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University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 2019-20 Supplemental Essay Guide

Regular Decision: 

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 2019-20 Application Essay Question Explanations

The Requirements: 2 essays of 300-400 words

Supplemental Essay Type(s): Why

Essay 1

Explain your interest in the major you selected and describe how you have recently explored or developed this interest inside and/or outside the classroom. You may also explain how this major relates to your future career goals. (If you’re applying to the Division of General Studies, explain your academic interests and strengths or your future career goals.) You may include any majors or areas of study you’re currently considering. Limit your response to 300 to 400 words.

For this essay, let’s go beyond, “I like to read, so majoring in English will be a great fit for me.” We get it, you’re bookish. But how might courses and professors (get specific!) at UI-Urbana-Champaign shape you and teach you something new? For instance, you may have read Romeo and Juliet in high school, but what about Shakespeare’s sonnets or the historical context of his work in Elizabethan England? In college, you will reach new depths of knowledge you may not have even known existed. After explaining why your major piques your interest, describe the experiences you’ve had with it already. Did you work on a science experiment that taught you about the basics of organic chemistry? Maybe you watched those crazy robotics videos online and thought, “Hmmm, I should understand how those work so I can protect my future family when A.I. takes over in 2050.” (I mean, honestly, have they not watched Black Mirror?!) Throughout high school, you’ve been exposed to so many different subjects, and UI-Urbana-Champaign wants to know why this one in particular has caught your eye. Finally, look ahead five or ten years and imagine how this degree will catapult you into a fulfilling career that you may not have access to otherwise. 


Essay 2 

If you select a second-choice major other than the Division of General Studies on your application, write a second essay explaining your interest in this major, too. Again, limit your response to 300 to 400 words.

For this essay, admissions understands that you haven’t got it all figured out yet. And that’s okay! A lot of very successful people have leapt in and out of various disciplines, or even found common ground where they overlap (think philosophy and economics or agriculture and business). You’re allowed (no, encouraged) to have many interests, and admissions wants to know where your strengths lie. Why does this area appeal to you? What applications can you see blossoming from studying in this field? We recommend doing another dive into their course offerings to show that this isn’t just an afterthought; additionally, feel free to share any previous experiences (in or out of the classroom) that have led you to this choice. 

Please note: the information below relates to last year's essay prompts. We are going to update this guide with the prompts for 2021-22 as soon as they become available. Check back soon!
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