Supporting diversity in graduate education requires outreach and recruitment that connects prospective students with academic programs and faculty. One of the ways the Graduate College assists programs in attracting and enrolling students from underrepresented racial/ethnic minority (URM) populations is through our Aspire Illinois program.
What is Aspire Illinois?
This early application and decision program connects prospective students with academic units while introducing them to UIUC and the application process. This year it includes a virtual campus visit on October 12-15.
How does Aspire Illinois work?
Each year we reach out to thousands of prospective URM graduate students from institutions throughout the contiguous U.S. and its territories. Rising seniors and masters-level students, who are interested in enrolling in graduate school and learning about the various programs offered within their field of study at Illinois are eligible to participate.
Throughout the summer, Aspire Illinois participants are guided through the application process and introduced to the University of Illinois and its many resources using a virtual platform. Central to the Aspire Illinois program is the responsibility of each student to identify graduate programs and faculty members of interest using resources such as Illinois Experts, Illinois graduate programs’ websites, faculty members’ curriculum vitae and publications, etc. A major benefit to Aspire Illinois participants who have applied and are admitted to one or more of our graduate programs is the potential to receive a fellowship, exclusively earmarked to support Aspire Illinois participants.
What can faculty do?
We strongly believe that allowing departments and programs to act as early as possible in making admission decisions gives our graduate programs a competitive edge over other campuses that are vying for the same students in the national arena. Aspire Illinois also offers an early round of the Graduate College Fellowship competition to participating departments that nominate Aspire Illinois students who have been admitted to their graduate programs, an additional incentive for recruitment.
We encourage graduate faculty to view the Aspire Illinois applications and work with your program’s Directors of Graduate Study (DGS) to identify prospective graduate students who are good candidates for your program. Aspire Illinois students are interested in meeting with our programs and learning more about them. DGSs can access the 2021 Aspire Illinois applicants in Slate, including the student’s interest in graduate study, research, and graduate programs.
If you have questions about Aspire Illinois or other Graduate College diversity initiatives, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.