Second choice major

Am applying to UIUC Engineering school as a non-resident. I am interested in UIUC if they are able to give me my first choice major. I could not find a second choice that is an adequate substitute for my first choice.

Am thinking of not putting anything down on my second choice major and leaving the essay blank. Do I risk looking arrogant and would they reject me for my first choice major for this reason?

They won’t penalize you for not listing a second choice major. You might be okay with a complete rejection, because it can be difficult to switch in from Grainger from another college so on some level you are better off moving on. However, there are plenty of STEM choices outside Grainger (physics, math, etc.). So if there is any interest at all, listing something will keep your options open when it is decision time.

Last year my son applied for mechanical engineering and did not list a 2nd choice major. He was admitted but eventually chose another school.