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 a 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.
- He 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 is free of misspellings, it is 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.
Related: Find the right transfer college or university for you!
Note: Did you know you could win a $10,000 scholarship for college or grad school just by registering on CollegeXpress? This is one of the quickest, easiest scholarships you’ll ever apply for. Register Now »
admissionadmission adviceessayapplication essaystransfer applicationsessay samplesapplying to transfertransfer admission
More on CollegeXpress
If you’re the middle of applying to colleges, you should know by now that the UC applications have undergone a drastic change. Eliminating the 2 required UC prompts, the UC application now consists of four 350 word essay, chosen from 8 new UC prompts.
The change might seem a little drastic, but don’t freak out just yet. This doesn’t mean you can’t still learn from previous UC application essay examples. In fact, we’ve put together all the UC prompts that are available and examples from our database to help with your essay writing:
UC Prompt #1
1. Describe an example of your leadership experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes or contributed to group efforts over time.
UCBerkeley2019, UC Berkeley ‘19
“As a high school student, I wondered how I can make a difference on this suburban dullness. Rather than just looking at the high school that I attended, I decided to impact something bigger, my community. More specifically, I became motivated to reach out to my entire city by hosting a carnival-themed festival called Sharkfest.”
UC Prompt #2
2. Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side.
ClaireL, UC Los Angeles ‘20
“Suddenly, a glimmer of inspiration. My gaze settled on my viola, sitting patiently in its gleaming silver case. Why not try Pythagoras’ experiment for myself? I plucked the C-string, holding my finger down at exactly ½ of its length. Almost miraculously, the sound of a C—one octave higher, exactly twice the frequency—rang out. Moving my finger to 1/3 its length, this time it was the G with a frequency three times the original C, one octave and a perfect 5th higher.”
UC Prompt #3
3. What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?
Sydney_hack, UC Davis ‘20
“Then high school happened. I started taking theatre classes and film classes and I saw my friends go to college as musical theatre majors and film production majors. I saw people following their dreams. I’d entered a whole new world. I began to think of all the things that made me happy. Filmmaking stood out to me and I began to pursue any opportunity I could-I took the filmmaking class at school, I offered to help film video series for the San Diego County Bar Association and the Enright Chapter of the American Inns of Court. I’d run into this new, creative world full force, with no guide or notion of what I was to expect.”
UC Prompt #4
4. Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational opportunity or worked to overcome an educational barrier you have faced.
G.carrascou4, UC Berkeley ‘19
“This was initially a problem for me, however, as I attended three different schools within the short period of my first six months in the country. The first school only saw me for one week; the second school saw me for a semester; the third school saw me finally settling in what would become my home school from elementary all through high school. This transition from a nomadic lifestyle to a more sedentary one provided me with an idea of what my goals were, where I was going to achieve them, and how I was going to accomplish them. In a sense, it was my transition from a helpless, extinct Cro-Magnon to a Homo Sapiens with a future ahead.”
UC Prompt #5
5. Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?
Stellaaa, UC Santa Barbara ‘19
“School became difficult for me emotionally and academically. Rumors about my brother spread like a wildfire. A majority of my friends heard about these rumors and no longer wanted to associate with me. It was not soon before I felt isolated at school. I tried my best to cope with the loneliness, repeatedly telling myself that it was a phase. It became difficult for me to focus in school without thinking about my brother or that people were afraid to be around me. This did not discourage me from making new friends; however, it made me develop trust issues. I began to take more caution of who to trust, which served to be an advantage for me because during this time I become more self-aware of myself. At that moment of self realization, I had a clear perception of what was best for me, as well as the two options I had - to allow the emotional and academic stress to eat me away, or to see it as a challenge to overcome.”
UC Prompt #6
6. Describe your favorite academic subject and explain how it has influenced you.
AndyDC, UC Berkeley ‘19
“Another factor that I consider a major contributor to my personal identity is, oddly enough, a computer program that I was introduced to at age 12. RCT3, as it is called, is a 3D physics simulation game that allows users to essentially build and manage anything users dream up. For me, it offered a refreshing creative outlet for my imagination to flourish. But what enthralled me most was not the game itself, but the flowering community of users behind it. Making our home on internet forums, we were a thriving community of real-life architects, engineers, and programmers all bound by love of the game. Political and geographical barriers had never seemed so trivial to me. We discussed and collaborated on projects and even edited the source code of the game. I was enamored by the hardware and simple code that gave rise to such a versatile platform.”
UC Prompt #7
7. What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?
Lord of the Lords, UC Berkeley ‘19
I have always been someone who takes initiative. I pick up trash during trips to the beach, I spend my winter break raising money for hurricane relief, and I make anti-bullying videos in my spare time. And I always want to do more. So when I noticed all the trash that seemed to be accumulating at my high school, I decided to start a campus-wide recycling and composting program. I presented my idea to my AP Environmental Science teacher who shared my concern. She suggested starting a club to get more people involved, an idea which I loved. Thus, the AP Environmental Science (or APES, for short) Club was born.
UC Prompt #8
8. What is the one thing that you think sets you apart from other candidates applying to the University of California?
Want to know what set you apart? Check out these two packages that were curated by 2 UC admission experts:
Ms. Sun focused on finding UC applications with strong, competitive GPA and test scores that was accompanied by strong essays. After all, numbers are important, but they don’t tell the full story
Suzanne Dougherty curated her package with a different approach. She specifically wanted to highlight UC applicants who were accepted by Ivy League universities, but still chose to attend UC schools. This not only demonstrates each profile’s strong application, but also reveals the appeal and opportunity that UC schools offer.
Applying to college?
View the app files and essays of accepted students.LEARN MORE
Are you looking to apply to UC Schools? or just starting to build out your college list? Make sure to search through profiles of students accepted to see essays, stats, and advice. See how they got in, and how you can too!