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I am specifically asking for University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. I am writing a Statement of Purpose for the university and have to mention it a few times. Should I write the complete name or can I use UIUC or Illinois instead?

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The first time write out the entire name and put the abbreviation in brackets, then use the abbreviated form forward

e.g. I am writing in application for graduate studies at the University of Toronto (UofT)..... UofT would be the best choice because....

  • +1 Writing out the full name first is important, as there are so many universities, some differences between abbreviations are so subtle they can easily lead to confusion, e.g. UVA (Virginia, USA) and UvA (Amsterdam, Netherlands). – Maarten Buis Dec 12 '18 at 8:59
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    +1, this is probably the best solution, though in a statement of purpose, I think writing the abbreviation every time is also probably fine, particularly for long names like UIUC. If you're applying to UVA and describe why you want to go to "UVA", I can't imagine a UVA professor would be confused as to whether you really meant to apply to Amsterdam. – cag51 Dec 12 '18 at 11:58
  • If you applied to any dutch university and wrote you got your degree from UVA then the chance of a misunderstanding would be extremely large. – Maarten Buis Dec 12 '18 at 21:28

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