Non-traditional Transfer Applicants and Veterans

Motorcycle ride - rural Myanmar

Motorcycle ride - rural Myanmar

Getting around abroad can be an adventure. Not every vehicle or transportation mode is traditional. Sometimes, you've got to improvise.

I have discussed in other posts how the range of transfer applicants is much wider than first-time freshman. The average age of transfer applicants is 22. Many work full-time jobs. Some have children, served in the military, or attended a few different colleges.

This makes sense. Consider your group of friends. I think of mine from college.

We all started at similar places at age 18 freshman year - in Austin, at UT, living in the dorms, taking similar core curriculum courses. Our paths began diverging slowly as we each continued exploring and finding our interests. Now, ten years later, there is a huge range of possibilities. We live all over the country and world working in a wide variety of professions.

The same can be said for the transfer applicant pool. Do you have a story that may be distinct or different from most other applicants? Did you serve in the military, volunteer abroad, or switch careers? Are you a single parent? Are you returning back to school after a lengthy absence?

Don't be discouraged thinking that your perceived difference will disadvantage your application. Instead, make it a strength. Reviewers want to see that transfer applicants demonstrate a nuance, complexity, and maturity that is above the expectation for first-time freshman.

Some applicants get into the trap of trying to compare themselves to some hypothetical ideal candidate that probably went to a great high school and has a 4.0 in college immediately after finishing their secondary education. There is no "typical" candidate. Instead, consider what sets you apart from the rest.

For veterans, don't shy away from your military service and experiences, especially if it relates to your desired area of study. If you took college courses, enlisted, and are now continuing your education, consider discussing this journey. Veterans are often my favorite students to work with because they have a wealth of experiences to draw on, and also because they frequently have thoughtful considerations of where they have come from and clear expectations for their life moving forward.

Use your essays to paint a picture why your particular experiences and perspectives will contribute to classroom discussion or on-campus involvement. 

Let's talk about how to frame your non-traditional application.

Kevin MartinTransfer