I’ve accepted my offer of admission, now what?

You’ve decided to attend Illinois! Congratulations on making this big decision. We are so excited that you’ll be joining us in the fall.

There are a few steps you’ll want to complete as you prepare to register for classes. Here are a few reminders:

  1. Sign up for your Summer Registration appointment. DGS will be offering Summer Registration from May 30 – July 7. During this one day experience you come to campus (unless you live 500 miles away then you get to do a virtual advising appointment) where you will get to hear several presentations about how to successfully transfer to college life. Then in the afternoon you will meet one on one with a DGS Academic Advisor to do course planning for the fall. You’ll leave campus with your schedule that will start on August 28 (the first day of class). To sign up for your Summer Registration appointment, please visit your myillini account.
  2. Take your Placement Exams. Starting on May 1 you will have access to online placement exams. Your DGS Academic Advisor will use this information when helping recommend classes for you. Please take all four Placement Exams (Math, Chemistry, Physics, and the language you took in high school) whether you think you’ll take that subject or not. Your placement scores are not a part of your academic record and there is no penalty for a low score. We ask that you complete your Placement exam at least one week prior to your Registration appointment. More information on taking Placement Exams can be found on your myillini account.
  3. Sign up for Housing. The University of Illinois has a residency requirement which means that all incoming students are required to live in a University Housing facility. Whether you decide to live in a Residence Hall or a Private Certified Unit, you have a lot of options. You can explore your options on the Housing website.  More information can be found on your myillini account.
  4. Start thinking about the major (s) you want to explore. This will help guide the conversation between you and your DGS Academic Advisor during your registration appointment. More information on all of the majors offered at Illinois can be found on the Office of Admissions website.
  5. Complete your Division of General Studies homework. This is extremely helpful for your DGS Academic Advisor as we prepare for your advising appointment. The DGS Homework can be found on your myillini account.

You may have noticed by now that a lot of useful information is available to you on your myillini account. I encourage you to use the Admitted Student Checklist as a guide to help you navigate the process of preparing to start at Illinois.

See you this summer!

Jenni Kotowski
Assistant Director for Admissions
Division of General Studies



Not all those who wander are lost


There is a great quote by J.R.R. Tolkien, who wrote the Lord of the Rings trilogy, that states “Not all those who wander are lost.” We truly believe in this quote in the Division of General Studies. Our advising staff loves to help students find their interests and abilities which will lead to a successful major and career. Here are some of the ways in which we help students explore.

  1. With 150+ majors at Illinois it is difficult to know all of your options. This is a great place to start your exploration process, review the majors that Illinois offers. We recommend that students review the Illinois Academic Catalog to see the majors available and the classes required for each major.
  2. A common question that many college students get asked is “what are you going to do with ______ major?” The DGS website has a page called the Major Handbook that helps students learn information about each Illinois major such as introductory classes, student groups to join related to the major, transferable skills, and potential job titles. For example, a student who likes English can explore career opportunities outside of teaching.
  3. For students who have trouble finding a major that fits we recommend working the other way. Explore careers that might be interesting to you and then decide on a major that will help you build your transferable skills. O*Net is a great  website that allows students to explore career options that can then be paired with our majors.
  4. We also recommend that students talk with upper-class students and/or advisors in majors they are exploring. Informational Interviewing can be a wonderful tool to learn more about a potential major (or career) options. This is a way to gain helpful information and to learn more about particular field without having to commit too much time. More information about how to conduct an Informational Interview can be found on The Career Center’s website.

These are just a few of the examples of how DGS Academic Advisors help students navigate the exploration process. What to learn more? Visit our website  to learn more about how we work with exploring students.

Jenni Kotowski
Assistant Director for Admissions
Division of General Studies

Campus Memory


My freshman year, I was a part of Illini Pride. Illini Pride is the student section that cheers on the orange and blue at football games. The football coaches and team really appreciate the student support, and so the students in Illini Pride get a few special perks.

The first came just a few days after I moved in. We were invited to come on the field and watch the team practice. I dragged some of my new friends with me and we went to check out the team (literally).

We were just hanging out—half watching, half chatting—when (former) Coach Beckman came over. He welcomed us, thanked us for our support, and hung around for a few minutes, making small talk. He even let us try on his headset—a little sweaty but very cool!

Post by Lauren Schatz
Junior in Communication
DGS Leader


I love my job

Vienna Picture (2).jpg

Jen Heinold is a DGS Academic Advisor. Here is what she loves about working in DGS:

Best part of my job.

I truly enjoy the students I get to work with each day and it’s always a highlight when they meet their goals. I also am so lucky to work with wonderful peers, both in DGS and across campus.

The time I made a difference in a student’s life

I’ve helped a lot of students through tough situations. I have one student who had to take time off for financial reasons and I was sure to stay in touch and encourage him that it didn’t mean he would never graduate. He is back on campus and set to graduate this December.

The major I would have done if I went to Illinois

This is so hard as there are many programs that weren’t available or I just didn’t know about as an undergraduate student. I think I may have looked at either Landscape Architecture or Urban and Regional Planning.

What it is like working with our staff

I honestly feel like I work with my family. We actually care how we are doing as professionals and as people. We are here for each other if somebody has to call in sick. I laugh with my coworkers several times a day which is so helpful when we are really busy and just need that little extra push to get through a stressful time.

What it is like working with our students

Most of my appointments are exciting and I feel like I am helping students make progress towards their goals or helping them discover other options and then enjoy watching them get excited about those. Sometimes students have situations that are beyond what I can help with. I can guide them towards resources but there have been a handful of students that just aren’t able to be successful at Illinois and that is always hard to see. I’ve also been able to chaperone a few study abroad trips and it was really cool to get to know students in a different way. Attached is a picture of me on a trip to Vienna, Austria with students.

Favorite campus tradition

I’m not sure if it’s considered a tradition but I love hearing the Altgeld Bells every day.

The major I would have choosen


I love the choices Illinois offers for majors and careers!  Don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely no regrets about my degrees from Michigan State University and the University of Pennsylvania!  Human Resources and Social Work both sum up my personality (organized and compassionate) and match my natural skill sets.  If I had attended Illinois though, I think I would have fallen in love with the Community Health option for a major.  A career in public health, community health, wellness, health education (and much more) offers a lot of rewards, including opportunities to change the ways in which we talk about health.

I appreciate the interdisciplinary approach to community health… students in this major are going to get exposure to public health, community organizing, health care administration and systems, epidemiology, direct field practice, and most interesting to me, exploration of how our racial, gender and class identities impact our health outcomes.  Even more exciting, is that community health and public health are rooted in the effort and responsibility to improve the health outcomes for communities.  Students will dive head first into research, education and practice related to social justice and health equity, finding new and culturally relevant ways to talk about health, wellness and what makes a vibrant community.  A community health major is someone who is out to change the world for the better and has the background and resources to make a big impact in the communities where they live and work.

If you are exploring your major options and have a passion for health and understanding how systems work to promote health, I highly recommend taking a peek at Community Health… you might just find exactly what you are looking for!


nikki sign.png

Nikki O’Brien, DGS Academic Advisor

Oh Weston, sweet Weston.

My first home away from home.

The place where I spent my first year as a college student. The place where I met my first friends. The place where I ate too much ramen and stayed up way too late.

Ahh, the memories.

I absolutely loved my dorm life experience. In fact, I would do I all over again in a heartbeat. There must be something about brushing your teeth next to the same twenty girls each night that really brings you close. Or maybe, it was all of the “quick” study breaks that turned into hours laughing in our second floor lounge. I can’t tell you exactly when or how, but somewhere along the way, the girls in my hallway become my family, and that once unfamiliar, unattractive building became my comfort zone.

My freshman year in Weston was an experience unlike any other. And unless you have slept three feet away from another human being before, it will be a whole new experience for you. But, believe me when I say that you will enjoy it to the utmost degree.

Sure, the night before move-in day you may have a mini panic attack, questioning how you will ever be able to survive without your mom’s chocolate chip cookies and your dad’s words of wisdom, but don’t worry, it will still come. Through care packages and phone calls, you will still receive the comfort, support and love of your family.

And before you know it, you will begin referring to your dorm—not your parent’s house—as home. Your mom might be sad the first time you say “I’m home” instead of “I’m in my dorm room”, but, in the end, your dorm will be your new home. You will be tearful that day in May when you move out, but you will be filled with joy when you walk by it as an upperclassman.

My only advice to you is to embrace your dorm and the people within it. Take the time to introduce yourself to the unfamiliar faces; greet your floormates with a smile; and, keep your door open as much as you can.

Whether it is Weston you call home in August or Bromley or PAR, embrace this weird living arrangement called dorms and community bathrooms because you will miss it before you know it!


(Picture of Lauren and friend from her hallway at a Welcome Week event- Illini Sights on Sounds)

Post written by Lauren Schatz
Junior in Communication
DGS Leader

I love my job

by Sarah Gardiner – DGS Assistant Director for Honors

The best part of my job is working with students.  It is an honor to be a part of their college experience, helping them to explore majors and then prepare for their chosen major.   I know I have done a great job when a student tells me they have discovered the right major for them, and have been accepted to that major.

Second to working with students, I love being a member the DGS team.  Every staff member is passionate about supporting students, and while we all have different personalities and approaches to the way we serve students, our common goals unite us and make it a fun place to be.

I have two favorite campus traditions: The tailgating festivities before home football games, and people taking pictures with Alma Mater.   Both of these are amazing displays of pride that students, alumni, employees, and the community has for this amazing institution


Why I choose DGS

When I first applied to the University of Illinois for early admission, I was convinced I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to study international business. Why? I wanted to work at an international nonprofit… Yea looking back it still does not make that much sense. But in December, I received a deferment and was told I was not accepted into the College of Business. Instead, I would be considered for the Division of General Studies. It was not the news I expected to hear especially since Illinois was my “safety” school.

I spent two years in DGS before figuring out what I truly wanted to study. In those two years, I explored studying everything from general engineering and international business to political science and even astronomy! Since then I have picked up and dropped majors and minors almost as if Katy Perry wrote ‘Hot ‘N Cold’ about my journey.


And that’s okay! The average college student changes majors at least once!

Come spring, I will be *fingers crossed* graduating with a major in Global Studies and minors in Communication, Business Administration and Global Markets and Society. My thematic focus with Global Studies is Technology commercialization and entrepreneurship and area of focus is the Middle East and Northern Africa. DGS not only provided me with the resources and support to explore, but also made sure I could finish in four years!

Looking back, I am glad DGS chose me because I honestly did not know I needed them.

Written by Theresa Pham – DGS Leader, senior

The start of another semester

On Tuesday, January 17, 2017 Illinois will start the Spring 2017 semester. This is always such an exciting time on campus. Students are eager to come back after being away from school for four weeks (yes, you read that right, Illinois gets four weeks for winter break), new classes are starting, new friends waiting, and so much more.

For our freshmen students, this an exciting time because they are no longer “new.” They now have a semester of classes under their belt so this first week of class should not feel so overwhelming.

For our sophomore students are that much closer to declaring their major and starting to get into the heart of the curriculum of their major. They may even been starting the process of looking for an internship this summer.

This is also an exciting time on campus because the Men’s and Women’s basketball team are in season, you can attend a gymnastics meet, or maybe attend a wrestling match. There are also a number of exciting cultural events happening around campus. There is never a lack of something to do outside of the classroom.

The spring semester is a great time to reset goals and plans and to make the most out of the 2016-2017 academic year.

Go Illini!

Jenni Kotowski – Assistant Director for Admissions

Why Illinois?

Making your final decision on a school seems scary.

It seems daunting.

It seems life binding.

And, to be frank, it is. Choosing where you will spend the next four years of your life is a huge decision, but you already know that.

You might be feeling the pressure or the anxiety that comes with taking the list of schools from many options to one final decision. But, let me tell you that it is okay to experience the feelings of worry, of doubt, of nervousness. I felt all those ways as I was making my final decision.

Maybe you aren’t sure about the location, the distance or the prestige. Maybe you worry about the cost, the programs or the housing.

For me, I was worried about being all alone. Not a single kid from my high school was attending Illinois (obviously, I am not from the suburbs), nor did I know anyone from a neighboring town that was planning on going there.

If I was to choose Illinois, I would literally be on my own. I would move in knowing zero of my peers. I would have to start totally fresh. Make new friends, build new bonds, and create new experiences.

And that is exactly what I did.  I smiled, waved and introduced myself to nearly every soul that crossed by path. And guess what, it worked.

I am now a junior, and I never doubt for second that Illinois is the place for me. I didn’t make friends—I made family. It doesn’t feel like I met these people just two ago; no, it feels as if we’ve known each other our whole lives.

And this will happen for you, too. Whether you are the only student from your high school coming to Illinois or one of fifty, you will meet some of your best friends here. You will meet people that will push you, that will laugh with you, that will inspire you, that will change your life. And when you’re a junior like me, you will wonder why you ever doubted your decision to come here.

Written by Lauren Schatz
DGS Leader
Communication major