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- How Hard Is It to Get Into the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
- Average Academic Profile of Accepted University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Students
- What is the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Looking For
- How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Into the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
- How to Apply to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, or simply UIUC, is home to the second-largest university library system in the U.S., trailing only Harvard. The enormous amount of resources available on UIUC’s campus has paid off, the school is home to 23 Nobel Prize winners and 26 Pulitzer Prize winners. It’s not all academics at UIUC, though—the school has a hard work ethic and consistently ranks among the top party schools in the nation.
With all that this school has to offer, it’s no surprise tens of thousands of students apply each year. So, what does it take to be one of the lucky ones who gains admission? Keep reading to find out!
How Hard Is It to Get Into the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign?
It’s no piece of cake to gain admission to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. In 2021, UIUC received 43,473 applications for its Class of 2025 and admitted just 27,520 students—an overall acceptance rate of 63%.
Although UIUC’s acceptance rate is low, your personal chances of acceptance depend on the strength of your profile. CollegeVine’s free admissions calculator can help you to better understand your odds at UIUC. Our data-driven chancing engine uses factors like your grades, test scores, and extracurriculars to estimate your odds of admission and provide tips to
improve your profile.
Average Academic Profile of Accepted University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Students
The middle 50% range GPA of the last three years of students admitted to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is 3.50-3.94 (using an unweighted 4.0 scale).
The middle 50% SAT and ACT scores of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Class of 2025 are 1220-1450 and 27-33, respectively. Due to the challenges COVID-19 presented to standardized testing, UIUC practiced test-optional admissions for its Class of 2025, though 58% of enrolling new students submitted an SAT or ACT score.
UIUC’s Class of 2025 consistently placed near the top of their high school classes; 52% were in the top tenth of their class and 86% graduated in the top quarter.
What is the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College Looking for?
The University of Illinois Urbana-Chicago is a state-funded college and attracts a large number of students from Illinois. In-state students make up approximately 70% of UIUC’s Class of 2025—5,835 of the 8,303 enrolled freshmen hail from The Land of Lincoln.
Don’t think that the large number of in-state students leads to a homogeneous campus, however. The Class of 2025 contains students hailing from 44 states and 44 countries. Roughly one in five members of the Class of 2025 are from underrepresented groups and almost the same percentage are first-generation college students.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, UIUC is home to more students of color than any other top-ranked Midwest university.
How the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College Evaluates Applications
According to their 2020-2021 Common Data Set, UIUC considers the following factors “very important”:
- Course rigor
These factors are “important”:
- Test scores
- Extracurricular activities
These are “considered”:
- First generation
- Geographic residence
- State residence
- Racial/ethnic status
- Volunteer work
- Work experience
And these are “not considered”:
- Applicant interest
- Class rank
- Religious affiliation
How to Improve Your Chances of Getting into the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
1. Achieve at least a 3.94 GPA while taking the most challenging classes available.
GPA and class rigor are the only two factors that the University of Illinois Urbana Chicago considers “very important” to admissions decisions. The middle 50% GPA range of the last three years of students admitted to the university was 3.50-3.94. For serious consideration as an applicant, you’ll need all, or nearly all, As in the most challenging courses available to you. This means, you should be taking honors, AP, or IB courses whenever possible to boost your GPA and impress admissions officers.
Selective schools like UIUC receive a massive number of applications and use a tool known as the Academic Index to sort through them. The Academic Index consolidates your entire academic performance into a single number which is used to see if you meet a school’s academic standards. If you fail to meet a college’s Academic Index threshold, you risk not having your application read.
If your GPA is below the average of a student accepted to UIUC and you’re early in your high school career, check out our tips for increasing your GPA. If you’re a junior or senior, you will find it hard to increase your GPA, which makes earning higher test scores the easiest way to improve your Academic Index.
2. Aim for a 1450 SAT and 33 ACT.
Standardized test scores are “important” to admissions at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The middle 50% scores of the UIUC’s class of 2025 are 1220-1450 SAT and 27-33 ACT. UIUC doesn’t super score, however, if you take either the SAT or ACT more than once, it will evaluate your highest subscores. A smart strategy to improve your SAT/ACT score is to sit for one of the exams two or three times. To raise your SAT/ACT score, check out these free CollegeVine resources:
- How to Get a Perfect 1600 Score on the SAT
- How to Get a Perfect 36 Score on the ACT
- More SAT Info and Tips
- More ACT Info and Tips
Because of the challenges presented by COIVD-19, UIUC instituted a test-optional admissions policy for the 2020-2021 admissions cycle and will extend that policy to the 2021-2022 admissions cycle. That said, CollegeVine recommends taking the SAT or ACT if you can do so safely and submitting scores that meet or exceed the 25th percentile of accepted students. Students who submit test scores are accepted at a higher rate than those who do not.
Not sure if you should submit a score? You can get recommendations on whether or not you should apply test-optional using our free chancing engine.
3. Cultivate one or two Tier 1-2 extracurriculars (find your “spike”).
Extracurricular activities and the talent they often demonstrate are both considered “important” to admissions by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. According to UIUC, “you should be able to demonstrate some impact or level of accomplishment in your school, your community, your state, or nationally.” The best way to do this is with a highly developed interest known as a “spike” and one of two supporting extracurricular activities—the more exceptional the extracurricular, the more weight it carries on admissions.
The four tiers of extracurriculars are a good guideline for how colleges value your activities outside of the classroom:
- Tier 1 are the most impressive and rare activities. Tier 1 activities show great achievement or leadership and include winning a prestigious national competition or gaining national recognition in an area like athletics or music.
- Tier 2 are activities that demonstrate great accomplishment or leadership but are more common and less exemplary than those for Tier 1. For example, Tier 2 activities include winning a state-level competition or being an all-state selection in athletics or music.
- Tier 3 are activities that highlight your interest outside of the classroom but lack the distinction of those in the higher tiers. A few examples of Tier 3 activities are holding a leadership position in a well-known club, playing a varsity sport, or getting selected for a regional music ensemble.
- Tier 4 activities are the most common and hold the least weight in college admissions. These include general membership in a club, playing a sport, and general volunteer work.
4. Write engaging essays.
At top schools like the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, almost every applicant has astounding academics. This makes it essential for you to find avenues that allow you to differentiate yourself from other candidates. Essays are one of those places, and UIUC considers them “important” to admissions.
Applicants to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will need to complete the essay prompt of one of the three applications the university accepts: myIllini, the Common Application, or the Coalition Application. The UIUC application process also has different supplemental essay requirements depending on whether you’re applying to a specific major or as undeclared.
In general, an attention-grabbing essay is written in your unique voice and highlights how you’ll fit on campus, and how the college will benefit from your attendance. For UIUC-specific essay advice, check out our article, “How to Write the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Essays 2021-2022.”
5. Apply Early Action.
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has an early action program, which is sometimes referred to as “priority admission.” Early action is non-binding and students are under no obligation to attend UIUC if admitted. Applicants who apply early action generally have a higher acceptance rate than a university’s overall and regular decision rates. Early action candidates at UIUC also have the best chance of getting accepted into the university’s most selective programs, and can gain special attention for admission to honors programs and consideration for merit awards.
How to Apply to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Early Action/Priority Admission
The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign accepts the myIllini, Coalition, and Common applications. Other requirements include:
- Supplemental essay
Other optional materials include:
- SAT/ACT scores
Learn more about the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Interested in learning more about UIUC? Check out these other informative articles:
- How I Got Into University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
- UIUC Dorms: What They’re Like from a Current Student
- What Does it Really Cost to Attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign?
- CollegeVine Admissions Story: Ally from UIUC
Want to know your chances at UIUC? Calculate your chances for free right now.