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by Lan Ngo

Dartmouth Stresses Importance of Maintaining College Transfer Program

May 10, 2014 in Admissions, All Transfers, Ivy Plus, News, Specific College

dartmouth_library

The Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Dartmouth College considers transfer students to be the kinds of students the College wants to have in its community, according to a recent article in The Dartmouth, the College’s student newspaper. Although transfer admissions (along with freshman admissions) continue to grow in competitiveness, Dartmouth’s message generally seems to be one of welcome to transfer applicants. Below are highlights from the article:

At 1,210 students, the number of incoming freshmen accepting Dartmouth’s offer of acceptance is its highest ever, producing a yield of 54.5 percent.

Laskaris [Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid] said that although the Class of 2018 is overfilled, it is important to maintain a transfer program.

Laskaris noted, however, that the first-year application pool was the first priority. The number of accepted transfer students is contingent upon the space available after first-year students have decided to matriculate, she said.

Laskaris said the admissions process for transfer students is need-blind and the College meets 100 percent of demonstrated financial need for admitted transfer students, as it does for first-year applicants.

Two-thirds of all students who earn a baccalaureate degree attend two or more colleges or universities, said Judith Brauer, proposal developer at the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students at the University of North Georgia. A report released through the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center placed the figure at one-third of all students.

Between 15 and 27 transfer students enrolled each year in the College between 2010-13.

Despite the small number of transfer students enrolled in the College each year, Dartmouth seems to be “transfer friendly”, in that the transfer admissions process is need-blind, and the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid seems supportive of the College’s transfer student population.

Photo: Ben Stephenson

Avatar of Lan Ngo

by Lan Ngo

College Transfer Story: Family Matters

February 18, 2014 in All Transfers, Four-Year Transfer Articles, Specific College, To Transfer or Not

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by Rose Pallone

In April 2012, I got an email from the University of St Andrews in Scotland admitting me as a second-year transfer student in English Literature and Art History. I remember calling my mom, crying, to tell her the fantastic news. Her response was “Oh” followed by prolonged silence. I was more than a little confused. My parents willingly paid for the application fee, and they did not object to the idea of transferring whenever I brought it up.  Considering the college I was enrolled in at the time was my dad’s alma mater and my brother planned to apply there Early Decision that fall, I should have expected a fight. I was not, however, prepared for the war my parents launched.

At first, I reacted to my parents’ objections like a teenager. I screamed, I cried, and I nearly made myself sick. Still, I accepted my place at St Andrews (as no deposit was required), and I managed to compose myself enough to attend a meeting with my Dean of my college at the time. The Dean spoke about my options and the process of officially withdrawing from the college. At the end, he asked me how my parents felt. I told him that my mom and dad were not happy, but that I was continuing with the process, hoping they would come to terms with it eventually. My Dean gave me a weird look and said that I should try to reach my parents on “their level of understanding.” I had no idea what that meant, so I continued to ignore the problem. It should be my decision; I was the one going to school. Did I really have to make them “understand” why I needed this?

Halfway through July, I realized that I needed my parents’ help, and I wanted them to be proud of me. That evening, I sat down with my parents and just listened. My mom was concerned about the writing program and the money I needed for a school that was farther away. My dad was worried about the reputation of the school and how easy it would be to get a job after graduation. With their arguments in mind, I got to work on my very last application: a presentation on why transferring to St Andrews made sense. I conducted research for days. I showed them that St Andrews is not only a well-established, highly-ranked university, but it would save thousands of dollars in tuition annually, has incredible extracurricular activities for writers, and has a job placement percentage higher than the U.S. national average for college graduates.

I won my parents over by doing as my Dean said, and really getting on “their level of understanding.” As silly as I looked giving a PowerPoint Presentation over dinner, it was worth it, and admittedly, it was not very hard. Just keep in mind that your parents really are trying to help you succeed, and if you can address their concerns, you will have no problem getting them to stand behind you.

What’s your transfer story?

Photo: Moyan Brenn

Avatar of Lan Ngo

by Lan Ngo

Strategy for the College Transfer Application

June 27, 2013 in Admissions, All Transfers, Essays, Ivy Plus, Q&A, Specific College

strategy

One of our readers has posted his/her strategy for putting together the best possible college transfer application and asked us for feedback. Here, I walk through the strategy, responding to the reader and highlighting the positive aspects as well as areas that can be improved upon. Let’s begin with what the reader says:

I’m going to take a stab at applying to Stanford as a transfer for the class of 2017. Although I will expect to go up against a 1-3 percent acceptance rate, I still want to try to apply because I think there will be less than 1500 freshman which means there might be a few more seats available when I apply in two years.

If you could, I would like you to read my strategy to appeal to Stanford and give me the best feedback you can.

The first part of my plan is to show Stanford that I am compassionate about helping people. As a high school senior, I was part of a program created by Stanford students that helped first-generation high school students matriculate to college. I was so influenced by the program that I’m currently working with the same nonprofit to create a new one that does the same thing but focuses on helping high school seniors work through their first two years of any college to help them transfer to a four-year university. I plan to write about this in the third supplement essay that asks “What’s important to you and why?” I plan to talk about how important it is to give resources to underprivileged groups and mention how I collaborated with Stanford undergrads to make it happen.

It seems that you are doing real work for people out there, and that’s great.

First, transfer essay prompts could change every year, so don’t count on seeing this exact question by the time you apply to transfer. Nonetheless, a lot of essay prompts are open-ended, allowing you to take almost any idea and make it work for almost any prompt. However, I will answer your questions assuming that the essay prompts remain the same.

After reading the above, I wanted to know if you were a participant in the aforementioned program as a first-generation college-bound student? If so, explicitly state so in your essay. Being a former participant in the program would imply that you had a compelling reason to return to the organization but as a leader. If you weren’t a former participant, carefully think about why you’re doing this volunteer work and consider how to articulate your reasons and objectives.

Mostly importantly, assuming that the question is “What’s important to you and why?,” given the above information, I’m not sure what your answer is. Do you want to say something like compassion is important to you? Is working for a nonprofit important to you? Come up with a thesis for your essay so that the reader will know what the point is. What do you want to tell the reader, and so what?

Also, you likely already know this, but avoid using the word “compassion” in your essay because such a word seems over- and misused in college entrance essays. One more thing, I would personally avoid creating a tone of the “savior mentality” (i.e. saying that you’re sacrificing yourself to save the underprivileged). This approach could rub some admission officers the wrong way.

The second part of my plan is to show Stanford that I’m culturally sensitive and very empathic. When I was in high school, I always helped my parents run our taco truck in the morning in the rough streets of Oakland. Throughout those experiences, I learned through my parents how to talk and relate to many different people and nationalities. Although my parents spoke broken English, they got along perfectly well with the Blacks and Latinos in the community. This translated to me having a diverse group of friends and being able to hold my social prowess in any setting. In college, I hope to join and start ethnic-based clubs that aren’t focused on Asian Americans. I want to do this because I believe it is important to be exploratory of many types of backgrounds and what not. I plan to write about this in my roommate essay by first talking about my taco truck experience and how I took those lessons with me in college. After I talk about myself, I would mention how I’m excited to explore the open-mindedness of the Stanford community, and I plan to finish off my essay by talking about how I want to invite all my fellow transfers to share our stories over beef tacos and enchiladas.

Your experience helping your parents run the taco truck seems to have been very important to you. However, as presented, I’m not sure how well your plan to convey your cultural sensitivity and empathy through this kind of essay would be executed. Try writing a few different drafts with very different approaches; show the drafts to people you consider good writers, and ask them which essay they would choose. People often conflate the words, ‘nationality’, ‘culture’, and ‘ethnicity’, so that’s something to watch out for.

To be very direct, my first reaction to your idea for the ending was that, though almost cute, it was a bit gimmicky or cheesy. As in the strategy of writing a handful of different drafts, try alternate endings for your essay. Also, try the tie-back model of writing introductions and conclusions.

The third part of my plan is to show Stanford that I’m an entrepreneur. I have this amazing start-up idea that relates to the city government, and I will work with techie computer science people to make it happen or to at least try to. I plan to write about this experience and talk about how it relates to how I want to be part of the entrepreneurial hub at Stanford in the intellectual vitality essay.

Though you probably have a very interesting idea, I highly suggest avoiding this approach. It is not new for anyone to discuss entrepreneurship and start-ups in relation to Stanford. For example, see the 2013 article, “The End of Stanford,” in the New Yorker. To give you an idea, the first two sentences of the articles states, “Is Stanford still a university? The Wall Street Journal recently reported that more than a dozen students—both undergraduate and graduate—have left school to work on a new technology start-up called Clinkle.”

The next part is to simply get a 3.8 plus GPA. Nothing to much to say here, if any.

Finally, my main key to my entire application. The school that I plan to attend in the fall is the University of the Pacific in Stockton, and just last year, a Stanford alum of the class of 2012 was elected as a city council member in the city. I plan to get a letter of recommendation from him since I will be working with him during my first two years. He was one of the most prominent students of his class with a Truman Scholarship, Dinkelspiel Award, and making it as a Rhodes Scholar finalist. Also, this alum was endorsed by Oprah and worked in the White house as an intern. I expect him to write a phenomenal letter since I’m really cool with him, and I’m interested in pursuing public service like him.

Having this person write you a recommendation letter certainly wouldn’t hurt. However, make sure the recommendation letters from your professors are phenomenal.

Overall, step back and look at all the information you’ve presented here and consider the “story” that you want to tell about yourself through the application.

Other readers out there, please let us know if you have any other comments or suggestions!

(Note: Very slight edits to the reader’s post was made for clarity.)

(Photo: François Philipp)

Avatar of Lan Ngo

by Lan Ngo

Should I Transfer Out of My College?

November 4, 2012 in Four-Year Transfer Articles, Q&A, Specific College, To Transfer or Not

We hear a lot of great questions and stories in our forums.  We would like to highlight one thread that might be helpful to students who are deciding whether they should transfer out of their current college or university:

Student: I’m currently a freshman at Spelman College, and I am thinking about transferring after this year. I have been at my college for a little over a month, and it’s fine, but that’s it: it’s just fine. I applied as a sort of throw away safety, but ended up attending (for some reason I always had a feeling that that would happen though…). The school has an amazing reputation in the African-American community, but is not as well known nationally, and I am not sure how that will affect me when applying for jobs.

When I was talking to my dad about this (he completely supports the idea) he gave me a few things to think about: and the last thing he said was “Think about what you want your college experience to be like.” I know I don’t want my experience to be “just okay.” I want more diversity, more school spirit (maybe some sports teams), and more people that challenge my ideas (often I’m one of the only people talking in class).

I’m from California, so I was contemplating applying to UCs (Berkeley and UCLA) the applications are due in November, so it would be great to get advice about applying to those because the deadline is so soon! I loved Northwestern when I visited in high school, so I would probably reapply there and to USC.

Also, I’m trying to figure out what extracurriculars to do: would playing soccer for the school (they are D-III) significantly help a transfer application?

TransferWeb: Thanks for sharing your situation.  I have a friend who transferred TO Spelman.  She recently graduated from there.  I asked her for her thoughts, and here’s what she said:

I will say that Spelman is not for everyone. I believe that it is way too expensive to stay there if it is not where you want to be. It is not a place with sports teams and that type of “college experience”.

However, I would not worry about Spelman not being nationally known. Spelman is internationally known. Graduate school recruiters from the Ivies and Fortune 500 Companies recruit Spelmanites. If there is anything you want to accomplish, Spelman will do nothing but help you accomplish your goals.

So in reality, it is all up to you. I would say apply to transfer out if you feel you need or want to, so that at least you will have options. No harm done if you decide to stay. Also, if you want more information on the Spelman experience, I could help. I recently graduated from Spelman, and I actually transferred to Spelman.

Student: Thank you so much for your reply/advice from your friend! I really appreciate it.

My main concern is that I am not being challenged enough in classes. Literally yesterday my English professor canceled class because only 2 (including me) girls in a class of around 15 did the reading and she didn’t want to have a discussion with 2 people. There is an honors program, but I would not be able to get into it until sophomore year, and I’m still not sure how much more difficult the classes will be.

I also have many different interests that I think a bigger school would offer classes in. For instance, I’ve always had a weird obsession with Russia and many of the schools I am looking at have either a Russian or Russian Studies major/minor or a Slavic Studies program. I feel like I wouldn’t be able to explore these interests after college, so that is another reason I’m considering transferring. However, the major that I am in right now, International Studies, is great, and not many colleges offer something like it.

Spelman definitely does have great career opportunities. Representatives from major companies come on campus all the time, but I was worried about if companies will recognize the name after I graduate if they did not actively recruit Spelman students.

I’m aiming for a 4.0 this semester but if that doesn’t happen I think I will not get less than a 3.7-3.8. I’m in Model UN and I really love it, I’m going to join the Spanish Club (I’m a Spanish Minor), and I joined another community service club but I am not sure how organized they are so I may have to find a different one. Do you have any suggestions regarding EC’s to make my application stronger?

Here are some of the schools I’m considering: USC, Tulane, Northwestern, Brown and UCLA/Berkeley

What do you think my chances are?

TransferWeb: As the Spelman grad explained, you should go ahead and apply to transfer, and then decide later if you want actually make the switch.

Holding a 4.0 GPA or a GPA that’s as close to 4.0 as possible certainly makes you more competitive than other students applying to the schools you listed.

Regarding extracurricular activities, I would say to do what you’re really interested in and what would be worth your time and effort, and then point out that genuine interested somewhere in your application.

We hope this is helpful to you!  Please share your questions and stories in our forum!

(Photo: dalbera)

Avatar of Lan Ngo

by Lan Ngo

Transferring to Stanford: Why and How?

August 30, 2012 in Four-Year Transfer Articles, Ivy Plus, Specific College, To Transfer or Not

The decision to transfer is a very personal one, but it’s without a doubt one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. Just how did I come to the decision to transfer, and what were my next moves after I made that decision? In this article, Chris (co-founder of TransferWeb) interviews me, and I provide very vulnerable responses. I admit that I didn’t really know what I was doing during the transfer application process. I operated on very little information. Since then, I have successfully completed many, many applications: master’s programs, doctoral programs, ultra-competitive scholarships and fellowships, etc. Knowing what I know now, I would have proceeded differently in my transfer application process. Through this website and The Transfer Book, I hope to help other students who are now in the same shoes I was in when I was an undergrad.

Key takeaways from this interview include the following:

  • You should have a solid reason for wanting to transfer.
  • Fit is very important in successfully applying as a transfer student.
  • You won’t necessarily get into all the schools you apply to transfer to, and that’s okay!
  • You can learn from Lan’s experience and mistakes.

Hope this interview is helpful to you!

Chris: You started out at UCLA, and then you decided to transfer, or at least to apply to transfer. What made you make that decision?

Lan: I started thinking about transferring my first year, just about maybe one or two months into being a freshman at UCLA. It was around October when I started thinking about transferring. A big reason why I wanted to transfer was related to my major. At that point, I was deciding about cognitive science. I was interested in focusing on something like linguistics within cognitive science. I was also thinking about majoring in business.

At that point, I was taking introduction to economics, and I wanted to major maybe in business, but UCLA doesn’t have an undergrad business school. It has a graduate business school. But if you want to major in business, the closest you can get to that is to either do economics, which is what a lot of people do when they’re at a liberal arts school, or you can do something called Business Econ at UCLA, which is just an econ major but you tack on some accounting classes that you take at the UCLA Anderson School of Business. But that didn’t sound very business-like to me, so I thought, “Oh, I want to go to business school.”

My first reaction was to try to apply to UC Berkeley Haas School of Business because I had a friend from high school who was studying there. I looked into applying to the Haas Business School. Berkeley is part of the UC system, which has some kind of special regulation, stating that if you wanted to transfer, you would have to transfer as a junior so that you had two years of undergrad under your belt before moving on to UC Berkeley. At that time, because I was just a freshman, it meant I couldn’t transfer as a sophomore. So I thought, “I’m going to look at other schools to apply to transfer to. If I don’t get in, that’s totally cool because then I’ll just stay one more year at UCLA and apply to transfer as a junior to UC Berkeley Haas School of Business.

Chris: So, you applied to transfer to the Haas School of Business?

Lan: I didn’t because I ended up getting into Stanford. I didn’t need to.

Chris: What were the schools that you applied to transfer to?

Lan: I was thinking about business, and I really did not know anything about applying to transfer to a college in general, but I knew that there was this one person from my high school who ended up going to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. This is very rare because my high school sucks. Very few people ended up going to top schools like that. I just knew of that name because that classmate went there, so I thought, “I should apply to Wharton,” which is really ridiculous because I knew nothing about the school. It’s pretty hard to get into, and I know people do get into it, but a lot of people get into that school by transferring from other business programs, I think. These are people who actually want to study business. I applied to Wharton, which is a completely different process from applying to Penn itself. I also applied to Stanford just because I had heard of that name from someone. I remember when I was a high school student, one of my friends liked Stanford. She talked up Stanford.

Chris: If you didn’t get into those schools, you would have applied to Berkeley the next year; that was your plan?

Lan: Right.

Chris: Just as a side note, there was that one student that got into Wharton from a liberal arts school that we helped with our consulting service.

Lan: That’s right.

Chris: You applied to transfer to Stanford and to Wharton. Were the applications similar; was it different to apply to a business school?

Lan: I don’t really remember too much about the application process specifically for Wharton. I guess I’m trying to block it out of my memory because it wasn’t that interesting to me. I didn’t realize how unique it was, how the application to a business school is actually very unique, in that you have to show your business prowess. I think I didn’t emphasize that at the time because I didn’t know too much about applying to transfer to any school, especially to a business school. People we’ve talked to in writing The Transfer Book who have successfully transferred to a business school really emphasized their business skills, or showed how they are really entrepreneurs or mini-CEOs, and how they really fit in at business schools specifically, and not just an economics program. I think it was about fit and presenting your best self as someone who is very suited for business school.

Chris: Long story short, you didn’t get into Wharton, but you got into Stanford.

Lan: Yes, and I can see why I got into Stanford and not Wharton.

This interview continues with Lan discussing her adjustment after transferring to Stanford.  Stay tuned!

(Photo: quinn.anya)