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To start, let’s debunk a popular myth: “the perfect essay.” It’s not real. It can’t be, because otherwise we’d already have the essay and there would be no reason to write any more of them!

We’re not asking for the perfect essay; we’re asking for an essay that best answers our prompt as it relates to you. This should hopefully alleviate any anxiety you may be feeling, because guess what? You’re an expert on you! If you’re still apprehensive, though, let’s take a look at the steps you can take to write a strong Illinois admissions essay.

Step 1: Brainstorm.

Now that you’re ready to write, how do you start? How do you begin to compress your experiences into 400 words to best convey your passion? It all starts with brainstorming.

Think about the question at the surface: Why do you love your intended major? How do you know? What have you done to demonstrate that love? Now dig a little deeper. What experience first sparked your interest? What memory pulls you back and makes you think, “This is what I want to do all the time”? Really look to yourself and your past experiences, because those are the memories that make you who you are, and those are the words that will make you memorable.

Write all of your thoughts down on paper, see the connections you’ve made between your life and your major, and choose what stands out most. If you’re having trouble thinking of ideas, don’t be afraid to follow a tangent. You never know, even the smallest moment could be a winner.

Step 2: Plan it out. 

Now that you have an idea, it’s time to structure it. Make sure you have a unified thought: You want to make a point, not just put a bunch of thoughts on paper. Pinpoint your message and start your outline.

It’s a short essay, so you need to be clear. Start with one sentence to pull the reader into the essay. If it helps, think of this intro as one of those musical numbers that begins a flashback in a movie.

Next, outline your main points. As you’re outlining these points, make sure you continue to answer the prompt. This essay isn’t just about you; it’s about the you who’s interested in a certain major. So it’s important to focus on that part of you, including any related classroom experiences, extracurriculars, job shadowing, volunteering, or part-time or summer jobs.

Finally, think of a closing sentence to tie your essay together. Although it can be similar, this shouldn’t be the same as your first sentence.

Step 3: Make it you-tiful.

After you’ve planned out your first sentence, last sentence, and main points, it’s time to write your essay! (It’s also probably time for us to remind you to write your own essay. No one knows you better than you, and counselors can tell when someone’s essay has been written by someone else.)

This isn’t your traditional introduction-three-body-paragraphs-conclusion-type essay. Remember, it’s short, sweet, and focused on you. When you begin writing, every word counts; there’s no need for background information or a rendition of your high school transcript. Stay true to you and what you’ve planned out.

Bottom line, tell your story. Write about your passion and connect it to your experiences. A personal anecdote about the time you built a robotic fish or felt empowered at a spoken-word open mic is engaging and memorable, exciting, and unique to you.

Step 4: Take one last look.

Although this step is often overlooked, it’s often where a good essay becomes great.

When you’re done writing your essay, step away for awhile and come back to it with fresh eyes. Now reread it from start to finish to ensure that your writing flows well, you’ve cut out the fluff, you’re using active verbs, and no grammatical errors exist. Then have someone else—perhaps a parent or your favorite teacher—proofread it and offer their feedback, too.

Any mistakes may put a stop in an otherwise flowing, engaging story. This is your chance to catch them. It’s also your chance to tighten things up and add any finishing touches (like the cherry on top of that ice cream sundae you totally deserve after you hit “save” one last time!).

We hope these tips help you as you’re crafting your Illinois essay. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect; it just needs to relate to you. We can’t wait to read what you come up with!

The post 4 Simple Steps to Writing the Perfect Illinois Essay appeared first on Illinois Admissions Blog.

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The sound of transitioning to college sounds so amazing but sometimes, it can be really hard. Trying to find a place where you feel “at home” can make this time even more stressful. 

I have felt a little out of place wherever I went, but it wasn’t until college that I realized that rather than conforming to a certain mold, we should use this feeling to seek out new friendships and opportunities. Transitioning to college and finding your place among so many people can be very overwhelming, especially when you’re attending a school with about 40,000 students. The added stress of attempting to be someone you aren’t for the sake of having company adds a whole other layer to this problem. 

The U of I hosts “Quad Day” the Sunday before classes begin for the fall semester— this is a chance to scope out all that this school has to offer! Chances are there will be some type of group or club that lines up with your interests. An interest can bring completely different people together and create amazing friendships. It is situations like this where it is important to be your authentic self and talk to those you might share something with. 

This being said, finding an organization is just one of the ways to start. There are so many opportunities on campus to meet people such as your classes, your residence hall, or just people you find yourself stumbling upon! Finding people to spend your time with is easy; however, you should make it a point to surround yourself with people who bring you up.

It’s so important to pay attention to the way you feel when you’re around your new peers. Getting the impression that you need to change in order to “fit in” probably means the people you’re around are not for you… Finding people you can be yourself around is so crucial to succeed in college because it helps you create a support system in times of stress, anxiety, finals, etc. Finding people who encourage you to make good decisions and help you reach your goals will truly help you feel more at home and happier overall. 

The post Finding your Niche in College starts with Finding You. appeared first on Illinois Admissions Blog.

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Higher education plays a huge part in our world today, but is college really worth it? It depends. Here are some things to consider as you decide if going to college is a good plan for you.

What can college do for you?
Professional Value of a Degree

A college degree has always been a resume-booster, and it has now become an expectation for many in the professional world. Some career paths are very hard to pursue without a college degree. If you know your dream job requires this kind of degree, that would be a strong pull toward going to college.

Also keep in mind that most people change their careers at least once in their life. When that time comes for you, you’ll have a lot more employment opportunities if you’re equipped with a bachelor’s degree than if you’re not. And in many companies, an employee’s salary is based on how much experience and education they have. So having a college degree will give you an advantage here, too. 

College is an investment; paying now gives you an opportunity to gain in the future. You’ll have to decide for yourself if it’s an investment you want to make. 

The Undergraduate Experience

College gives you ways to learn more about yourself; you can discover passions, gain fresh insights, and meet new people. It is a great place to grow, but so are a lot of other places. So what makes college so special?

Well, it all depends on what you make out of it. Being in college can change your life if you embrace the resources and opportunities available to you. You’ll get a chance to be independent, maybe more than you’ve ever been before. College can teach you what it’s like to live away from home and make decisions for yourself.

Still, the college environment isn’t for everyone. Think about what your priorities are and decide if they match up with the professional, intellectual, and cultural opportunities college can provide. 

But what about the expense?

There’s no denying it—college is expensive. Then again, many students decide to commit to college anyway, and for good reasons. When you’re looking at your options, be realistic about what you want out of a college; remember that the most expensive school isn’t necessarily the best (and neither is the least expensive).

The vast majority of students aren’t able to pay all of their college expenses upfront, so they take advantage of financial aid, scholarships, loans, and more. To learn ways you can make college more affordable, check out our Guide to Paying for College.

In the end (and in the beginning, if you can), be honest with your family and yourself; don’t show up at college before you explicitly understand how and when it’s going to be paid for, as well as by whom.

What’s your plan?

Consider for a moment what you would do after high school if you didn’t go to college. Would you take a gap year? Get a job? What are your short- and long-term goals? Your answers might help you decide if college fits into your plan and if it’s required to carry out your goals. 

You won’t know for sure where your life will lead, and that’s okay. But having a college degree today may very well open more doors than not, and this is something you’ll want to consider as you look ahead. 

So, is college worth it? This question will be easier to answer if you’re realistic and honest with yourself. Keep things like expenses, future goals, and different school options in mind. Make sure you understand what you’re signing up for and how much you’ll owe, and draft a few plans. 

If in the end you decide that college is the right choice for you, we have more resources to help guide you through your planning process, including 5 ways to narrow your options. We hope you find them useful as you continue your journey!

The post Is College Worth It? appeared first on Illinois Admissions Blog.

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Welcome! We’re so excited you’re thinking of making the jump to Illinois.

Transferring can be a confusing process. Are you taking the right classes? Will your credits transfer? What information do you need to apply?

We’re here to lay it out plain and simple.

Prep Work

Your “prep work” is basically just doing some research. Make sure you can check off these five steps before beginning your application. Our Transfer Requirements Directory is a good place to start; it’ll give you a quick snapshot of some of these details for your major.

  1. Know our dates and deadlines. Application deadlines depend on which semester you’re applying for and whether you’re considering our fall priority filing period (and you totally should).
  2. Compare your GPA. Figure out what your GPA is and compare it with our transfer GPA guidelines to get a sense of where you stand among other transfer applicants.
  3. Pick a major. We have over 150 majors at Illinois, but not all of them are open to transfers. Check our open and closed programs list to see if the major you’re interested in is accepting transfer applicants at your level for the term you’re hoping to enroll.
  4. Figure out what courses you need to take in order to transfer. Our Transfer Handbook describes the recommended course sequences for each of our majors. It may look intimidating at first, but that’s just because it has a ton of information in it! Reference the page that talks about the major you’re interested in; you must complete the courses listed in red italics before transferring.
  5. Figure out which of your courses will transfer. When you come to Illinois, some of your course credits may come along with you! The site Transferology can help you figure out what credits will make the trip.
60-Credit-Hour Rule

No matter how many credits you have when you transfer, you still need to take at least 60 credit hours at Illinois. Most students take around 15 credit hours each semester, meaning that you’re probably going to spend at least four semesters here.

The Application Process

Once you’ve done your prep work, you’re ready to apply! This includes filling out our application as well as submitting some additional materials. Let’s break things down.

Your Application

You’ll submit your application through myIllini, our student portal. Most things will be fairly easy to fill out, but it can take some time (so make sure you don’t wait until the night before a deadline to start!).

You’ll begin by adding some personal information, like your name and address, where you go to school, and so on. We won’t get into all that here, but let’s touch on some of the more substantial parts.

  1. Major—In our application, we’ll ask you to select both a first- and second-choice major (in case you aren’t admitted to your first choice). It’s a good idea to refer to our Transfer Handbook to make sure your choices fit your academic goals.
  2. Essay—Personal essays are always challenging, but the good news is you can check out our essay question for transfer applicants even before you start your application. Our biggest tip? Be sure to answer the question!
  3. Activities, Honors, & Distinctions—We’ll ask you to provide a certain number of activities, honors, and distinctions. Take some time to think about the things you’ve been involved in and the things you’ve accomplished. Whatever is most important to you belongs on this list!
  4. Application Fee—Unless you have a fee waiver, you’ll be asked to pay a fee when you submit your application. If you think you may qualify for a fee waiver, ask a school official at your current college to fill out our fee waiver form and send it directly to our admissions office.
Application Pro Tip

If you have any questions as you’re working, review our FAQ. You can also call or email our admissions counselors—they’re more than happy to help!

Your Supporting Materials

First, congratulations on making it this far—this means you’re almost done! But before you breathe that big sigh of relief, we need just a few more things from you.


You’ll be asked to submit official university transcripts from the colleges you’ve gone to, along with an official high school transcript to confirm graduation. (We’ll also accept the GED and other high school equivalency exams in place of a high school transcript.)

This information should be sent straight to our admissions office. Note that we’ll only consider your high school performance if you have fewer than 30 graded and transferable credit hours from previous colleges when you apply.

Test Scores

If you’ve taken fewer than 30 graded and transferable credit hours at previous colleges when you apply, you’ll need to have official scores from any standardized tests like the ACT or SAT sent our way directly from the testing agency. We recommend that applicants with fewer than 59 graded and transferable credit hours send scores as well.

English Proficiency

You must prove you’re proficient in the English language to be admitted. If you spent all four years of high school in the United States (excluding Puerto Rico), good news: You automatically qualify! If this doesn’t describe you, see our admissions website for how to satisfy this requirement.

Special Requirements

If you’re applying into a talent-based major like art, dance, music, or theatre, you’ll likely need to complete an audition or submit a portfolio. If you’re an international student or are applying into a Teacher Education major or Social Work, you also have a few more steps to take. Learn more on our website.

Checking Your Application Status

After you’ve submitted your application and supporting materials, make sure to check myIllini to verify we aren’t missing anything. Seriously, there’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve applied only to discover later on that your application was never actually complete!

If you apply for the fall semester, you’ll receive a decision by mid-April. If you apply for the spring semester, you’ll receive a decision by mid-December.

Applying for Financial Aid

Although financial aid is a crucial part of the college application process, you actually have to apply for it separately. How? By submitting the Free Application for Student Financial Aid, or FAFSA. To learn more about that process as well as other ways to cut your cost of attendance, read our Guide to Paying for College.

We want your transition to Illinois to be as smooth as possible. Feel free to reach out to our office if you have any questions at all. We hope to see you on campus!

The post How to Transfer to Illinois: A Complete Guide appeared first on Illinois Admissions Blog.

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College is right around the corner! It’s finally time to start packing and planning for your first week at Illinois. Welcome Days is a great opportunity to get acclimated to campus life and for us to introduce you to the wonderful resources and opportunities that Illinois has to offer. Also called Fall Orientation, Welcome Days is from August 22 to 25, 2019.

If you’re a planner, here’s a schedule of all of the events you can attend during Welcome Days as well as New Student Programs’ homepage for first-year students. I would also recommend downloading the Illinois Student Affairs app in order to stay updated on any changes to the schedule. But before you go, let me detail some of the featured events that are happening during Welcome Days!

Thursday, August 22

One of the most important and exciting things that happens on the first day of Welcome Days is move-in! If you’re looking for information about what to bring to college look no further!

Once you’re done setting up your room, we have plenty of activities for you to participate in so you can meet new people and make lifelong friends. These include I-Skate at the Ice Arena and Welcome Days Kick Off! at the State Farm Center.

Friday, August 23

New Student Convocation is a ceremony to welcome new students to the University of Illinois and marks the official beginning of your entry into our community! Immediately following, you will head out to the tailgating lots for lunch with your colleges! This is a great opportunity to meet and eat lunch with some of the other students, faculty, and staff who are in the same college as you!

On Friday, you’ll also have a chance to meet with your academic community (note: Engineering will meet on Saturday). Make sure to check the Welcome Days calendar to see where and what time your college will be meeting.

Another really cool event on Friday is the Illini Union LateNighter. Bring your roommate and new friends to enjoy comedians, a hypnotist, food, games, giveaways, bowling, and billiards. All for FREE! It’s your chance to explore the Illini Union and see why it is the center of campus activity throughout the year.

Saturday, August 24

If you want to learn about Illinois traditions, meet players and coaches from our varsity athletic teams, and participate in the iconic Block I class photo, look no further than Illinois Sights and Sounds.

After Illinois Sights and Sounds, you’ll be able to watch a movie at Memorial Stadium with all of your new friends!

Sunday, August 25

Illini Union Quad Day is one of the coolest events that happens during Welcome Days, because it’s your chance to get involved on Illinois’ campus before classes even start. Over 700 of our Registered Student Organizations (RSOs), campus activities, and community organizations will have booths set up on the Main Quad as well as in the surrounding streets. You can go and check them out in order to see which ones you want to sign up for! It’s a great way for you to make friends with those you already have something in common with, as well as meet people whom you may not live with or take classes with.

If all of these activities and events that you’re able to attend didn’t get you excited for Welcome Days, go ahead and checkout this video with some footage from Move-In Day as well as Welcome Days.

Now that you’re pumped for Move-In, Welcome Days, and College Life in general, let the countdown begin!

The post Welcome Days! appeared first on Illinois Admissions Blog.

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Senior year is a stressful time for the vast majority of high school students. As your child prepares to dive full force into college application mode, you may wonder how to best support them throughout the process without overstepping your role. Today, we’re giving you five ways to do just that.

1. Where to Apply

If you haven’t had a family discussion about where your child is planning to apply already, now’s the time. Take a look at their list, ensuring that each of the colleges on it makes sense for them. For example, does your child match up well academically? Does the school include their intended major? Is the location feasible given your family’s situation?

Also make certain your child is planning to apply to an appropriate number of schools. We don’t have a specific recommendation; the length of the list depends entirely on the student. However, it should never be so long that your child is overwhelmed by applications, and it should never be made up of just one school, either. If you and your child are looking for ways to narrow your options, we can help.

2. Dates & Deadlines

Application deadlines are going to vary for every school to which your child applies. Help your child organize all the important ones in a single place, preferably somewhere you both have access to. As each deadline nears, check in to make sure your child is aware of it (and that they’re not waiting until 11:00 p.m. the day of to start filling the application out).

You can also help clarify the language surrounding various application deadlines. For example, some colleges offer early decision or early action deadlines before their regular deadlines. If your child applies within an “early” timeframe, they’ll learn whether they’ve been admitted before regular applicants. However, applying early decision is binding (meaning your child must attend that college if they’re admitted), while applying early action is not. These are important distinctions your child might not be aware of, making your insight valuable.

3. College Applications

When it comes time to actually apply, it’s up to your child to do the work. Again, though, different colleges require different materials in addition to the application itself, so it may help to sit down together to sort out who needs what. Common requirements include test scores, transcripts, and letters of recommendation.

You can also offer to proofread your child’s essays. Make sure not to over-edit, though, and definitely don’t answer the prompts for them. Admissions counselors aren’t lying when they say they can tell when words are not a student’s own.

4. Financial Aid

Your child can (and definitely should) apply for financial aid by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The FAFSA can be very confusing to students, and many of the questions included will pertain to your family’s financial information. Assisting your child as they fill out this form is one of the best ways you can help them during the college application process. To learn more, read our Guide to Paying for College.

5. Waiting for Decisions

As your child is waiting to hear back from the colleges to which they applied, they’re likely feeling the pressure. Maybe they’re afraid they won’t measure up to their peers. Maybe their hopes are all pinned on one school. Maybe they don’t want to disappoint you.

Remind them again how proud you are of them, regardless of what happens. Help them put things into perspective, and encourage them to enjoy their senior year to the fullest. Then, take your own advice. A year from now your child will be off at college, so this is your chance to spend quality time with your family. Enjoy it!

The post 5 Ways to Help Your Child Apply to College appeared first on Illinois Admissions Blog.

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Do you ever have those days where you’re just bored out of your mind? That’s normal, but I’m here to suggest some things to do to shake off the boringness. Here’s a list!

  • Leave your living space! ~ What are you doing just sitting there? Go out and explore your campus! You aren’t paying all that money just to stay in your dorm/apartment. I’m sure you can find something fun to do while seeking new adventures.
  • Try a new local restaurant ~ Let’s face it: sometimes when we’re bored we go straight for the food. Some local favorites in Champaign include Destihl, Chopstix, and Scotty’s!
  • Read ~ I know this sounds super boring but it can be any book—even a comic book! 
  • Jam out to some new songs! ~ New songs are constantly being released… Who knows, maybe you’ll discover a new favorite song or even an interesting genre! The possibilities are endless!

I know these aren’t major things to do to get out of a slump of boringness, but it may help! Have a great rest of your summer, Illini!

The post Fun things to do while bored this summer appeared first on Illinois Admissions Blog.

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It’s tough. Your kid—the one who still looks a lot like that middle schooler they were three years ago—is going to be applying to college soon. If you’re wondering how in the world the two of you will make it to move-in day, you’re not alone! The transition to college can be rocky and stressful for everyone, and it’s often during their child’s junior year of high school that parents start to feel overwhelmed.

Maybe you can’t help feeling stressed whenever you think about your kid going to college, but what you can do is start preparing. Following is a checklist of five of the most important parts of the process right now. We hope it helps you orient yourself whenever you’re struggling over all the details.

Narrow Down the List

Junior year is the time for your child to start thinking seriously about where they want to go. If your kid is like most, this will likely both excite them and send them into a slump of anxiety and fear. The excitement is great, but as for that anxiety and fear … 

Some of those bad feelings may come from not knowing what to expect. For many juniors, college is still a completely foreign idea. They might not be sure where to look or even what they’re looking for. With thousands of colleges out there, it’s no wonder why.

Have you spoken to your child about any financial, geographical, or logistical restrictions that your family has? If not, now is definitely the time. Be honest and realistic with your child about what their options are. High schoolers are smart (just think of you when you were their age!), and trying to cover up truths with “maybes” won’t help them—it probably won’t even work.

Fine-tuning the list can be a stressful part of the process, but it’s a rewarding one. If you or your child aren’t sure where to start, we have some suggestions on how to narrow the college search. You’ll all be better off once you know what your options are.

Register for Standardized Tests

Standardized tests are Class A Bummers. Nobody really likes them, but they still play an important role in many college applications. The two most common standardized tests are the SAT and the ACT. Your child’s high school counselor is a good resource if you and your child aren’t sure which test they should take.

Your child can register for the ACT or the SAT online. And once it’s time for your child to take the test, we’ve got some tips on how they can triumph.

Schedule School Visits

Now comes the fun part! Visiting a college is a great way to become familiar with both that school and the basic idea of college. But college visits won’t happen unless you make them happen. Luckily, the scheduling part is fairly easy; your child can sign up for most visits online or by calling the college’s admissions office.

Starting college visits now will give you more time to see all the places your child is interested in. It will also give you a chance to ask any questions you have about the application process.

Start Thinking About Cost

Thinking about how expensive college is isn’t fun, but it’s vital if you want your child to make it through school successfully. Let’s cut straight to the chase: Who’s going to pay for your child’s college expenses? How? When? 

Most students use some kind of financial aid to make college costs more manageable. Think about your family’s situation and consider your options. If you’re not sure what those options are, check out our guide to paying for college.

Organize Application Dates & Deadlines

This step will be easier if your child’s college list is mostly worked out, but if you’re running short on time, let’s tackle it right now! Putting the biggest deadlines for each college on a single cheat sheet or small calendar is a good way of keeping track of what’s ahead without becoming too overwhelmed. 

For now, important dates include:

  • Early application filing period for each school
  • Regular application filing period for each school
  • Your child’s standardized test dates
  • Your child’s scheduled school visit dates
  • Financial aid deadlines

And if Illinois is on your list (what a great school!), we’ve put together a calendar with some of these important dates. Feel free to print it out and personalize it for your family!

Like we said, the transition to college is not easy, but keeping an eye on what’s ahead and being honest with your child will hopefully make it a little less “not easy,” if that makes sense. And if you ever get overwhelmed, remind yourself that everything will work out in the end.

The post 5 Ways Junior Parents Can Help With College Planning appeared first on U of I Admissions: Blog.

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Your child is a freshman in high school, and you’re already thinking about college. “Too soon?” you ask.

Absolutely not, and here’s why: Not only is college is a major investment, but the search process is complicated. There are literally hundreds of schools to choose from, each with different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to your child’s needs. Your family requires time to make an informed decision.

But where do you start, and what’s your role as a parent in all this? We’re here to help.

Where to Start
1. Talk about expectations and preferences.

Having a family conversation can help answer many questions up front so everyone is of a similar mindset moving forward. For example:

  • What’s your child looking to get out of the college experience?
  • What are you hoping for them?
  • Does your child already have any colleges in mind? 
  • What about majors? 
  • Who will be paying for what?
  • Does your family have any cost restrictions?
  • How and when will each of you participate in the search process?

(Want more advice on how to talk to your child about college? We have a blog on that, too.)

2. Research.

Once you’ve had an initial discussion, start doing some research. Take a look at any schools your child has expressed an interest in and search for ones that have their intended major or match the experience they’re seeking (big/small, public/private, in-state/out-of-state, etc.).

You can do much of this research online through college search sites like College Board or Cappex. These sites make it easier to compare and contrast U.S. colleges based on your child’s preferences. If you have specific colleges in mind, we also suggest visiting their admissions websites. This is where your child can sign up to receive more information via mail and email.

A quick reminder: If you do any of this research on your own, make sure to send it along to the rest of your family so they can check it out, too.

3. Start visiting colleges.

Although descriptions and photos can help, the best way for you and your family to learn more about a college is by visiting. Visiting can also help your child better recognize what exactly they’re looking for in a college, and it’s never too early to start!

Colleges offer a variety of visit opportunities throughout the year, including on weekends. Work with your child to determine any colleges you can or should visit, and then sign up for days that work for the whole family.

4. Encourage your child to explore their interests.

Your child probably doesn’t know what they want to major in yet, and even if they do, it’s quite possible they’ll change their mind later on. That’s okay. High school is the perfect time to self-reflect and explore. Your job? Encourage them to do so!

Your child can learn more about themselves and the kinds of things they like to do (or don’t like to do) by getting involved in clubs, working part-time, job shadowing, and more. Plus, colleges like it when students have had experiences related to the field to which they’re applying.

5. Help your child stay on track academically.

Students are required to take certain subjects in high school in order to qualify for admission at certain colleges (including Illinois). Sometimes these requirements vary depending on the major or the college. Make sure your child is aware of these course requirements now so they can work with their counselor to craft an appropriate class schedule each semester. Grades—including freshman year—count, too!

Your Role

Some parents are heavily involved in their child’s college search process. Others are more hands off. The way you choose to approach things is up to you—you know your child best and what they need from you. Take your cue from them.

However involved you choose to be, empower your child to take charge of their future by encouraging them to schedule their own high school counseling meetings, sign up for their own college mailing lists, and more. This is great practice for the kinds of responsibilities they’ll take on once at college and beyond.

Finally, be their sounding board, their cheerleader, and their advocate. Let them know they’ve got this … and know you’ve got this, too!

The post Just for Parents: How to Start the College Search appeared first on U of I Admissions: Blog.

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Happy summer! I hope your summer break is off to a great start.

Summer is often a time to relax and have fun, but don’t go into full relaxation summer mode yet, because we still need a couple things from you—including your transcripts. As always, we’re here to walk you through the process.

When & What We Need

Our office needs your official, final high school transcripts by July 10. To be considered final, they must include your grades for years 9 through 12 and a confirmation of graduation. If your final transcripts won’t be ready by our deadline, you must send an official transcript with your grades from years 9 to 11 by July 10, followed by your final transcript as soon as it’s available.

Your high school may send your transcripts through an electronic transcript vendor. If your school doesn’t work with a vendor and is a U.S. school, your counselor or registrar can email a PDF directly to etranscript@illinois.edu using their school account. Your high school can also mail official paper copies directly to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Unfortunately, we do not accept electronic transcripts emailed directly from students or from international institutions.

Special Cases

Now, there may be some special cases when you need to send additional materials to our office. See below for some situations you may run into. Be sure to read through all of the points!

Multiple U.S. High Schools

If you’ve attended multiple U.S. high schools and your current school doesn’t list the grades from your previous school, you should send transcripts from both your current and previous high school. You only need to send us your final high school transcripts if your current school already includes the grades from your previous school,

Dual Credit Classes

If you took a dual credit class, have the institution that’s awarding credit send us your official transcript. Even if the coursework shows up on your high school transcripts, we need this transcript to award college credit.

International High Schools

We need an official transcript for any international school you attended, and it needs to be issued directly from that school. If your school had an exam-based curriculum such as IB, A-Levels, Standard X/XII, etc., see those sections below. We’ll also accept a true, certified copy of the original issued from your current school if you aren’t able to get an official copy from the issuing institution. 

If you’ve completed multiple curriculums, please review any relevant information below. Again, we do not accept electronic copies of international transcripts.

AP Tests

These scores are sent electronically and directly from the testing agency. Contact CollegeBoard to have these scores sent to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

International Baccalaureate

If you’re a student at an IB school, you need to send us your transcripts so we can verify term grades. If you’re at an international school, you may also need to include your IB Diploma Certificate to verify a date of school completion. IB exam results should be sent to Measurement & Evaluation for credit on campus.

British System (GCSE/IGCSE/O Levels/A Levels)

Your official final results must be sent to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, either by the testing agency or as a certified copy from your school. We understand that official results for these exams aren’t typically available until August. Please send everything else to us in the meantime.

Although you may use your statement of results to show your high school completion, we can’t award credit based on this document. We need the final, official certificate. When you receive the final certificate, bring it to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and we will make a certified, true copy for our records.

Indian Standard X & XII Exams

Have your school, ministry of education, or EducationUSA advisor send us a certified copy of your official board examination results.

Transcripts Without Graduation Dates

Some international schools do not include graduation dates on final high school transcripts. In this case, please include your graduation certificate with your final transcript.


Records not issued in English must be accompanied by an English translation that’s certified by an appropriate school official, official translator, and U.S. embassy or consulate official.

It can take two to three weeks for your transcripts to be sent and processed into our system. You can check to see if we’ve received your documents by looking at your Admitted Student Checklist in myIllini. If you’re confused about any part of the process, always feel free to contact our office and ask!

The post We need your transcripts, new Illini! appeared first on U of I Admissions: Blog.

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