. No matter which platform you choose for how to get into UIUC, you must submit a high school transcript and a summary of your extracurriculars. 

Applicants must submit:

  • The Common Application, Coalition Application, or Myillini Application
  • The UIUC supplement and UIUC supplemental essays
  • Your high school courses and the grades you achieved in those courses
  • Your application fee or fee waiver
  • A final high school transcript, if admitted

Submitting UIUC SAT scores or ACT scores is optional, but high UIUC SAT scores can strengthen your chance for admission. If you took either test and scored well, we recommend that you submit your scores. 

Most applicants do not need to conduct a UIUC interview or submit letters of recommendation as part of how to get into UIUC. However, some programs, including theater and music, do ask students to complete a UIUC interview.

What extracurriculars does UIUC like?

One of the most vital parts of how to get into UIUC is a strong activities list. Here, you tell the admissions team what you do outside the classroom. Given the University of Illinois acceptance rate, a strong extracurricular resume can help your application stand out. 

When it comes to your extracurriculars, the two most important factors are leadership and consistency. Colleges like UIUC want to see that students have held leadership positions and have stayed involved in their activities over several years. So, choose extracurriculars that you care about and can commit to. Don’t just join clubs because you think they will look good on your college applications.

Alignment

UIUC also looks at how your extracurriculars align with the field of study you want to pursue. So, think about how you can use your activities to dive deeper into your academic interests. For instance, a potential engineering major might join a robotics club, or a potential English major might become editor-in-chief of their high school literary magazine. Whatever you like to do, try to connect it to your extracurricular activities.

Beyond the University of Illinois GPA requirements and the UIUC SAT scores, your activities list lets you show the admissions team who you are and what matters to you. If you’re a sophomore or junior, explore what your school or community has to offer. If you’re a senior, see about taking a leadership role in a group you’ve been with for a while and start making a list of your key activities.

What is the acceptance rate for the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign?

The overall University of Illinois acceptance rate is 63%, meaning that almost two-thirds of applicants get in. However, this number is slightly lower (60%) for applicants outside of Illinois and slightly higher (69%) for Illinois residents. In 2020, 43,473 students applied and 27,520 were accepted. 

While most applicants get in, you should still put your best foot forward in your UIUC application. This includes submitting UIUC SAT scores and writing strong UIUC supplemental essays. The University of Illinois acceptance rate does not mean you’ll get in. Plus, the more work you do before the UIUC application deadline, the better your chances will be. 

There is no option to apply to UIUC Early Action. However, if you apply by November 1st, you can be eligible for priority admission. Meeting this UIUC application deadline increases your chance of admission, especially for the school’s most selective programs.

Want to learn more about acceptance rates? Check out our expert guide.

Do UIUC applicants get interviews?

According to the UIUC admissions website, not all students are offered a UIUC interview. Because UIUC has so many applicants, there are not enough staff members to support a UIUC interview process. So, regardless of whether you apply through regular or priority admission (the alternative to UIUC Early Action), you will most likely not complete an interview. 

However, if you are planning to apply for a major in fine arts, music, or theater, you will need to complete a UIUC interview.

How to write the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign essays

In addition to the Common Application or Coalition Application essay prompt, you must also submit several UIUC supplemental essays before the UIUC application deadline. There are two UIUC supplemental essays, and the prompts differ based on whether you apply to a specific major. 

If you apply to a specific major, the UIUC supplemental essays will ask you to reflect on your experiences that have led you to pursue this major. The key here is to be selective. You only have 150 words, so you should only discuss 1-2 major experiences rather than trying to mention everything you have done. Try to choose experiences that showcase your growth.

UIUC will also ask you to reflect on how your major relates to your career goals. This is your chance to show UIUC how you will use your time there they provide by referencing programs, courses, and other features UIUC offers. Be as specific as possible to show your investment in UIUC.

No major, no problem

If you’re wondering how to get into UIUC without a chosen major, don’t worry. The UIUC supplemental essays for undeclared students are similar—the language is just more general. These questions address your identity and interests, letting you show how UIUC fits your goals. The UIUC supplemental essays also allow you to showcase your personality and show off your writing skills. 

Make sure you give yourself time to write and revise all of your UIUC supplemental essays. Even if you meet the University of Illinois GPA requirements, strong writing is a great way to show your strengths. Stellar essays are key to any prime “how to get into UIUC” strategy.

How does the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign review applications?

The UIUC website contains details about how the admissions team reviews applications. You can use this information to learn more about how to get into UIUC. 

After the UIUC application deadline, the first thing that UIUC looks for is the rigor of your courses. Put another way, they want to see whether you took the hardest courses offered at your high school. 

While there are no University of Illinois GPA requirements, UIUC does look at your GPA. So, having high grades in hard classes is the best way to strengthen your “how to get into UIUC” strategy. Remember that the average UIUC applicant has a GPA from 3.50-3.94. You can use this metric in place of any University of Illinois GPA requirements. 

UIUC also wants to see that you’ve engaged deeply with extracurriculars that match your interests. So, make sure to include activities on your list that relate to your chosen major. The UIUC supplemental essays are also a great place to show this interest.

Holistic review

UIUC holistically reviews applications submitted by the UIUC application deadline. They consider an applicant’s background and the opportunities available to them in high school. According to the website, “[UIUC’s] admissions review process focuses on how an individual student maximizes the educational offerings available to them and how that student has demonstrated academic achievement within their unique context.” So, if your high school does not offer AP classes but you took the hardest classes available, don’t worry. You will not be penalized by any University of Illinois GPA requirements.

Finally, UIUC is test-optional, meaning that applicants do not need to report their UIUC SAT scores. However, we advise you to take either the SAT or ACT if you can. A strong score will strengthen your application, especially given the University of Illinois acceptance rate. Because there is no UIUC interview, your UIUC SAT scores can help set you apart.

Will UIUC look at my social media accounts?

Because of the sheer number of applications that UIUC receives every year, it is unlikely that UIUC will look at your social media pages. In fact, social media presence is listed among the factors NOT considered in the application review process. This means that your social media presence will neither help nor hinder your application.

However, this is not a license to post anything you want onto your social media profiles. Employers and internship coordinators may still check your profiles, and anything inappropriate can jeopardize your ability to access opportunities. So, even though it will not impact your UIUC application itself, posting responsibly on social media is vital. 

Is UIUC a good school for me?

In addition to asking “how do I get into UIUC,” you should also consider whether UIUC is a good fit for you. Despite the University of Illinois acceptance rate and the school’s popularity, UIUC is not the best school for everyone. 

UIUC is located in Urbana, a city of approximately 50,000 people. So, you should expect more of a college town setting. The city caters mostly to students, with less activity in the summer months. 

If you prefer a smaller school or one that is closer to a large city, UIUC may not be the best fit for you. The most important thing to do is research the school and see if it matches your needs. The school you choose should set you up for a successful future. 

Wondering whether UIUC is right for you? One good place to start is by checking the list of majors to see if UIUC offers programs in your chosen field. Then, visit the webpage for your future major to see what courses are available.

Additional tips to get into University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

Start Early

It is best to start planning well ahead of the UIUC application deadline. Plus, even though there is not an option to apply to UIUC Early Action, you are eligible for priority admission if you apply by November 1st. Getting your materials turned in well before the UIUC application deadline can help secure your spot.

Be authentic

UIUC uses the application and UIUC supplemental essays to get to know you. Let your passions shine through. Colleges look for enthusiastic and driven learners, so highlight your honors and interests.

Get help

Consider letting a parent, teacher, or advisor look over your application and offer suggestions about how to get into UIUC. However, don’t let them write your responses for you; make sure your unique voice shines through.


This guide was written by Alex Baggott-Rowe, Davidson ’16. If you want to know how to get into UIUC or how to get stronger UIUC SAT scores, we’ve got you covered. CollegeAdvisor.com’s network of 300+ Admissions Experts (and former admissions officers) includes UIUC graduates. Create your free account or schedule a free advising consultation by calling (844) 343-6272.