Five Examples of Transfer Apply Texas Essay A Statement of Purpose

DSC_0201_1.JPG

UT requires all prospective external transfer students to write a 500-750 word response to Apply Texas Essay A:

The statement of purpose will provide an opportunity to explain any extenuating circumstances that you feel could add value to your application. You may also want to explain unique aspects of your academic background or valued experiences you may have had that relate to your academic discipline. The statement of purpose is not meant to be a listing of accomplishments in high school or a record of your participation in school-related activities. Rather, this is your opportunity to address the admissions committee directly and to let us know more about you as an individual, in a manner that your transcripts and other application information cannot convey.

Although the prompt is lengthy, UT-Austin reviewers are looking for you to address directly a few things, more or less in this order:

  1. Your previous academic experiences and development

  2. Your current studies

  3. Your future academic and professional goals

  4. How a UT education can help you achieve them

  5. Any special or extenuating circumstances.

I provide a series of blog posts offering tips starting here.

Throughout, you should provide specific examples why you are deserving of a space on campus and in your major and what perspectives you bring to the university.

Below, I provide five different approaches to addressing this question. Each of these applicants gained admission.

Admitted Economics Transfer 3.4 GPA

My forehead thump-thump-thumped against the stainless-steel walls of a slowly descending, empty elevator. It took three minutes to arrive at the base of the towering skyscraper. I sighed, disappointed, and accepted this final defeat to cap a dispiriting senior year as I nervously navigated through the downtown underground labyrinth.

Like many of my classmates, I spent most of my high school years working tirelessly in hopes of attending a prestigious university. With each rejection letter, I wasn’t sure any university would admit me. Receiving CAP stung particularly. I questioned the point of studying so long for my SAT and ACT and taking a few AP courses that didn’t particularly interest me. Reluctantly, I submitted the deposit to my safety school.

I walked to my car that day feeling like I've lost before I even started. Even getting to my interview proved frustrating. I had never visited downtown Houston. Battling traffic and tricky one-ways, I found the parking garage, slid into a space without bumping my neighbors and stumbled through the building before finding the first set of elevators, “Sky Lobby.” I boarded. A man in his forties joined followed quickly by a college-aged student. More men and women filed in until we crunched together shoulder-to-shoulder.

I felt out of place, and dad’s suit didn’t fit right - sleeves too long and shoulder pads jutting below my neck. Everyone appeared so confident. People talked over one another as they discussed seemingly important things like upcoming meetings and lunch plans. Noises blended, a hum of indistinct chatter. After three deafening minutes of chit-chat, a merciful ding signaled our arrival. The doors glided inwards.

A nervous silence preceded a burst of sunlight. I stepped into the panoramic atrium offering a birds-eye view of Houston, the Sky Lobby. Despite living in Houston for my entire life, I could never have imagined the city so beautiful. I absorbed the scenes below – the bustling traffic, the diverging currents of the bayou snaking in the distance, and the impersonal skyscrapers dotting the vista, silently taunting our unrestricted zoning laws. I swear I could almost see the curvature of the Earth, two million people all in my field of view.

A friendly voice interrupted my gaze. The secretary welcomed me into a grand office that may have passed for a museum. The next moments were a blank. A blurred, neurotic, sweaty blank. Slowly, I walked back to the elevator wide-eyed, almost bewildered.

While planning my classes at university I never really hoped to attend, I heard a ding signaling the arrival of an email on my phone. “Probably some more spam,” I thought. The title betrayed great news, “Congratulations.”

In his concluding remarks at a Dillard University commencement speech, the great Denzel Washington advised, “Don’t aspire to make a living. Aspire to make a difference.” These words now stick to me like glue. Looking back to when those elevator doors first opened, I believe it was at that moment, with the city at my fingertips, that I aspired to make a difference.

Before, I viewed education as a means to an end, a minor footnote in my transition to the professional world. After that day, I saw the bigger picture. A purposeful education produces change within and bettering the world around me. At Houston Endowment, I learned the ins and outs of the workings of a non-profit foundation. I even had the privilege of personally speaking one-on-one with non-profit executives around Houston. While my internship is generally reserved for students at the end of their college careers, I was able to gain exposure to community and business leaders that have shown me that thoughtful, long-term efforts can make the world a better place.

From the first moment each Longhorn arrives on the 40 Acres, they receive the message that “What starts here changes the world.” What’s so brilliant about this motto is that it gives the beholder freedom to interpret their place at the university, their communities, and how their education produces ripples of change throughout the world.

It seems to me that to be a Longhorn means to be a leader. To be that which “changes the world.” I don’t feel a similar sense of purpose and community at UH, and feel the path to being leader lies in Austin. With the experiences I gained from my descent into Houston’s philanthropic heart, I intend to hone my dream to be the leader of change that UT trains all its students to be.

Commentary

I like this essay a lot because it shares a compelling story that frames where they’ve come from academically and professionally, where they currently are, and how UT can help them achieve their goals. They also discussed why they enrolled at the University of Houston, their home city, rather than pursuing UT-Austin’s Coordinated Admissions Program.

They have strong statements throughout that they’re deserving of a space in admissions. They discuss how they will bring a unique perspective to campus and how they seem themselves as a leader on the Forty Acres. They also touch on how their academic goals and beliefs have evolved over time, transitioning from “seeing education as a means to an end” to one where education is a value in itself.

It’s a well-written response that no doubt helped their reviewer form a mental image of the student. It solicits empathy. Everyone can relate to the nervousness of being out of their element and receiving pleasant surprising news when they were otherwise doubtful.

Despite their below average GPA, there’s no doubt they gained admission on the strength of this Essay A that helped connect their expanded resume and Essay E about growing up in a mixed-religions household.

Interested in building your best transfer application? Complete my questionnaire for a free consultation.

Moody College of Communications Admitted Transfer 3.3 GPA

I am currently enrolled as a first-year student at Collin College in Frisco, Texas, and I want to finish my studies at the University of Texas in Austin majoring in public relations.

My decision to attend Collin stemmed from my mediocre grades in high school – I wanted a fresh start at a college close to home.  Though I was accepted at a few well-ranked Texas public universities, I had higher aspirations.  I felt that I could improve my grade point average while completing prerequisite courses transferable anywhere.  I lived at home allowing me to save money, help my family, and continue working at my job.

Due to my family’s dire financial situation, I initially wanted to pursue a degree in business and finance solely to be more financially secure and allow me the opportunity to raise my own family someday. I took several business-related classes in high school and college.  My goal has always been to transfer to UT and earn a degree in finance. 

In preparation for transfer, I took Algebra, Pre-calculus, and Calculus 1 and 2.  Math is not my strongest subject, and I found Pre-calculus and Calculus to be especially difficult.  Despite joining a study group and meeting with the professor but, unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. My low math grades are not for lack of effort. 

At the time, I was taking care of my mother, a single parent, and coordinating her transfer to rehab for alcohol addiction. I became the head of household responsible for caring for my three younger sisters. I became a full-time student, employee, and house mom. Instead of getting discouraged by my setback in calculus, I saw it as an opportunity to grow and reconsider my future. I realized that if math isn’t my strong suit, I probably won’t enjoy a career in banking. I feel like many of my friends want to go to business school, but don’t actually enjoy the work or have the skills required to be a successful student. I felt that my decision to pursue finance came not from my own motivations, but pressures from friends, family, and society.

I considered my strengths, and now I understand that I love communicating with people and solving problems. I’m the go-to person in my friend group when relationships end or problems happen at school, and I am used to handling family crises at home. I want to help solve problems on behalf of companies, and I feel that public relations is my perfect fit.

I learned to communicate effectively at an early age. No matter what situation my family was going through, my sisters and other relatives considered my opinions and often put my suggestions into practice. My survival and quality of life depends on resolving conflicts for work, for my internship, and for relaying messages within a divided family.  Recognizing my strength, I feel that public relations would be the perfect major for me. 

To gain firsthand experience and test my decision, I took on a Public Relations/Blogger Relations internship for Conscious Couture.  Through reaching out to bloggers that have PR firms, I am reassured that I made the right decision and have truly found what I love.  Also, I have previous professional experience as an executive assistant for Texas Family Fitness. I was constantly phoning clients, communicating with employees, setting up meetings, proposing new ideas, and managing conflict in the workplace.

After doing research, I learned that UT has one of the best public relations departments and employs world-renowned faculty. I especially like the internship requirement and career placement resources. My goal is to begin with a major public relations firm and, ultimately, establish my own firm.  If I decide to continue my studies after my bachelor’s, the LBJ School of Public Affairs seems like an appealing way to transition into government work. 

Commentary

This particular student had a 3.0 by the deadline, and since they had less than 24 hours completed, UT waited to make their decision after receiving their spring grades. They made a D in Calculus, so this essay helps put that grade into context.

I appreciate that this essay is very straightforward. They get right to the point why they are at their current university, what they hope to study at UT, and how their goals evolved over time.

One pitfall of extenuating circumstances essays is they tend towards hyperbole and overexageration. This applicant provides balance and nuance to their issues at home and concrete ways that they’ve developed and matured over time. They also link their special circumstances into their proposed major, Public Relations.

They also develop well how their professional experiences and internship further influence their decision to transfer. Their Essay A complements and provides context to their expanded resume. They argue convincingly that UT is the best fit for them because of its strong academics while still being close enough to home to visit on the weekends.

Putting their poor calculus grade into context, articulating but not going overboard about their special circumstances, and demonstrating their fit for major undoubtedly played a major role in them gaining admission to UT.

OOS Moody College of Communications Admit 3.41 GPA

It was early in 2016 and I needed a job. Seton Hall – my current university – costs about $14,000 per semester just for tuition. Growing up with the potential to be the first in my family to attend college, I never took college enrollment for granted. I saw the financial burden my decision placed on my parents. I came across a job listing for a Human Resources Policy Management Resource for Johnson & Johnson. After a rigorous interview process, they offered me one of three openings among hundreds of college-educated applicants. It was a long shot since I don’t study business and I lack professional experience. My position was no mere internship; I began working in March as a full-time contractor.

With no awareness of the corporate world, I had to learn office politics, bureaucracy, and division of responsibilities on the fly. I updated human resources policies from Johnson & Johnson’s global business holdings and received approval from the policy owner and the legal department. Next, we worked with translators from 30+ languages to convert the documents into their language of origin. Finally, I uploaded the policies onto the HR Portal for the thousands of employees to see.

I functioned as the liaison between policy owners and J&J, including those in non-English speaking countries, who were operating in different time zone. Working cross-culturally can be a challenge, but I learned quickly. I stayed organized and met intense deadlines assigned to my team by the Vice President of Global HR Services. I worked thirty to forty hours each week while taking a full course load.

Before my Johnson & Johnson contract expired, the Director of Human Resources, impressed with my work, suggested that I interview for another position. I received a job offer; however, Jeffery Vanderbeek, the former Vice President of the Lehman Brothers and former Chairman and Owner of the New Jersey Devils, called me. Nearing retirement, he recently accepted the football head coach position at Somerville High School near my hometown. Jeff heard about an online radio station I started for my alma matter Immaculata High School. He offered me a job on the spot to run the communications efforts for Somerville Football. I accepted with much excitement so I could continue pursuing my communications passion.

I began by building a website and managing their nascent social media channels. I started producing a weekly documentary series following their progress during the season. I hired and managed two media interns. I divided responsibilities and maintained our daily schedule to keep our workflow moving smoothly. Some might write this off as merely doing work for a High School team, but I disagree.

I answered every day to a man who occupied corner offices atop Wall Street skyscrapers and oversaw operating budgets in the tens of billions of dollars. He asked same of me as with his Lehman Brothers partners. While that could understandably be stressful, working for Johnson and Johnson prepared me for adapting to pressure and navigating powerful personalities.

Somerville and Mr. Vanderbeek helped me become a team player and showcase the best side of their football team. Mr. Vanderbeek served as a mentor to me and everyday pushed me to achieve more. I am eternally grateful for his lessons on leadership and how, with ambition and hard work, I can also rise to the top to my future career, broadcasting.

I visited UT in October and immediately felt at home. I sat impressed through a taping for Texas Student Television in the Moody College of Communications. I had been around video production for a number of years, but never had I seen such a group of talented professionals my age working so passionately. It really brought about much excitement within me and reignited the fire I have for the profession. The RTF program at UT is a world-class education with deep industry connections. It is where I need to be.

Commentary

Like the previous example, this straightforward essay addresses all of the things that UT reviewers are looking for. They discuss the context and buyer’s remorse about attending an expensive private university, but they don’t dwell on it.

Instead, they focus on their strengths - pursuing a highly selective and well-paying internship and relevant social media/broadcasting examples. Since they had an influential mentor who also submitted a reference letter, their Essay A develops well their argument that they are prepared to succeed at UT-Austin.

They applied as an out-of-state student from New Jersey, so they also address in their last paragraph how UT can help them achieve their goals. Providing specific observations from their visit let’s the review know that they are making an informed decision to transfer.

Although they changed their major from RTF to Journalism after arriving on campus, they secured a recent, highly prestigious internship at the CBS Morning Show in Manhattan. They are also involved with Texas Student Television, so there’s no doubt UT extending this student an offer pays dividends for the university.

UT-Austin utilizes the transfer process to bring leaders onto campus who can introduce different perspectives to classroom discussions and student organizations.

Admitted McCombs School of Business Transfer 3.8 GPA

I stood still, lost amidst a sea of towering figures. I felt the familiarity of being alone. Each time I change environments, it doesn’t come any easier. A broad-shouldered girl in a blue shirt asked accusingly me where I needed to be. Despite intimidating me at first, she turned out to be sweet and concerned for my well-being.

She took me to my classroom and introduced me to the other girls. They all seemed so different from me. My family left the United States when I was young, and during my ten years spent in India, I switched between three very different schools.

Accustomed to American schools that are relatively orderly and organized, it took time to adjust to India’s disorderly schools. Just as I started feeling comfortable with the unusual teaching methods of my new school, my parents transferred me to a more “cultural” school. With a total of seven students in the entire school, we learned in literal shacks.

My classmates were behind in their education and far below my grade level, so the teachers focused most of their time on them. I suffered greatly when I switched back into mainstream schooling. Now, it was my classmates who raced through their work. I was thrown, unprepared, into India’s rigorous education system. I struggled with constructing angles and balancing chemical equations. I had to work especially hard to make up for the time lost at my cultural school.

I made it through Tenth grade with extensive additional coaching. Despite my setback, I knew that I could do better. Through my classes, I began to develop an interest with the mathematical functions that power finance and accounting. My accounting teacher became my biggest inspiration. The way she related accounting procedures to current business crises convinced me to learn more. I started keeping up with companies’ corporate strategies and their effect on the economy.

Before my board exams, I completed additional work on my own and solved about 70 papers in preparation. The work ethic I acquired under her guidance is something that has stuck to me through the challenging times at community college. I continue to self-study with online courses offered on Khan Academy to further exceed expectations.

Additionally, my internship at the Pratham International School in the summer of 2016 gave me real-world experience with auditing and organizing financials. I applied my classroom and self-studying knowledge to help with vendor payment methods and profitable tuition pricing.

I also pursued an internship in the accounting department of The Home Depot. For the first time, I saw theoretical concepts come to life as I helped facilitate vendor payment methods and profitable product pricing. The chance to interact with higher level financial managers gave me exposure to strategic decision making and contingency planning.

I look forward to pursuing another internship and taking advantage of the connections provided by the McCombs School of Business. I hope the university will help connect me with fruitful opportunities to develop my business competencies. By participating in the Texas Stock Team and The University Finance Association, I can explore different interests and develop my network. I don’t have these opportunities at Houston Community College, and I don’t think any Texas university offers the unparalleled opportunities of UT. Doing research under award winning professors like Laura Starks and Robert Parrino will give me a head start in the industry.

Like The University of Texas, I also want to transform myself and change the world. The past few months at the Houston community college have helped me realize that I need an environment with a limitless ceiling for growth. Since I have experienced many different educational environments, I have a good idea for what I seek while avoiding opportunities that may not be in my best interest. I bring a different perspective that will contribute to classroom discussions and be a valued addition to the McCombs community.

Commentary

I clearly remember this student’s dramatic admissions decision. UT actually released almost all of their rejections and acceptances by early June, yet this applicant didn’t hear back until a week later.

We both assumed that wasn’t good news, but we were pleasantly surprised that they received a last minute acceptance into the McCombs School of Business. I have no doubt that their Essay A Statement of Purpose and resume tipped the scales in their favor despite their below average GPA.

They cover a lot of territory discussing being raised in two different countries and attending three different schools with radically different environments before transitioning back to Texas and attending HCC. They touch on independent studies and a relevant internship that informs their prospective major and career goals.

They also do a nice job of describing how their current college has a low ceiling and will not allow them to achieve their long-term goals. They’ve done their homework by supplying a few informative “Why UT” statements concerning student organizations and professors to help reviewers imagine how this student might contribute to the Forty Acres.

Throughout, they argue convincingly that they know where they want to go, how they bring diverse perspectives to campus, and why UT is their best fit university.

Let’s work together. Complete my questionnaire for a free consultation.

Four-Year Liberal Arts Admit 4.0 GPA

My decision to enroll at the University of North Texas was ill–informed. Initially, I believed that, far enough away from my family yet close enough to return home every few weeks, I could grow on my terms. This unfortunate decision was fostered by my perspective of academic environments and the “college life.” I believed a university education was something purely academic, never multifaceted.

As someone who has never considered myself particularly school–spirited, I did not feel the need to be connected to any larger community. I viewed my transition to college simply as a stepping stone to the next chapter of my life, a means to an end and not something inherently valuable.

I chose UNT by process of elimination. I wanted to attend a Texas public university, but not as close as San Marcos and Austin or even College Station or Houston. However, the more time I spent in Denton, the more I realized that there was a low ceiling for my potential to grow. I felt like a “big fish in a small pond” and my development, both intellectual and social, stalled.

I have always aspired to something greater, something more challenging, something different. These aspirations, unfortunately, were not able to be experienced at UNT. My courses were stagnant, easy, “go with the flow”––the exact opposite of what I needed. Most students around me, even those within the Honors College, did not study for major exams or complete their assignments on time. It made me restless and uneasy.

As time wore on, I concluded I was not finding the challenges I originally sought. I refused to settle into the mediocre routines around me and merely coast along with strong, yet hollow grades. The more I considered and explored my academic goals and future, the clearer it became that only the University of Texas offers the rigor and challenge that I seek.

This fall, I visited the 40 Acres and immediately noticed a striking difference. Nearly every other student I came across wore burnt orange; people walked confidently and actually socialized on campus. There seemed to be a school spirit that was conspicuously absent at UNT. The University of Texas felt like a family, a cohesive yet still fiercely individualistic unit. Even with a just a two–hour visit to the 40 Acres, I could already feel its infectious energy creeping up inside me, a feeling I would not soon forget.

I had not considered that a university experience could be both academically enriching and spiritually fulfilling. Instantly, I knew where I needed to call home. My fascination and excitement was furthered with the University of Texas when I researched the Anthropology Department. I was amazed at the never–ending opportunities for research. For example, Dr. Courtney Handman’s focus on linguistic anthropology and her examination of recently–converted Protestant indigenous communities in rural Papua New Guinea related to my interests of languages, religion, and their convergence.

My passion with linguistic anthropology began when I was nine years old when my parents took me on my first international trip. We traveled throughout Italy, Switzerland, France, Spain, Sicilia, and Croatia. With each country, there was an entire new method of communication, an entirely new way of life.

Exposure to different cultures and languages, however, was not an entirely new concept. I live in a bilingual home. My father grew up in Madrid and learned both Spanish and English. My father wanted to share a vital part of his identity and childhood with me, and we communicate primarily in Spanish. Later, I became unsatisfied with only speaking two languages, and self–studied French.

By the time I entered high school, I could converse fluently with both my French and Spanish teachers. These experiences continue to shape and inform my desire to balance the arts and sciences by studying linguistic anthropology before enrolling in medical school. 

Commentary

Since they are applying to a non-STEM program with a 4.0, it isn’t necessary for this applicant to discuss their grades or relevant coursework. Despite having a high chance of gaining admission based on their grades, they leave little room for doubt by submitting a thoughtful essay that describes honestly their decision to attend UNT and why that isn’t working out.

It’s a balanced essay that focuses equally on where they’re coming from and how UT can help them explore their interests and achieve their long-term goals. Any time a transfer applicant is coming from a four-year university, its important to discuss tastefully why they don’t feel their current university is a good fit. We worked for a while on striking the right tone.

To discuss why UT is a great fit and why you want to transfer often requires developing why you’re currently dissatisfied. Their reviewer can no doubt relate to their story of not knowing what they want as a high school student and how attending college gives them an idea of what they don’t prefer moving forward.

UT has extensive study abroad and language programs, and they develop well how UT offers resources not accessible at any other public university. They demonstrate how their current studies and travels abroad inform them that although they want to change universities, they want to continue majoring in Anthropology.

Kevin MartinTransfer, Essays