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The Pre-Collegiette™ Guide: You Made the Right Choice, Illini

The Pre-Collegiate Guide: You Made the Right Choice, Illini
An Overview of Academics and Life in the CU


History: The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign began in 1867. Chartered as the Illinois Industrial University, the University opened for business in 1868. Renamed the University of Illinois in 1885, it is one of the original 37 public land-grant institutions created after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act in 1862 (Illinois.edu). As the second-oldest university in the state, the University of Illinois has one of the largest academic libraries in the world.

Motto: Learning and Labor
Location: Urbana and Champaign, Illinois; Central Illinois

Size: 43,862 total students

  • 31,540 undergraduate
  • 12,322 graduate and professional students
  • 54% men, 46% women
  • Students from all 50 states and 118 countries

Staff: 3,042 Faculty Members; 1,963 tenured/tenure track, 1,079 visiting faculty & instructional staff.

Schools: College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences; College of Applied Health Sciences; Institute of Aviation; College of Business; College of Education; College of Engineering; College of Fine and Applied Arts; Division of General Studies; Graduate College; School of Labor and Employment Relations; College of Law; College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Graduate School of Library and Information Science; College of Media; College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign; School of Social Work; College of Veterinary Medicine
Over 150 majors and a wide variety of minors to choose from.
Rankings: 47th Best National University, 15th Best Public University. The College of Business is ranked 14th in undergraduate programs nationally and The College of Engineering is ranked 6th in undergraduate and 5th in graduate programs nationally(U.S. News and World Reports, 2011).
Student Organizations:


  • Registered: up to 850 clubs, coalitions, societies, and teams
  • Student media: Daily Illini newspaper, Illio yearbook, Impulse magazine, Technograph, The 217, Buzz, and WPGU-FM
  • Nation’s largest Greek-letter community: 54 fraternities and 30 sororities; about 20% of all undergraduates participate


For more information and statistics visit, http://illinois.edu/about/overview/facts/facts.html





We picked the brains of various (both current and graduated) Illini students and found out what they had to say about all things U of I. Here’s everything you need to know about everything: reasons for attending, academics, classes, nightlife, social scenes, extra curriculars and more!!



Why Illinois?
“Upon my first campus visit to Champaign-Urbana, I was completely won over. Stepping onto the Quad and walking along Green Street, I automatically felt comfortable. I wanted a school with a large, diverse population, outstanding academics, and vibrant student life and Illinois gave me just that. I was also intrigued by life in a college town environment, not as overwhelming as a big city but not completely in the middle of nowhere, and Champaign immediately felt like home.” – Olivia Dolleton, Sophomore
“I am actually a transfer student. I originally went to Bradley University my freshman year because I think that smaller would be better, but i could not have been further from the truth. I chose U of I because of all the opportunities that it had to offer. There were so many different organizations to join, the campus is a great size (and it is beautiful), and it is nice to be able to meet so many different kinds of people.” – Jen How, Senior
“I chose to attend the University of Illinois because it had everything I was looking for in a university. The large campus is the atmosphere I knew I wanted to be in for college and it has everything—academics, athletics, social, Greek life, etc.—that I was looking for in a school.” – Ellen, Senior
“Both of my parents as well as my sister attended U of I and I grew up driving over for football games every fall. I loved the campus, and how close it was to my hometown, yet it was so much bigger than my small town was. It had a great journalism program a lot of great ways to get involved on campus.”—Mary Beard, Senior
“I chose the U of I because of their good reputation, the opportunities they offer, strong leadership experiences, and their variety in majors, minors & clubs.”–Joanna Mirowska, Junior
The Academics
“The academics at the University of Illinois are outstanding. Getting a degree from U of I puts you ahead and provides you with the knowledge to succeed later one.” – Amalia Megally, Sophomore
“The academics at U of I are a step above most big ten universities and provide a prestigious education.”
“In terms of difficulty, classes at U of I completely depend on the major. I love that there are the known easy classes and everyone likes to swap and share answers. I feel like everyone wants to help each other and our school isn’t as competitive as other schools like Michigan.”
“The academics are great. All my professors are very easy to talk to and are always willing to help. I’ve enjoyed the smaller classes that come with my major; I feel like I’m more attentive and I like the discussion-based style classes.”
“A lot of people complain about the class sizes and TAs, but I’m in LAS so the majority of my classes are pretty small and taught by professors. Plus, the few TAs I have had were competent and in grad school to be professors. The university’s size is great for things like class variety and research opportunities. I’m an undergrad research assistant in Clinical Psychology, which I probably wouldn’t have been able to do at a smaller school.”
“Professors are amazing, friendly, and are always available to help you. You can find classes that are easy enough for a gen ed and challenging enough for your major.”–Joanna Mirowska, Junior
“I would say that academically U of I is a great school. There are many great gen ed classes, but they are all “busy work” classes. Its frustrating sometimes, but I think by taking the gen eds you really find out what you want to do with your life. A lot of the upper level classes that are in your major are great classes to take and are really interesting.”—Katie Samuelson, Senior
Why I Love U of I
“The spirit! Nothing beats Campustown on a game day! Everyone is dressed up in their orange and blue and showing their pride! It’s so festive and truly collegiate!” – Emily Carlson, Alumna
“My favorite aspects of U of I are the quality of school and the experience of the professors. It looks good to have a recommendation from a teacher who has written their own book and is one of the most knowledgeable in their respective fields. I also really enjoy the night life.” – Dayna Parenti, Senior
“I love that it’s a college town so everyone around you is working towards some ultimate goal, but that goal is so different for each person. It motivates me to be driven!” – Lisa, Sophomore
“My favorite thing about the U of I believe it or not is the size of our campus. At school, I never get bored. Campus is so expansive that I can spend one day laying on the Quad, stop for a coffee at BIF, head home to study and then hop to the ARC for an evening work out before heading out on Green St. with friends. I couldn’t imagine a better college experience, from friends to my two main activities AAF and JAMS. There are just so many opportunities and things to do, all the time.”—Theresa Lopez, Junior
“I love going to a Big Ten school. I live for football season and basketball is fun too. Couple that with a great education and nightlife and you have one heck of a time here.”- Beth Ray, Senior
“I really like the artsy, liberal qualities of Urbana. I also like that a lot of places around campus are eco-friendly and local. The CUMTD bus system is nice.”
“I absolutely love the college town atmosphere because it really encompasses all aspects of student life. Any place a student wants to go is typically within a walking distance and everything is easily accessible” – Olivia Dolleton, Sophomore
“My favorite thing about U of I is the laidback culture and the nightlife. I like that people don’t dress up for class, but at night we all like to look nice and have a good time.”
“The qality of the education is probably one of the most important things to me besides the nightlife, and the education i got freshman year was outstanding to say the least”–Kaitlan Meyers, Sophomore
“I Love Green Street and going out to get food at night with friends or stop by Coco Mero for a sweet treat! It’s great being around all the young people!”—Stephanie, Junior
“We have a nice balance between school activities and going out activities. With the 2 1/2 hour drive from here to Chicago, it gives me a nice place to get away from home.”
“Since this is such a big school, you have to find a way to make it smaller by joining a club, sorority or organization. After joining that organization, it can be hard to go outside of that circle and then sometimes it feels too small.”
“Central Illinois is boring! Sure the campus bars are fun, but I wish I didn’t have to drive or take a long train ride every time I wanted to enjoy the benefits of a city—airport, shopping, civilization, scenery other than corn, etc.”
“The pressure to “go Greek.”—Sam, Senior
“This is actually a hard one. I guess I don’t like that there is a huge rush and panic for apartments in September for the following year. Having to know who you want to live with a year in advance is sometimes hard, and everyone panics when there isn’t a real need to.”—Mary Beard, Senior
“The one thing that I didn’t like at first about attending U of I is that many people from the area I grew up in go to the University also, so in theory it would be harder to “start over.” Once coming to U of I though, I found this to not be a big problem because I made tons of new friends regardless.”–Hayley Eselevsky, Sophomore
“I do not like the location surrounding the school. One of the most disturbing aspects of my college experience has been the amount of crime stemming from the outskirts of campus. It is frustrating to not be able to walk a few blocks to and from the library without having to worry about being mugged or assaulted.” – Dayna Parenti, Senior
“I used to have a problem with how big the school is because I felt like I didn’t have a lot of guidance. It isn’t a problem for me now, as a senior, but when I was a freshman I wished I had a little more guidance and direction. I would encourage incoming freshman to not be afraid to speak up and ask questions from their guidance counselors or professors when they feel they need assistance.” – Ellen, Senior
“I don’t like how cliquey our school can be with Greeks/”GDIs”. It is so silly, we are all smart, we all earned our way here, and we should all get along!”
“Being so far from a big city in the middle of nowhere. Price and lack of parking…”
“The winter months in Champaign are brutal… especially due to the sidewalks that hardly get salted.”
Best Classes to Take on Campus


  • ADV 300 (Intro to Advertising)
  • ADV 350 (Writing for Public Relations)
  • ANTH 143 (Biology of Human Behavior)
  • ATMS 100 (Intro to Meteorology) & ATMS120 (Severe and Hazardous Weather) with Snodgrass
  • ECON 102 & 103 (Intro to Macro and Micro Economics) NOT with Gottheil
  • CHLH 243 (Drug Use and Abuse)
  • CLCV 115 (Mythology of Greece and Rome)
  • CMN 101 (Public Speaking)
  • CMN 230 (Interpersonal Communication)
  • CMN 260 (Intro to Health Communication)
  • DANC 100 (Intro to Contemporary Dance) For non-dance majors and guys too.
  • ENGL 109 (Intro to Fiction)
  • FSHN 120 (Contemporary Nutrition)
  • FSHN 304 (Intro to Wine Tasting) Must be 21 yrs old.
  • GEOG 118 (Natural Disasters)
  • GEOG 101 (Intro to Meterology)
  • IB 150 (Animal Biology)
  • JOUR 411 (Law and Communications) with Steve Hell
  • JOUR 200 (Intro to Journalism)
  • PHYS 140 (How things Work)
  • PSYC 100 (Intro to Psychology) Section X is the best
  • SHS 222 (Lang & Culture Deaf Communities)
  • STAT 100 (Statistics) with Fireman

Best Dorms
“Well, I lived in Forbes in the six pack, which was nice, but then I had all my friends over in Bromley with their air conditioning, spacious rooms, and private bathrooms, so I would have to betray the six pack and give my vote to Bromley.”
“Weston in the six pack. It was super fun and a great way to meet friends when I lived there. Any dorm in the six pack is worth it for freshman year.” – Catherine Taich, Junior
“Somewhere in the 6pack for social reasons. Definitely Newman hall for the amenities.”
“Bromley for sure. I lived there and even though it doesn’t have the best food, I loved that it had air conditioning, bathrooms between rooms, study hours, and it was really comfortable living there, fun and social dorm.”
“I loved, loved, loved, living in LAR (if you’re a girl). It’s so clean and nice and quaint so it was a great place to live. Then if you want to go out, catch the bus right across the street and head over to your loud friends’ dorms in the 6 Pack.” – Emily Carlson, Alumni
“You will have a good experience in any dorm so long as you keep an open mind. I was in PAR, a dorm notorious for its distance from campus and the population of anti-social freshman. That just made the girls and I on my floor bond even more because we had to stick together to not go crazy and explore Champaign!” – Megan Dawson, Junior
“I lived in Bromley, but I would recommend the 6-pack. Everyone I know that lived there made a strong group of friends while living there, while in Bromley doors are often closed and people seclude themselves. Also the 6-pack offers late night food and a better cafeteria (Bromley’s food is horrible and only offered twice a day).”
“Depends what you’re looking for. Social life = 6 pack A/C, private bathrooms, & location = Bromley or IT, music and arts interests = Allen.”
“Definitely Weston Hall. It is right next to the fabulous new dining hall, close to the quad, close to the ARC close to Green St. It’s also the best dorm because the people who live there are so friendly!” – Amalia Megally, Sophomore
“I liked living in Snyder, although I wouldn’t say it was the best. It was a good college experience because I didn’t live in some deluxe suite with it’s own bathroom. I think it was a good life experience, since it forces you to deal with conflict management.”–Kayla Flam, Senior
“I think the best dorm to live in is Scott. It’s really close to the ARC and it has air-conditioning. It’s also in the 6-pack so it’s really social. I didn’t live there but I lived in Forbes and was always really jealous.”–Jennifer Crawford, Sophomore
Extra Curriculars
“U of I has many, many clubs and programs to participate in. During Welcome Week, there is an event called “Quad Day” in which all of the clubs line up on the Quad and everyone walks around the Quad and you can check out and join all of the clubs you are interested in. U of I also has a very big Greek system so many people are in sororities or fraternities.”–Hayley Eselevsky, Sophomore
“There’s more clubs than you can even count. I’d say pick a few that you’re truly interested in and then don’t give your email address to everyone else. It never stops!” – Emily Carlson, Alumna
“There is simply so much to offer! Keep your eyes and ears open constantly for flyers, announcements, people wearing weird T-Shirts. You never know what you will see.” – Megan Dawson, Junior
“I am a member of a sorority on campus and I definitely suggest going through recruitment even if you are hesitant, because it is a one of a kind experience. I have also been a part of a dance company as well. There is literally a club or team for every single person on this campus”—Mary Beard, Senior
“The only problem that you have is that there are TOO many choices. I must have joined half a million clubs my freshman year. I went white water rafting with the Outdoor Adventure Club, dancing with the Swing Society, took a Kickfit group fitness class, and I’m still not done. And then there’s Illini Media Company, which, for those looking to go into media, is as close to the real world as you can get.”
“I am in sorority and I completely love it. It is nice to be able to narrow down the forty thousand undergraduate population at U of I. One piece of advice after joining the Greek life-it is important to keep an open mind to other activities because it is easy to get stuck in that niche.”
“I’m involved with a lot of extra curricular activities, particular those that pertain to fashion. UofI didn’t have a club that focused on my interests so I created it myself. That’s the beauty of this school, if you want to create a club, you can.” – Catherine Taich, Junior
Nightlife at U of I
“The nightlife is great. There are so many different things to do: there are a wide variety of bars (and you only have to be 19 to get in, woohoo), there are concerts, bowling at union, so many options.”
Nightlife at U of I has the best of both worlds. We are able to go to bars, fraternity parties, house parties and apartment parties. I feel bad for other schools who are limited to one of those options, which is basically all of the other schools. Since the bars at 19, there is no division between ages since we can all hang out together.
“The nightlife at U of I is very bar-oriented. Once in a while there are frat parties, but for the most part you go to Joe’s, Kam’s, or Red Lion. My one complaint would be that there is no variety in the bars you go to and it seems like I am always going to the same places with my friends. As a senior, it is finally starting to get boring.” – Dayna Parenti, Senior
“The nightlife at U of I is so fun. Even though you can get into the bars when you’re 19, cops still raid them, so that’s something to keep in mind. You can still go the bars and have a great time even if you don’t drink. They’re a great place to dance and hang out with friends. Some bars are restaurants as well, so those are good places to grab dinner and a drink with friends.” – Allison Sickert, Senior


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