Transfer Essay Writing Guide: Craft a Winning Paper Fast

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Transfer Essay Writing Guide: Craft a Winning Paper Fast

Whether it is to transfer from a 2-year to a 4-year school or to pursue a program that is better aligned with their academic and career goals, transferring schools is becoming increasingly common. Although the negative stigmas of the past regarding transferring schools has largely faded, transfer students still tend to be given low priority in the admissions process. Because of this, you’ll need to make the most of your transfer essay in order to make a big impression on the admissions officers. Also, transfer essays usually have short word counts. In creating this limitation, the school is looking for you to provide them with your unique reasons for applying to their program.

The most successful essays always have the same basic qualities: maximizing the space available, staying specific, and showing enthusiasm.

Formulating your essay   

Planning ahead is essential for creating a great transfer essay. Without it, you’ll likely run out of room very quickly and either shortchange the conclusion or wind up with an essay that doesn’t have enough depth to be meaningful to the admissions officers. Therefore, use the first part of the essay to provide the admissions officers with sufficient background information from your school, work, and volunteer experience to show that you have the qualifications necessary to succeed at their school. Show the admissions officers why you now have the skills and experience to make the right choice and join a school where you will thrive while making a meaningful contribution.  

In the second half of the essay, go into detail about why you want to be part of the program. Name classes that will fill knowledge gaps that you have. Provide the names of professors whose work interests you and how their interests are similar to your own. Finally, remember to write about life outside of the classroom. Are there clubs or organizations that you look forward to joining? What about the campus setting? If you’re applying to schools in metropolitan areas, you might want to write about the cultural offerings. If you’re applying to a school in a college town, write about the benefits of being part of a tight-knit community. Most of all, let the admissions officers know that you will be proud to have a degree from their school.

Tips on How to Write a Transfer Essay

While we covered what’s most important in crafting a transfer essay, there’s still a list of other things you need to consider if you want to succeed. Like we mentioned earlier, this essay is your chance to make an impression on admission officers and may land you a class seat in the school that you want. As you don’t have a lot of space, everything counts.

What to do

Do a thorough research and show that you are interested. Learn more about the school you want to transfer to by reading about it online. In-depth analysis may provide you with unexpected insights that will bring additional weight to your writing, strengthening your essay. The more you know about the subject, the better.

Start and close memorably. Transfer essays are usually short, but quickly grabbing admission officers’ attention makes all the difference: they may put essays to the “Rejected” pile after several sentences and a glance at the content. Start with something unexpected but connected to why you transfer, weave it into the main body and close with a curious question or a joke (but pick one carefully).

Write, edit, proofread. Writing is always hard, more so if you need to be concise and specific at once. Do your research, think through about what you’re going to write, and get to drafting. An excellent essay won’t come out of the first draft, or maybe even the third, but it’s normal. If you did your research, know what to say, and read the tips, you’d make it to the final dot with a solid result. After, make sure to proofread your essay carefully a few times. Asking someone to take a look at your essay — a friend or professional editor – will help you improve it.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls in Transfer Essays

Writing about the school’s reputation

Admissions officers are aware of their school’s reputation, so writing about reputation is probably a little too general to be meaningful in your transfer essay. Instead, focus on aspects of the school that are more personal to you. What does the school have that other schools don’t? Only you know why you have chosen a particular school, and different applicants can have widely different ‘most important reasons’ for applying. By writing about specific details, the admissions officers will be able to see that you have fully researched their school and made an informed choice in submitting your transfer application package.

Criticizing your previous school

Regardless of how bad things were or are, never criticize your current/previous school. While it is okay to write about how certain aspects of the school or program weren’t the right match for your goals, values or personality, always maintain a positive tone. Taking a negative tone will reflect badly on you as a person and not the school or program. There are good aspects to your current school. Be sure to briefly praise the school or highlight positive experiences you have had there but then quickly move on to why the school to which you are applying is the right place for you to take the next steps in your academic progress.    

Good & Bad Transfer Essay Examples

As you can see from the tips, crafting a winning transfer essay isn’t an easy feat. If you need inspiration or don’t like how your draft is shaping up, it’s always a sound idea to compare it to someone else’s writing. Here are two transfer essays examples, good and bad. The schools and people mentioned in them are purely fictional. 


Luckily for me, I had to learn that your dreams can quickly turn 360 degrees early on in my life. After a year in a coding school, I am now eager to acquire comprehensive knowledge of modern marketing in the California School of Digital Age Advertising & Marketing. I find that the school’s unique, adaptable approach to the curriculum will allow me to become a digital marketing expert who is ready to help brands and organizations market and promote themselves effectively in our changing times and the future. At CSDAAM, I want to learn Experiential Marketing and design customer journeys based on Augmented and Virtual Reality. I have been following the work of Professor Kate Chan for a long while and wish to learn from her exciting work at CSDAAM classes. I am also looking forward to adjacent classes, including Basics of Video Editing and Modern Visual Arts. They will help me learn the necessary tools, be more creative, and always get new perspectives on incoming challenges. Although my experience in learning how to code put my skills and mind to the test in an exciting way, I do not regret leaving the school to go down a completely different path. As I was learning programming languages and writing my first lines of code, I realized that I wanted to devote myself to a creative career fit for our times. After Visiting CSDAAM’s campus, learning more about its culture, and getting familiar with its professors’ work, I am confident that studying in this school is the best way to build a foundation for my new career. My mother was an English professor, my father was an insurance broker, and no one, even me, would have thought my life leads me to experiential marketing and eagerly submitting my application to CSDAAM.


Now that I think of it, I always wanted to be a part of a place like the California School of Digital Age Advertising & Marketing. While Tuscan Public Communications School has a reputation, it certainly did not turn out to be the dream school I had been hearing so much about. Most professors seemed to be preoccupied with themselves, not the students or, sometimes, even the subject itself. They were not the guiding beacons in the sea of knowledge, and sometimes it heavily influenced my grades and drained inspiration from me. CSDAAM, on the other hand, looks like a vibrant place that infuses its students with a go-getter attitude. I also realized that I was always highly enthusiastic about digital marketing, social media advertising and fake news, modern visuals arts, and other sophisticated subjects. I am eager to study with fervor every day and dive into what CSDAAM has to offer its workshops and challenges. Sometimes, you need to take a wrong turn to find the right road into the sunshine. I am sure CSDAAM is my real dream school.  

As you can see, the first essay is focused, clear, and shows that the applicant knows what they want and puts their determination in choosing the school on display. It also exhibits a high level of detail, indicating that the person learned a fair share of the school. In the “bad” one, the applicant flounders too much in what he disliked about their educational establishment, over relies on metaphors, and does not explain why he wants to join this school.  

No matter what made you decide to transfer from one institution to another, our task is to warn you that it’ll be tough. This process always requires a transfer student to submit an outstanding essay. If your writing skills aren’t good enough to present yourself well, order essays edit here.

How long should your transfer essay be?
How do you conclude a transfer essay?
Is there a Common App essay for transfer students?
Do transfer students get accepted easily?
What are some good reasons for transferring schools?
Robin W.
Professional essay editor and proofreader with 10+ years of experience. Education: Cornell University. PhD in English Studies and M.F.A in Creative Writing.
Update: July 14, 2022

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