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ADVICE T


TRTOP


FROM ADMISSION INSIDERS BY KIM LIFTON


he University of Michigan, Ann Arbor is clear about what they want in the supplemental essay that’s required of every transfer


applicant. In no more than 500 words, U-M


asks students to “Describe the unique qualities


that attract you to the


specific undergraduate College or School to which you are applying at the University of Michigan. How would that curriculum support your interests?”


“I want to understand why they


want to transfer,” says Kimberly Bryant, Assistant Director of Admis- sions and point person for transfer applications. “Sometimes they don’t say it: Why do they want to come to U-M? Why now? What is the reason?” Bryant would like to see genuine answers to the question. “I want them to talk about the journey,” she says. “I’m not going to guess why someone missed a semester of col- lege. Maybe they just weren’t ready.


transfer.collegexpress.com n 2021 28


ANSFER ESSAY


That’s okay. They are now, and we want them to talk about that. We don’t want to guess.”


What is the college essay all about?


A college essay is any piece of writ- ing a school requires as part of the transfer admission process. You might hear it referred to as a personal state- ment, personal insight questions, a supplemental essay, or short-answer questions. Bryant and other admission pro- fessionals at top universities across the country say the college essay pro- vides an opportunity to show people who may never meet you just what kind of person you are. Most schools don’t conduct interviews, so your college essay requirement could be the only opportunity to share your unique voice with the people who get to decide your fate inside the admission office. Amy Jarich, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor of Admissions & Enroll- ment and Director of Admissions at


the University of California, Berkeley, wants to know what you care about: “What would you tell me in an eleva- tor? Let me know that you’re active and alive in the world you live in.”


How do I make my essay stand out?


Colleges will use your essay to help them select a diverse class from the many other transfer applicants whose grades, test scores, and extracurricu- lar activities can make everyone look alike. How will you stand out? Overall, admission officers look for a glimpse of who an applicant is as a writer, but more importantly as a per- son. They use the essay to help de- termine what an applicant can offer them and what the student has learned from their life experiences— the things that aren’t easily captured on a transcript or activities list. Calvin Wise, Director of Recruit- ment for Johns Hopkins University, gets excited when he reads a stellar essay. Just like admission officers at other highly selective schools, Wise


@CollegeXpress


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