Champaign, IL
Tuition (in-state)
$28,664 ($14,522)
Admission Difficulty
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Reviews 3186 total reviews with an average rating of 3.6

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College Freshman

Majors: I have not yet finished my program, so a rating wouldn't be applicable.

3 College Freshman

Weather: Like most areas in the Mid-West, during the summer it is hot and during the winter it is cold. As long as one is prepared for the weather, then it has no effect on the campus experience.

4 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: There are many off-campus dining options, and the cost at those places varies. However, there are multiple places around campus where students can find options they like.

4 College Freshman

Facilities: The campus has a wide variety of academic programs and facilities. The campus is large enough that there are many different opportunities for students.

5 College Freshman

Facilities: The athletic centers are great. There are many libraries at which students can find the help they need with their studies and projects.

College Freshman

Off-Campus Housing: I have had no experiences yet with off-campus housing, so I am not qualified to review it.

4 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: I enjoy the local atmosphere, and there are many places off campus where students can go.

2 College Freshman

Campus Dining: The food is often repetitive, the hours are limited, and it isn't always of the best quality.

3 College Freshman

Health & Safety: I often see security personnel patrolling buildings, but I see them less often walking around campus.

3 College Freshman

Greek Life: Greek students are viewed by non-Greeks as people who only like to party.

3 College Freshman

Campus Dining: The most popular plan is 10 classic/45 cafe. Classic meals are one-swipe and are used in the dining halls. Cafe credits are like University dollars. When you run out of classic meals, each meal is a certain number of cafe credits. Cafe credits can also be used to swipe in a friend without losing a classic meal, or pay for a-la-carte items at mini mart-syle places or a drink at The Caffeinator. Any unused credits will roll over another week, but you can never have more than double what you started with. That means on the 10/45 you'll never have more than 20 classic meals or $90 in cafe credits. This was the most confusing for me and the university dining website doesn't explain it well.

4 College Freshman

Nightlife: At UIUC you have to be 19 to be bar legal, 21 obviously to drink. As far as I know there are no clubs on campus but people still have a good time pre-gaming and hanging out at the bars. By the way, the bars get pretty anal about checking ID's, sometimes to the point where they'll call the cops if they get handed a fake. Fridays and Saturdays there will be at least one frat having a party, and unless it's strictly a frat-sorority thing girls get in free. Lots of frats will have themed parties, like Country and Luau. And don't forget Unofficial, the biggest party on campus in March! As for transportation, the buses won't take you directly in front of each and every frat house, but they can take you pretty close and then it's a super short walk the rest of the way.

1 person found this useful Report
2 College Freshman

Weather: The Midwest is unpredictable. 70-degree weather in late October/early November, 50-degree weather one day in December to nearly 0-degrees with the wind chill? You better pack prepared: rain boots, snow boots, umbrella, windbreaker, sweaters, etc. I love summer, so when I step outside my dorm and already my fingers are freezing, I'm cursing Mother Nature but I deal with it. If you're the kind that really can't take the weather extremes, there's always the bus to temporarily shelter you from the elements. Or just don't go outside if you can avoid it.

4 College Freshman

Guys & Girls: Big school = big variety. Especially if you eat at the larger dining halls, like the Ike, there will be plenty of eye candy. Dress-wise there's no standard social dress code. You want to head to class in all sweats? Go for it. Want to rock the sweater-polo-Sperry's look? Rock it. Those who wear sandals and shorts in 40-degree weather get judge-y glances, but that's just plain ridiculous. For the party scene there's typical party wear--girls, I'm talking cute tops and jeans or a dress you won't cry over if someone spills a drink on it--but I've never hear anyone be called out for not 100% fitting that norm.

3 College Freshman

Transportation: Many of my friends are just picked up by their parents or get rides from a friend who has a car, while I stick with the campus shuttle system. The shuttle bus system I use tends to overbook a trip, so buy a ticket early and try to get on as soon as possible; the stops are ISR, sometimes PAR, Armory, and Altgeld, all in that order. The buses also leave at the time printed on the ticket, so DO NOT BE LATE. Besides, getting there earlier means a greater chance of snagging the seat you want.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Campus Housing: I'm giving a "great" review because of all the perks from various options of university housing. PAR/FAR are, well, far from the quad and Green St, but PAR has a stir-fry station that's amazing and a lot of buses stop there. LAR is pretty from the front, but it faces Lincoln Ave, the eastern edge of campus, and it has a more quiet and not-too-social atmosphere. It shares a dining hall with Allen, which houses a lot of the more creative minds. Busey-Evans (Busey as in bee-YOU-see) is all-girls and the dining hall is so-so. I don't really have anything for ISR, and the Six Pack (Ikenberry North and South) is the social set of dorms. The dining hall for the Six Pack is the Ike, but any student can eat at any dining hall. There's even an app to tell you what's going to be served at each meal for a specific location.

The freshman fall housing process sucks because unless you really want to be in a living-learning community that isn't too popular, it's all random and you might end up with your last choice dorm. On the flip side, my future room mates had LAR as their last choice and, well, we've gotten so close we want to room together next year in one of the Six Pack dorms! Perk: if you stay with university housing, whatever was the cost at a dorm your first year will stay that cost next year.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: UIUC is special because its campus spreads over two cities. Each city has its own Walmart if you crave convenience, and there are (free with student ID) buses that will take you there. There are also local restaurants and shops both on Green St and in the downtown cities, such as boutiques and food co-ops and second-hand record stores. The local attitude is generally good towards students as long as no one gets too rowdy.

3 College Freshman

Scholarships: The scholarship I got was for my ACT score, which is merit-based. My room mate received a generous need-based scholarship, which was not equaled at any other school she was considering. It depends on your family's income bracket, any circumstances which might affect the use of such income, and dedication to schoolwork. It's always good to shoot for a good standardized score in case need-based aid falls through.

3 College Freshman

Campus Strictness: Get caught abusing prescription drugs, that's grounds for getting kicked out. If it's an emergency, both in Urbana and Champaign the policies are pretty good about not penalizing a student for being intoxicated. Any problems in the dorm can be reported to an RA, who are pretty good about keeping the peace.

4 College Freshman

Facilities: Finding a good study space or social gathering is easy if you reach out for it. If your dorm room doesn't cut it for studying, there's your dorm lounge, the underground/undergrad library (UGL), the graduate library, the engineering library, the ACES library, any one of the Espresso Royale shops... For social events, Facebook is a great way to stay connected with the next big activity on campus. For all the gym rats or aspiring active Illini, there are two rec centers, one on each end of campus, that are always free to students. One has a sauna and an Olympic-sized pool, the other a pool with slides and a hot tub.

4 College Freshman

Facilities: UIUC is a large campus, but from each end of campus it only takes about 10 minutes to get to the main quad. That makes walking around to get to and from classes tolerable and doable. With the ever-growing number of student-led organizations, it's super easy to find your niche in one of them if first-week icebreakers aren't enough to make new friends. Every dining hall, save the Ike, is located in each residence hall so it's super convenient. The Ike itself is new and huge, complete with various study areas, the dining hall itself, and an upstairs university coffee shop called The Caffeinator.

4 College Freshman

Academics: At UIUC, there's technically no such thing as a "Biology" major: you're either molecular and cellular (MCB) or integrative biology (IB). MCB is pretty self-explanatory, and IB is bigger picture bio like with plants and animals and systems. Freshman year you have a semester of MCB and a semester of IB, and if you still want to major in a biological science you choose at the end of the year. Both majors' programs are spelled out in detailed pdf's on their respective websites, and advisers are glad to help sort out any questions. As confusing as this is, it's nice to be able to already narrow down your major's interest so that you don't have to take classes you're not interested in to fulfill a degree in the biological sciences.

3 College Freshman

Academics: Generally speaking, homework is mostly given online and many classes will post online quizzes or require papers to be submitted online. The workload is tolerable if you're smart about getting it done, but UIUC is no academic pushover. There are some professors and TA's that are very insightful and approachable, and others that are tricky and move so fast it's implied you're getting outside help in the subject. If you can, look into getting into the merit program. The merit program is an extra class for, say, biology, that is an easy A if you do the minimal work and even boosts your GPA a little. Personally, my MCB merit TA was way more helpful than my regular TA because he's doing intense research and truly loves everything about biology.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: The majority of restaurants follow a system of order, pay, sit, eat. Think Panera Bread or Corner Bakery for pretty much every restaurant on Green St. It's not a bad system, since the food is decent and so are the prices, but don't expect to find an on-campus restaurant that has waiters. Luckily, if you're really into that kind of thing there are plenty of buses to take you to either downtown Urbana or Champaign that do have waiter service. Overall, students dig the local chains like Chipotle and Noodles & Co., but it's nice to know there's Chinese that delivers and a hip vegetarian/vegan restaurant just off the quad.

4 College Freshman

Greek Life: It's pretty hard to go around campus and not spot a sweatshirt or t-shirt or bag with letters of the Greek alphabet. Pretty soon into the fall semester, and you'll know almost of the letters and, if you're into the party life, the personalities of the frat houses. Rushing to get into a sorority is far more time consuming and meticulous compared to rushing a fraternity, but that doesn't stop girls from signing up for formal recruitment. I currently am not part of a Greek house, but I have friends who are and I don't view them any different from my other non-Greek friends. That is to say, being Greek won't exclude you or put you on a high pedestal, though there are a lot of perks to flashing your letters.

2 people found this useful Report

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Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

Emily Thiersch
Wilmette, Ill.
View all previous student authors

One might expect some tentative and even negative opinions about any school, but this is truly not the case here at U of I. Students are proud of U of I’s history, proud of is academic accomplishments, proud of the social opportunities it offers, and, most of all, they are proud to be alumni. For so many students to view their choice to come here as an unequivocally good one is a fantastic testament to the University’s strength.

Of course students here have plenty to complain about—the weather, the parking, the Greek social scene, the rural location. But all things considered, the positive points of the U of I experience tipped the scale—the University’s academic excellency, the safety, the social atmosphere, the athletic tradition, the city’s excellent transportation system. Some students admitted that they had a hard time adjusting, that they occasionally wished they had made another decision—but in the end, they were all happy to be here. The most encouraging fact was that so many people mentioned that they were leaving as better people, more knowledgeable, eclectic, and better equipped to navigate through life. University of Illinois students do not just leave with a piece of paper in their hands, they leave with a wealth of experience that is not easily rivaled—and, for in-staters, without enormous debt burdens to face when they graduate.



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