common app transfer essay

Common App Transfer Essay — Introduction

If you’re considering transferring colleges, you’ve likely started thinking about your college transfer essay. At CollegeAdvisor, we’re here to fill you in on the Common App transfer essay, as well as the overall transfer application process. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the college transfer essay. We’ll also provide you with some Common App transfer essay examples and other transfer essay tips. 

Additionally, we’ll go over:

  • What a college transfer essay is
  • How to craft a strong Common App transfer essay
  • College transfer requirements at top schools
  • Other transfer essay tips

Understanding the College Transfer Essay

The college transfer essay process differs a bit from the essay process you likely went through as a first-year applicant. Instead of writing one Common App transfer essay that you’ll send to every school, each college transfer essay is school-specific. In fact, some colleges don’t even include a college transfer essay in their application requirements—though most selective institutions do. 

To help you prepare, we’ve gathered a variety of sample transfer essays from top schools nationwide. We hope these Common App transfer essay examples help you feel confident as you begin crafting your own college transfer essays. 

In our guide, we’ll look at transfer essays that worked from the following colleges:

But before we look at a sample transfer essay, let’s get back to basics: what is a college transfer essay? 

What is a college transfer essay?

Put simply, a college transfer essay is an essay you’ll write as part of the college transfer process. At their core, most Common App transfer essay prompts will ask a similar question: why do you want to transfer to our school? 

This prompt is similar to the “why school” essays you likely encountered as a first-year applicant. However, with transfer students, colleges may look for a bit more detail. 

Your Common App transfer essays should try to address the following: 

  • Why do you want to transfer to this particular school? What programs and offerings attract you to this institution?
  • What makes you unique, and why will you enrich the campus community at your new college? 
  • Why was your former college not the right fit for you, and why is this college a better place for you to pursue your goals?

Of course, you should never outright speak negatively about your current college in your Common App transfer essays. However, your college transfer essays should clarify why you and why your next school will be a better fit than your current one. 

Later, we’ll look at some Common App transfer essay examples in more detail. Keep the questions above in mind as you read our sample transfer essays. While there’s no universal Common App transfer essay prompt, there are many similarities in the transfer college essays for different colleges. Reading different college essays that worked and sample transfer essays can prepare you for any Common App transfer essay prompts you encounter. 

Common App Transfer Essay Requirements

Unlike in the first-year application process, transfer students using the Common App won’t submit a single personal statement to every school. Instead, students will use the Common App for transfer—that is, the version of the Common App designed for transfer students. Each school specifies application requirements within the Common App for transfer; that’s where you’ll find any Common App transfer essay requirements. It’s also where you can select specific programs within your desired schools.

Moreover, not every college will have a standard transfer essay format. Rather, you might find different prompts, word counts, and other requirements for different transfer applications. With that said, you can likely repurpose a certain amount of information from your college transfer essays for different schools. 

Additionally, note that not every college where you may want to transfer will use the Common App. While the Common App has over 1,000 member institutions at the first-year level, around 600 colleges use the Common App for transfer. So, you should always check each college’s application requirements. Some schools may also use the Coalition Application. Schools like UIUC, UMiami, and USC will all have their own transfer essay requirements. 

Next, let’s take a closer look at transfer application requirements. Then, we’ll look at some sample transfer essays and discuss different college essays that worked. 

Understanding Transfer Application Requirements

common app transfer essay

In general, most colleges will ask for a similar set of transfer application requirements. These include: 

  • The Common App transfer application 
  • A writing supplement, including your college transfer essay(s)
  • Standardized test scores, though some colleges remain test-optional
  • Official college transcript
  • Dean’s/College’s/Registrar’s Report
  • College instructor recommendations (2)
  • Official high school transcript

As you begin the transfer application process, make sure you’re prepared for these requirements. Additionally, while you may or may not submit a full resume when you apply to college, it’s good to have one on hand. 

Staying Engaged on Campus

Note that as a transfer student, colleges will pay attention to how you’ve used your time on your original college campus. So, to increase your admissions odds at top schools, you should earn high grades and engage in various extracurricular activities. Even if you don’t want to complete your college experience at your current school, you should still make the most of your time there. 

On some of your college transfer essays, you might be asked to discuss an extracurricular activity or engagement. You won’t see this kind of prompt in most of our transfer essay examples. However, you should be prepared to discuss your involvement on campus in your college transfer essays. Colleges want to see that you’re an engaged member of your community. 

Common App Transfer Essay Prompts

Next, let’s take a look at some Common App transfer essay prompts and review some transfer essays that worked. 

As we’ve discussed, students won’t all answer one Common App transfer essay prompt. Instead, you’ll respond to a different Common App transfer essay prompt for each school. However, as you’ll notice from our collection of transfer essays that worked, college transfer essay prompts tend to be similar. 

Comparing Some Common App Transfer Essay Prompts

To begin, let’s look at the Common App transfer essay prompts from Harvard University: 

  • Briefly, please indicate the most influential factors in your decision to attend your present college (for example, location, cost, size of student body, only option, special program offered, Early Decision plan, etc.) 
  • What alternatives to transferring to Harvard are you considering?
  • Please indicate your field of specialization and briefly outline your academic plans at Harvard College.
  • What are your current postgraduate/career plans?
  • Briefly discuss one book that has strongly influenced you.

As you can see, if you apply to Harvard as a transfer student, you’ll have to write several college transfer essays. In our college transfer essays that worked, successful students make the most of every Common App transfer essay prompt. 

Notre Dame transfer essay prompt

Remember, each of your college transfer essays offers the admissions team a chance to learn more about you. So, you should make the most of every one of your Common App transfer essays. Regardless of the college transfer essay format, view each college transfer essay as a chance to teach your reader something new. 

While we won’t see Common App transfer essay examples from Harvard here, we’ll read sample transfer essays from other competitive colleges. You can apply these transfer essay tips to any college transfer essay. 

Let’s take a look at another Common App transfer essay prompt—this time, from Notre Dame.

Unlike Harvard, Notre Dame does not ask students to complete a collection of Common App transfer essay prompts. Instead, when it comes to college transfer essays, Notre Dame just asks for one thing:

“a well-crafted personal statement explaining your interest in Notre Dame, your academic and professional goals, and how transferring to Notre Dame can help you achieve them.”

Clarifying Your Academic Goals

You might notice one similarity between the Common App transfer essay prompts for Notre Dame and Harvard. Both schools ask you to have a clear sense of your academic and professional goals. 

As a first-year applicant, your choice of college major matters less than it does as a transfer applicant. In fact, in some cases, the major you indicate will have little to no bearing on your admissions odds. However, as a transfer student, colleges expect you to have some sense of your future goals. In light of that, you should be able to articulate your future college major in your college transfer essays. 

When you read our Common App transfer essay examples, you’ll notice the authors clearly explain their academic and future goals. This allows the writers of our sample transfer essays to clarify why a given school meets their academic needs. 

Look for these strategies in our UMiami essay examples, USC transfer essay examples, Emory essay examples, and other college essays that worked. Now, let’s dig into some targeted transfer essay tips and read some great Common App transfer essays. 

College Transfer Essay — Emory Essay Examples

common app transfer essay

Let’s start by reviewing Emory essay examples from accepted transfer students. By reading these Common App transfer essay examples, you can learn more about how to approach the college transfer essay process. 

Here’s our Emory transfer essay example: 

Emory Transfer Essay Example

My time at Texas Christian University has been an orienting and insightful experience. Despite the brevity of my stay, I grasped a better understanding of the type of qualities that I desire from a college. In addition, I gained new perspectives, forged relationships, and made memories that I’ll cherish for life. The decision to apply to Emory was made with careful consideration, but ultimately with confidence. While I will always be grateful for my experience at TCU, I’ve concluded that Emory is where I can thrive academically and socially.

I took a medley of courses during my first semester at TCU to ensure that I chose my path with confidence. Comparative Literature was the major I was searching for. It allows me to channel my desires for a diversified education, and pairs well with my ardor for foreign languages.  Unfortunately, despite the enthusiasm, it isn’t offered at TCU, but it is at Emory. However, the ability to pursue Comparative Literature may have drawn me to Emory, but it was the breadth of the academic curriculum and resources that helped me to conclude that it was the right school for me.

The breadth of the curriculum itself covers a broad range of topics ranging from Post-Colonial Literature to “Love & Sex in the Italian Renaissance.” I would truly be able to get a diversified education through a host of interesting topics. Attending Emory would allow me to supplement my education with curriculum outside the classroom, allowing me to enrich my educational experience. Through the thesis during senior year I could gain insight from conducting intense exploration on a subject I deeply care about.

As a research assistant I conducted research on Horace Walpole’s influence in early British Parliament. Through this, I learned how to organize and structure knowledge, how to communicate and how to be a more attentive and critical interpreter of history. Those are the kind of skills I want to amplify and Emory’s focus on Undergraduate Research would give me support for that in spades. I could also have fun attending poetry readings, symposiums, and film screenings. In terms of my major, the depth of the classes and the sheer possibilities enabled by Emory’s academic resources would truly allow me to make the most of my education at Emory.

What stands out about Emory for me and makes it so desirable is the intimate approach in the faculty-to-student relationship. Engaged professors who genuinely care for the wellbeing of the student is the type of setting fostered at Emory and would allow me to flourish as a student.

Diversity, not just in race, but in socioeconomic status, sexual orientation and most importantly, perspective, both academically and socially, is the type of variation fostered at Emory. This is the type of college experience I want as I’ve learned that only through differences can intellectual curiosity truly be fostered.

Emory’s location would allow me the amenities of Atlanta without having to forego a traditional college experience. I could try authentic Persian food one night and go karaoke the next. Art is a personal hobby of mine and I can foresee many art crawls given Atlanta’s vibrant art scene. Of course, a visit to Emory’s own Michael C. Carlos museum would be due first.

Beyond the city, Georgia is host to a myriad of beautiful landscapes. I could hike at Tallulah Gorge or enjoy the scenic view at Amicalola. Emory’s active campus life would also mean weekends filled with prominent guest-speakers and exploring new hobbies. What I appreciate about Emory is the balance between academics and social life because while college is a place to learn, it is also a place to make memories.

I’ve never regretted my time here. I simply exhausted all the available resources and it’s my responsibility to go where I can flourish as a student in every sense, and this place for me, is Emory University.  

Why This Essay Worked

Successful Emory essay examples will specify what makes Emory the right place for an applicant. This essay does just that. Moreover, it offers a great example of a common college transfer essay format. Namely, it describes why the student wishes to transfer while detailing what makes Emory the perfect fit for them. 

As one of our Emory essay examples, the writer of this sample transfer essay makes it clear why Emory is the right fit for them. First, the writer describes how they’ve used their time at TCU to gain a sense of their academic interests and goals. They then clarify how, in this journey of self-discovery, they have realized why TCU isn’t the right place for them. 

This sample transfer essay then uses specific examples of why Emory would be a better fit. They mention specific courses, programs, and other offerings. This sample transfer essay also highlights why Atlanta would be a better college setting for this student than Fort Worth. Strong Emory essay examples will be specific—that is, they’ll discuss particular programs and offerings only found at Emory. 

Overall, this transfer essay example excels at describing who this student is, why they wish to transfer, and how they’d leverage Emory’s resources. 

Next, let’s look at some more transfer essays that worked—namely, a successful Wesleyan essay. 

Wesleyan Essay — Transfer Essays That Worked

common app transfer essay

Next, let’s dig into another one of our Common App transfer essay examples. Like the first of our Common App transfer essay examples, the essay below includes detailed and specific information about how the writer will thrive at their new institution. 

Our next transfer essay example is for Wesleyan. Let’s take a look at the essay and explore why it stood out to Wesleyan admissions:

Wesleyan Transfer Essay Example

My need for academic diversity marks the first reason behind my desire to transfer. The reality is that there is a disproportionate emphasis placed on business and natural sciences at my current college. While these majors deserve merit, the situation here translates to a lack of the same quality of opportunities and resources for the humanities. I realized that I need a setting where every academic field is equally regarded because it is in these types of environments that intellectual curiosity is truly fostered.

While I spent my initial months as a pre-major, I took a medley of courses to ensure that I chose a path I was genuinely passionate about. I am unable to pursue my academic desires here, but at Wesleyan, I can. My first year of college helped me to narrow down my want for a cosmopolitan education. During a class, I was introduced to literary and post-colonial theory and discovered a new passion. I want to pursue certification in Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory for a diversified education, and with the interdisciplinary coursework at Wesleyan, I could do so. With intense courses and guidance from caring faculty, Wesleyan would allow me the strong and intimate academic foundation that I desire.

Wesleyan has what I am looking for and am unfortunately unable to find at my current school: enthusiasm for languages. I possess a passion for foreign languages and with Wesleyan’s orientation intense curricula for foreign languages, I would have a supportive environment. While I am currently taking 2 languages, I hope to pursue Arabic language and culture, and in addition, live in the Turath Program House. Foreign languages are usually regarded as a side-study but with the open curriculum and programming at Wesleyan, I could allow foreign languages the space in my academic schedule that it deserves. 

My first year made me realize how I took diversity for granted. Diversity, not just in ethnicity, but in socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, and most importantly, perspective, is the type of representation I want on a campus. Wesleyan truly reflects the concept of equal opportunity in every sense. Coming from a background where food stamps were normalized and then moving to a school where most of the student body comes from the upper socioeconomic trend has been eye-opening.

The notion that there is a disparity in resources and experiences between polar financial levels is swept under the rug here. I appreciate that Wesleyan not only acknowledges but acts towards lessening the gap by providing resources and opportunities to low-income/first-gen families. It’s this type of effort that will allow those without equal access to have the stability for their academic merits to shine through.

Wesleyan’s location also offers me the scenic nature-based and intimate small-town vibe that I desire. While I love Fort Worth, the climate, people, and attractions in Middletown would fit me better. Whether I’m hiking at Cockaponset or attending a play by ArtFarm with my friends, I would get the college experience that I desire without foregoing an intimate college community. 

Why this essay worked

While this Common App transfer essay prompt isn’t in use anymore, this Wesleyan essay answers a standard question: why do you wish to transfer, and why Wesleyan? 

Once again, the writer of this transfer essay example gives reasons why their current school isn’t the right fit. They express their desire for more academic, cultural, racial, and social diversity than is available on their current college campus. Many college essays that worked discuss diversity and inclusion; this Wesleyan essay writer showcases how they’ll enrich their future campus community. In doing so, it gives Wesleyan admissions officers a strong sense of the student’s values. 

Additionally, this Wesleyan essay uses specific details to show what makes Wesleyan the right fit for this student. In particular, this sample transfer essay describes in detail the writer’s passion for studying languages. The writer details how they would use Wesleyan’s resources to explore this passion. 

In reading this essay, the Wesleyan admissions team can see clearly how the student would make use of Wesleyan’s resources. 

Like our other Common App transfer essay examples, this Wesleyan essay illustrates why the writer wishes to transfer. At the same time, it emphasizes how they would make the most of their new institution. 

USC Transfer Essay Examples

common app transfer essay

Let’s move on to more college transfer essay examples and take a look at some USC transfer essay examples. We hope these Common App transfer essay examples help you prepare to craft your own essays. 

In the 2021 admissions cycle, the USC transfer acceptance rate was about 26% according to the USC admissions office. While USC does not widely publicize the USC transfer acceptance rate, it’s generally reported as around 24-26%. In other words, you can assume that the USC transfer acceptance rate is relatively low. That means you should do all you can to prepare your transfer application ahead of the USC transfer deadline. Note that the USC transfer deadline is February 15th for most programs. 

Overall, the USC transfer requirements are similar to those for other schools. They include the Common Application, your high school transcript, and your college transcript. Some academic programs require additional letters of recommendation, portfolio materials, and other supplements. You’ll complete the USC college transfer essays through the Common App. 

USC Transfer Essay Examples — Long Answer

The USC transfer requirements will vary by major. However, regardless of additional USC transfer requirements for certain programs, you’ll need USC college transfer essays.

Unlike the rest of our transfer essay examples, the USC transfer essay examples also include short answer responses. So, in addition to the main USC college transfer essay, you’ll find some short-form USC transfer essay examples below. 

Let’s start with the main USC transfer essay: 

USC Transfer Essay Example

The feature that appeals the most to me about USC is the zeal that the English department displays. It was the amount of English-oriented events that hooked me and the quality of them that finally reeled me into USC’s shore. Numerous poetry readings, prominent guest speakers, and enthusiastic organizations geared towards English would help immensely with supplementing my learning experience. The cherry on top is the study abroad program entwined with English, allowing for total immersion into the culture and subject.

These types of academic opportunities are integral to making the most of my studies. Furthermore, I would be remiss to not acknowledge the world-class faculty at USC’s English department. What USC presents is an academic environment where the ardor I have for English is matched. It’s a community where college isn’t viewed as a method of job placement but a place to foster intellectual curiosity.

Socially, my current school has been full of learning experiences as I navigated a social scene that starkly contrasted against the ones I grew up with. However, I knew this was a common experience and stayed optimistic. I dabbled in clubs, finding some that piqued my interest, and rushed a sorority before discovering what I wanted to direct my time and effort towards.

While I opted out of Greek life, I did find organizations and people on campus that I enjoyed, such as Spectrum (LGBTQ+) and Hall Crew, an organization geared towards dorm-community bonding. However, some contemplation allowed me to recognize that the people I had gravitated towards drew me in due to a recurring sentiment: my desire for a more diverse setting.

When the word “diversity” is mentioned, people naturally assume ethnicity. While this factor is an important component in the multi-faceted topic of diversity, it isn’t all-encompassing. My current school has helped me realize that diversity, not just in race, but in sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and most importantly, perspective, is a necessary aspect of a college environment. Attending USC would give me a chance to experience the kind of diversity I crave; a campus comprised of students from all over the globe would ensure this. 

Why this essay worked

The first of our USC transfer essay examples indicates exactly what attracts this applicant to USC. In this sample transfer essay, the writer describes their interest in USC’s English program and why it would fit them. As you read this transfer essay example, you can imagine this student thriving on USC’s campus. 

Once again, like other transfer essays that worked, this transfer essay example shows why the writer was dissatisfied with their college. However, it doesn’t dwell on the negatives—instead, this sample transfer essay looks forward to the writer’s goals at USC. 

To make the most of your USC essays, make sure you draft them well ahead of the USC transfer deadline. This gives you enough time to polish your essays and make sure they highlight your strengths. Transfer essays that worked are often initially written well before the deadline and revised several times.

USC Transfer Essay Examples — Short Answer

Next, let’s take a look at more Common App transfer essay examples—namely, the short answer USC transfer essay examples: 

1. What is the most fun you’ve had lately?

On the Fourth of July, I braved the scorching heat at Six Flags over Atlanta, my favorite childhood vacation spot. I got drenched on Thunder River, lost my voice on Goliath, and won a giant stuffed Pokemon in a ball toss game. As the sun set, I admired the fireworks while devouring two plates of food at the all-you-can-eat buffet.  

2. If you had to give yourself a nickname, what would it be?

After joining the middle school swim team, I discovered that I was a terrible diver and would always painfully belly flop into the water. I begged my parents to let me volunteer at the library instead. While watching the librarian’s favorite movie, “Ella Enchanted,” she affectionately shortened my name to Ella. I moved the next summer, so the nickname always evokes nostalgia for my hometown. 

3. What are three things you don’t care about at all?

The difference between white and yellow onions (I use them interchangeably in my recipes.)

The iOS versus Android debate (I have a Galaxy phone and a Macbook.) 

The correct way to hang toilet paper (I keep the rolls in a cabinet to hide them from my two mischievous cats.) 

4. Describe a situation in which you didn’t get something you felt you deserved.

With plans to diversify the fundraisers and collaborate with community partners, I campaigned to be UNICEF Club president my junior year of high school. I was excited to be more involved in the organization I had volunteered with for years. Unfortunately, I had to miss the election day to receive my green card and was ultimately not selected.

5. What do you see as the physician’s role in Public Health? Please answer the question in 150 words or less.

Especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, I see physicians as educators and advocates for their communities. While conducting research and volunteering at my local food pantry, I saw how the pandemic led to rising medical misinformation and mistrust and exacerbated barriers to accessing healthcare. When unemployment soared in March 2020, I noted the strain on clients at the local food bank, who struggled to afford groceries, utilities, and medical bills. I believe that physicians should advocate for increasing access to affordable healthcare, from expanding subsidized coverage to lowering surprise medical bills.

As a Research Assistant, I discovered that a quarter of the rural patients with HIV in our study believed that COVID-19 vaccinations were dangerous or linked to autism. Through creating trusting relationships and supportive environments, I believe physicians can guide patients to make informed health decisions that optimize their clinical outcomes. 

Why these essays worked

Like any college essays that worked, these USC transfer essay examples showcase what makes the writer unique. The best Common App transfer essay examples clearly demonstrate the writer’s personality and how they’ll enrich their next college campus. 

Remember, every college transfer essay gives you the chance to tell the admissions team something new about you. Certainly, these short answer responses follow a different college transfer essay format than our longer Emory essay examples or the Wesleyan essay. However, they manage to include a lot of valuable information in a limited number of words. 

Let’s look at the last of our transfer essays that worked—our UMiami essay examples. 

UMiami Essay Examples — College Transfer Essay

common app transfer essay

Next, we’ll dig into UMiami essay examples to get a better understanding of college essays that worked. 

Here’s one of our UMiami essay examples from an admitted transfer student:

UMiami Transfer Essay Example

I took a medley of classes to ensure that I chose my major with confidence, which led to my decision to apply as an English major and Modern Language and Literature minor to UMiami. I hope to study Japanese and Arabic, along with French if my schedule permits. Beyond the depth, rigor, and range of the courses themselves, the sheer breadth of the programming would allow me to supplement my education with a curriculum outside the classroom. Both the English and the MLL department have enthusiastic programming ranging from lectures given by prominent guest-speakers, friendly gatherings, and study abroad programs that would really allow me to make the most of my education.

I fully intend to pursue research as well, as my time as a research assistant has fostered my passion for knowledge and discovery in the humanities. The experience will also help me while I pursue the Departmental Honors Program in English Literature. Beyond purely academic resources, the intimate approach to advising and the close faculty-to student ratio is what drew me to UMiami. The dedication to providing students with resources like research grants, internships, and career connections is the type of care that I want. I learned that while the right academic environment is important, support is essential to thrive not only as a student, but as a person.

Socially, UMiami leaves nothing left to be desired. I could take a stroll on the beach or finally get to try the famous Cafecito. The active campus itself would mean opportunities to discover new hobbies or make new memories with friends. I want to be able to look back fondly at the memories I made in college and UMiami would allow me to do that. I would also love to start a Dream Outside the Box chapter at UMiami as my experience with this organization geared towards better access to education has been profound and I am a staunch believer in bettering local communities first.

Why This Essay Worked

In the last of our Common App transfer essay examples, the writer includes specific details about why UMiami is the right place for them. 

Once again, the writer of this sample transfer essay delineates what UMiami offers that their current college does not. Successful UMiami essay examples will be specific to the school. So, as you read UMiami essay examples like this one, look for ways to link your interests to the school’s offerings.

In this transfer essay example, the writer outlines the specific programs, foreign languages, and offerings that they plan to pursue at UMiami. They also include specific details about the college’s location and culture. These details make obvious their interest in the institution and the time they’ve taken to research their (prospective) future home.

Understanding the UMiami Transfer Acceptance Rate

In general, transfer acceptance rates are not widely published online—the UMiami transfer acceptance rate is no different. While it’s generally reported to be around 50%, students should still assume that the UMiami transfer acceptance rate is relatively competitive. To put it another way, don’t take the UMiami essay for granted. After all, UMiami is one of the best colleges in Florida, so admission is never guaranteed. 

By now, we’ve read UMiami essay examples, Wesleyan essays, and other transfer essays that worked. We hope you now have a better understanding of what makes a successful college transfer essay. Next, let’s dig into some more transfer essay tips to help you succeed. 

How is a college transfer essay different?

common app transfer essay

Overall, the transfer application process is slightly different from the first-year application process. As you’ve likely noticed in our successful transfer essay examples, most transfer essays look rather different from standard personal statements. 

When applying as a transfer student, admissions officers want to know why you’ve decided to transfer and what interests you about their school. They also want to learn about your educational plans (including your choice of major) and your career goals. 

Similar to our transfer essays that worked, college transfer essays often revolve around an applicant’s character as a student and future professional. Compare this to a Common App personal statement, which usually focuses on who you are as a person. Clearly, your academic and career pathways matter a bit more as a transfer student. 

Of course, you should take every opportunity to show the admissions committee what makes you unique. However, you should also ensure you include specific details about what makes your future academic program a better fit. 

College Transfer Essay Format

In general, most schools use a similar college transfer essay format. The Common App transfer essay prompts you’ll find will also often have some similarities. Most schools will ask students to state their reasons for transferring and explain why they’ve chosen to apply. 

As you approach this type of prompt, think about:

  • The major you’d like to pursue
  • Academic programs that are not available at your current school
  • Important differences between your current campus community and the school where you’re applying

Word counts will vary by school, so always check each institution’s requirements. You should also read each Common App transfer essay prompt carefully to ensure you follow the right format. 

You can also write an initial college transfer essay and adapt different sections to suit different prompts. However, you should always include specific details about how you plan to spend your time at your next college. 

Additional Transfer Essay Tips

We’ve looked at some successful Common App transfer essay examples. Next, let’s review three transfer essay tips to help your essays shine:

  1. Be specific. Tailor each college transfer essay to your chosen school, even if you start with the same basic details about yourself. Make sure you indicate specific things that school offers that you can’t find at your current institution.
  2. Keep it positive. As a transfer student, it might be tempting to write negatively about your current school. However, focus instead on what your current school has taught you about yourself and prepared you to succeed elsewhere.  
  3. Be thorough. Your college transfer essays are one of the few chances you get to address the admissions committee on your own terms. Make the most of the word count to highlight who you are and how you’d enrich their campus. 

We hope these transfer essay tips give you confidence as you approach the college transfer essay process. 

Other CollegeAdvisor Essay Resources to Explore

As we’ve discussed, while there are some key differences, writing a college transfer essay is relatively similar to writing a first-year admissions essay. For more transfer essay tips, check out some of our other resources below:

For more guidance, you can also check out Carnegie Mellon’s tips on writing strong Common App transfer essays. Amherst also offers useful tips, including a successful Common App transfer essay. Finally, Moorpark College has a great slide deck featuring some advice on the UC transfer process. 

If you’re certain about transferring but unsure about where you want to go, we can help. Our three-part College Finder series covers the college search process, making a college list, and comparing colleges. Although many of our free articles are aimed at first-year applicants, their advice is broadly applicable. They can help you figure out how to frame your college transfer essays or research where you want to go.

College Transfer Essay — Final Thoughts

In this article, we walked you through different sample transfer essays and Common App transfer essay prompt responses. Additionally, we offered some transfer essay tips to help you write the strongest college transfer essays you can. We hope our Common App transfer essay examples help you feel more confident as you navigate the transfer application process. 

If you want more support as you complete your Common App transfer essays, we’re here to help. Click here to schedule a consultation with our Admissions Specialists. We’ll help you learn more about how CollegeAdvisor can help you maximize your admissions odds.

common app transfer essay

This article was written by Abbie Sage. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how can support you in the college application process.