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Aspire Illinois


ASPIRE Illinois 2021

ASPIRE Illinois aims to recruit talented students from backgrounds typically underrepresented in graduate programs. Toward this aim, we provide preapplicaton supports and host campus visits for students to explore and consider graduate school at Illinois.

Preapplication Supports

We offer a series of webinars that guide students through the process of selecting a graduate program and submitting competitive applications. In addition, the program supports ASPIRE-applicants by facilitating direct contacts with Directors of Graduate Studies and faculty as well as through campus visits.

We have found that these preapplication actions—early application guidance, program-specific connections, and campus visits— empower students throughout the submission process and eases the transition to graduate school for successful applicants who ultimately decide to attend graduate school at Illinois. In addition, many ASPIRE-candidates could be eligible for one of our prestigious Graduate College Fellowships. We believe that this synergy between the Graduate College, graduate programs, and ASPIRE-applicants enhances the quality of the candidate pool and facilitates the diversification of graduate education at Illinois.

Campus Visits

We offer two kinds of campus visits for Aspire students. First, we host a one-day virtual Graduate College visit in the early fall, which showcases the wide range of support services available to Illinois graduate students. This virtual visit also provides an opportunity to hear from other Illinois graduate students in panel sessions and learn about the vibrant campus culture and community. Second, we encourage graduate programs to host virtual and/or in-person campus visits for ASPIRE students at a time and a format that is convenient for all participants involved.

There is no registration fee or cost to participate in the program; applicants must be at least a rising senior or have already graduated from a bachelors’ program.

The ASPIRE Illinois 2021 application process has closed. If you have questions about the forthcoming ASPIRE Illinois 2022 application process, please contact us at: