Transfers, this one's for you!
You spent ages writing your college application essay, studying for your SATs, and meticulously researching colleges. But your dream school turned out to be a nightmare, and you want out. Now.
You started college years ago, but life (and/or exciting opportunities!) got in the way. Now you want to finish your degree years later.
If you fall into either of these categories, this blog is for you!
Here are some DO's and DON'Ts for applying to college with transfer credits:
DO acknowledge your previous school.
The admissions committee will receive your transfer credits, so it's not a secret that you studied elsewhere. Feel free to mention your previous school, the things you liked about it, and the things you may have wished were different.
DO mention your reasons for transferring.
Why do you want to switch schools? Or why do you want to return to school after a break of several years? Keep it really specific and detailed. For example, instead of saying, "Columbia just wasn't for me," say, "Though I studied with really inspiring professors at Columbia, the fast-paced city life was a bit much for this small-town gal. I have visited Cornell and I am drawn to the size of the campus and the friendliness of the town--and the gorgeous setting doesn't hurt! Cornell feels much more like me." There are often additional essay requirements that ask you to address this very issue. So take the time to think about why you are making this big shift.
DO take responsibility for your actions.
I hope that you're transferring to find greener pastures, but if you made some poor decisions at your last school, 'fess up to them. Identify the things you've learned in the process, and explain how you will improve at your new school.
DO refrain from TMI.
It's easy to want to spill your guts on paper, and though you should dive into the emotional pool and explore the "why" of wanting to start a new school, this isn't the forum for venting or sobbing. Here's a good rule of thumb: If you wouldn't say it on national television, don't say it in your application.
DO explain why you and your new school are a perfect match.
Think of your essay as an email to a Match.com love interest. Why did you take the time to write? What makes you think that you'd be compatible? Why are you MFEO? (Made For Each Other. Love you, Sleepless in Seattle!)
DON'T be intimidated!
Switching schools or re-starting your education can be a big, scary, emotional step, and being nervous about it is completely natural. Do yourself a favor and take the time to work through the reasons why you're making the change before you start writing. It'll make the writing process easier and more efficient. I completely adore transfer students--and colleges do, too!--because unlike high school seniors, they often know exactly what they want from their school.
So what are you waiting for? Start brainstorming, and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your transfer woes. I'm happy to help!
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