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10 Tips for Scholarship Applications
Make Sure You Fit All Requirements
Before you even bother applying for a particular scholarship, make sure you fit all of the requirements for it, not just half or nine out of 10. It doesn’t matter how impressive your essay or your background is, you’ll most likely be disqualified, which means you wasted your time on the application.
Start filling out scholarship applications as soon as you can. The more you send in, the more likely you are to win money. And the earlier you start, the more time you have. You’re also less likely to encounter problems, like an Internet outage, if you don’t wait until the last minute.
Choose Different Categories
Don’t assume because you make good grades you should only apply for academic scholarships. If you play a sport too, try for an athletic scholarship. If you have a special interest or belong to a certain club, apply for scholarships relating to those. Don’t limit yourself.
Make Yourself a Schedule
Put yourself on a schedule so you aren’t waiting until the last minute to apply. Maybe once a week you can take an hour or two and search for scholarships, fill out applications and write essays. Make sure you include any specific deadlines in your schedule so you work on the ones due soonest first.
Don’t Introduce Yourself
When writing an essay or a short paragraph for your scholarship, don’t waste time introducing yourself. Get right to the point. Not only is your name already on your application, but some organizations like to read the essay blindly without any sort of identifying factors so they’ll only focus on merit when judging.
Don’t Go Over the Word Limit on Essays
If the essay or any other part of your application has a word limit, try to stick to it as closely as possible. If it’s too long, the scholarship judges may not even read it. It might also show that you don’t follow directions.
Don’t Quote Famous People
One last tip for writing the essay part: Don’t quote famous people. It might seem like a good idea to add a beloved or inspiring saying, but the scholarship committee wants to get to know you, not someone who lived centuries ago.
Add a Letter of Recommendation
While you don’t want to go overboard with your essay or add unnecessary items, you can include a letter of recommendation from a teacher, boss, tutor, mentor, principal or any other person you’ve worked with in the past. Give the person time to write a good letter. Then, you can make copies and stick one in each scholarship application.
If you’re reading the application and it promises something that’s too good to be true, it probably is. Maybe it guarantees cash or is vague on the details of which organization is offering the scholarship. Maybe it asks for too much personal information or a hefty fee. Toss that application into the garbage.
Last but not least, proofread everything — even your name at the top of the page. Have someone else read it over. Read your essay out loud to make sure it sounds good. Look for typos, misspellings, bad grammar or instances where you misunderstood the directions. Show just how responsible you are and how much you deserve to win that tuition money.
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How to Write a College Transfer Essay (With Examples)
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, over 1.2 million students are enrolled in college as a transfer student. Students may transfer for a variety of reasons ranging from academics to athletics to geography.
If you are in the process of transferring colleges it’s likely that you will have to write a personal essay as part of your transfer admissions process. Ultimately, there’s no one way to write a college transfer essay. Everyone is unique, and this individuality should shine through in your essays.
However, there are some recommended things to include, and even a real example essay that was used to successfully transfer college! In this post, we’ll help you write a powerful transfer essay so you can tell your story to the admissions committee.
Jump ahead to…
- Do’s and don’ts
- Why did you choose your current school?
What are your main reasons for transferring out of your current school?
Why do you want to attend the transfer school.
- Example essay
- Key takeaways
- Frequently asked questions
College transfer essays: The do’s and don’ts
Before we start, we want to cover a few basics do’s and don’ts about what your transfer essays should be about.
- Elaborate on how your current school has helped you progress towards your goals. Positivity is always a good thing!
- Research your prospective school (e.g. specific classes, organizations, opportunities) for why you want to go there.
- Make sure to follow the standard/correct essay format! Transfer essay prompts may vary from college to college so you should make sure that you’re answering the exact question.
- Use up your limited word count by listing negative aspects about your current school. Instead, focus on how it has helped you grow, but how another school could further help you develop your interests/passions
- List a group of random classes or opportunities available at your new school. Mention opportunities you’re (genuinely) interested in that relate to your goals and passions – make sure you’re telling a story through your essay.
- Copy your initial admissions essay (the one that you used when applying to colleges in high school) – you’ve changed a lot during your time in college so you will want to write a brand new essay.
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What is the goal of the transfer essay?
Potential transfer students should know that not all colleges and universities require transfer essays, so when in doubt definitely check-in with the college in question for clarification. For the purposes of this article and the sample transfer essay, we’ll be using this prompt:
Please provide a statement that addresses your reasons for transferring and the objectives you hope to achieve.
Most colleges will be interested in learning why you want to transfer and how transferring will help you achieve your goals. However, specific prompts will vary from college to college, so you should definitely pay attention to the specific prompt you are asked to respond to.
Some of the common questions you’ll come across include:
- How will your transfer school help you accomplish your goals?
Below I’ll break down how to respond to each of these questions and include an example from a successful transfer essay.
Why did you choose your current school?
To answer this question, you’ll have to go back in time when you were in 12th grade and selecting your college. Did you choose the college because it had a program you liked? Maybe you really wanted to take classes with a specific professor? Maybe you thought you wanted to attend college in a specific part of the world? Whatever the reason you should lay it out in the most factual way possible.
Here’s how I responded to this question:
Just like Jeopardy, Criminal Minds is also a show that I have watched from a very young age, and one that I continue to watch quite regularly. Being exposed to this interesting world of FBI profilers for so long inspired me to want to dive into the world of psychology myself. Due to this, I originally chose the University of Wisconsin, Madison for its amazing psychology program, and because I wanted to try something new. Being from California, this “something new” came in the form of watching snow fall from the sky, seeing cheese curds being sold in all the grocery stores, and simply living somewhere far away from home.
Also see: How to write a 250 word essay
This is always an important question for transfer admissions officers: why did your current college not work out? We recommend that students be as honest as possible and stick to the facts (as opposed to simply complaining about your current school).
Students have very different reasons for changing schools, which often depend on what type of school you’re transferring from (a 2-year or 4-year). While many community college students transfer because their plans did work out and they’ve accomplished what they wanted to at their school, those transferring from four-year universities often do so for less positive reasons (which was my experience).
If the situation at your college didn’t exactly pan out as you thought it would, you should also try to talk about some of the ways you are making the most of the situation. This shows the admissions officers that despite the less-than-ideal circumstances, you have continued to learn, grow, and contribute to your community.
Here’s how I accomplished this:
Arriving in Wisconsin, I got exactly what I wanted: an amazing psychology program and the experience of being somewhere quite different from the place I called home. My classes were interesting, my professors were helpful and caring, and experiencing the first snow was quite exciting. However, as winter progressed, walking back from class everyday under the progressively gloomier sky seemed to be a cruel reminder that I was no longer in sunny Southern California. While eating dinner in our many dining halls, I always viewed the wide array of food available: quesadillas, Chinese food, burgers, even pecan pie. The food was all delicious, but going day after day without even seeing Korean food once made me miss those fun dinners with my family. Back at my dorm, my “home away from home”, it started to feel like anything but being at home. To feel more comfortable where I was, I decided to pursue things I liked, and that I was familiar with. My passion for psychology led me to join the university’s Psychology Club, where I was able to learn about recent revelations within the field of psychology, furthering my interest in the subject.
Going through the admissions process as a transfer student is interesting, because you have learned a lot about yourself and your preferences at your first college. This should provide you with a great perspective on what you are looking for next.
The two major things you’ll want to accomplish when answering this question are why the transfer college in question is a good fit for you and how it can help you accomplish your goals as a student.
Specificity is always more ideal here so you can show that you have spent some time thinking about what you want and also how the new college fits.
Here’s how I did this:
I plan on using the knowledge I gain in psychology, either from organizations or classes, to help people. I want to one day apply this knowledge to research, to discover possible methods to help the people suffering from the psychological problems I study. Alternatively, I hope to use this knowledge as a criminal profiler, using my understanding of psychology to narrow down pools of suspects. To be able to accomplish either of these, I need to develop a much deeper understanding of both people’s motivations for the things they do as well as of the many psychological issues people face. For these reasons, I am very excited at the prospect of exploring and enrolling in the classes offered by USC’s Department of Psychology. In particular, Psych 360: Abnormal Psychology would be an amazing introduction to psychological disorders and their causes. Psych 314L: Research Methods would then help me put this knowledge about disorders to good use by teaching me how to properly conduct research and find possible solutions for people’s problems.
College transfer essays: an example
Here we go! Throughout this article, I’ve shown you my college essay divided into sections, and now’s time for the full thing. I can honestly say that this essay had a 100% success rate! Without further ado, here is my full college transfer essay (and prompt):
Prompt: Please provide a statement that addresses your reasons for transferring and the objectives you hope to achieve.
I wake up from my daily after-school nap to realize that it is already dinner time. As I walk downstairs, I smell the delicious fragrance coming from my mom’s samgyetang (Korean ginseng chicken soup), one of my favorite meals. Soon enough, everyone sits down to watch the newest episode of Jeopardy , a tradition we’ve had going on for as long as I can remember. As I take that first sip of samgyetang, and miss yet another geography question on Jeopardy – and wait for my family to inevitably tease me about it – I feel at home, like I am somewhere that I belong. Wherever I go, I hope I can encounter that same warm feeling. Just like Jeopardy , Criminal Minds is also a show that I have watched from a very young age, and one that I continue to watch quite regularly. Being exposed to this interesting world of FBI profilers for so long inspired me to want to dive into the world of psychology myself. Due to this, I originally chose the University of Wisconsin, Madison for its amazing psychology program, and because I wanted to try something new. Being from California, this “something new” came in the form of watching snow fall from the sky, seeing cheese curds being sold in all the grocery stores, and simply living somewhere far away from home. Arriving in Wisconsin, I got exactly what I wanted: an amazing psychology program and the experience of being somewhere quite different from the place I called home. My classes were interesting, my professors were helpful and caring, and experiencing the first snow was quite exciting. However, as winter progressed, walking back from class everyday under the progressively gloomier sky seemed to be a cruel reminder that I was no longer in sunny Southern California. While eating dinner in our many dining halls, I always viewed the wide array of food available: quesadillas, Chinese food, burgers, even pecan pie. The food was all delicious, but going day after day without even seeing Korean food once, it made me miss those fun dinners with my family. Back at my dorm, my “home away from home,” it started to feel like anything but being at home. To feel more comfortable where I was, I decided to pursue things I liked, and that I was familiar with. My passion for psychology led me to join the university’s Psychology Club, where I was able to learn about recent revelations within the field of psychology, furthering my interest in the subject. I plan on using the knowledge I gain in psychology, either from organizations or classes, to help people. I want to one day apply this knowledge to research, to discover possible methods to help the people suffering from the psychological problems I study. Alternatively, I hope to use this knowledge as a criminal profiler, using my understanding of psychology to narrow down pools of suspects. To be able to accomplish either of these, I need to develop a much deeper understanding of both people’s motivations for the things they do as well as of the many psychological issues people face. For these reasons, I am very excited at the prospect of exploring and enrolling in the classes offered by USC’s Department of Psychology. In particular, Psych 360: Abnormal Psychology would be an amazing introduction to psychological disorders and their causes. Psych 314L: Research Methods would then help me put this knowledge about disorders to good use by teaching me how to properly conduct research and find possible solutions for people’s problems. With so many opportunities available at USC, I hope to not only help others feel more comfortable, but to find a second home for myself after all.
And that’s it! This essay touches on all of the tips listed above, and should serve as helpful inspiration as you begin your writing. Hopefully, it gives you an idea of how to integrate everything you should mention in a cohesive essay. With that, I wish you good luck with your college transfer essays (and applications)!
Don’t miss: What looks good on a college application?
If you finish your essay and still have questions about the transfer process, consider checking out these Scholarships360 resources:
- How to transfer colleges
- How to transfer from a community college
- Top scholarships for transfer students
- How to choose a college
- What’s the difference between a private and public university?
- Explain why you want to transfer, what you need that you are not getting at your current school, and why you chose your current school to begin with
- Always present things in a positive light
- Share how the transfer school will help you achieve your goals and why you are a good fit for the school
Frequently asked questions about writing college transfer essays
How are college transfer essays different from regular application essays, do all schools require transfer essays, can i reuse my old college essays for a transfer, what should you not say in a transfer essay, scholarships360 recommended.
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Common App Transfer Guide – 2022-23
December 3, 2022
A college diploma features the name of just one institution. Yet, for many, this hardly tells the true story of their unique college journey, which is often an amalgam of experiences across two or more postsecondary settings. In fact, at some point, 37% of all U.S. college students temporarily transform into “transfer applicants,” a role that they are often thrust into with little preparation or support. This time, there is no high school guidance counselor waiting to hold their hand through the process. The transfer Common App looms before you, and little guidance is available this time.
Transfer students come in different shapes and sizes and the particular contours of a given applicant can dictate what type of process awaits. There are those who, for financial or academic reasons, began at a community college, performed well, and are now jumping up the big leagues of a four-year university. On the other end of the spectrum, there are transfer applicants already attending a reputable four-year establishment who have their hearts set on swapping out their present location for the highly-selective college of their dreams.
One common denominator is that no matter what type of transfer applicant you happen to be, you will likely be tasked with filling out the Common App for Transfer , a variation of the traditional Common App that you may have used when you originally applied to college. To assist you, the following article will address:
- Do I qualify as a transfer applicant?
- When are the deadlines to transfer colleges?
- How to complete each section of the Common App for Transfer
- Do I need SAT/ACT scores to transfer colleges?
- How to approach the Common App for Transfer Essay
- Chances of getting accepted as a transfer applicant
Let’s begin by exploring who qualifies as a transfer applicant?
Am I a Transfer or Freshman Applicant?
School policies vary here. At many schools, just taking one two or four-year college course post-high school is enough to make you a transfer applicant. At other schools, you’ll need 24-30 credits under your belt before transferring is even an option. Fortunately, our Dataverse has an institution-by-intuition breakdown. Check out our sortable chart at this link .
When is the transfer deadline?
Each college sets their own transfer deadline or deadlines; some schools only have one application deadline each year while others have two. The most common time to apply as a fall transfer (for the following year) is around March. In fact all eight Ivy League schools have annual deadlines between March 1st and March 15th.
Many universities also offer a deadline for those wishing to start at a new school in the spring semester; these applications are typically due between October 1st and December 1st (although there are outliers). For a complete and up-to-date list of transfer deadlines for the current transfer admissions cycle visit our Dataverse .
How to complete the Common App for Transfer – A section by section breakdown
There are four sections to the transfer Common App: 1) Personal Information, 2) Academic History, 3) Supporting Information, and 4) Program Materials.
This includes your basic demographic info including ethnicity, physical address, gender identity, and information about your parents/guardians. Nothing here should be too challenging.
Here, you will put information about your high school, courses you completed in college, and standardized tests you previously took (if applicable). This can include SAT/ACT and AP/IB exams.
The first subcategory within this section is labeled as “Experiences”. This is quite different from the “Activities List” which is required as part of the regular Common App. Applicants should feel free to include any experience that helps paint a picture of how they presently spend their time. This could include things like hobbies, family responsibilities, or paid work. Greater emphasis should be placed on experiences that have occurred after exiting high school. Relevant high school activities should be included, but only when they directly connect to present pursuits (i.e. a current business major was President of his Future Business Leaders of America chapter in high school).
This area is akin to the supplemental applications that students fill out in the regular application cycle. In this section, potential transfers must address school-specific essays and questions that require a short response. It’s important to always check the “Questions” tab within the Program Materials section as some schools only list their essay(s) here. Other schools will list the main essay in the “Documents” section, which can be a source of confusion. Within the “Documents” tab, you will also find a list of documentation required by each prospective transfer institution. You can very easily upload directly into the form. This can include items such as college transcripts, a mid-term report, or professor recommendations.
Do I have to submit standardized test scores?
Even since the arrival of COVID in 2020, the majority of American colleges have introduced test-optional policies . This option not to include test scores also applies to transfer applicants. Some schools like the UC and CSU systems have gone test-blind. This means that they will not even consider SAT or ACT scores in the admissions process. You can view our complete l ist of test-blind colleges . Overall, 99% of colleges in 2023 will not require transfer students to submit test scores. However, at highly selective schools, submitting strong test scores may greatly improve your chances. For example, elite SAT scores will help you if transferring to Ivy League or Ivy-equivalent institutions.
The Common App Transfer essay
Not every college requires an essay as part of their transfer application; however, plenty of selective institutions do. There are schools that will offer multiple prompt choices, but many present applicants with only one prompt asking them, in essence, to explain why they want to transfer to a given institution. For example:
“The personal statement helps colleges get to know you better as a person and a student. Please provide a statement discussing your educational path. How does continuing your education at a new institution help you achieve your future goals?”
Students should treat this essay similarly to the “Why Us?” essay encountered in many universities’ Common App supplemental sections for general admission. Some applicants mistakenly dedicate this section to bashing their former school or chronicling their own personal tragedies. While you do want to explain how your past experience has brought you to this moment, make sure that you are crystal clear about your vision for the great things that lie ahead. In the words of Kierkegaard, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” Briefly tell them where you have been and then move the conversation toward the future.
What are my chances of getting accepted?
Of course, the answer to this question depends on whether you are applying to Columbia University (15% transfer acceptance rate) or the University of Missouri-Columbia (71% transfer acceptance rate). Last year, schools such as Bowdoin, Bates, Pomona, and Amherst all accepted fewer than 10% of applicants. Meanwhile, other stellar schools like George Mason, the University of Georgia, Indiana University, Elon, Clemson, and the University at Buffalo all accepted the majority of those who applied.
Note: All of the previously mentioned schools are featured in College Transitions’ book— Colleges Worth Your Money: What America’s Top Schools Can Do for You (Rowman & Littlefield, 2022).
It is also important to understand that transfer rates can be extremely volatile from year to year. Figures can be swayed by institutional needs and the number of open slots. For example, Dartmouth’s transfer acceptance rate has hovered between 0.5% and 10% in recent years.
Common App Transfer Guide – Final Thoughts
As a transfer applicants, you’ll be required to do things that you were not asked to do as a freshman applicant. For example, you may be required to complete a mid-term report , college report , and provide transcripts from your high school and current college. You may also need to line up recommendation letters. These items take time to complete. You will need to be highly organized and motivated in order to successfully navigate the transfer application process.
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A licensed counselor and published researcher, Andrew's experience in the field of college admissions and transition spans two decades. He has previously served as a high school counselor, consultant and author for Kaplan Test Prep, and advisor to U.S. Congress, reporting on issues related to college admissions and financial aid.
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Common App for transfer personal statement changes
Jul 25, 2023 • knowledge, information.
Common App recently collected member and student feedback regarding the current personal statement in the transfer application, which is 'The personal statement helps colleges get to know you better as a person and a student. Please provide a statement discussing your educational path. How does continuing your education at a new institution help you achieve your future goals?'
Through this feedback, we heard a desire for more prompt options, as well as increased standardization in how the personal statement is asked across member institutions.
In response to this feedback, we made the decision to add the first year application personal essay prompts to the Program Materials section as the new transfer application personal statement. The current transfer application personal statement will be available as a bank question for members who wish to ask it. Note: the new essay prompts would not be available in the common portion of the transfer application.
Members have two configuration options to add the new Common App for transfer personal statement to their screen:
Option #1 , Questions Section
- Must appear within the Writing section
- Radio button prompt selection followed by long answer essay field
- Prompts appear directly above the response box
- Choice of prompt is a deliverable data point in the export file
Option #2 , Documents Tab
- Document upload
- Prompts are linked out on a separate page to conserve Documents tab instructional text space
- Delivered as part of full application PDF
- Note that prompt selection is not available as an exportable data point
Please note : the personal statement language, prompts, and instruction text cannot be customized. If you have additional questions, please reach out to your Member Services representative or the Member Solutions Center at [email protected] .
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Common App Transfer Essay Examples
Common App Transfer Essay — Introduction
If you’re considering transferring colleges , you’ve likely started thinking about your college transfer essay. At CollegeAdvisor, we’re here to fill you in on the Common App transfer essay, as well as the overall transfer application process.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the college transfer essay. We’ll also provide you with some Common App transfer essay examples and other transfer essay tips.
Additionally, we’ll go over:
- What a college transfer essay is
- How to craft a strong Common App transfer essay
- College transfer requirements at top schools
- Other transfer essay tips
Understanding the College Transfer Essay
The college transfer essay process differs a bit from the essay process you likely went through as a first-year applicant. Instead of writing one Common App transfer essay that you’ll send to every school, each college transfer essay is school-specific. In fact, some colleges don’t even include a college transfer essay in their application requirements—though most selective institutions do.
To help you prepare, we’ve gathered a variety of sample transfer essays from top schools nationwide. We hope these Common App transfer essay examples help you feel confident as you begin crafting your own college transfer essays.
In our guide, we’ll look at transfer essays that worked from the following colleges:
- Emory University
- Wesleyan University
- University of Southern California (USC)
- University of Miami
But before we look at a sample transfer essay, let’s get back to basics: what is a college transfer essay?
What is a college transfer essay?
Put simply, a college transfer essay is an essay you’ll write as part of the college transfer process. At their core, most Common App transfer essay prompts will ask a similar question: why do you want to transfer to our school?
This prompt is similar to the “why school” essays you likely encountered as a first-year applicant. However, with transfer students, colleges may look for a bit more detail.
Your Common App transfer essays should try to address the following:
- Why do you want to transfer to this particular school? What programs and offerings attract you to this institution?
- What makes you unique, and why will you enrich the campus community at your new college?
- Why was your former college not the right fit for you, and why is this college a better place for you to pursue your goals?
Of course, you should never outright speak negatively about your current college in your Common App transfer essays. However, your college transfer essays should clarify why you and why your next school will be a better fit than your current one.
Later, we’ll look at some Common App transfer essay examples in more detail. Keep the questions above in mind as you read our sample transfer essays. While there’s no universal Common App transfer essay prompt, there are many similarities in the transfer college essays for different colleges. Reading different college essays that worked and sample transfer essays can prepare you for any Common App transfer essay prompts you encounter.
Common App Transfer Essay Requirements
Unlike in the first-year application process, transfer students using the Common App won’t submit a single personal statement to every school. Instead, students will use the Common App for transfer—that is, the version of the Common App designed for transfer students. Each school specifies application requirements within the Common App for transfer; that’s where you’ll find any Common App transfer essay requirements. It’s also where you can select specific programs within your desired schools.
Moreover, not every college will have a standard transfer essay format. Rather, you might find different prompts, word counts, and other requirements for different transfer applications. With that said, you can likely repurpose a certain amount of information from your college transfer essays for different schools.
Additionally, note that not every college where you may want to transfer will use the Common App. While the Common App has over 1,000 member institutions at the first-year level, around 600 colleges use the Common App for transfer. So, you should always check each college’s application requirements. Some schools may also use the Coalition Application. Schools like UIUC , UMiami , and USC will all have their own transfer essay requirements.
Next, let’s take a closer look at transfer application requirements. Then, we’ll look at some sample transfer essays and discuss different college essays that worked.
Understanding Transfer Application Requirements
In general, most colleges will ask for a similar set of transfer application requirements. These include:
- The Common App transfer application
- A writing supplement, including your college transfer essay(s)
- Standardized test scores, though some colleges remain test-optional
- Official college transcript
- Dean’s/College’s/Registrar’s Report
- College instructor recommendations (2)
- Official high school transcript
As you begin the transfer application process, make sure you’re prepared for these requirements. Additionally, while you may or may not submit a full resume when you apply to college, it’s good to have one on hand.
Staying Engaged on Campus
Note that as a transfer student, colleges will pay attention to how you’ve used your time on your original college campus. So, to increase your admissions odds at top schools, you should earn high grades and engage in various extracurricular activities. Even if you don’t want to complete your college experience at your current school, you should still make the most of your time there.
On some of your college transfer essays, you might be asked to discuss an extracurricular activity or engagement. You won’t see this kind of prompt in most of our transfer essay examples. However, you should be prepared to discuss your involvement on campus in your college transfer essays. Colleges want to see that you’re an engaged member of your community.
Common App Transfer Essay Prompts
Next, let’s take a look at some Common App transfer essay prompts and review some transfer essays that worked.
As we’ve discussed, students won’t all answer one Common App transfer essay prompt. Instead, you’ll respond to a different Common App transfer essay prompt for each school. However, as you’ll notice from our collection of transfer essays that worked, college transfer essay prompts tend to be similar.
Comparing Some Common App Transfer Essay Prompts
To begin, let’s look at the Common App transfer essay prompts from Harvard University:
- Briefly, please indicate the most influential factors in your decision to attend your present college (for example, location, cost, size of student body, only option, special program offered, Early Decision plan, etc.)
- What alternatives to transferring to Harvard are you considering?
- Please indicate your field of specialization and briefly outline your academic plans at Harvard College.
- What are your current postgraduate/career plans?
- Briefly discuss one book that has strongly influenced you.
As you can see, if you apply to Harvard as a transfer student, you’ll have to write several college transfer essays. In our college transfer essays that worked, successful students make the most of every Common App transfer essay prompt.
Notre Dame transfer essay prompt
Remember, each of your college transfer essays offers the admissions team a chance to learn more about you. So, you should make the most of every one of your Common App transfer essays. Regardless of the college transfer essay format, view each college transfer essay as a chance to teach your reader something new.
While we won’t see Common App transfer essay examples from Harvard here, we’ll read sample transfer essays from other competitive colleges. You can apply these transfer essay tips to any college transfer essay.
Let’s take a look at another Common App transfer essay prompt—this time, from Notre Dame.
Unlike Harvard, Notre Dame does not ask students to complete a collection of Common App transfer essay prompts. Instead, when it comes to college transfer essays, Notre Dame just asks for one thing :
“a well-crafted personal statement explaining your interest in Notre Dame, your academic and professional goals, and how transferring to Notre Dame can help you achieve them.”
Clarifying your academic goals.
You might notice one similarity between the Common App transfer essay prompts for Notre Dame and Harvard. Both schools ask you to have a clear sense of your academic and professional goals.
As a first-year applicant, your choice of college major matters less than it does as a transfer applicant. In fact, in some cases, the major you indicate will have little to no bearing on your admissions odds. However, as a transfer student, colleges expect you to have some sense of your future goals. In light of that, you should be able to articulate your future college major in your college transfer essays.
When you read our Common App transfer essay examples, you’ll notice the authors clearly explain their academic and future goals. This allows the writers of our sample transfer essays to clarify why a given school meets their academic needs.
Look for these strategies in our UMiami essay examples, USC transfer essay examples, Emory essay examples, and other college essays that worked. Now, let’s dig into some targeted transfer essay tips and read some great Common App transfer essays.
College Transfer Essay — Emory Essay Examples
Let’s start by reviewing Emory essay examples from accepted transfer students. By reading these Common App transfer essay examples, you can learn more about how to approach the college transfer essay process.
Here’s our Emory transfer essay example:
Emory Transfer Essay Example
My time at Texas Christian University has been an orienting and insightful experience. Despite the brevity of my stay, I grasped a better understanding of the type of qualities that I desire from a college. In addition, I gained new perspectives, forged relationships, and made memories that I’ll cherish for life. The decision to apply to Emory was made with careful consideration, but ultimately with confidence. While I will always be grateful for my experience at TCU, I’ve concluded that Emory is where I can thrive academically and socially.
I took a medley of courses during my first semester at TCU to ensure that I chose my path with confidence. Comparative Literature was the major I was searching for. It allows me to channel my desires for a diversified education, and pairs well with my ardor for foreign languages. Unfortunately, despite the enthusiasm, it isn’t offered at TCU, but it is at Emory. However, the ability to pursue Comparative Literature may have drawn me to Emory, but it was the breadth of the academic curriculum and resources that helped me to conclude that it was the right school for me.
The breadth of the curriculum itself covers a broad range of topics ranging from Post-Colonial Literature to “Love & Sex in the Italian Renaissance.” I would truly be able to get a diversified education through a host of interesting topics. Attending Emory would allow me to supplement my education with curriculum outside the classroom, allowing me to enrich my educational experience. Through the thesis during senior year I could gain insight from conducting intense exploration on a subject I deeply care about.
As a research assistant I conducted research on Horace Walpole’s influence in early British Parliament. Through this, I learned how to organize and structure knowledge, how to communicate and how to be a more attentive and critical interpreter of history. Those are the kind of skills I want to amplify and Emory’s focus on Undergraduate Research would give me support for that in spades. I could also have fun attending poetry readings, symposiums, and film screenings. In terms of my major, the depth of the classes and the sheer possibilities enabled by Emory’s academic resources would truly allow me to make the most of my education at Emory.
What stands out about Emory for me and makes it so desirable is the intimate approach in the faculty-to-student relationship. Engaged professors who genuinely care for the wellbeing of the student is the type of setting fostered at Emory and would allow me to flourish as a student.
Diversity, not just in race, but in socioeconomic status, sexual orientation and most importantly, perspective, both academically and socially, is the type of variation fostered at Emory. This is the type of college experience I want as I’ve learned that only through differences can intellectual curiosity truly be fostered.
Emory’s location would allow me the amenities of Atlanta without having to forego a traditional college experience. I could try authentic Persian food one night and go karaoke the next. Art is a personal hobby of mine and I can foresee many art crawls given Atlanta’s vibrant art scene. Of course, a visit to Emory’s own Michael C. Carlos museum would be due first.
Beyond the city, Georgia is host to a myriad of beautiful landscapes. I could hike at Tallulah Gorge or enjoy the scenic view at Amicalola. Emory’s active campus life would also mean weekends filled with prominent guest-speakers and exploring new hobbies. What I appreciate about Emory is the balance between academics and social life because while college is a place to learn, it is also a place to make memories.
I’ve never regretted my time here. I simply exhausted all the available resources and it’s my responsibility to go where I can flourish as a student in every sense, and this place for me, is Emory University.
Why This Essay Worked
Successful Emory essay examples will specify what makes Emory the right place for an applicant. This essay does just that. Moreover, it offers a great example of a common college transfer essay format. Namely, it describes why the student wishes to transfer while detailing what makes Emory the perfect fit for them.
As one of our Emory essay examples, the writer of this sample transfer essay makes it clear why Emory is the right fit for them. First, the writer describes how they’ve used their time at TCU to gain a sense of their academic interests and goals. They then clarify how, in this journey of self-discovery, they have realized why TCU isn’t the right place for them.
This sample transfer essay then uses specific examples of why Emory would be a better fit. They mention specific courses, programs, and other offerings. This sample transfer essay also highlights why Atlanta would be a better college setting for this student than Fort Worth. Strong Emory essay examples will be specific—that is, they’ll discuss particular programs and offerings only found at Emory.
Overall, this transfer essay example excels at describing who this student is, why they wish to transfer, and how they’d leverage Emory’s resources.
Next, let’s look at some more transfer essays that worked—namely, a successful Wesleyan essay.
Wesleyan Essay — Transfer Essays That Worked
Next, let’s dig into another one of our Common App transfer essay examples. Like the first of our Common App transfer essay examples, the essay below includes detailed and specific information about how the writer will thrive at their new institution.
Our next transfer essay example is for Wesleyan . Let’s take a look at the essay and explore why it stood out to Wesleyan admissions:
Wesleyan Transfer Essay Example
My need for academic diversity marks the first reason behind my desire to transfer. The reality is that there is a disproportionate emphasis placed on business and natural sciences at my current college. While these majors deserve merit, the situation here translates to a lack of the same quality of opportunities and resources for the humanities. I realized that I need a setting where every academic field is equally regarded because it is in these types of environments that intellectual curiosity is truly fostered.
While I spent my initial months as a pre-major, I took a medley of courses to ensure that I chose a path I was genuinely passionate about. I am unable to pursue my academic desires here, but at Wesleyan, I can. My first year of college helped me to narrow down my want for a cosmopolitan education. During a class, I was introduced to literary and post-colonial theory and discovered a new passion. I want to pursue certification in Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory for a diversified education, and with the interdisciplinary coursework at Wesleyan, I could do so. With intense courses and guidance from caring faculty, Wesleyan would allow me the strong and intimate academic foundation that I desire.
Wesleyan has what I am looking for and am unfortunately unable to find at my current school: enthusiasm for languages. I possess a passion for foreign languages and with Wesleyan’s orientation intense curricula for foreign languages, I would have a supportive environment. While I am currently taking 2 languages, I hope to pursue Arabic language and culture, and in addition, live in the Turath Program House. Foreign languages are usually regarded as a side-study but with the open curriculum and programming at Wesleyan, I could allow foreign languages the space in my academic schedule that it deserves.
My first year made me realize how I took diversity for granted. Diversity, not just in ethnicity, but in socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, and most importantly, perspective, is the type of representation I want on a campus. Wesleyan truly reflects the concept of equal opportunity in every sense. Coming from a background where food stamps were normalized and then moving to a school where most of the student body comes from the upper socioeconomic trend has been eye-opening.
The notion that there is a disparity in resources and experiences between polar financial levels is swept under the rug here. I appreciate that Wesleyan not only acknowledges but acts towards lessening the gap by providing resources and opportunities to low-income/first-gen families. It’s this type of effort that will allow those without equal access to have the stability for their academic merits to shine through.
Wesleyan’s location also offers me the scenic nature-based and intimate small-town vibe that I desire. While I love Fort Worth, the climate, people, and attractions in Middletown would fit me better. Whether I’m hiking at Cockaponset or attending a play by ArtFarm with my friends, I would get the college experience that I desire without foregoing an intimate college community.
Why this essay worked
While this Common App transfer essay prompt isn’t in use anymore, this Wesleyan essay answers a standard question: why do you wish to transfer, and why Wesleyan?
Once again, the writer of this transfer essay example gives reasons why their current school isn’t the right fit. They express their desire for more academic, cultural, racial, and social diversity than is available on their current college campus. Many college essays that worked discuss diversity and inclusion; this Wesleyan essay writer showcases how they’ll enrich their future campus community. In doing so, it gives Wesleyan admissions officers a strong sense of the student’s values.
Additionally, this Wesleyan essay uses specific details to show what makes Wesleyan the right fit for this student. In particular, this sample transfer essay describes in detail the writer’s passion for studying languages. The writer details how they would use Wesleyan’s resources to explore this passion.
In reading this essay, the Wesleyan admissions team can see clearly how the student would make use of Wesleyan’s resources.
Like our other Common App transfer essay examples, this Wesleyan essay illustrates why the writer wishes to transfer. At the same time, it emphasizes how they would make the most of their new institution.
USC Transfer Essay Examples
Let’s move on to more college transfer essay examples and take a look at some USC transfer essay examples. We hope these Common App transfer essay examples help you prepare to craft your own essays.
In the 2021 admissions cycle, the USC transfer acceptance rate was about 26% according to the USC admissions office. While USC does not widely publicize the USC transfer acceptance rate, it’s generally reported as around 24-26%. In other words, you can assume that the USC transfer acceptance rate is relatively low. That means you should do all you can to prepare your transfer application ahead of the USC transfer deadline. Note that the USC transfer deadline is February 15th for most programs.
Overall, the USC transfer requirements are similar to those for other schools. They include the Common Application, your high school transcript, and your college transcript. Some academic programs require additional letters of recommendation, portfolio materials, and other supplements. You’ll complete the USC college transfer essays through the Common App.
USC Transfer Essay Examples — Long Answer
The USC transfer requirements will vary by major. However, regardless of additional USC transfer requirements for certain programs, you’ll need USC college transfer essays.
Unlike the rest of our transfer essay examples, the USC transfer essay examples also include short answer responses. So, in addition to the main USC college transfer essay, you’ll find some short-form USC transfer essay examples below.
Let’s start with the main USC transfer essay:
USC Transfer Essay Example
The feature that appeals the most to me about USC is the zeal that the English department displays. It was the amount of English-oriented events that hooked me and the quality of them that finally reeled me into USC’s shore. Numerous poetry readings, prominent guest speakers, and enthusiastic organizations geared towards English would help immensely with supplementing my learning experience. The cherry on top is the study abroad program entwined with English, allowing for total immersion into the culture and subject.
These types of academic opportunities are integral to making the most of my studies. Furthermore, I would be remiss to not acknowledge the world-class faculty at USC’s English department. What USC presents is an academic environment where the ardor I have for English is matched. It’s a community where college isn’t viewed as a method of job placement but a place to foster intellectual curiosity.
Socially, my current school has been full of learning experiences as I navigated a social scene that starkly contrasted against the ones I grew up with. However, I knew this was a common experience and stayed optimistic. I dabbled in clubs, finding some that piqued my interest, and rushed a sorority before discovering what I wanted to direct my time and effort towards.
While I opted out of Greek life, I did find organizations and people on campus that I enjoyed, such as Spectrum (LGBTQ+) and Hall Crew, an organization geared towards dorm-community bonding. However, some contemplation allowed me to recognize that the people I had gravitated towards drew me in due to a recurring sentiment: my desire for a more diverse setting.
When the word “diversity” is mentioned, people naturally assume ethnicity. While this factor is an important component in the multi-faceted topic of diversity, it isn’t all-encompassing. My current school has helped me realize that diversity, not just in race, but in sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and most importantly, perspective, is a necessary aspect of a college environment. Attending USC would give me a chance to experience the kind of diversity I crave; a campus comprised of students from all over the globe would ensure this.
The first of our USC transfer essay examples indicates exactly what attracts this applicant to USC. In this sample transfer essay, the writer describes their interest in USC’s English program and why it would fit them. As you read this transfer essay example, you can imagine this student thriving on USC’s campus.
Once again, like other transfer essays that worked, this transfer essay example shows why the writer was dissatisfied with their college. However, it doesn’t dwell on the negatives—instead, this sample transfer essay looks forward to the writer’s goals at USC.
To make the most of your USC essays, make sure you draft them well ahead of the USC transfer deadline. This gives you enough time to polish your essays and make sure they highlight your strengths. Transfer essays that worked are often initially written well before the deadline and revised several times.
USC Transfer Essay Examples — Short Answer
Next, let’s take a look at more Common App transfer essay examples—namely, the short answer USC transfer essay examples:
1. What is the most fun you’ve had lately?
On the Fourth of July, I braved the scorching heat at Six Flags over Atlanta, my favorite childhood vacation spot. I got drenched on Thunder River, lost my voice on Goliath, and won a giant stuffed Pokemon in a ball toss game. As the sun set, I admired the fireworks while devouring two plates of food at the all-you-can-eat buffet.
2. If you had to give yourself a nickname, what would it be?
After joining the middle school swim team, I discovered that I was a terrible diver and would always painfully belly flop into the water. I begged my parents to let me volunteer at the library instead. While watching the librarian’s favorite movie, “Ella Enchanted,” she affectionately shortened my name to Ella. I moved the next summer, so the nickname always evokes nostalgia for my hometown.
3. What are three things you don’t care about at all?
The difference between white and yellow onions (I use them interchangeably in my recipes.)
The iOS versus Android debate (I have a Galaxy phone and a Macbook.)
The correct way to hang toilet paper (I keep the rolls in a cabinet to hide them from my two mischievous cats.)
4. Describe a situation in which you didn’t get something you felt you deserved.
With plans to diversify the fundraisers and collaborate with community partners, I campaigned to be UNICEF Club president my junior year of high school. I was excited to be more involved in the organization I had volunteered with for years. Unfortunately, I had to miss the election day to receive my green card and was ultimately not selected.
5. What do you see as the physician’s role in Public Health? Please answer the question in 150 words or less.
Especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, I see physicians as educators and advocates for their communities. While conducting research and volunteering at my local food pantry, I saw how the pandemic led to rising medical misinformation and mistrust and exacerbated barriers to accessing healthcare. When unemployment soared in March 2020, I noted the strain on clients at the local food bank, who struggled to afford groceries, utilities, and medical bills. I believe that physicians should advocate for increasing access to affordable healthcare, from expanding subsidized coverage to lowering surprise medical bills.
As a Research Assistant, I discovered that a quarter of the rural patients with HIV in our study believed that COVID-19 vaccinations were dangerous or linked to autism. Through creating trusting relationships and supportive environments, I believe physicians can guide patients to make informed health decisions that optimize their clinical outcomes.
Why these essays worked
Like any college essays that worked, these USC transfer essay examples showcase what makes the writer unique. The best Common App transfer essay examples clearly demonstrate the writer’s personality and how they’ll enrich their next college campus.
Remember, every college transfer essay gives you the chance to tell the admissions team something new about you. Certainly, these short answer responses follow a different college transfer essay format than our longer Emory essay examples or the Wesleyan essay. However, they manage to include a lot of valuable information in a limited number of words.
Let’s look at the last of our transfer essays that worked—our UMiami essay examples.
UMiami Essay Examples — College Transfer Essay
Next, we’ll dig into UMiami essay examples to get a better understanding of college essays that worked.
Here’s one of our UMiami essay examples from an admitted transfer student:
UMiami Transfer Essay Example
I took a medley of classes to ensure that I chose my major with confidence, which led to my decision to apply as an English major and Modern Language and Literature minor to UMiami. I hope to study Japanese and Arabic, along with French if my schedule permits. Beyond the depth, rigor, and range of the courses themselves, the sheer breadth of the programming would allow me to supplement my education with a curriculum outside the classroom. Both the English and the MLL department have enthusiastic programming ranging from lectures given by prominent guest-speakers, friendly gatherings, and study abroad programs that would really allow me to make the most of my education.
I fully intend to pursue research as well, as my time as a research assistant has fostered my passion for knowledge and discovery in the humanities. The experience will also help me while I pursue the Departmental Honors Program in English Literature. Beyond purely academic resources, the intimate approach to advising and the close faculty-to student ratio is what drew me to UMiami. The dedication to providing students with resources like research grants, internships, and career connections is the type of care that I want. I learned that while the right academic environment is important, support is essential to thrive not only as a student, but as a person.
Socially, UMiami leaves nothing left to be desired. I could take a stroll on the beach or finally get to try the famous Cafecito. The active campus itself would mean opportunities to discover new hobbies or make new memories with friends. I want to be able to look back fondly at the memories I made in college and UMiami would allow me to do that. I would also love to start a Dream Outside the Box chapter at UMiami as my experience with this organization geared towards better access to education has been profound and I am a staunch believer in bettering local communities first.
In the last of our Common App transfer essay examples, the writer includes specific details about why UMiami is the right place for them.
Once again, the writer of this sample transfer essay delineates what UMiami offers that their current college does not. Successful UMiami essay examples will be specific to the school. So, as you read UMiami essay examples like this one, look for ways to link your interests to the school’s offerings.
In this transfer essay example, the writer outlines the specific programs, foreign languages, and offerings that they plan to pursue at UMiami. They also include specific details about the college’s location and culture. These details make obvious their interest in the institution and the time they’ve taken to research their (prospective) future home.
Understanding the UMiami Transfer Acceptance Rate
In general, transfer acceptance rates are not widely published online—the UMiami transfer acceptance rate is no different. While it’s generally reported to be around 50%, students should still assume that the UMiami transfer acceptance rate is relatively competitive . To put it another way, don’t take the UMiami essay for granted. After all, UMiami is one of the best colleges in Florida, so admission is never guaranteed.
By now, we’ve read UMiami essay examples, Wesleyan essays, and other transfer essays that worked. We hope you now have a better understanding of what makes a successful college transfer essay. Next, let’s dig into some more transfer essay tips to help you succeed.
How is a college transfer essay different?
Overall, the transfer application process is slightly different from the first-year application process. As you’ve likely noticed in our successful transfer essay examples, most transfer essays look rather different from standard personal statements.
When applying as a transfer student, admissions officers want to know why you’ve decided to transfer and what interests you about their school. They also want to learn about your educational plans (including your choice of major) and your career goals.
Similar to our transfer essays that worked, college transfer essays often revolve around an applicant’s character as a student and future professional. Compare this to a Common App personal statement, which usually focuses on who you are as a person. Clearly, your academic and career pathways matter a bit more as a transfer student.
Of course, you should take every opportunity to show the admissions committee what makes you unique. However, you should also ensure you include specific details about what makes your future academic program a better fit.
College Transfer Essay Format
In general, most schools use a similar college transfer essay format. The Common App transfer essay prompts you’ll find will also often have some similarities. Most schools will ask students to state their reasons for transferring and explain why they’ve chosen to apply.
As you approach this type of prompt, think about:
- The major you’d like to pursue
- Academic programs that are not available at your current school
- Important differences between your current campus community and the school where you’re applying
Word counts will vary by school, so always check each institution’s requirements. You should also read each Common App transfer essay prompt carefully to ensure you follow the right format.
You can also write an initial college transfer essay and adapt different sections to suit different prompts. However, you should always include specific details about how you plan to spend your time at your next college.
Additional Transfer Essay Tips
We’ve looked at some successful Common App transfer essay examples. Next, let’s review three transfer essay tips to help your essays shine:
- Be specific. Tailor each college transfer essay to your chosen school, even if you start with the same basic details about yourself. Make sure you indicate specific things that school offers that you can’t find at your current institution.
- Keep it positive. As a transfer student, it might be tempting to write negatively about your current school. However, focus instead on what your current school has taught you about yourself and prepared you to succeed elsewhere.
- Be thorough. Your college transfer essays are one of the few chances you get to address the admissions committee on your own terms. Make the most of the word count to highlight who you are and how you’d enrich their campus.
We hope these transfer essay tips give you confidence as you approach the college transfer essay process.
Other CollegeAdvisor Essay Resources to Explore
As we’ve discussed, while there are some key differences, writing a college transfer essay is relatively similar to writing a first-year admissions essay. For more transfer essay tips, check out some of our other resources below:
- AO Advice: How to Write Great Supplemental Essays That Stand Out — In this webinar, our former Admissions Officers share how to write supplemental essays that shine.
- Columbia Essay Examples — This guide includes several successful essays from Columbia University and explains what made them work.
- Editing Your Supplemental Essays — This webinar walks you through the process of editing your Common App transfer essays to make them strong, clear, and concise.
- How to Write a Personal Statement — Read more college essays that worked and learn expert tips to make yours unique.
For more guidance, you can also check out Carnegie Mellon’s tips on writing strong Common App transfer essays. Amherst also offers useful tips, including a successful Common App transfer essay. Finally, Moorpark College has a great slide deck featuring some advice on the UC transfer process.
If you’re certain about transferring but unsure about where you want to go, we can help. Our three-part College Finder series covers the college search process, making a college list , and comparing colleges . Although many of our free articles are aimed at first-year applicants, their advice is broadly applicable. They can help you figure out how to frame your college transfer essays or research where you want to go.
College Transfer Essay — Final Thoughts
In this article, we walked you through different sample transfer essays and Common App transfer essay prompt responses. Additionally, we offered some transfer essay tips to help you write the strongest college transfer essays you can. We hope our Common App transfer essay examples help you feel more confident as you navigate the transfer application process.
If you want more support as you complete your Common App transfer essays, we’re here to help. Click here to schedule a consultation with our Admissions Specialists. We’ll help you learn more about how CollegeAdvisor can help you maximize your admissions odds.
This article was written by Abbie Sage. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.
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Read 2 Transfer Student Essays That Worked
Strong transfer essays can help pave the way to admissions offers.
Read 2 Transfer Essays That Worked
Though it isn't a golden ticket, a strong transfer essay may boost an applicant's odds of admission. (Getty Images)
There are as many reasons to transfer colleges as there are transfer students. But regardless of why someone wants to move to a new institution, the process for doing so usually requires an admissions essay.
Colleges With the Most Transfer Students
Josh Moody Jan. 28, 2020
Though it isn't a golden ticket, a strong transfer essay may boost an applicant's odds of admission.
In a 2018 National Association for College Admission Counseling survey , 41.5% of colleges polled said a transfer applicant's essay or writing sample is of either considerable or moderate importance in the admission decision.
A compelling, well-written transfer essay doesn't guarantee acceptance – many other factors are at play, such as an applicant's GPA. However, a strong essay can be a factor that helps move the odds in the applicant's favor, says Kathy Phillips, associate dean of undergraduate admissions at Duke University in North Carolina.
Know What Colleges Are Looking For In a Transfer Essay
Some schools have prospective transfer students use the Common App or the Coalition Application to apply. In addition to the main essay, students may be required to submit a second writing sample or respond to short-answer questions, though this isn't always the case. Prospective students can check a college's website for specific guidance regarding how to apply.
Whatever application method they use, prospective students should be aware that writing a transfer essay is not the same as writing a first-year college application essay, experts advise. First-year essays are more open-ended, says Niki Barron, associate dean of admission at Hamilton College in New York. When applying as first-years, prospective students can generally write about any experience, relationship or goal that has shaped who they are as people, she says.
This contrasts with transfer essays, where the focus is typically narrower. Barron says she thinks of transfer essays as more of a statement of purpose. "We're really looking to see students' reasons for wanting to transfer," she says.
Katie Fretwell, the recently retired dean of admission and financial aid at Amherst College in Massachusetts, says prospective transfer students are in a position to be a bit more reflective about their educational goals because of their additional year or years of experience post-high school. The essay helps admissions officers get a sense of whether an applicant has done "an appropriate level of soul-searching about the match," she says.
Transfer Essay Examples
Below are two transfer essays that helped students get into Duke and Amherst, respectively. Both institutions are very selective in transfer admissions. For fall 2018, Duke had a transfer acceptance rate of 8% and Amherst accepted 4% of its transfer applicants, according to U.S. News data.
Hover over the circles to read what made these essays stand out to admissions experts.
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A User’s Guide to the Common App for Transfer Students
What’s covered:, what is the common app for transfer students.
- Steps to Completing the Common App for Transfer Students
Where to Get Feedback on Your College Essays
Looking to transfer colleges? The Common App is making it easier than ever with the new Common App for Transfer Students. All required materials are now in one place, so you don’t have to worry about staying on top of multiple applications and websites during an already stressful time in your life.
In this article, you’ll find tips and step-by-step instructions on how to fill out your transfer application and feel great about what you submit.
The Common Application, or Common App, is a platform used by many schools for the college application process. Since schools typically ask for the same data when it comes to personal information and a general essay, the Common App provides a singular place where applicants can enter their information. The platform then allows your selected schools access to your application. Some colleges may have individual supplemental essays that you’ll need to write, but your personal information and Common App essay are only entered once.
In the past, transfer students would have to fill out applications through each school’s transfer applications. However, the Common App now has a program available for students who are looking to transfer, making the application process that much easier.
Step 1: Creating and Logging into your account
When you go to the Common App website and click “Create an Account,” it will ask you whether you are a first-year or transfer student.
Choose “Transfer Student.” You will be asked to provide personal information to create your account.
Step 2: Navigating the Dashboard
Once you’ve created your account, a page will appear where you can add programs that you would like to apply to, arranged in alphabetical order.
You can either add directly from this list by clicking on the plus sign or search for a school using the search bar at the top of the page. Once you choose programs, you will be given the chance to review your choices and proceed to your application dashboard. If you click “Skip for Now,” you will be taken directly to your application dashboard.
Step 3: Filling out the Common App for Transfers
Clicking on “Personal Information” will open this menu.
To fill out each section, just click on the individual headers. You will need to provide communication preferences, demographics, and contact information for yourself and your parents/guardians. The Common App also offers options for financial support through the “Common App Fee Waiver” section.
In this section, you will need to fill out your past academic information. This includes any high schools and colleges you attended; coursework you completed at your past colleges; your GPA(s); standardized test scores such as the SAT Subject Test, AP or IB tests, College Level Examination Program exams, or Senior Secondary Leaving Examinations; and Continuing Education Courses you’ve taken.
This section is where you can take the opportunity to include anything that is specific to you that will help you stand out during the application process.
Things to list under “Experiences” include community engagement, extracurricular activities, family responsibilities, hobbies, volunteering, work, internships, research, and other meaningful experiences. “Achievements” can be both academic and professional. For “Documents,” this will differ based on the school. Typically, you can upload a resume, military transcript, or visa documentation if needed, and schools will list on their website whether they require any additional documents. Finally, the “Affirmation Statements” section is simply a list of statements affirming that the information you have provided is your own and that you will take responsibility for your own application process.
In this section, you will be provided with information about any individual application requirements for each college you are applying to.
Clicking on the button for a college will take you to its page in the Common App. “Home” houses contact information for the school, while “Questions” is a list of demographic questions compiled by the college itself. You will have to fill these out in addition to the “Personal Information” section of the Common App, as these questions are specific to each school. “Documents” is where you can upload any documentation, while “Recommendations” is where you can include any academic, personal, or professional letters of recommendation.
Step 4: Submitting the Common App for Transfer Students
While there are less sections for transfer students than for first-year applicants, the typical requirements are the same. In addition to personal information, students are still asked to provide essays, letters of recommendation, and information about extracurricular activities. Ensure that you leave time to thoroughly review your application. The Common App notifies you about any unfinished sections, but it’s best to look over everything yourself as well.
Registration for the 2021-2022 Common App for transfer students closes on July 29 at 5pm ET, so you must create your account before then. Deadlines for individual school applications differ, so be sure to consider deadlines that may have already passed when looking at schools.
After you’ve reviewed your application and have made sure you are ready to submit, go to “Submit Application.”
Your progress bar should be completely filled. When you reach this point, click the “Submit” button. The following steps will only become visible to you once you’ve completed your application; if anything is missing, the button will be grayed out, like in the screenshot above.
Once you click “Submit,” you will be able to review your application for the last time, so take the time to thoroughly go over each section. After that, you will be directed to the payment portal for the college to which you are applying. If you have requested a Common App fee waiver, you will not be required to make a payment at this point.
Once your application fee is submitted, sign and date your application and click “Submit” on your Common App.
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Home » The Ultimate Guide for Transfer Applicants Using the Common App
The Ultimate Guide for Transfer Applicants Using the Common App
For transfer students, applying to college can be a daunting process. However, with the Common App, the application process becomes streamlined and straightforward. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about using the Common App as a transfer applicant (most of this should sound familiar to you). We’ll provide tips and strategies to help you stand out in your application and answer frequently asked questions about using the Common App as a transfer student. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or new to the college transfer process, this guide will help ensure your success.
Benefits of Using the Common App for Transfer Applications
For transfer students seeking to apply to multiple colleges, the Common App offers a convenient solution by allowing you to submit one application . Moreover, it simplifies the process of transferring information from previous applications since all data is centralized on this platform.
Apart from simplifying the application process, the Common App also provides valuable resources and support to students. This can save you a considerable amount of time and effort, especially when navigating through the complexities of college applications. Moreover, many colleges offer fee waivers or other incentives for utilizing this platform. As a result, it comes as no surprise that so many transfer students choose to apply through the Common App.
Key Dates for Transfer Students Using the Common App
Staying on top of deadlines is crucial for transfer students using the Common App. Each school may have specific application requirements and due dates, so it’s essential to keep track of them all. The Common App has its own deadlines for transfer applicants, which may differ from regular decision deadlines. If you are considering applying for a fall transfer, the most common deadline is around March. This timeline applies to all eight Ivy League schools, as they have annual deadlines in March. It’s important to keep in mind that each school may have different requirements and application procedures, so it’s essential to do your research and plan accordingly. In addition, some schools offer rolling admissions, meaning that the earlier you apply, the better your chances of admission. Remember to submit your application as early as possible to avoid any last-minute stress.
Navigating the Common App as a Transfer Applicant
For transfer applicants using the Common App, it’s essential to stay organized and keep track of all the application requirements and deadlines. The first step is to create a Common App account and select the colleges you’re interested in applying to. Once you’ve identified your target schools, review each college’s specific application requirements, which will include transcripts, essays, letters of recommendation, and test scores. The Common App also offers a transfer credit preview tool that helps applicants understand how their previous coursework will transfer to their new college. Remember to track the status of your application and reach out to individual schools with any questions or concerns about the transfer process.
Common App Essay Tips for Transfer Students
Writing a persuasive essay is an essential component of the transfer application process, and the Common App offers several prompts to choose from. Selecting the appropriate prompt is critical because it allows you to showcase your strengths and aspirations effectively. To do this, you must understand each prompt’s nuances and select one that aligns with your transfer journey. Personal anecdotes and experiences can help make your essay unique and unforgettable while highlighting how transferring will help you achieve your academic and career goals.
Highlight your reasons for transferring and how the new college fits into your academic and career goals. People don’t always do this part well. Take time to research the new college and its transfer policies before applying. The essay section is where you can truly shine by explaining any challenges or setbacks you faced during your previous year(s) in college and how you overcame them. Ultimately, a compelling transfer essay should provide insight into who you are as a person, why you wish to transfer, and how transferring will help you reach your full potential academically and professionally.
Remember to proofread and edit your essay thoroughly before submission – it can make all the difference in setting yourself apart from other applicants. A well-crafted essay that is free of grammatical errors and typos not only demonstrates your attention to detail but also reflects positively on your communication skills. Additionally, consider having someone else read your essay to provide constructive feedback and a fresh perspective.
Can I Reuse My Common App Essay For Transfer Applications?
Yes, it is possible to reuse your Common App essay for transfer applications. The Common App essay prompts remain the same each year, so if your initial essay addresses one of the prompts, you can certainly reuse it for your transfer applications.
While you can, you probably shouldn’t. Figure out whether the essay you want to reuse still effectively represents your goals, experiences, and reasons for transferring. If your circumstances or motivations have significantly changed since you first wrote the essay, you may need to revise it to align with your current situation. Additionally, some colleges and universities may have their own essay prompts or requirements for transfer applicants, so it’s essential to review each institution’s application guidelines to ensure your essay meets their specific criteria.
Do Colleges Prefer Transfer Applicants Using the Common App?
When it comes to transfer applications, many colleges and universities accept the Common App, making the process more streamlined for applicants. One advantage of using the Common App is that it allows transfer applicants to apply to multiple schools at once with ease. However, colleges do not show preference towards transfer applicants using the Common App versus those who use their own application. Additionally, the platform allows for easy submission of supporting documents such as transcripts and letters of recommendation, simplifying the application process further.
Many prestigious universities, including Harvard, Yale, and Columbia, accept transfer applications via the Common App. Schools that don’t accept transfer applications via the common app include schools such as Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the University of California system. These schools have their own transfer application processes in place that are separate from the Common App. It’s important for transfer applicants to carefully review each school’s website and requirements to ensure they are using the correct application platform. Keep in mind that regardless of which platform you use to apply, it’s critical to demonstrate why you are a strong fit for the school and how transferring will benefit your academic and career goals.
Frequently Asked Questions
As a transfer applicant, it’s natural to have questions about the college application process and the platforms available to you. Below are some frequently asked questions that can help guide you:
1. What is the Common App, and how does it work for transfer applicants?
– The Common App is a college application platform used by over 900 colleges and universities in the United States. As a transfer applicant, you can use the platform to apply to multiple schools at once by filling out one main application and supplementing it with additional materials required by each school.
2. How do I know if a college accepts the Common App for transfer applications?
– You can check if a college accepts the Common App by visiting their website or searching for them on the Common App Website . The list of schools will indicate if they accept transfer applications through the platform.
3. What supporting documents do I need to submit through the Common App as a transfer applicant?
– Transfer applicants typically need to submit transcripts from all colleges attended, letters of recommendation from professors or employers, and a personal statement. Some schools may also require additional materials such as a resume or an essay specific to that school.
4. How can I ensure my transfer application stands out on the Common App platform?
– To ensure your transfer application stands out, carefully review each school’s requirements and deadlines before applying. Take time to highlight any unique qualities or experiences that make you a strong candidate for each school. Make sure to proofread and double-check all materials for accuracy and completeness before submitting. Additionally, consider reaching out to admissions counselors or attending virtual information sessions to demonstrate your interest in the school and gain more insight into their transfer process.
The Common App is an excellent tool that simplifies the transfer application process, effectively saving time and energy. Book a free consultation with us to learn more about how to ace your transfer application using the Common App or any other platform. Transfer students often face low acceptance rates at top schools, making it essential to distinguish themselves from other applicants. Our expert team can assist you in crafting a compelling one that stands out from the rest. With our guidance and support, you can increase your chances of success and secure admission to your dream school!
3 Mistakes of Transfer Applications
Are you looking to transfer colleges and wondering what pitfalls to avoid? We’ll go over some of the biggest mistakes transfer applicants make in this blog.
1. Applicants lead with their weaknesses
The first big mistake transfer applicants make is that they lead with their weaknesses in their essays. There is almost always an essay question in a transfer application asking you why you want to transfer. There are likely parts of your story that college might not want to hear. Colleges expect you to put your best foot forward. Because of this, if you are transferring in part because you didn’t get into the school you wanted the first time around, you shouldn’t lead your essay with that.
While it is true that sometimes talking about failures and overcoming challenges can make for a great story, talking about academic failure can be scary ground to tread in. You don’t want to overemphasize the negative on your transfer application. In other words, you shouldn’t say you failed to get into college the first time. Instead, lead with who you are and how you want to expand your opportunities. You should absolutely be honest, but you don’t have to lead with your faults. Similarly, you wouldn’t walk into a job interview and start talking about how you got fired for your last job. Instead of sharing everything, share the parts that show you in a positive light. If you feel you have to disclose something negative, try to spin it and end on a positive note.
2. Applicants focus on ranking over fit
Whenever you’re applying to school as a transfer, you’re playing a different game than you were as a freshman. It’s possible you ended up at a school with a lower ranking than you wanted. First of all, don’t tell schools you’re applying to that you want to go there because they’re ranked higher. Transferring shouldn’t just be about ranking. It should also be about fit. In your transfer application, you should make sure to talk about the fit of the school for you. If there is no fit, ask yourself if you need to transfer.
An example of a natural fit is people transferring from a community college to pursue a 4-year degree because community colleges can’t offer that. However, if you are transferring from one 4-year institution to another, you should focus on fit. For example, if a student intended to transfer from Michigan’s engineering program to Cornell’s engineering program talking about rank doesn’t work. Instead, you may talk about how Michigan’s campus is too big, and you want the nurturing feel of a smaller campus. Or maybe, even though Michigan’s program is ranked better, there’s a very specific, niche engineering program at Cornell you want to pursue. Finally, maybe there’s a researcher you want to work with at Cornell. These fit reasons help much more than talking about school rankings.
College admissions offices are often asking, “If we admit this student, will it change the trajectory of his/her life.” If the answer is no, they might admit someone else to change their life instead. Fit can mean academics, but it can also mean something personal. For example, maybe you are a part of the LGBTQ+ community and your current school isn’t accepting or diverse.
3. Applicants don’t do enough research
While undergraduate admissions tend to be more standardized from school to school, transfer admissions are a different game. For example, some transfer deadlines are in December while others are in February or March. Make sure you have all the dates and policies for each school you intend to apply to. One school might ask for a high school transfer while another doesn’t need to see it.
Additionally, you should make sure you’re giving yourself a decent chance of actually getting in as a transfer. COVID-19 will likely make transferring more difficult due to an increase of people who took gap years. Don’t only apply to a small number of schools with 1% transfer admit rates. While some schools, such as the UCs and USC, reserve space for transfers, many others only accept transfers if other students drop out or leave. Schools such as Stanford and Princeton don’t have a lot of people dropping out, which means there isn’t a lot of space for transfers.
If you’re a non-traditional student, someone who has taken a gap in their education, and you’re interested in competitive schools, consider looking into programs that specialize in non-traditional students. Columbia University, for example, has a school of General Studies that caters to non-traditional students. Yale University also has a non-traditional students program called the Eli Whitney Students Program .
Finally, while doing your research, make sure to check how many semesters or credits schools require for transfer students. Some schools only require one semester, while others need a certain number of credits completed to accept you. There’s also a possibility for spring admissions for transfers. If you want to look up a school’s transfer admissions rate, most schools publish Common Data Sets you can look up to give yourself a good idea.
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