University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign-Freshman Essay Questions
Essay 1–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.
For this question, there are two considerations: 1) Your own background, interests and experiences related to your major. Choose the stuff that matters and put it in there. A helpful opener or part of the essay body would show what motivates you to pursue these studies. The most dramatic examples of these I have seen in recent years have been for students aiming towards medicine who are motivated by illness in their own families, or who have done work somewhere that brought them into contact with the dire situations faced by many people–but warning: if you don’t have some big drama, don’t try to manufacture drama. If you just like to build stuff, go to that and try to show why.
Two considerations for information on any college essay are making it up-to-date or recent and showing long-term involvement with the activity discussed. Wait, is that a trick? Long-term involvement goes back to your days with a lego set, which is not up-to-date? Can you not discuss how you’ve had a passion for building and designing since, oh, four? Sure, you can. But the rule of thumb is to use old stuff as background, quickly described before you go into greater detail on more recent stuff.
I have posted on the thought processes and approach to writing this kind of essay in other posts; for a good example of how-to and for information on thinking about majors and minors, as well as understanding the academic structures of universities, including schools and colleges within universities (very important for knowing how to write about a major, folks), have a look here:
Writing About an Engineering Major at Princeton (and Elsewhere).
And here is a link to the academic structures and majors at UIUC to help you get started–click on the college of interest, and that college page will give you a dialogue box to click on majors:
Schools and Colleges at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
And of course, don’t forget to go beyond majors and courses by looking at research at UIUC–
Research News and Webpages at UIUCEssay 2–If you select a second-choice major other than the Division of General Studies on your application, write a second essay explaining your interest in this major, too. Again, limit your response to 300 to 400 words.
This is just . . . more of the same from above, using that second major.
Best of luck on your essays, but if you want more than luck on your side, contact me for superior essay development and editing help: