Founded in 1867, the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign is a public land-grant research university. Located in the twin cities of Urbana and Champaign, the school’s urban campus spans 1,783 acres of urban Illinois.
As of the fall of 2021, there are a total of about 33,500 undergraduates students, and 17,800 graduate students enrolled at UIUC.
The school has over 150 different degree programs and more than 1,000 student organizations, including 51 fraternities and 38 sororities.
UIUC has 21 sports teams that compete in the NCAA’s Division I as a part of the Big Ten Conference, the oldest Division I collegiate athletic conference in the United States.
In the most recent edition of the US News and World Report’s school rankings, UIUC was named #47 among the best colleges in the country and #15 on the list of top public colleges and universities.
The school has produced 26 Pulitzer Prize winners, 23 Nobel Prize winners, and a number of Fulbright U.S. Student Award recipients.
Other notable alumni include the poet Shel Silverstein, musician Dan Fogelberg, politician and civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, and Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy Magazine.
Read on to learn more about the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, including the school’s acceptance rate, what GPA and test scores prospective students should earn, and more.
UIUC Acceptance Rate
The acceptance rate for the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign is 63%.
In the fall 2021 admissions cycle, UIUC received 43,473 applications for the first-year class of 2025. Only 27,520 students from this applicant pool received offers for admission.
According to self-reported admissions statistics collected by US News and World Report, the national average rate at which all colleges and universities accept first-year applicants is about 70.1%.
Thus, UIUC admissions can be considered moderately selective, as it is more challenging to get into than the average school.
However, acceptance rates vary widely across UIUC’s different schools. For example, the Grainger College of Engineering receives 13,000 engineering applications each year, admitting only 4700 to engineering programs.
This makes the acceptance rate for this school 37%, but again, the rate can vary considerably from one major to the next.
Acceptance rates are much lower for highly in-demand majors yet higher than average for some other majors.
UIUC Out-of-State Acceptance Rate
Because the available admissions statistics do not break down acceptance rates according to the student’s state of residence, it is difficult to say what UIUC’s out-of-state acceptance rate is.
In the first-year class of 2025, out-of-state students are outnumbered. Out of the total 8,303 students, 5,835 are Illinois state residents.
With this group making up a 70% majority of the first-year student body, this is the largest number of in-state students in the UIUC first-year class since 2018.
On the other hand, only 1,352 of these students are from other areas of the United States, or about 16% of the class overall. International students make up the remaining 1,112 students or 13%.
As a public university, UIUC is ultimately committed to serving Illinois citizens first and foremost. This, coupled with the additional tuition costs associated with attending UIUC as an out-of-state student, may explain the low number of nonresident students at the school.
GPA for UIUC
Looking at data collected from admitted first-year students over the past three years, UIUC has determined that the middle 50% of accepted first-year students have an average GPA between 3.5 and 3.94.
This means that in order to be a competitive applicant to the school, students should earn an A- to B+ grade average in high school.
However, it is essential to note that the median varies considerably according to which of the several different UIUC schools/colleges are in question.
For example, at the Grainger College of Engineering, the middle 50% of students have an average GPA ranging from 3.75 to a perfect 4.0.
SAT & ACT Requirements for UIUC
The University of Illinois Urbana Champaign’s admissions are test-optional, meaning that prospective first-year students are not required to submit standardized test scores as a part of their application materials.
Regardless of whether students opt to submit SAT or ACT scores, all applications undergo a holistic review process, which considers many different elements of the student’s academic profile in determining if they will be a good fit for the school.
Those who have standardized test scores that they feel accurately represent their academic skills are encouraged to submit them.
Test scores are not required for consideration for merit-based scholarships.
The median SAT score of accepted UIUC students falls within the 1300 and 1500 range, not counting the writing section. The average ACT score of students who are admitted to UIUC is anywhere from as low as 28 and as high as 34.
These figures vary across UIUC’s many different colleges/schools, however.
For example, at the Gies College of Business, the middle 50% of students scored between 1360 and 1480 on the SAT, with the median ACT scores sitting between 30 and 33.
Other Requirements and Admission Tips
To apply to the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, students will need to submit an official high school transcript and a list of all high school courses taken and the grades earned in each.
Applicants should also include a list of all extracurricular activities they have participated in, and any honors/awards they have received.
Students can apply to UIUC in one of three ways: the Common Application, the Coalition Application, or My Illini. The school states that they do not prefer any of the three applications.
The application will require that students select an intended major and their second choice.
Because UIUC does not require SAT or ACT test scores, students should only include these scores if they believe that they positively reflect their academic capabilities.
There will be a nonrefundable application fee of $50, payable by credit card. Domestic students who qualify for fee waivers must have their guidance counselor submit the UIUC fee waiver form.
For international students, the application fee is $75.
Depending on the major the student applies to, there may be additional application requirements. For example, applicants to the School of Art & Design will have to submit a portfolio.
Essays for UIUC
The University of Illinois Urbana Champaign application requires one essay of 250 to 650 words. The essay prompt will vary depending on which application the student uses.
A full list of essay prompts is available on each application’s website for those who apply through either the Common Application or the Coalition Application.
Students who apply through myIllini can choose one prompt from the list of five, available on the school’s site.
The personal essay prompts on these applications typically ask the student to offer admissions additional insight into who they are as a student and as a person, beyond what the information on the other parts of the application can convey.
In order to illuminate their personal strengths and offer readers a sense of what makes them unique as an applicant, students should make use of details to describe a specific experience or story from their past.
The language should be academic, yet reflect the student’s authentic writing style.
In addition to the essay, the UIUC first-year application includes two to three short-answer prompts. Responses to these prompts should be no more than 150 words.
The short-answer questions vary depending on if the student is applying to a specific major or to the undeclared program and if they have selected a second choice.
Students who are applying to the undeclared program, for example, can expect to be asked to succinctly explain what their interests are and relate those interests to future career goals.
Is the UIUC Right for You?
The University of Illinois Urbana Champaign has been ranked the #1 school in Illinois for best ROI, or return on investment, according to the Illinois College ROI Report by PayScale.
This ranking is based on the cost of in-state tuition for the average number of years it takes to graduate and graduation rates and median income at 20 years after graduation.
For in-state students, earning a degree at UIUC is a worthwhile investment, as they are proven to provide an excellent value education for the money you will spend. Of course, these calculations do not apply for out-of-state tuition costs, which are much higher.
For Illinois residents, tuition for one year at UIUC is about $33,558 to $38,744, according to estimates for the 2022 and 2023 academic year. On the other hand, out-of-state tuition is expected to cost between $51,870 and $59,556.
Although the cost of attending UIUC as an out-of-state student is undoubtedly something many will have to consider in selecting a college, it can be said that UIUC still has a lot to offer students who come from outside of Illinois
UIUC has one of the best first-year retention rates in the country, with 93% of first-year students opting to return for the second year of study.
Compared to the national average freshman retention rate of only 69% — the same as the average for schools in Illinois — this high rate is impressive.