My transfer experience
By Sebastian Vertus
Here are some important tips that I learned while going through the transfer process:
Start Early to Avoid a Meltdown
The most common statement that you will hear about the transfer process is: “Start early.” That statement might not make much sense to you at first and you might ask yourself: “Why would I start now if I have a year left before I transfer?” Well, you will understand the importance of time as soon as you get into the process; you might even cry yourself to sleep realizing that you have a ton of work to do and so little time. So my first tip to you, for the nth time, is: START EARLY! As a matter of fact, start as soon as you read this.
I am emphasizing the element of time because I made the enormous mistake of starting my transfer process a little late. Like many, I thought that I could manage everything and even though I was warned many times, I procrastinated instead of working on my application. As a result, all the due work accumulated and I spent a crazy couple of months trying to get everything done in time to meet the deadlines. I would submit a school form and feel like I achieved something only to learn that I have to prepare a second, third and fourth application package.
Be Attentive to Different College Application Requirements
Tip number 2: Check the schools' websites and the Common App. actively to know exactly what is required by each school and the general application, the deadlines and what forms they need you to send with your application. Not all the colleges demand the same papers. I applied to Columbia and Vassar; even though both schools are prestigious and selective, I found that they ask for different things.
Letters of Recommendation
Tip number 3: Don't ask for a letter of recommendation from just any professor. Some teachers might not know you enough or even really notice you in their class so they will probably give you a standard letter that will NOT impress the schools. I asked three of the best teachers I had for my letter of recommendation. Not only did I participate and earned a good grade in their class, but also we communicated so I knew they would write the perfect, astonishing letters. But remember that there is a specific way to ask for a letter of recommendation. You need to create a packet to give to the professors and TIME! You see, TIME is also crucial even if you are not the one writing the actual letters.
Time for Writing
Last but NOT least, tip number 4: Don't underestimate the importance of the personal essay and supplements. Writing essays might be the most demanding and important part of the application, along with your grades. These essays help the schools learn more about you and your accomplishments. My transfer essay was very personal. I chose an important event in my life related to my career choice to let the schools know what I experienced and why I am the best candidate they can have. Remember! Essays are never perfect so you need to revise them over and over again. And to do so you need TIME. I had the chance to be surrounded by HSAC and the people from the Honors Program who were of great help with my essays. I went to them 2, 3 times a week so they could read and revise what I wrote. When the time came, I submitted the essays with confidence and pride because I knew that I did my best and took my time polishing them.
The transfer process is truly a unique experience, but it demands a great deal of effort and focus. It is a complicated set of task that you need to start doing early on in order to succeed. Even though the process is challenging, transfer is an important step to achieving one's goals and thanks to the Honors Program, I had the support necessary to successfully complete my transfer process.