University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign College Prowler No Essay
The University of Illinois' massive size means "opportunities, lots of classes, lots of student groups," and "an incredibly lively campus." "The research support is phenomenal on campus" and "there are a lot of resources to supplement your studies." Students find the university's "fantastic library system" and "phenomenal advisors" to be "such a benefit for research projects," and "countless on-campus resources such as the Career Center, Writers Workshop, Office of Minority Student Affairs, free tutoring services, and the Study Abroad Office" also support students' academic experiences. They praise their processors as "wonderful," "not just good at research but also instructing and mentoring," and "very approachable," and students thrive on the emphasis on experiences outside the classroom: "The field work (tons of field work) that they make us do really helped in getting used to the field." "Most professors here are devoted to teaching, not researching." Classes can be big—"As an underclassman, many classes I've taken have been with very large classes"— but "the professors are engaging and know how to keep a class of 700-plus entertained." U of I's programs in business and engineering have long been recognized as among the best, and one student says, "I liked the breadth of the engineering program and the opportunities associated with it." Even if you're not sure what you want to study yet, its undergrads feel that the university has "an amazing reputation and strong programs in many different majors, and that if I needed to change majors (which I ended up doing) I would still be getting a great degree."
The diversity of the students here is astounding. Race, religion, major, you've got it all. Because in-state tuition is a major draw, "a majority of the students that you meet here will be from the Chicago suburbs," but the school also attracts "a wide variety of students from all across the world." "University of Illinois houses so many different types of students that the only way we are alike is our dedication to getting an education and our loyalty to UIUC." Undergrads feel that their peers "really know how to be academically successful," and shed state-school stereotypes like so many dirty socks: "It obviously takes a lot to get into this school so students aren't ready to throw it all away to sleep in every day." Social life changes as you find your "niche": "The typical student starts out going to a school of 40,000 students and are lucky if they know a handful of people. Within one week, life as that freshman student grows. There are so many opportunities to get involved on the floor of your residence hall, in organizations, in your classes, that it's hard not to make friends and close relationships."
In terms of location, "campus is located perfectly between Chicago, Indianapolis, and St. Louis, providing a unique atmosphere in town but close access to other urban areas for a change of pace." Students call social life "very exciting," and say, "The bars in downtown Champaign are great and super relaxed, plus there is an awesome music scene that most people don't expect from a college town." "People here like to party, but there are a lot of other fun things to do," whether it's "going to the Krannert Center to see plays or concerts" or the "movie theater and mall…on Saturday afternoons. ChampaignUrbana seems small to city kids, but to me it's the land of opportunity." Students relish the "nineteen-year-old bar age," and U of I also has "one of the largest Greek communities in the country." The combination of these facts does mean that "drinking culture is huge here" but "there's also tons to do beyond the bars." The range of social opportunities is nearly limitless: "There are 40,000 students, thousands of clubs, two gyms and several sport facilities, and array of establishments to explore on Green Street." As a whole, students report happily that "life is busy, but rewarding."
With a 100 words maximum, concision is going to be your friend. There’s not enough space for a full-blown introduction, so it’s best to just dive right in. You will likely want to structure this as two miniature paragraphs — one about your high school endeavors, the other about your plans for UIUC.
Regarding the specific word count breakdown, you will likely want to spend more time discussing your high school experience. This is perfectly fine, especially if you have a lot to touch on.
When you talk about making a difference in high school, don’t exclusively discuss organizations or officer positions, but instead focus on specific actions you engaged in. It’s okay to lead into it with something like “As class president, I…” but your specific duties are the primary focus of this section.
Here are some good examples:
- “I fundraised over $3,000 to end world hunger.”
- “I mentored special needs students after school.”
- “I organized a group to protest a school policy that would’ve cut arts funding.”
- “I tutored middle schoolers in math and science.”
- “I started an initiative dedicated to giving people anonymous compliments.”
You might need to offer a short explanation (no more than a sentence) for more obscure undertakings, but most of your actions should speak for themselves.
As for the section on contributing to life at UIUC, you might spend more time discussing this if you weren’t as heavily involved in community service during high school. If you plan on pursuing something similar at UIUC, now is a great opportunity to express that. For instance, if you started an initiative giving people anonymous compliments, you could briefly discuss your goal of alleviating stress on campus by simply spreading joy to your peers. Ideally, your past experiences relate to you future goals, which lends itself to a nice transition between the two sections.
This part of the response is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of UIUC-specific programs. Do some research on their website about the different types of initiatives and service groups on campus.
Some Final Words
It’s already been mentioned, but it’s important enough to mention again: These are the only essays UIUC will see. That means you have a huge responsibility to be personable and unique while also demonstrating competent writing style and academic focus.
While we at CollegeVine sometimes encourage riskier supplemental essays, you should avoid that for UIUC. This is because you aren’t coupling these with your Common App essay, which tends to be more grounded and central to your identity.
Most importantly, make sure your essays are truly a reflection of you. Don’t try to use overly elevated language if that isn’t how you normally write. If you’re unsure whether your voice is coming across, ask a family member or friend to read over your essays; they often have invaluable advice.
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