Tips for Writing Your Essay
The essay portion of the application is important because it gives us further insight into who you are and who you want to be. Make us remember you!
Take time to think about and brainstorm your message. Create an outline, write a good first draft, and edit multiple times.
We want to know more about you, so be honest and let us into your world. Instead of making broad statements about what you want to do, provide specific examples from high school or extracurricular activities. And don’t be afraid to add your personal style and voice to your writing!
You only have a couple of paragraphs to tell us that you’re not only qualified to attend Illinois, but you're also ready for the challenge and will make the most of your experience. Choose your words wisely.
It's not necessary for you to repeat information that’s already elsewhere in your application. Stay focused on explaining how those credentials and qualifications will lead to a successful future here.
Submitting a sloppy-looking essay with spelling errors and glaring mistakes sends us the message that you’re not serious about Illinois. Proofread your essays and ask your counselor, a friend, or a parent to take a second look.
What to expect on your application
Applicants will be required to complete these items on their Common Application:
- Common Application Essay. Applicants must choose to respond to one of these five prompts as part of their application:
- Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
- The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
- Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
- Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma-anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
- Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.
- Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
- Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.
- UIC Member Profile Essay. UIC applicants will be asked to respond to a short essay regarding their program of choice or the career fields in which applicants are interested. Applicants to the Honors College or GPPA programs will also be prompted to respond to an essay for each of those programs.
- Common Application School Report. The Common Application School Report must be assigned as part of the Common Application submission process and should be turned in along with the high school transcripts. Counselors may opt out of the recommendation section on the School Report without having an impact on the application review.
- Letters of recommendation (required for Honors and GPPA applicants only). Applications to the Honors College and GPPA require two letters of recommendation. The School Report may satisfy one of those letter requirements provided it includes a full letter. Recommenders must be assigned specifically to each school, so be sure to assign your recommenders to UIC to ensure the letters are delivered.