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Common App Essay Transfer Students

Transfer applicants must write powerful essays to get into the colleges of their choice. They should NOT reuse high school college applications essays because the prompts differ and colleges are looking for different qualities.

While colleges still want diverse students, they also want transfer students who have found and explored academic passions, been active on and off campus, and met transfer admissions requirements. Therefore, long transfer essays are much less creative than freshman essays, yet even more powerful tools for admission to desired colleges.

Here is the Common Application transfer prompt:


Please provide a statement (appr. 250-500 words) that addresses your reasons for transferring and the objectives you hope to achieve.Note: The Common Application essay should be the same for all colleges. Members that wish to review custom essay responses will request them on their Supplement form.

So as you work on your transfer essays, really focus on the story of your evolution and exploration of your reasons for wanting to transfer. Community college students can write about second chances and the ways community college and various experiences helped them find their academic and career passions. Four year college students can talk about experiences that led to wanting to transfer but please, never ever blame your original college. You can talk about outgrowing a major or wanting a different setting, but never sound bitter.

Most importantly, you should discuss experiences from your college years, including the summer after senior year of high school and between first and second year of community college.

We will be posting other tips for transfers in the following weeks.

The Common App has been a staple for college applicants for years, allowing undergraduate hopefuls to apply to multiple schools through the power of one application (with the choice of one essay prompt). The problem, however, was that all applicants found themselves facing an application meant for high school seniors, when only a fraction of Common App users fit that description.

The Common App has finally acknowledged this disconnect, announcing that they will be introducing an application designed specifically for transfer students that accounts for the rich and diverse experiences of adults nationwide.

In their announcement, The Common App cited the National Center for Education Statistics, saying that High School seniors only accounted for 15% of current undergraduates. The remaining 85% of undergrads are students who began at community colleges, joined the military, or are returning students seeking a higher degree. Since the current Common App appeals to only 15% of the student body, it makes perfect sense that they are adapting to keep up with the modern transfer applicant.

The President and CEO of The Common Application, Jenny Rickard said, “Providing a dynamic and robust application for this important, but under-recognized group of learners will promote inclusiveness and expand educational opportunity for more individuals who are seeking post-secondary education.”

The new application will be available for 10 to 12 colleges in early 2018 with a full release scheduled for August 2018. As always, we will be keeping tabs on any new updates and are always available to help transfer students brainstorm innovative ways to present their best selves to admissions, regardless of the platform they use!