Last Updated: May 3, 2019
Need a little inspiration? Check out this sample transfer essay, and don't forget to check out our tips below! (And if you need help getting started on your transfer application essay, go here.)
“But Dad, I can do both!” I pleaded, doing my best not to raise my voice. He’d always been sure to remind me of the importance of not making a scene.
“I’m sorry, bud. We just signed you up for baseball. The answer is no. No.”
“Dad, you don’t understand. I need to take painting lessons.” I tried to look as defeated as possible, hoping his heart would break just enough for him to agree.
“Yeah, well you said that about skiing and guitar too. Baseball is your top priority right now, and it’s going to stay that way. Besides, sports teach you how to work in a team. Painting teaches you...how to mix colors.” He turned back to the television and cranked up the volume, and I knew I’d lost this one. I retreated to the kitchen table to finish the jigsaw puzzle I’d abandoned moments before.
I couldn’t really argue with my dad. As a kid, I frequently bounced from activity to activity, often hurrying from one to the next. It wasn’t that I got bored with what I was doing—I just couldn’t wait to try something new. Everything was interesting and everything was fun.
In high school, I became involved in as many extracurricular activities as I could, getting elected to student council and playing varsity baseball, joining groups like the school improvement team, and yes, even the art club. I was intrigued by nearly every class I took, eager to dissect things in physiology or pick apart the ideas of Faulkner in American literature. I’ve wanted to be everything from an engineer to a chef to a professional baseball player. A friend once described me as a guidance counselor’s worst nightmare.
Years of searching, experimenting, and learning have brought me here.
When my classmates crossed the stage at graduation, it felt like nearly everyone knew which direction they were headed. Friends were moving across the country to pursue their dreams, and I couldn’t even figure mine out. I had a strong academic record and plenty of experiences to shape my application, but watching my friends leave for four-year schools with such determination reminded me of how lost I actually was. It was time to figure things out for myself.
Enrolling at a two-year community college gave me the opportunity to sift through different areas of study and find what worked for me. General education courses and a varied curriculum offered a wide lens through which I could see what different fields had to offer and find a true fit. It wasn’t easy. I took classes ranging from applied sciences to ceramics, and—of course—I liked almost everything I tried! Then I took an anatomy and physiology course during the spring of my first year at ABC Community College, and it hit me. I realized that the medical field would allow me to help people while constantly learning, exploring different facets of the work.
After two years of studying, researching, and homework, I received an associate degree in pre-physical therapy, and I believe XYZ University is the next stop on my journey to achieve my dream.
It may have taken me longer to get here, and my path probably had a few more twists and turns in it than most, but every activity I begged my dad to let me do and every extracurricular club I joined complemented my course work and shaped who I am. XYZ University’s physical therapy program will lead me to the necessary bachelor’s and doctoral degrees I need to succeed in a profession I know will leave me fulfilled—and hold my interest—throughout my professional life.
What makes this a good transfer essay?
- You need to grab transfer admission counselors' attention right away, and that’s just what this essay does. Try starting with a bold statement or some interesting dialogue to draw your readers in. Remember: admission staff read hundreds and sometimes thousands of essays, so yours needs to stand out.
- The writer gives transfer counselors a glimpse at what makes him unique with just the right amount of detail. With a 500-word limit, you need to be succinct.
- Often transfer students are asked to discuss what led them to changing schools. Like this student, you should address your reasons for transferring in a straightforward manner, without being defensive or negative. And you should address why you want to transfer into your college (or colleges) specifically, just like this student does.
- He also ends his application essay with a strong statement that ties into earlier themes, bringing the essay full circle to a satisfying conclusion.
- Finally, this essay is also good because of everything that’s not there: it's free of misspellings, it's an appropriate length, and there are no run-on sentences or lengthy paragraphs. And you can bet it was submitted well before the deadline! Meeting deadlines is crucial in the college application process, whether it’s the first time around or as a transfer. Even if your intended college has a rolling admission policy for transfer students, the earlier you submit your materials, the better.