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Tackling the UIUC Supplemental Essays 2023-2024

The University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (UIUC) is a renowned institution known for its rigorous academic environment and vibrant student life. To stand out from the competition and make your way to UIUC, it's crucial to nail your supplemental essays. Let's dig deeper into how to approach these prompts.

University of Illinois Urbana Champaign Supplemental Essay Prompts

  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. (400 words)

  2. 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. (400 words)

Approach to Each Prompt

Explain your interest in the major you selected This prompt is essentially a 'Why This Major' essay. UIUC wants to understand why you have chosen your particular field of study. The admissions committee is looking for a genuine interest and understanding of your chosen major. Discuss specific courses, professors, or research initiatives at UIUC that excite you. Also, try to tie in how this major will help you accomplish your future career goals.


From an early age, I've been fascinated by the harmony in nature's design, the intricate systems that flawlessly work together to sustain life. It's this interest that guided me towards choosing Biological Sciences as my major at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (UIUC).

My journey of exploration began in my sophomore year of high school when I joined the biology club. Through activities like studying local biodiversity, attending seminars, and even conducting a mini research project on local bird species, I began to realize the potential of biology as a tool for understanding our world. It was here that I developed a particular interest in ecology and conservation.

To further my understanding, I interned last summer at a local conservation center. Here, I had the opportunity to work alongside researchers studying the impacts of urbanization on local flora and fauna. This experience was both enlightening and inspiring, cementing my resolve to pursue biology.

As for the future, my dream is to become a conservation scientist. I aspire to work on preserving biodiversity and finding sustainable solutions to human-nature conflicts. I believe that a major in Biological Sciences at UIUC, with its focus on experiential learning and research, would be a perfect stepping stone towards achieving this dream.

Courses such as 'Principles of Ecology' and 'Conservation Biology', along with opportunities to engage in research through the School of Integrative Biology, excite me. I am particularly intrigued by the research work of Professor Smith on urban ecology, and I hope to contribute to this work as an undergraduate researcher at UIUC.

Explain your academic interests if applying to the Division of General Studies This essay is for applicants who are undecided about their major. Even if you are undecided, UIUC wants to know about your academic strengths, interests, and potential career goals. The key here is to show flexibility and curiosity.


As a curious and flexible learner, my academic interests are broad and interdisciplinary. Although I am applying to the Division of General Studies at UIUC, my academic strengths lie in the intersection of humanities and social sciences.

Throughout high school, I have been drawn towards history and literature, fascinated by the insights they provide into human behavior, societies, and cultures. Simultaneously, I am intrigued by psychology and its potential for understanding individual behavior.

While I am yet to narrow down on a specific career path, I am considering a future that allows me to leverage these interests, possibly in journalism, social work, or diplomacy. Regardless of the path I choose, I am confident that the comprehensive education provided by the Division of General Studies at UIUC will equip me with the broad-based knowledge and skills needed to excel.

At UIUC, I am excited about courses such as 'Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Environment' and 'Cultural Differences and Social Change' that reflect my varied interests. Through these courses and more, I look forward to delving deeper into my interests, refining my skills, and charting a career path that aligns with my passions and strengths.

Top Tips for Your Essays

  1. Be Specific: Show that you’ve done your research. What unique opportunities does UIUC offer that align with your interests?

  2. Show Development: You should not only express your interest but also illustrate your understanding and commitment to your chosen major.

  3. Demonstrate Passion: The admissions committee wants to see enthusiasm in your writing. Make sure your passion for your chosen major shines through.

  4. Connect to Future Goals: How will your chosen major or studies at UIUC help you in your future career?

The University of Illinois Urbana Champaign offers a vibrant and supportive community, rigorous academics, and a multitude of resources for its students. By effectively addressing the supplemental essays, you can illustrate your fit for the school and take one step closer to becoming an Illini!