Wait-List FAQ

Because Illinois receives more applications from highly qualified students than there are available positions in the entering class, some students will receive an offer to join the wait list. Once we know how many students have accepted our initial offer of admission, we’ll use this list to fill the remaining spots in the class.

The wait list isn’t ranked; our selection is based on a variety of factors and remaining needs for the class. Our commitment to holistic review will continue as we select students from the wait list in order to balance and complete our freshman class.

How many people are on the wait list?

Each year, around 1,500 students are placed on the wait list. Depending on space availability, we may offer wait-listed students admission. Some years we’re able to admit hundreds of students from the wait list, while some years we can’t admit any.

Can I improve my chances if I send additional information to support my application or come to campus for an interview?

No, additional materials such as letters of recommendation and senior year grades won’t be considered. Only the application materials that were reviewed initially will be used in any wait-list decisions. Interviews aren’t part of our admissions process.

If I put my name on the wait list, when will I hear a final admission decision?

If you wish to be on our wait list, you need to accept your wait-list offer within myIllini by May 1. We’ll notify you of your admission decision by early June. If you’re admitted, you’ll then be sent a complete admissions packet.

What’s the process for selecting applicants from the wait list?

If any openings become available for the college to which you applied, the admissions review committee will review your application. Applicants aren’t ranked within the wait list.

Will housing still be available?

Illinois values the residential college experience, and housing is guaranteed for all freshman students, including those selected for admission from the wait list. You’ll have a place to live in University Housing.

Will I still be eligible for financial aid?

You should go ahead and file financial aid paperwork for the school you expect to attend. If you’re selected for admission and didn’t initially list Illinois as one of the schools to receive your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) report, you can then have it transferred to Illinois.

If I'm offered admission, will I be able to complete placement testing and attend Summer Registration?

Yes, information about Summer Registration will be sent with your admissions packet, and information on placement testing will be available online.

Should I accept admission at another school? What if I have to submit an enrollment deposit?

Yes, you should accept admission to another institution by May 1, as we can’t guarantee that any students from the wait list will be offered admission. If this institution requires an enrollment deposit, you’ll also need to send it. If you’re offered admission and choose to attend Illinois, you may lose this enrollment deposit. Check with the other institution about its refund policy.

If I’m not offered admission, can I apply again as a transfer student?

Yes, applicants who aren’t offered admission are eligible to apply as transfer students in a future year. When reviewing applicants with only 1 year of college work, we focus primarily on high school grades, test scores, and activities. When you’ve attended college full-time for 2 years, the strength of the college program and your academic achievement at the college level are given primary consideration. Learn more about our transfer review process.

What should I do now?

First, focus on choosing the best fit for you of the universities that have offered you admission. Wait lists are uncertain, so it’s best to ensure your happiness no matter the outcome. If you’re on our wait list, that means we really like you and you don’t need to improve your application. You should, however, continue to get good grades your senior year. If you’re still interested in attending Illinois, be patient. It may take some time, but you’ll receive wait-list news after May 1.