Academic Advisors Q&A: Transfer Students

The following are a few questions new students to the university might have as transfer students, with answers from the English department’s academic advisors.

Question: What if my course credits from previous institutions do not transfer as the course they were listed?

Answer:  Do not ignore it. Meet with your advisor to talk about your first-semester registration at UIUC and describe all your previous courses. Your advisor can help recognize what courses from your previous institution can be given credit as a similar course at the university. Once you recognize what courses can transfer with the proper listing, start the stages of articulation. See if the university’s Office of Admission is willing to give you the credit hours, campus-wide, not just for this department. Pursue the course as credit that can satisfy a requirement for English/Creative Writing majors or minors. You may be required to submit the course syllabi from previous institutions to the Office of Articulation. 

Question: I’m a STEM major, am I able to pursue a minor in English or Creative Writing?

Answer: It is possible. Be sure to verify whether any previous coursework could satisfy some requirements in either minor. Currently, the Creative Writing minor is 18 hours, and the English minor is 21 hours. If some General Education courses could be used to fulfill some requirements of the minor, take courses of that nature. Be sure the minor would not overload you, as you may be required to take more classes than you anticipated to be able to graduate at the time you have previously chosen, especially as a transfer student. However, a minor in our department may help break up the STEM courses of your major, for a more balanced college experience. Look at your own timeline, and keep an eye on the endpoint. 

Question: Am I required to have a concentration as an English major? 

Answer: No, however, if you do not declare it, it is already a general English concentration, instead of a concentration on a specific topic. There are multiple concentrations, but there is one broad one called the “English” concentration. If you started your English degree at an institution before your time here in fall 2019, you have the option to do the old version of the major which is a general English major, rather than the revised version available now.

Question: What resources are available to majors in the department, especially those who are not sure what they want to do with their degree?

Answer: Resources such as the Humanities Professional Resource Center, and the Career Center are available. Make an appointment at the HPRC, and/or meet with your advisor. On a similar note, students can also receive more information about networking, internships, and other career services from the HPRC and their advisors. The department also welcomes any feedback on these topics from transfer students. 

Question: What if I do not feel prepared or ready to take certain courses, for fear of being at a different level in the class than other non-transfer students? 

Answer: It is normal to feel like the range of difficulty or style between courses at this university and your previous institutions are different or discouraging. However, remember that you have already been a successful college student before, and it is okay to feel like you are starting a bit from scratch.

Question: What if I feel like I’m running out of time as a transfer student? In other words, I feel more restricted regarding how I structure my semester schedules because I did not start at the university as a freshman. 

Answer: You can certainly create a flexible and balanced schedule, by including some 1-credit electives that fulfill credit hour requirements, after you complete the requirements of the degree you are pursuing. It is important to recognize your own timeline because not every student is required to remain on the same path. 

For any further questions, do not hesitate to stop by the English Advising Office!

Ask the Advisors: What are the benefits of having a minor?


What are the benefits of having a minor? Is it listed on your degree when you graduate? Is that any better than taking other courses not required for your major? For example, I want to take some comparative lit, education, and gender studies courses, but then I wouldn’t really have time to fit in a minor.


There are definitely benefits of having a minor. There are also benefits of taking courses not required for your major. These benefits have much to do with what you value most when it comes to your education and what you want your education to say for itself when you have completed your degree.

Declaring a minor places it officially on your transcript and certifies on that official document that you worked specifically on courses that would say you have direct experience in that subject matter. This means you wouldn’t necessarily have to craft a story about how the courses in the minor connected directly to whatever subject you focused on. The minor speaks and stands for itself: “I minored in PR.” This could be the main benefit for students who have interests that can be labeled under the umbrella of a specific minor.

However, some students don’t have a singular interest that can be housed in a pretty, luxury apartment called a minor. Sometimes students want to take a broad approach to additional courses outside their major. Sometimes students want to live in a tiny home they can travel the country with and see a lot of different things. Then, they can say when it comes time to speak about their coursework and degree that they have some knowledge on the varied topics to which they traveled.

So, ultimately, the real answer is as annoying as answering a question with a question is, but it’s–what are your real interests that motivate and inspire you and can they be found in a minor or will you have to travel around the university to find them?

Welcome Back!

Greetings to English and Creative Writing students old and new! You will notice some changes in this blog going forward. What was a career-focused microsite will now serve as a more general advising blog, hosted by Anna and Keshia, academic advisors in the English department.

But don’t worry! You will find plenty of new and relevant career-related content at the Humanities Professional Resource Center website. Our own Kirstin Wilcox is the Director, so feel free to reach out to her at if you have questions.

What we hope to offer here are musings on topics that we think will be of interest to you as English department students, as well as timely reminders of important events and opportunities. We hope that our insights will help guide you on your academic journey.