How to Get Into the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC): Admissions Data and Strategies
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, often abbreviated as UIUC, just admitted their largest freshman class in school history and now serves approximately 34,000 undergraduates. Boasting one of the top engineering, business, and computer science programs in the entire country, UIUC draws highly-accomplished applicants from all over the world.
With so many high quality students lining up to become a member of the Fighting Illini, it’s important for applicants to possess a full understanding of what they are up against. To help, the College Transitions team will present:
- A deep-dive into just how selective the UIUC admissions process truly is.
- How admissions standards and acceptance rates vary by school/college/program within UIUC.
- How the UIUC admissions committee operates and what they look for in a successful candidate.
To accomplish these goals we will touch on the following topics:
- UIUC’s Class of 2025 acceptance rate
- SAT, ACT, class rank, and GPAs of UIUC applicants
- Admissions trends from the Class of 2025
- The demographics of current UIUC undergraduates
- UIUC’s yield rate
- How UIUC’s admissions officers evaluate candidates
- Tips for applying to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- How to assess whether applying to UIUC is even worth the $50 application fee (for you)
Many students applying to UIUC may also find the following blogs to be of interest:
- How to Get Into Northwestern
- How to Get Into the University of Michigan
- How to Get Into the University of Wisconsin–Madison
Let’s begin with an examination of the most recent admissions data.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Acceptance Rate – Class of 2025
The 2021-22 incoming first-year class consisted of 8,303 students which helped to set a university-wide enrollment record. They were selected from a group of 47,593 applicants which equates to a 60% acceptance rate. The previous cycle, the school admitted 63% of the 43,473 undergraduate candidates who applied.
The Class of 2025 acceptance rates for residents, out-of-state applicants, and international students were as follows:
- Residents: 67%
- Non-Resident (U.S.): 57%
- International: 50%
The acceptance rate also varies greatly by school as evidenced by the following first-choice school acceptance rates for the Class of 2025:
- Agr, Consumer, Env Sciences: 65%
- Applied Health Sciences: 54%
- Division of General Studies: 57%
- Education: 66%
- Fine & Applied Arts: 59%
- Business: 39%
- Engineering: 33%
- Information Sciences: 76%
- Liberal Arts & Sciences: 59%
- Media: 50%
- Social Work: 46%
UIUC Admissions – SAT, ACT, GPA, and Class Rank
Among those enrolled in the Class of 2025, the average unweighted GPA was a 3.67, the mean SAT was a 1410 and the mean ACT was a 31. The previous year, 52% were in the top decile of their high school class, 86% were in the top quartile, and 99% were in the top half.
However, it is important to note that the academic standards for gaining acceptance into various colleges within the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign varies by college/program. Below are a handful of examples:
Gies College of Business
- Unweighted GPA Range: 3.61-3.95
- SAT range: 1360-1480
- ACT range: 30-33
Grainger College of Engineering
- Unweighted GPA Range: 3.75-4.00
- SAT range: 1440-1540
- ACT range: 32-35
School of Information Sciences
- Unweighted GPA Range: 3.38-3.75
- SAT range: 1370-1500
- ACT range: 29-34
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
- Unweighted GPA Range: 3.55-3.95
- SAT range: 1330-1500
- ACT range: 29-34
College of Education
- Unweighted GPA Range: 3.36-3.80
- SAT range: 1160-1350
- ACT range: 25-30
Admissions Trends & Notes
- 1,352 students in the Class of 2025 came from 44 U.S. States outside of Illinois.
- There were also 1,112 international students from 42 countries in the Class of 2025, up from 954 in 2019, just prior to the pandemic.
- 20% of 2021-22 freshmen were members of underrepresented minority groups.
- First-generation students also comprised 20% of the Class of 2025.
- The school was test optional during the past cycle and 58% of students that went on to enroll in the Class of 2025 elected to submit test scores.
Who Gets Into the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign?
Let’s look at the demographics of UIUC undergraduates:
The majority of UIUC Class of 2025 members hailed from Illinois and paid in-state tuition. The next most common feeder states were:
- California: 459
- New Jersey: 152
- Texas: 80
- New York: 61
- Virginia: 55
- Washington: 51
- Massachusetts: 42
- Georgia: 34
- Florida: 33
- Missouri: 32
- Pennsylvania: 32
Looking at ethnic identity among the Fighting Illini first-year students, the breakdown is as follows:
- Asian American: 26%
- Hispanic: 13%
- African American: 5%
- International: 14%
- White: 36%
International students hail from 42 countries with the greatest representation from the following nations:
- South Korea
The breakdown by gender of the Class of 2025 shows more men than women presently on campus:
- Male: 54%
- Female: 46%
UIUC’s Yield Rate
UIUC’s yield rate—the percentage of accepted students who elect to enroll, divided by the total number of students who are admitted was only 29%. To compare this school to other flagship public institutions, UT-Austin has a 46% yield, UGA comes in at 45%, and Ohio State’s is 30%.
How UIUC Rates Applicants
- There are only two factors that UIUC ranks as being “very important” to their admissions process and those are: an applicant’s GPA and the rigor of one’s secondary school record. Four factors are designated as “important” to the UIUC evaluation process. Those are: standardized test scores, essays, extracurricular activities, and talent/ability.
- UIUC went test-optional due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the 2020-21 admissions cycle. They will remain test-optional through those applying for admission in the 2023-24 academic year.
- In the admissions office’s own words: “Consistent achievement at the highest level is the best demonstration of strong academic performance. After confirming you’ve taken our required years of coursework, we review your courses and grades, recognizing that different high schools provide different levels of opportunity. We recommend taking the most challenging course work available at your high school, provided you can be successful. Grades earned later in your high school career have more of an impact on your admission decision than grades earned freshman year, and in-progress coursework is also evaluated, so continue to work hard and take challenging classes your senior year.”
Tips for Applying to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
If you plan on joining the 47,000+ UIUC hopefuls for the next admissions cycle, you should know the following:
- UIUC does not offer interviews. Therefore, the best way to personalize the admissions process is through your essays.
- UIUC does not consider “demonstrated interest” in the admissions process. This means you will not gain an advantage by visiting campus, connecting through social media, emailing an admissions officer, etc.
- You can apply by November 1 to meet the Priority Admission Deadline. The Regular Decision deadline is January 5.
- Students can apply via the Common App, Coalition App, or through the myIllini platform.
- Make sure to dedicate sufficient time and effort to the (up to) three short answer prompts that you may need to address. Each answer should be no more than 150 words.
If You’re Applying to a Major:
- In the past 3 to 4 years, what experience(s) have you had (inside or outside of the classroom) related to your selected first-choice major or academic interest?
- How does your selected first-choice major relate to your future career goals?
If You’re Applying to Our Undeclared Program in the Division of General Studies:
- What are your academic interests and strengths? You may also include any majors you are considering.
- What are your future academic or career goals?
If You’ve Selected a Second-Choice Major (Including Undeclared):
- Please explain your interest in your second-choice major or your overall academic or career goals.
Should I Apply to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign?
UIUC students generally sport A-/B+ averages and possess average standardized test scores above the 90th percentile of all test-takers. If you fall below these numbers, there is a still a good chance that you could gain acceptance to one of the University of Illinois branch campuses located throughout the state of Illinois.
All college-bound high school students should formulate an appropriate college list, containing a complement of “target” and “safety” schools. This can be done in collaboration with an admissions professional who is aware of the latest trends and strategies associated with your prospective colleges.
Dave has over a decade of professional experience that includes work as a teacher, high school administrator, college professor, and independent educational consultant. He is a co-author of the books The Enlightened College Applicant (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016) and Colleges Worth Your Money (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020).