Prospective and admitted student FAQs
We're glad you're considering the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Here, you can find answers to the most commonly asked questions throughout the application process, from when you're first starting to apply to when you're ready to accept your admittance.
If you are considering a CS + X degree, please view our FAQ on CS + X majors to learn more about the programs.
About the College of LAS
The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Illinois prepares students for success in a variety of career paths within our diverse, complex, and always-changing world. An LAS education provides students with a depth of knowledge in their selected major, along with a broad, well-rounded educational experience.
LAS students have the opportunity to develop academically, personally, and professionally, gaining skills in areas such as critical thinking, creativity, and global competency. Our students gain real-world experience in the classroom, in research labs, through internships out in the field, and through study abroad programs offered across the world.
Supporting student success is a top priority for LAS. As a student, you'll have two levels of academic advising support. First, you will have an assigned academic advisor in your department. This person will answer your questions or help connect you to campus resources, assist you in planning your course schedule each semester, and discuss your academic and professional goals. Additionally, we offer academic advising support in the College of LAS Student Academic Affairs Office. Any student can meet with an advisor, so if you have an urgent issue and don't have time to set up an appointment with your departmental academic advisor, you always can seek assistance in the college office.
Some of your class sizes will be large, but large lectures are usually broken down into a smaller discussion or lab section that meets at least once a week. These sections will be similar in size to your high-school classroom and give you an opportunity to work through the material taught in the lecture and ask questions in a smaller learning environment. Additionally, all of your professors will offer weekly office hours. There, you can talk with them and ask questions. Some of our academic departments also offer tutoring services for extra academic support outside the classroom.
Yes! LAS students choose a variety of career paths following graduation—the opportunities are endless. Some graduates go straight into full-time employment while others may pursue graduate programs such as medical school or law school. LAS alumni include Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and CEOs. Numerous articles have recently been published highlighting the value of a liberal arts and sciences education.
We prepare LAS students for a variety of jobs, including some that don't exist yet. We provide you with a well-rounded education, a global perspective, and many other critical skills that will help you find success in whatever career path you choose. We offer career development opportunities at the college and departmental level, including career advising, workshops, and networking events.
The University of Illinois has started tracking the career-related information bachelor's degree recipients. See the annual reports on the Illini Success website.
Choosing a major
When you apply for admission to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, you apply directly to the major of your choice. The College of LAS offers more than 70 majors, so we encourage you to spend some time exploring the various options available to you.
On the admissions application, you have the opportunity to list a first-choice major and a second-choice major, and we encourage students to do this. You will only be considered for your second-choice major if you are not admitted to your first-choice major, so it only increases your chances of being admitted to the university.
If you’re having second thoughts about the major you selected, there is always the possibility of changing your major. When you attend new student registration, let your academic advisor know that you are thinking of changing your major. They will discuss your options and a likely timeline for changing your major (for some programs, you’ll need to wait a certain amount of time and complete certain requirements before changing your major but other programs may allow you to change your major right then). Your academic advisor will also help you select courses based on your new interest.
However, in LAS, we like to say that “you are more than your major” because there are always opportunities to pursue the many interests you have through your coursework, academic minors, and professional development experiences that may or may not directly relate to your major.
Learn more about declaring or changing a curriculum or major.
Yes! Many LAS students pursue double majors, minors, or certificates to enrich their educational experience and pursue their varied academic interests. If you are interested in pursuing a second major and choose to enroll at Illinois, please express this interest to your academic advisor during your first new student registration advising meeting. Your advisor will inform you of the necessary courses you will need to take in order to make progress toward your second major interest, as well as create a plan that will keep you on-track with graduation.
If you are considering a minor, LAS has more than 60 options. You can also pursue a minor in other colleges across campus, but you are encouraged to contact the specific department in which the minor is offered to receive additional information about requirements.
Certificates typically involve fewer courses than a minor, while allowing you to develop additional knowledge in a field or subfield.
Opportunities as a student
We strongly encourage LAS students to study abroad and offer a variety of options in conjunction with the Campus Study Abroad Office. LAS offers several short term study abroad experiences through our Courses Abroad program. Students have the opportunity to take a course on the Illinois campus then go on a short-term study tour experience. Courses Abroad programs have recently been offered with trips to Ecuador, India, Jordan, Peru, South Africa, and Turkey. Semester and year-long study abroad programs are also offered through LAS with current countries including Austria, France, Japan, and Spain. Many LAS students will travel abroad for internships, teaching assistantships, or research experiences every year, as well.
The James Scholars Honors Program within the College of LAS provides the opportunity for high-achieving students to enrich their educational experiences. The program focuses on assisting students in defining their role as active learners, critical thinkers, and influential leaders.
When you apply to the university, your admissions application also serves as your honors application, so you are automatically considered for the James Scholars Honors Program in LAS. If you are not invited to join the James Scholars program, you have the opportunity to self-nominate and join the program later.
Certainly! We encourage students to be part of the 44 percent of undergraduates who take part in undergraduate research on campus. A number of opportunities exist for students to engage in research, from coordinating an independent study with a faculty member in LAS to being part of the Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP) in the Illinois Office of Undergraduate Research.
We offer a range of research opportunities, from joining a research team on campus to securing a research internship within Research Park, our on-campus research and development hub for corporate partners, including John Deere, Caterpillar, and DOW. You will be exposed to brilliant scholars who are at the forefront of research in a variety of disciplines ranging from the sciences to the humanities. Being involved in research will offer you invaluable experience as a student, emerging scholar, and professional. Research experiences can happen as early as your freshman year on campus.
When you apply to the university, your admissions application also serves as your scholarship application. You are automatically considered for scholarships at the campus, college, and departmental levels. The University of Illinois' Illinois Commitment, a new financial aid program beginning Fall 2019, guarantees free tuition for four years to residents with family incomes at or under $67,100. For more information, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid's website.
If you did not receive a scholarship offer with your notification of admission, you may still receive a scholarship. Most scholarships will be awarded by the end of March, so you will have plenty of time to consider your financial aid package and make your final college decision. If you don’t receive a scholarship for your first year at Illinois, that doesn’t mean you will never receive a scholarship. There are many scholarships awarded to continuing students at the college and departmental level.
Yes! We encourage prospective students to register for a Campus Visit Program. A variety of programs are offered throughout the year and provide the opportunity to learn about the University of Illinois, hear from current students, go on a campus tour, and in some cases attend an info session on the College of LAS.
Your academic department of interest may be available to meet with you depending on the date you select, and the Campus Visits Office can assist you with setting up a departmental meeting. If you can't make it to campus but have questions for us, don't hesitate to contact the LAS Recruitment and Admissions team at (217) 333-1703 or via email.
Please note that during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are not hosting campus visit days and encourage you to participate in a virtual visit.
Once you accept your offer of admission, make sure to sign up for new student registration through your Admitted Student Checklist. At registration you’ll have the opportunity to meet with an academic advisor to ask questions, select courses, and register for your first semester at Illinois. There will be a variety of informational meetings, campus tours, and walk-in hours at campus offices throughout the day.