Second-Choice Major FAQ

Should I select a second-choice major within the application?

Yes, we strongly recommend it, especially if you're applying into one of our more competitive programs such as Engineering or Business. If you're not admissable to your first choice, you'll be reviewed for your second choice. If you're not admissable to either one, you'll be considered for all other avenues of admission. If you're admitted into your second choice or another program, you're considered wait listed for your first choice. This means that if space later opens up, we'll consider you again.

What happens if I don't select a second-choice major?

If you don't select a second choice, you'll only be considered for your first choice. This option is only appropriate if you're certain you won't attend Illinois unless you're admitted to your first choice. If you don't select a second choice and you're not competitive for your first choice, you'll be wait listed or denied. You won't be considered for any other avenue of admission.

Will selecting a second-choice major disadvantage me from my first choice?

No, your application will receive a thorough review for your first-choice major. If you're not competitive within that pool, you'll then be reviewed for your second-choice major and all other avenues of admission.

Are all majors available as a second choice?

No, not all majors are available due to space constraints.

How should I go about selecting my second-choice major?

Most likely, you'll want to select a second choice that's similar to your first-choice major based on your interests. We suggest keeping an open mind in selecting a second choice and encourage you to research our majors by interest area. You may find majors in other colleges on campus that fit your interests. If you're unsure of selecting a specific major, you can also choose our Undeclared program in the Division of General Studies (DGS) as your second choice.

I applied to the Undeclared program in DGS. Do I still need to list a second choice?

If there's a major you're considering, you should list it as your second choice. If you're exploring, there's no need to list a second-choice major.

Is it possible to receive admission offers for both my first and second choice?

No. If you're eligible, you'll only be admitted into one of the majors. If you want to declare a double major, you'll need to discuss that with your academic advisor once on campus.

Is an additional essay required if I select a second-choice major?

Yes, we want to know why you are interested in your second-choice major as well. No additional essay is required if you list Undeclared in DGS as your second choice.

Can I use the same essay for both my first and second choice?

While the essay prompt for your second-choice major is the same as for your first, we recommend you craft separate essays. When evaluating your essays, we're looking for the reason you're interested in the major you selected, whether it's your first choice or your second choice. If you feel that your second choice corresponds with your first choice, it's possible to reuse portions of your first-choice essay. However, we still want to see a true interest and understanding of your second-choice major through your essay.

Can I add a second-choice major or change it after submitting my application?

Yes, you can perform either task through the Program Change Form, which can be found on your status page in myIllini. Once decisions are released, it's no longer possible to add a second-choice major or change an existing one.

Will I receive equal consideration for my second-choice major along with those applicants who chose it as their first choice?

Preference will be given to those applicants who listed the major as their first choice, but you'll be given equal consideration with all other applicants who chose the major as a second choice.