This isn't a decision to make lightly. I contemplated it for a full year before finally applying to transfer. I wanted to be sure that I was making the right choice and, even though I haven't heard back from my schools yet, I know I'm doing the right thing. Yes, we've all been down the road of college applications before. This isn't new territory, but the transfer application process is a bit different from the initial college applications. Colleges only accept up to 60 transfer credits. So basically, you have until the end of your sophomore year to decide that you want to transfer and to make it happen, or you'll have to overload courses to make up for lost credits or graduate a semester late.
It takes all of two seconds to set up, but it's important to note that you'll need to set up a new Common App account. This may have just been me, but I personally thought that I had to fill in much less information for it than I did in high school. Just like the first time around, you still need recommendation letters, usually two maximum, from professors, employers, or personal references. You also have to send in all of your transcripts (high school and college), an official College Report filled out by a Dean and your standardized tests. Yes, your ACT and SAT scores still matter!
Then there's the Personal Statement, which is more like a Personal Paragraph. 2500 characters. Not words, just characters - letters, punctuation, the works. How can I convey something as significant as to why I want to transfer in a mere 2500 characters? It's hard, and this statement is incredibly important to your overall application. My advice? Write it over and over again and edit it as much as possible. Don't leave it until the last minute. You want it to be polished and personal. It's how you tell your college what you want to achieve by transferring and how you'll be a great addition to the program you're applying to.
Remember how everyone applied to at least fifteen colleges back in high school? Yeah, not this time. At this point, you should know what you want to study, or at least have a general idea. Applying to transfer isn't so much about casting a wide net as it is about being laser focused. Know what you want to apply for and apply for that specific thing.
It's important to reach out to the school(s) that you're interested in. That buzz phrase "demonstrated interest" is still crucial. Spots for transfer admissions are competitive. Engaging with the school you want to transfer to shows that you're a serious applicant. I've toured my (dream) school and I've probably emailed them about ten or so times. Try to remember though, there is a very fine line between demonstrating interest and being annoying, so try not to cross it.
The most important thing that you have to do throughout this entire process is calm down. Of course, this is a major and stressful decision that you're making. That being said, freaking out about it won't help, and it won't change any admissions decisions either. Don't be like me and let this consume your every waking moment. Whatever is meant to happen will happen.
To anyone transferring - good luck! Fingers crossed that you get into your dream school and that admissions decisions come out before New Year's.
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