Making the decision to attend a local community college, or local junior college, and then transfer to a larger university can be a great decision. This affords students the opportunity to take their general education classes in an environment that is lower in pressure and, often times, lower in cost. It is no wonder that the UC system has in place a vast network of community colleges to assist those students wishing to take this path.
Along with earning good grades and participating in meaningful extracurricular activities, one of the requirements for transferring in to a university is the personal essay. This is arguably the part of the application that students have the most control over. There is no professor who grades too hard, no mitigating circumstance keeping the student from class; the personal essay is entirely in the student’s control. While this makes it that much easier for students to complete, it can also add some pressure to make your essay stand out among the thousands of other applicants who may also be looking to transfer in to the same university. There are a few tips that can be followed in order to maximize the potential of any transfer essay.
First, put yourself in the admissions counselor’s shoes and tell the story that you would want to hear. They admissions committee processes thousands of applications and have most likely heard the same story over and over. What are some traits and characteristics that you would want in your school if you were on the admissions committee? Choose these traits and then think of a time in your life where you exemplified these things. Remember, you are competing against other students who may have the exact same GPA and extracurricular activities as you, so the essay is your chance to separate yourself from them.
Second, find your own voice and communicate that through your writing. It can seem impossible to pick the right topic and portray the right ideas, but equally important is letting the committee know who you are as a person through your writing. While the essay should be somewhat formal and casual language should be avoided, you should still strive to allow the committee to get to know you as an individual. Personal stories that help them do this are especially beneficial because they help them understand who the person is that they are admitting, much more so than numbers on a paper. This can be the aspect that propels you over the competition.
These tips will help any student looking to transfer in to a university. This has been done by tens, maybe even hundreds, of thousands of students before you and has resulted in great success. Even President Obama transferred from a smaller school in to Columbia as a junior transfer. Setting clear goals, working hard, and writing a stellar essay can be exactly what you need to transfer in to a prestigious university.