We are, as many of you reading this will know, in the most active part of our admissions process for the 2013 freshman class. We’ve extended our admission offers and now the decisions are in the hands of your sons and daughters. So, in some ways, I guess you could look at this column as a recruitment effort on my part. As the May 1 deadline for acceptance choices approaches, I encourage you to explore the opportunities Illinois offers – both in and out of the classroom and for a lifetime.
The stories in this issue give you a snapshot of what kind of experiences students find when they enroll here. From an international travel opportunity in the College of Education to crafting reeds for musical instruments to animated videos that might slow the spread of malaria in a developing nation – Illinois offers a huge spectrum of ways to engage in learning and education. We don’t just teach at our students – we give them the power to choose how they learn and to shape their educational experiences to meet their needs and goals. Everyone has a unique personality and there is no one-size-fits-all college education. And what we do here at Illinois – and we do it as well or better than any university in the nation – is give our students the tools and knowledge and skills to choose their own path and to find a place where they truly belong.
I hope you’ll visit us this spring – either as part of one of our formal admitted-student events or just drop in for a weekend tour. Talk to our admissions office or look at its website to see all of the different ways you can explore what an Illinois education might mean. Watch a softball or baseball game. Walk the Quad between classes on a sunny day. Step inside one of the largest public university libraries in the world. Or take a noon tour of the chimes in the tower of Altgeld Hall. Sit in on a class. This is a beautiful, vibrant and exciting campus.
Now, as chancellor here, I am probably not a truly impartial voice. So, please don’t just take my word on this. I would absolutely urge you to talk to friends, neighbors or colleagues with children on campus now. Or, conversely, if you are a parent of a current student and can offer your insights on the Illinois experience to someone considering this decision, I hope you will take the time to do so.
As a parent, I do understand what an exciting and daunting step this is – for everyone in a family. It is a tremendous act of trust in a school when you send your children out on their own for the first time. While I truly believe a University of Illinois education is among the very best in the world, in every aspect – in the classroom and beyond – your family needs to believe it is the best place for your son or your daughter.
That’s really the key to a great college experience. I hope Illinois will be that choice for your family.
Phyllis M. Wise