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Published: Friday 25th of January 2013

Are You Writing a Transfer Essay? Here is How to Do It


When introducing you to a new school, a transfer essay is the best opportunity to do so. Some styles will work and others will not, you need to adopt the same concept as your first college essay. Why are you applying to that particular school? This should be your primary question. The answer to this question should form a large part of your transfer application essay. Cara Jordan, who is a Director of Transfer and admissions at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, says that the chief thing transfer admission officers want to know is why a student wants to join their school. If transfer students have challenges such as poor grades, the application essay gives them a chance to take responsibility for that and explain the measures that they have undertaken to curb this. Cara Jordan says that the essay should not be used to highlight one's weaknesses or in any way attack a rival school or try and be defensive about one. You can, however, use it to showcase your character and ability to accept one's mistakes and positively move past them. By letting you tell your own story using your own words, the essay makes for a superb means to do so.

The Content

The college application essay should give a vivid picture of the kind of person you are, Jordan adds. The image it should portray is apparently different from what you were a one or two years back. According to Cara, transfer students have an idea of the direction they want to take with their lives. Through their experiences in college, they have learned what works, also what doesn’t work for them as they are now older and focused. A transfer student already knows why they're leaving one learning institution for another and this is what a transfer officer wants to read in your application essay Cara Jordan emphasizes further. Students are allowed to share other information as well but the question why should be answered somewhere in this essay. Jordan also says she wants to understand why a transfer thinks that he or she is perfect for her school. (This example relates to Sacred Heart but follows the general format a transfer essay should adopt). During the fall of 2011, 3,488 students enrolled at Sacred Heart as full-time undergraduate students and one of them conveyed their information particularly well. The student expressed her passion for being taught by professors, who are experienced and are concerned with the success of their students, while still being a part of a diverse student body as she was transferring from a local community college. She continues explaining further how her visit to Sacred Hear and her interaction with staff and students showed her the zeal that they have to succeed in life. To her, teachers and students worked together in harmony overcoming challenges and achieving their full potential. Being a business major herself, she was impressed by the fact that the adjuncts who teach at the John F. Welch College of Business at Sacred Heart are not just respected instructors but are well-respected leaders in the business world.

Rules and Regulations

Transfer students should follow instructions directly in their application essay and other areas of the university or college application by sticking to word counts, submitting all requested materials and information, as well as meeting the deadline set and strictly adhering to the set of rules put forward. Paying attention to detail is particularly important as the transfer admission officials mainly concentrate on each applicant's information Cara Jordan says. The National Association for College Admissions Counselling reports that one in three students, who are undertaking a two or four-year course in college or university, is likely to transfer for one reason or another. Cara Jordan says this fact allows college admission officials to give personalized attention to the transfer students more than first time undergraduates since the number of students requesting to transfer lower than those who wish to enroll for the first time. It is a good thing as it allows admission officials, such Cara Jordan, to meet and assess each applicant to gauge if they make a perfect match before joining the college. By already proving that they can do college work, the area to concentrate on with transfer students is finding out if they are a good fit for the school as well as if the school is a good fit for them adds Jordan. When both, the applicant and the institution, communicate and understand each other honestly and transparently, a successful transfer occurs. A transfer application essay is an excellent tool for students to exercise this.

What to Do and What to Avoid

There are things that you should include and others you should leave out of your transfer essay as it should serve as an avenue to state your best works. Follow the general statements for college application essays, they include:


  • You should only focus on a single thesis or point since there are a hundred words to impress the admission officials so one should keep it narrow.
  • Be specific in your essay. Include quotations, examples, events, facts, and reasons. Stay away from using too many words describing one thing. Make writing unique and avoid clichés and generic writing that will make your essay predictable. Use experiences and achievements of life to distinguish yourself from other applicants.
  • Editing comes later. You should first write an entire essay without focusing on grammatical errors that you make. Stopping to rectify a blunder that you have made each time will slow down thought process and may make you forget your ideas entirely. Get points down first then come back when you’re done to edit the essay.
  • Be detailed. Each paragraph of an essay should try to make words as vivid as possible to the admissions officer. Use senses to be specific on issues that will make it unforgettable to the officials.
  • Dialogue. When used correctly, you can engage in dialogue with the admission officials through your essay. It is handy as it goes as far as putting words into people’s mouths making them feel as if you’re talking to them one on one.
  • The introduction should grab the officials’ attention. Starting with a quote, question or an intriguing anecdote can do the trick. Try to capture their attention using first few words, and you will keep them glued to an essay throughout.
  • Proofread. Once the writing is done, re-read it as many times as possible to fix all grammatical errors you may have. Such mistakes paint a picture of a careless person to the admission officials, and you should make sure you avoid such. Relying on spelling applications to weed out errors is not entirely reliable as they sometimes cannot differentiate between simple terms.

Do not

  • Write to please. Admission officials have read enough essays to know when a student is trying to appeal to them. It is not a reliable method to try and make an impression, and you should instead try and be yourself and let them be the judge.
  • Focus on other information. This essay is a chance to explain yourself to the admission officials on why you should join their institution. If one writes a resume or starts focusing on the information given in the application, one wastes the chance to plead the case to them.
  • Be dishonest. Do not make stuff up to show that you are an exemplary student when you are not. Most of the time, the officials will be able to see through lies tainting your image even before you get accepted at the college.
  • Summarize. The introduction is where you need to describe yourself to the admission officials. You need to be as vivid as possible with your description explaining in detail your characteristics and achievements. If you summarize the information about yourself, you deny the officials a chance to know you through your essay.
  • Avoid wordiness. Your essay should be clear and straight to the point. Information that is included should support main thesis, and if it doesn’t, it should not be there. Stick to one main idea to get the point across.
  • Be complex. When you use complicated words in your essay that are meant to impress the reader, you may end up boring them. Stick to simple terminologies as it is always the best option since you may end up misusing some terms as you try to sound distinguished.
  • Do it alone. After you have proofread and edited your essay, do not send it immediately. Give it to a teacher or someone you know who understands such matters to go through it and give you their opinion. A fresh pair of eyes may capture something that was there all along, but you missed it.
  • Rush. Be patient with your essay and take as much time as you need as long as you adhere to the submissions deadline. A transfer application essay is an important thing and rushing it may make you forget important facts to include and increase errors.


A transfer essay is critical for any student seeking to join another university or college. One should ensure that it covers all the essential aspects of their lives and reflects the admission officials who they are indeed.