Transfer Trauma: Tackling the Admissions Essay

When it comes to the college application process, most prospective transfer students concur that the hardest part is writing the admissions essay. Applicants want to sound competent and interesting without crossing the line and sounding clichÃ?© and cocky. The important thing to remember is that your college entrance essay should not be the same as any other prospective student’s college entrance essay. There is nobody that has had the exact same life and educational experiences as you. Let your uniqueness and personality shine, and the review panel will notice you and your essay above the endless stack of carbon-copy essays that so many applicants make the mistake of submitting. Below is a paragraph-by-paragraph sample of an exceptional college application essay for a transfer student:

Paragraph One: This is where you are supposed to hook your reader. Never start with the lame opener, “My name is John Smith, and I am applying to the Undergraduate programâÂ?¦” You want to engage the reader right away.

While it was a tough decision to make at the time, in retrospect, I am glad that I decided to take the untraditional road after I completed high school. After graduating from Arlington High School in 2000, I moved out of my parent’s house and got a job as an account executive at Clear Channel Communications. My responsibilities included selling radio air time and writing radio commercials. Long story short, I wasn’t much of a salesperson. I just didn’t have it in me to heckle, and I’m not ashamed to admit it because this realization came with an eye-opening silver lining. I was quickly recognized by my supervisors as being an exceptional writer. I started helping my fellow account executives with their own writing, and in time I realized my true calling wasn’t sales – it was writing and teaching. After about a year with the company, I knew it was time for me to pursue a college education.

Paragraphs Two and Three: Talk about your educational experiences, building an understanding for your reader of what you have gained personally and educationally from your past.

I began taking classes at Dutchess Community College during their summer program, and within the first five-week session, it was clear to me that I had made the right move. I loved being back in school, and I was excited about the prospect of getting a college degree and ultimately becoming a high school English teacher. One of my English professors encouraged me to write for the Dutchess Chronicle, and so I became a contributing writer for the school paper. While attending Dutchess, I worked the second shift at an answering service in Poughkeepsie, where I was again able to help others sharpen their own writing skills. I tutored one of my co-workers in English for several months so that she could prepare for her General Equivalency Diploma test – which she passed with flying colors!

After two semesters at Dutchess, I was recommended by another one of my English professors to become a tutor at the Dutchess Community College Writing Center. Tutoring college students was a rewarding experience that allowed me to work with individuals on a variety of subjects and assignments. I also was able to work with ESL students and with a number of students with learning disabilities. It gave me great confidence in my academic pursuit to know that I was truly able to help people in achieving their own educational goals. Being able to effectively communicate through writing is something that benefits all students, regardless of what their major is or what their career goals are.

Paragraph Four (optional): If there is a lapse of time between your last college experience and now, explain it in a positive way in this paragraph.

When my fiancÃ?© graduated from SUNY Geneseo, I decided to take a short break from college to plan our wedding. We were married in June of 2004, after over seven years together (we started dating during my freshman year of high school, after meeting at marching band camp). Since our wedding, I have been working as a freelance writer, and I am proud to report that I have already had over 400 articles published. I write short (500 to 1500-word) articles on a variety of subjects, such as wedding planning, home decorating, relationships, arts and crafts, pets, and travel. Freelancing has given me a reason to write even though I’ve been out of school for a little while, and I am sure that writing on such a wide variety of subjects will help me in my future as a teacher.

Final Paragraph: Pull it all together in a to-the-point way, and always be sure to thank the reader at the close of your essay.

Having been a resident of the Poughkeepsie area for my entire life, I am very familiar with the excellent reputation that Marist possesses, and I would be so proud to be a part of your impressive institution. I am confident that my life experiences combined with a Marist education would mold me into a wonderful and enriching educator. I hope that you will see the promise that I have to be not only a great addition to the Marist community, but also to be an inspiring English teacher after I graduate. Thanks so much for your time and consideration.

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