CM’s Guide to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign—Champaign, IL

UIUC’s Instagram

The Vibe

Cinnamon-Scented, Candle-Warm and Welcoming

Despite its scarily good academic reputation and rigorous coursework, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is pretty chill. Feel like partying all night? Go for it. Rolled out of bed in your leggings? Practically the dress code. Anyone can fit in because it’s exactly what you imagine a college to be — a place for everyone.

What it Feels Like to Go Here:

The moment you step onto the campus, UIUC looks like every college movie you’ve ever seen. Whatever you want from your college experience, UIUC has you covered, whether it’s all night partying or a world-class education. The sprawling greens, timeless buildings and aura of intelligence that envelops you helps you feel like anything is possible and will be sure to wow freshmen the first time they step onto campus. “[The University of Illinois] was the best college experience I could have had,” said recent graduate Joe Mirabelli. “There’s a solid picture of the world there.”

Awesome Alumni:

Since the school’s foundation 150 years ago, it has pumped out many notable graduates. For instance, Roger Ebert, film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, helped bring film criticism to television. Illinois also boasts Playboy founder and entrepreneur Hugh Hefner as an alumnus, as well as Mr. Jimmy John himself. Another former Fighting Illini, Erika Harold, runs an anti-bullying campaign across the country. She is Miss America 2003, after being Miss Illinios 2002, and now is an attorney. Talk about brains and beauty. And of course you can’t mention the Fighting Illini without paying tribute to the legendary Dick Butkus, former linebacker for the Chicago Bears.

Where We Hang:

There are quite a few local hotspots for Fighting Illini to chill at—the Illini Union hosts a bowling alley and a pool hall that are great for unwinding after a long day. “I personally enjoy Green Street,” said senior Morgan Corich. “It is the heart of campus consisting of most of the restaurants and bars. And on nice days, I like going to the ARC [ Activities and Recreation Center] pool to lay out or swim.” And for as long as you can tolerate the weather, the Quad is a wonderfully photogenic spot.


1. What are you most likely to get in trouble for?

“By law enforcement? Parking or public intoxication. By the school? I dunno, you’ve got to mess up pretty badly for that,” said Mirabelli. Basically, be sensible.

2. How much are students partying? 

“A lot of students party frequently, some might do it once in awhile and the rest tend not to party at all,” said junior Zac Connor. Bars are where you’ll find most Fighting Illini partying. UIUC definitely works hard and plays hard.

3. How much sex are students having?

“It’s similar to that of other campuses. In the present day, students seem to be a part of the ‘hookup culture,’ making sex more frequent and casual for some students,” said Corich. UIUC is like most other campuses in this regard. Some students have a lot of sex, some students choose not to have sex at all.

4. What would you tell incoming students?

“Beware of bikers. They stop for no one,” warned senior Victoria Chandler. UIUC is a big campus, like stretches-two-cities big. So either keep up or move out of the way!

5. Where should I study on campus?

There are over 30 different libraries and 80 laboratories on campus, so all majors have a place to go study. Also remember that the ETC cafe has free coffee and Wi-Fi—yes, the free applies to both, and you will definitely need both.

Overall Experience:

“I quite enjoyed UIUC. I made a lot of friends and enjoyed a lot of new experiences. But the classes are challenging, and students should be prepared for that.” — Zac Connor, Engineering major, Class of 2018

“Before going to Illinois, I was shy, but this school opened me up to both friends and professors who pushed me to be the best me possible.” — Morgan Corich, Speech and Hearing Sciences major, Class of 2017

“I loved Illinois–that place is my Disney.” — Megan Ladd, Biology major, Class of 2016

“I’ve loved being able to meet so many amazing people here. U of I provides you with the tools and resources for success—it’s up to you to use them!” — Ria Thakur, Dietetics major, Class of 2017

“I won’t say it was all smooth sailing. I’ve had a few failing grades and bad hangovers, but I’ve always bounced back and have learned so much…In the end I honestly couldn’t imagine spending my undergrad years at any other university.” — Victoria Chandler, Graphic Design major, Class of 2017

Top 3 Majors:

1. Engineering

2. Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services

3. Social Sciences

Top 3 Most Popular Student Organizations

1. Greek Life

UIUC hosts 59 fraternities and 36 sororities, and many Greek houses on campus are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Of the 30,366 undergraduates, 3,463 are members of sororities and 3,674 are members of fraternities making for a very large and active Greek presence on campus. “[Greek Life] enables philanthropic work, leadership, and scholarship,” said Corich, a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority.

2. During the IlliniThon, for fifteen hours, UIUC students dance their asses off to raise money for the St. John’s Children’s Hospital in Springfield. “Our dance marathon is young, but growing very quickly,” said Ladd. Each year the amount of money raised for children has grown. The 2016 marathon raised over $100,000.

3. With over 72 different religious groups, you can celebrate whatever faith you choose at UIUC. It’s a great way to make a two-city campus feel just a little smaller. “Not only have I gotten to experience leadership, but I’ve also met some of my best friends there,” said Eitan Troyansky, an executive member of the Jewish organization Hillel. He said that being in a religious organization is a great way to make a large campus feel small not-so daunting.

Getting In:

Admission to the University of Illinois can be competitive—the overall admittance rate is only 62.4 percent. Most entering freshmen come from the top 10 percent of their classes with an average GPA of 3.83 and mostly A’s. Getting into UIUC usually means an average SAT score of 1970 or an ACT score of 28. All of this sounds daunting, but remember UIUC is a Division 1 school and has a large international student population. If you slip a little on your tests, it’s not a definite “we regret to inform you.”


Location: Champaign, IL

Tuition and Fees:

Instate: $15,626

Out-of-state: $30,786

Total Cost on Campus:

In-state: $30,336

Out-of-state: $45,496

Undergrads Enrolled: (2015) 32,878

Total Enrolled: (2015) 44,087

Acceptance Percentage: (2014) 62.4%

Student to Faculty Ratio: 18:1

Percentage of Male Students: 56% (2015-16)

Percentage of Female Students: 44% (2015-16)

Percentage Receiving Financial Aid: 69% (2015-16)

Percentage Receiving Federal Loans: 52% (2015-16)

Megan Deppe is a junior Journalism and Cinema double major at the University of Iowa. She loves movies, which she constantly reminds people on her blog ReelTalk, and she can hold an entire conversation using nothing but Friends quotes. But she’s not a nerd- okay, that may be a lie.

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