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University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign: Talking to an Admission Representative

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign: Talking to an Admission Representative

By Adrian Garces

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) is a well known “lively” public school that is popular in the Chicago area. An exciting social atmosphere is not the only thing that makes the University of Illinois a common school in everyone’s college list.  There are a variety of reasons that Urbana is such a popular school in Illinois and especially Northside. With an acceptance rate of 65.5% and 32,000 prospective undergraduates accepted every year, the chances of getting in are more than likely in your favor. In addition, UIUC has almost an exact ratio of men to women in faculty and students populations. They also have a student-teacher ratio of 20:1 with 40.6% of the classes having fewer than 20 students, an attribute that most colleges are unable to offer.  

Urbana provides incoming students with tools to succeed in their careers and to help alleviate the stress of college life.  The cost of attendance for instate students is $30,082 including $12,036 for tuition, $11,308 for room and board, $1,200 for books, and $3,038 for supplies. However, 48% of incoming students receive $19,833 in financial aid, usually in the form of scholarships and grants.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Mayra Lagunas, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions for Urbana-Champaign, when she came to Northside to lead an informational session. As a Chicago native, Lagunas was able to discuss the education and campus life in a way that was directly relatable to Northside students. Lagunas spoke about her personal experience at Urbana and explained that, although she was intimidated as the first in her family to attend college, the atmosphere was welcoming and inclusive. She said, “I grew up in Chicago, born and raised, so when I went to the University of Illinois, I thought I had grown up in a very different community, and then I saw people of color around me and said ‘this is diversity.’”

When asked about life outside of the Urbana campus, Lagunas said, “It is a very vibrant community, with very committed people. The university works very closely with the communities around the area.” She also touched on why Urbana is such a popular school and how it is different from the other schools in Illinois. “[Urbana] is a wonderful opportunity to have a world-class education along with diversity;” said Lagunas, “not only in ethnicity, but in experiences as people come from all different walks of life with different people from all of Illinois, even internationally.” When asked about the new installment of Illinois Commitment program (which provides free tuition for students whose families make $61,000 or less per year), Mayra had nothing but good things to say. She said she wished a program like this existed when she was applying because of how much it could have helped her, but is excited about how it’ll impact and help incoming students.

Laguanas also gave some specific advice concerning essays and applications. She mentioned that she wished essays were more personal as opposed to factual because she wanted to know more about who applicants are.


UIUC is unlike many schools as it is not a common app school and requires a self report of all your grades. Once submitted, changes cannot be made so it is well advised to ensure that there are no errors. The University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign also does not require a personal statement; rather, their application consists of one essay in which you explain your choice of major.

The University of Illinois is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an amazing with diversity, exciting campus life, and a personalized education. Laguanas showed genuine passion for Urbana when interviewed, giving personalized information that pamphlets do not include. With a graduation rate of 84.2% and a relatively high acceptance rate, the University of Illinois should be on everyone’s college list. For more information, check out their website https://illinois.edu/  

  • Public College

  • Number of Undergraduate Students: 32,000 Undergraduates annually  

  • Male to Female Ratio

    • 55% men : 45 % women in terms of students

    • 51.2% men : 48.8% women in terms of faculty

  • Student to teacher ratio

    • 20:1 with 40.6 of the classes having fewer than 20 students

  • Overall Cost

    • Total cost of attendance for instate students is : $30, 082

  • Percentage of Students on financial aid: 48%

    • Financial aid for freshman is usually around $19, 833.

  • Size of Endowment: $3.71B

  • Location of School: Urbana, Illinois in the county of Champaign / urban

  • Acceptance Rate: 65.6%

  • Graduation Rate: 84.2%

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