- Class: Senior
- Major: Urban Studies
- Gender: M
- High School: Northside College Prep High School
- Transfer Student: N
Overall I'd say that Illinois is your quintessential college movie experience, the college town that you imagine when you are planning on leaving home, the place that feels like home even though its nothing like where you're from. The school itself is split between Urbana and Champaign but I spent the majority of my time in Champaign so I'm biased of course. I played hockey at U of I for the club team which on campus is treated like a D1 sport here in lieu of an actual D1 team. Champaign has it all, by which I mean that is where Assembly Hall, Memorial Stadium, the new fitness center, the mall, Green St., most Frats, and all the bars are located. Illinois is a big enough school that if you're not all party all the time and you come without friends you will eventually find your niche. What they don't put on your acceptance letter (and they probably should) is that at heart Illinois is Sports, Greek, Academics (not in that order). If you don't like sports or the color orange Illinois might not be for you. If you don't like the greek system (a lot) I can tell you now you will eventually run into it on campus and Illinois might not be for you. Lastly if you don't know how to balance your time well, the combination of freedom, cheap alcohol, and a ridiculous work load from your classes will put you on your***and out of school fast. In general if you want school spirit, a good job when you graduate, and to have the time of your life then come to Illinois. If you're anti social, undisciplined, or have a vendetta against alcohol, Illinois might not be for you.
Academics are easy to summarize. You are either in hard classes or you aren't but there are few occasions where a professor will know you well unless you make an effort to get to know them. In a class of 600 (most freshman courses) this means that you have to brown nose a little bit. If you need to be told what to do every day and need someone to hold your hand, Illinois may only set you up for failure. I personally would rather just do my work without having someone be "disappointed" in me for missing class, but that's just me. If you stay on top of your work and go to class (I can't emphasize that enough, just go to class) then you'll be fine. I personally am an Urban Planner in the College of Fine and Applied Arts. One of the smaller schools on campus and I've had the opportunity to get to know some of my professors and have been lucky enough to have some smaller classes. Most gen eds are large lecture halls where you either come to class and learn or you read the whole book and do the homework. You get out what you put in.
To be honest I was relatively surprised with the makeup of the student body when I arrived on campus. First off whether the campus likes to admit it or not, it is segregated. It is segregated by race, looks, money, etc. From what I have witnessed there is little racial mixing outside of classes. The athletic teams might as well be a part of the greek system and those with money live in the most expensive housing on campus which is generally located in Champaign, more recently along green street. Beyond segregation however everyone is Illinois Orange and Blue all the way. If you are looking for a multicultural experience at Illinois chances are you're going to be missing out. Most people here are from Illinois and the majority of those from Illinois are from the Chicagoland area. You will likely meet people who already have groups of friends intact and know many people from their respective high schools on campus.
The Best Things
It is a totally different world. The school experience and school pride that I never had in high school.
The Worst Things
I'd say the worst thing is that it's so segregated.