As a student who followed the application process to McIntire for students coming from other colleges and universities, I am excited to offer some advice from my own experience as a transfer student.
1. If you’re on the fence about applying, apply. The thought of transferring often ran through my head, but it wasn’t until March 1 (yes, cutting it very close) that I actually applied. I loved my previous institution, so I second-guessed leaving for months. But, it doesn’t hurt to apply. Keep your options open.
2. Ask for your letter of recommendations and send your transcripts now. The sooner you ask people who know you well and can vouch for your ability to succeed, the better letter they will be able to write. I asked late—around mid-February. I recommend sorting this out now so that they’re ready to go. Also, get your required paperwork sent ASAP. Different schools have different processes, so learn that process now.
3. Write down everything you’re involved in—everything—and pick your favorites. It’s easy to forget how involved you truly are. I jotted down every club I’ve ever joined (back to my senior year of high school) and then picked my top activities based on three qualifications: external impact, time commitment, and uniqueness.
4. Show why you’re special through your essays. One of the essay topics I had when applying was what item we would send to aliens to represent the human race, and I picked a chicken egg. It helps to frame your essays as exemplifications of your characteristics. For example, I’m creative and don’t like taking things too seriously, so picking an egg showed that. I care a lot about international issues, so in my essay, I hit global usage and even abundance of eggs, highlighting my cultural awareness. Every sentence you write should show the admission committee who you are and what unique thing you’ll add to the classroom.
5. Contact admissions with questions. At the time the application was due, I didn’t have all the prerequisite classes, so I called the office. I was told to write a brief explanation for why that was the case and my plan to complete them by the first day of school. In the span of one phone call, I solved a problem that I would have struggled to solve and that might have even deterred me from applying completely.
At the end of the day, transferring colleges is hard; starting fresh is hard. But it’s so fulfilling to begin a new journey feeling proud of yourself and your accomplishments. McIntire wants you to succeed. Reach out. Ask for help. Get connected. Stay involved. It’ll all work out, but it begins with applying.