Freshman Application Essays

Start drafting.

We want to give you enough time to craft the very best essay you can—and the best way to do that is to tell you what it is now.

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. 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.

Limit your response to 300 to 400 words.

high school student writing her essay

Tips & Tricks

Be memorable.

The essay part of the application is important because it gives us more insight into who you are and who you want to be. Make us remember you!

Be prepared.

Take time to think about and brainstorm your message. Create an outline, write a good first draft, and edit multiple times.

Be yourself.

We want to know more about you, so be honest and let us into your world. Instead of making broad statements about what you want to do, give specific examples from high school or extracurricular activities. And don’t be afraid to add your personal style and voice to your writing!

Be direct.

You only have a couple of paragraphs to tell us about your experiences and goals. Choose your words wisely.

Be focused.

It's not necessary for you to repeat information that’s already elsewhere in your application. Stay focused on explaining how those credentials and qualifications will lead to a successful future here.

Be professional.

Submitting a sloppy-looking essay with spelling errors and glaring mistakes sends us the message that you’re not serious about Illinois. Proofread your essays and ask your counselor, your English teacher, or a parent to take a second look.