The MHM Blog

Tips for Navigating the UIUC Campus and Finding Your Way Around

Posted July 5, 2023
Person using GPS on phone

As a freshman, new student, or even a seasoned pro, making your way on the UIUC campus and remembering where everything is on such a large campus can be impossible. It’s essential to make your life easier with some tips and tricks to help you maneuver campus and make your college life seamless and enjoyable. 

Attend a Campus Tour

One of the easiest ways to familiarize yourself with campus is by attending a campus tour. As a freshman, you may have gotten one of these during orientation, but if you’re a new student who isn’t a freshman or an upperclassman with a hard time finding your way around, going back to basics can be a helpful resource to avoid getting lost. They do these tours for a reason – to ensure everyone can find their way around! 

Take Advantage of the Bus Service 

A great way to navigate campus and see landmarks and buildings quickly on the UIUC campus is to utilize the bus service, also known as the Illini Union Transit or IUT. These buses cover various different routes on and around campus and can get you any and everywhere important near Urbana/Champagne. You can quickly learn the layout of the school, and using the buses can save you time and energy on such a big campus.

Memorize the Quad and Other Reference Points 

If you’re familiar with anything on campus, make sure you know where the main quad is. As the heart of the campus, the quad is a central location with several buildings nearby and landmarks attached. Take some time to explore the area and note some of the buildings, including the Illini Union, the Main Library, and the Foellinger Auditorium. The quad can serve as a distinctive landmark for you to find your way around campus. By using landmarks, you can hopefully navigate to where you need to go with ease. 

Download Navigation Apps/Use GPS

This may seem like cheating, but with today’s technology, if you think you might get lost (despite your best efforts), it might be a proactive decision to make sure you have GPS downloaded on your phone and even a screenshot of the campus map. GPS can provide step-by-step instructions if you are in a bind, and it includes travel time. There is also multiple campus apps that can be downloaded to help navigate, including an app that gives you real-time updates on bus schedules called UIUC bus.

Make Notes of Shortcuts 

The more you get to know your campus, the easier it will become to navigate, and you’ll find yourself getting lost less and less. A great piece of advice, when you’re just starting to learn how to navigate is taking advice from your fellow students and peers on their favorite ways to get around campus and what shortcuts they might use. This can significantly cut down your travel time between buildings and knowing the quickest routes will be essential for your college career. 

Walk or Bike Often

To really make sure you understand the layout of the campus, you can make it a priority to walk and bike often, letting each time you venture out to be a new opportunity to see the campus and learn how to find your way around. These methods are eco-friendly and allow you to explore on a personal level. You might notice sights, sounds, and an atmosphere on campus you won’t always get with a bus ride. You can even be up close with the signs, allowing you to memorize easily where things are located. If you prefer to be a little faster, biking is always a good option as well. There are many bike racks on campus and many students use it as a main mode of transportation. 

Ask for Help!

Navigating a large school like UIUC can seem intimidating and overwhelming at first. Its normal to feel this way when you are thrown into something new. Remember to take a deep breath and know that its all a learning process and every day you walk or bike or take the bus to campus, you are learning more and more about the layout and how to get around. Soon enough, you’ll be so comfortable on campus you’ll be able even to give someone else directions. 


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