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Aspire Illinois


ASPIRE Illinois offers an opportunity for students with diverse experiences and goals, and who come from many educational, socio-cultural, geographic, and familial backgrounds to explore and consider graduate school at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Toward this aim, we provide preapplication supports and host campus visits.


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 contact 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.


Webinar Series

The 2023 ASPIRE Illinois Summer Webinar Series will be held Thursdays from June 29, 2023, to August 10, at 7 p.m. (central time). There is no cost to participate.

June 29
Webinar I: Navigating the Aspire Illinois Application in Slate
Elaina Mullins, Assistant Director of Admissions & Enrollment Management Services

July 6
Webinar II: Applying to Graduate School
Meg Siebenhar, Senior Associate Director, Admissions, Registration & Enrollment Services

July 13
Webinar III: Writing Personal Statements
Carolyn Wisniewski, Director of the Writers Workshop

July 20
Webinar IV: Personal Branding & Social Media
John Moist, Digital Media Specialist

July 27
Webinar V: Financing Your Graduate Education
Ken Vickery, Director of Fellowships

August 3
Webinar VI: Values-Based Career Decision Making
Derek Attig, Assistant Dean, Career & Professional Development
Mike Firmand, Associate Director, Career & Professional Development

August 10
Webinar VII: Recommendations that Work
Lisa R. Abston, Assistant Dean for Graduate Diversity, Equity & Inclusion



Campus Visit

The 2023 ASPIRE Illinois campus visit program offers an opportunity for students with a wide range of experiences and goals to consider graduate school at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Participants will meet with faculty in their research area of interest, interact with current graduate students, tour campus facilities, and learn about the resources offered through the Graduate College.

This year, the campus visit will take place on October 15-16, 2023 at the I Hotel & Conference Center.

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 bachelor’s program.

The ASPIRE Illinois 2023 Application is now open. All application materials must be submitted by August 11, 2023.


If you have questions about the ASPIRE Illinois program, please contact us at