If you’re researching colleges in the Chicago area, you’ve probably come across the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). As the largest university in the city, UIC attracts students looking for an urban campus experience close to Chicago’s commercial centers.

But is UIC’s location and size enough to make it a good choice for your college education? Let’s take a closer look at what UIC has to offer.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: UIC is a good option for students looking for diversity and accessibility at a public research university near downtown Chicago. However, those wanting a traditional campus vibe may be disappointed.

Keep reading to learn more about UIC’s academics, value, campus life, and other key factors to consider.

Academics and Programs

When it comes to academics, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) offers a wide range of programs and opportunities for students to excel. From research opportunities to top-ranked programs, UIC ensures that students receive a high-quality education.

Research Opportunities

UIC is known for its commitment to research and innovation. The university provides numerous opportunities for students to engage in cutting-edge research across various disciplines. Whether it’s conducting experiments in state-of-the-art laboratories or collaborating with renowned faculty members, UIC students have the chance to contribute to groundbreaking discoveries and make a real impact in their fields of interest.

This hands-on approach to learning not only enhances their academic experience but also prepares them for future careers or further studies.

Top-Ranked Programs

UIC boasts several top-ranked programs in various fields. The university’s College of Engineering, College of Business Administration, and College of Nursing have consistently been recognized as some of the best in the nation.

These programs offer rigorous curricula, experienced faculty, and state-of-the-art facilities that provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in their chosen fields. Whether you’re interested in engineering, business, or healthcare, UIC has a program that can help you achieve your academic and career goals.


One of the notable aspects of UIC is its diverse student body. The university prides itself on its commitment to inclusivity and fostering a supportive learning environment for students from all backgrounds.

With students hailing from over 100 countries, UIC offers a rich cultural experience that allows students to learn from one another and gain a global perspective. This diversity also extends to the programs and courses offered at UIC, ensuring that students have a wide range of choices to explore their interests and pursue their passions.

Affordability and Value

When considering whether UIC is a good school, one of the key factors to consider is affordability and value. Here’s a detailed look at how UIC fares in terms of in-state tuition, financial aid options, and outcomes.

In-State Tuition

UIC offers competitive in-state tuition rates, making it an attractive option for Illinois residents. The university understands the financial burden that higher education can place on students and their families, and strives to keep tuition costs as affordable as possible.

With a commitment to accessibility, UIC provides a great opportunity for students who want to receive a quality education without breaking the bank.

Financial Aid Options

UIC offers a wide range of financial aid options to help students fund their education. From scholarships and grants to loans and work-study programs, UIC strives to make education affordable for all students.

The Office of Student Financial Aid is dedicated to assisting students in finding the best financial aid package to meet their needs. Additionally, UIC encourages students to explore external scholarships and funding opportunities to further reduce the financial burden.

Outcomes and ROI

When investing in a college education, it’s important to consider the return on investment (ROI). UIC has a strong track record of producing successful graduates who are well-prepared for their chosen careers.

The university boasts an extensive alumni network, providing students with valuable connections and opportunities for internships and job placements. According to UIC’s official website, the average starting salary for UIC graduates is above the national average, indicating a positive ROI.

In addition to financial outcomes, UIC also focuses on the overall well-being of its students. The university provides a supportive and inclusive environment where students can thrive academically and personally.

The campus offers a wide range of resources and extracurricular activities to enhance the student experience.

Campus Life

Location and Transportation

One of the key factors that contribute to a great campus life is the location of the university. UIC (University of Illinois at Chicago) is fortunate to be located in the heart of one of the most vibrant cities in the United States – Chicago.

The campus is situated near downtown, offering students access to a wide range of cultural, recreational, and professional opportunities. With its prime location, students can easily explore the city’s museums, theaters, restaurants, and shopping districts.

In terms of transportation, UIC has excellent connectivity. The campus is well-served by public transportation, including buses and trains, making it convenient for students to commute to and from campus.

Additionally, UIC offers discounted public transportation passes to its students, making it even easier and more affordable to navigate the city.


When it comes to housing options, UIC provides a variety of choices to suit different preferences and budgets. The university offers on-campus housing options such as residence halls and apartments. Living on-campus can be a great way for students to immerse themselves in the campus community and make lifelong friends.

The residence halls are equipped with modern amenities and provide a supportive environment for students to thrive academically and socially.

For those who prefer off-campus housing, there are numerous rental options available in the surrounding neighborhoods. UIC maintains a database of off-campus housing listings to assist students in finding suitable accommodations.

Student Activities

UIC boasts a vibrant and diverse student life, with a wide range of activities and organizations to cater to various interests. From academic clubs and professional organizations to cultural and recreational groups, there is something for everyone at UIC.

The university encourages student involvement and leadership through its numerous student organizations. These organizations host events, workshops, and social gatherings that allow students to connect with their peers and explore their passions.

Students can also participate in intramural sports, community service projects, or join one of the many student-run publications or performance groups on campus.

Furthermore, UIC regularly hosts concerts, guest speakers, and cultural events that enrich the campus experience and foster a sense of community. These events provide opportunities for students to engage with the larger UIC community and create lasting memories.

Admissions Information

Acceptance Rate

Getting into UIC is moderately competitive, with an acceptance rate of around 73%. This means that for every 100 applicants, about 73 are admitted. However, acceptance rates can vary widely depending on factors like your location, test scores, GPA, and intended major.

More selective majors like engineering and business tend to have lower acceptance rates. UIC receives over 27,000 applications per year, so admission is not guaranteed.

ACT/SAT Scores

UIC does not require the ACT or SAT test scores for admission, but you can submit them to potentially strengthen your application. The middle 50% ACT score range for admitted students is 23-29. For the SAT, the middle 50% score range is 1100-1310.

Competitive applicants generally have ACT scores of 25+ or SAT scores of 1200+. However, test scores are just one part of a holistic application.

Application Requirements

Here are the key items you’ll need to apply to UIC:

  • Application form and fee
  • Official high school transcript
  • ACT/SAT scores (optional)
  • Letters of recommendation (optional)
  • Personal statement or essay (optional)

UIC has a priority application deadline of December 1 for Fall admission. It’s advantageous to apply early, as some majors fill up fast. UIC also accepts applications on a rolling basis after the priority deadline. All supporting documents should be submitted by January 15 for full consideration.


UIC offers an accessible education with diversity and research opportunities you’d expect from a large public urban university. However, the scattered campus and lack of a traditional college town may disappoint some students.

Weigh UIC’s affordability, academic strengths, location, and other factors against your own preferences to decide if it’s the right fit.

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