My Transfer Experience
by Harmonie Kobanghe
Whew! This is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about my transfer experience. While many of my peers who transferred to selective four-year institutions advised me to start my transfer journey during the summer, I must admit that I did not realize how crucial this advice would be until I found myself overwhelmed in March.
Indeed, one of my biggest regret is that I didn't study for the SAT over the summer--when my schedule was more flexible--which turned out to be a catastrophe in January due to the fact that at the time, I was a full-time student, working part-time and studying last minutes for the test. One of my biggest advice would be for you to start taking SAT free practice test (offered by the Princeton Review) as early as possible and as many times as you can if you would like to increase your chances of getting into a highly selective college. Of course, you still have to take care of other factors such as your GPA and your extracurricular activities, for instance.
Letters of Recommendation
Furthermore, letters of recommendation are crucial in your application package. Call the schools to which you are applying and ask them what is the maximum number of recommendations you can submit. Some schools will allow you to submit as many as four to five letters of recommendations, which is great because you will get the chance to have a variety of letters if you choose your recommenders to be your professors, advisor, your supervisor at your workplace or at your internship place, for instance.
When it comes to letters of recommendations, request them early. Submit a portfolio including your most updated resume, your transcript, a cover letter including your interests, careers aspirations and goals, etc. Choose recommenders who know you well and who consequently would have a lot of positive things to say about your drive, your accomplishments, and so forth. Don't be afraid to send them a friendly reminder about your letters because they might have a lot of things going on; and most importantly, don't forget to thank them and keep them updated on the unfolding of your transfer journey.
The Power of a Peer Community
I know that it might sound overwhelming--trust me, it is!--but you will be able to get through those weeks of stress with the support of your loved ones, your peers, your professors and last but not least, with the support of the Honors community. I will stress the latter because you will be surrounded by other motivated Honors students who, just like yourself, will be going through the transfer process. This will be an opportunity for you to create transfer peer groups, exchange information and share essay drafts for peer feedback.
Keeping Track of the Paperwork
In addition, I would suggest that you keep track of every document and pieces of correspondence that you will have with the offices of admissions. As the saying goes, it is "better for you to be safe than sorry." So I believe that by keeping track of the paperwork, you won't add unnecessary stress to your plate if your transfer materials go missing, which often happens!. Don't hesitate to call the offices of admissions to check that the materials you sent arrived at their destination; this will ensure that your admission package is complete.
Last but not least, I highly recommend that you save a copy of all your syllabi on your flash drive (even if you can access them on Blackboard) because you never know if the 4-year college that you will be attending will request to see them. Colleges often need syllabi of courses that you have taken at your previous college in order to produce your transfer credit evaluation. I wish I knew because now I am spending a lot of time trying to get a hold of syllabi of courses I had taken many semesters ago. Cheers!