Three Examples of Apply Texas Transfer Essay E Issue of Importance

Cat adoption booth in Lima’s Kennedy Park

Cat adoption booth in Lima’s Kennedy Park

UT-Austin requires transfer applicants to submit two essays. Everyone must submit the Essay A Statement of Purpose, which I discuss in this post.

You have the option to submit Essay C regarding any special circumstances, Essay D that allows for art criticism, and most applicants choose to submit Essay E Issue of Importance.

Choose an issue of importance to you - the issue could be personal, school related, local, political, or international in scope - and write an essay in which you explain the significance of that issue to yourself, your family, your community, or your generation.

I provide some tips in this post, and belw I present three real Essay E examples to give you an idea how you can approach this prompt.

Poverty, Education, and Microfinance

It was six AM, and I could barely keep my eyes open for more than fifteen seconds. Curled up in layers of blankets, I attempted to connect with my family in India over Skype. Ready to give up, suddenly my childhood friend appeared in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.

We came from drastically different backgrounds. Her mother, a widow, viewed her a burden by her caste-based community. Her mother worked as a maid and ran several informal businesses in her neighborhood. Over the years, her mother saved enough for my friend’s education. Many others in her community, however, were not this fortunate. I believe that an important tool for fighting poverty is access to reliable financial resources at reasonable prices and basic technology like computers.

Growing up, I shared with her lessons that I learned from my more privileged school. India’s education system that serves disadvantaged children does not equip them with basic English and math skills, necessary for high-paying jobs. I had the privilege of growing up with computers, and I tried to share my skills with others.

When I was young, the unequal access to educational opportunities seemed unfair. I have observed a strong relationship between education levels and poverty. I have a desire to solve this issue by empowering families to finance their education to a large extent.

In India, poverty isn’t abstract and addressing the problems requires hands-on experience. I participated in an entrepreneurial project in high school. My team and I created a “Mobile Lab” that transported teaching aids, books, activities, and sports equipment in a functional automobile to poor communities. We conducted market research on the feasibility of our model, and we consulted various experts.

Funded by charity donors, the Mobile Lab proved a cost-efficient way to get resources to needy learners. We also donated our time and helped tutor the students in basic language skills. Additionally, we raised funds for physically and mentally disabled children supported by the Samarthanam Foundation. Children growing up with disabilities face a particularly difficult life in India and developing countries. Through these projects, I learned that there can be innovative solutions to fighting poverty.

My experience with these small efforts helped me realize that, beyond finance and education, addressing poverty requires a nuanced understanding of the relationships between cultures and communities. Instead of ignoring problems and distracting myself with social media, I learned the important lesson that collective action could produce some good. Individuals working together can create scalable solutions that can be used in other communities. With growing emphasis on materialism, our generation needs to be more sensitive to the needs of others and work towards an inclusive, humane society.

Here at Houston Community College, I have observed similarities between India and the United States. Although poverty in Houston can be less apparent than cities in India, many of my classmates are hardworking people trying to make their way out of poverty through earning an education.

I am interested in working with microfinance institutions, which, although pioneered in places like Bangladesh, are becoming increasingly popular in the United States. There needs to be an alternative to predatory payday loans and cash advances.

Finally, I want to continue my higher education for further learning and research to spread financial literacy and make economic change more inclusive. I want to explore financial strategy, information systems, and investment management to develop solutions. I noticed that the key to my friend’s success was her mother’s thrifty financial management and the path she took as a small-time entrepreneur. This experience with my childhood friend has inspired me to pursue my own social entrepreneurship ambitions in the field of finance. 

Commentary

This admitted McCombs student chose to use their Essay E discussing India and microfinance to complement their Essay A Statement of purpose, which discusses receiving education in both the US and their home country.

It’s a wise approach to discuss an issue of importance that fits into your first choice major to demonstrate that you are making an informed major decision and how UT can help you achieve your goals.

Their response strikes a healthy balance between identifying national and international issues and what they’re doing at the local level to address economic inequality. A common mistake I see applicants make when discussing poverty is assuming that the problems are “out there in poor countries” and not evident in the US.

This applicant goes the extra mile by observing how issues they’ve encountered in South Asia are also prevalent in Houston and the United States. Their essay is thoughtful, nuanced, complex, and doesn’t overstretch by claiming that they’re solving global poverty in 650 words.

With their 3.8 GPA and receiving a decision after all others had been released, there is no doubt in both of our minds that their two essays tipped the scales in their favor.

Interested in writing your best transfer essays? Complete my questionnaire for a free consultation.


Swimming and Injuries

“Take your mark. Go!”

 The starter’s mechanical voice, amplified and sometimes distorted by poolside loudspeakers, signals the start of yet another race. That ubiquitous, soothing command feels more natural to me than the sound of my own pulsating heartbeat, remaining constant and steady despite navigating the uncertain seas of adolescence. With this, I believed swimming would always be there––at least, until it was not.

In the blink of an eye, part of my identity was swept away and I was left desperately clinging to nothing. My childhood dream of swimming in the Olympics––to be remembered in history––crumbled before my eyes. I grasped at the memories of what once was and grieved over what could have been.

By the age of three, the water was my home. I felt more comfortable in an eighteen–feet deep, ten lane, twenty–five mete swimming pool than on dry ground. By age eight, I swam every day for my local swim club alongside the older summer swim team. By eleven, I rose to my swim club’s second–highest level. I swam two hours each day with an hour of dryland practice twice a week before practice. However, during a grueling and intense practice freshman year, my dreams tore apart––literally.

A team of doctors diagnosed me with scapular winging, rotator cuff tendinitis, and an extra bone near my calcaneus that caused flexor hallicus longus (FHL) tendinitis. Basically, I overused and irreparably shredded my shoulder. My fate was written. My swimming career was over and rehabilitation was not an option. I was caught in a riptide of two different currents: who I aspired to be, and who I truly was. I couldn’t accept this radical change of identity.

I stumbled predictably through each stage of grief: denying anything was wrong, anger for not listening to my body, trying to find any way to re–enter the pool. Everything in my life reminded me of my perceived personal failure and dreams forever deferred.

One day, however, something switched. As if handed fresh goggles, I accepted a clearer outlook on life. I reframed my failures. Though I lost swimming, I found meaning in a renewed social life, a normal teenage existence, and a better relationship with my family. I prioritized my health and embraced new opportunities and challenges, new aspects of a multifaceted identity. After so many rounds of doctor’s visits, specialist referrals, and complicated diagnoses, it occurred to me.

 I wanted to be a doctor. I wanted to be in the secret society of medicine with their facts, white lab coats, and remarkable self–confidence. I resolved to help other injured young athletes repair not only their bodies, but their minds. With this startling realization, I trusted that my initial “failure” ushered in something new. I began to consider a career in the specialties I personally experienced, such as orthopedic surgery and physical therapy. I imagined helping those who similarly experienced a drastic life change.

I had once believed swimming was my calling; the pool would be my forever home. But as I became older, I reconsidered this belief––maybe swimming was not my true calling after all. Maybe it was never meant to be anything more than a stepping stone to my true calling, medicine.

Following years of recovery, I have managed recently to return to the pool. Before, I repeatedly pushed myself past my breaking point, never truly listening to my body. Now, as I train for UNT’s intramural swim meet, I respect the limits of my injuries. Without the burden of Olympic aspirations, I appreciate swimming different than before.

With every slice of my streamlined hand through the ice–cold water, I am brought back to the grueling practices and arduous meets. However, this time I grateful for the opportunity to be able to find my past self in the water once more rather than taking it for granted.

Commentary

This applicant and I went back and forth whether they should discuss their swimming injuries in their Essay A Statement of Purpose, dedicate an Essay C special circumstances to that discussion, or frame it as an Essay E “personal issue of importance.” Remember, the prompt allows you to discuss something important to you. An issue of importance doesn’t need to be something “out there” like inequality, climate change, or women’s empowerment.

Like with the first example, this applicant chose to link a discussion of their issue of importance with their long-term goals to practice medicine. It complements well their Essay A that discusses their short- and medium-term goals to study Anthropology at UT.

They walk the reviewer through their promising swimming career and subsequent injury. They don’t dwell on these setbacks and instead frame their injury as overcoming adversity. I appreciate their mature discussion of what swimming means to them today while seeing the big picture.

Utilizing technical discussions of anatomy alongside what these complications mean in laymen’s terms also gives a subtle indication that they’ve explored their medical school goals. Undoubtedly, their reviewer walked away with the impression that they’re a mature and thoughtful student. Their essays helped contribute to their favorable admissions decision.

Mixed-Religion Household and Diversity

My mom’s family is entirely Catholic; my dad’s family is Buddhist. We recognize both Jesus Christ and Buddha, Heaven and rebirth. For the majority of my life, I’ve experienced my personal version of the “Great Schism,” excellent fuel for a near-continual state of existential crisis.

On Wednesdays I attend the Mass, reciting endless "Our Father's" and "Hail Mary's" over the liturgy. Each weekend, I indulge in incense while offering tasty gifts to those long-past at the Teochew Temple. Each ceremony introduces a deeper division of my sense of self, my ethics, and where I come from.

In Mass, we seek redemption for past sins while Buddhism demands attention to the present and moderating our ever-present cravings and restless minds. Redemption comes from within and there isn’t a focus on an eternal afterlife “out there” while the goal of Christianity is serving in God’s image and earning a place in Heaven.

I often feel like I exist in two different worlds, torn between these two families and these two beliefs. Not knowing whether I should exclusively commit myself to one, the other, or neither. Compromise doesn’t seem like an option, but since I cannot commit myself fully to either faith, I don’t feel dedicated to either.

Pi Patel in Life of Pi consoles, "To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation." At the intersection of Catholicism and Buddhism, it felt insane attempting to compromise what felt like irreconcilable beliefs. Like Pi, I've discovered that if I bind myself to one option or the other, I feel perpetual doubt and insecurity. I’ve attempted a self-syncretism, a blending of both schools of belief to suit my daily life. It’s helped me be more open to both Buddhism and Catholicism.

Practicing two distinctly different religions helps me digest otherwise very uncomfortable ideas more easily. Christianity and Buddhism have many mutually exclusive conflicts where my beliefs may seem openly inconsistent or even hypocritical. What works for me doesn’t necessarily need to work for others. I feel more open to talk with people from different backgrounds who share different beliefs or opinions, and being in Houston exposes me to people like my closest friend, who happens to follow Islam. I’m thankful that I can count some of my closest friends as those who live very differently than me.

Now that I’ve finished high school and moved onto college, there is some distance between me and the environment I was raised. I can look back and feel thankful for the many years of confusion borne from receiving conflicting messages from each family.

I feel like everyone would be well served by taking a theology or philosophy class or make an effort to travel outside of their communities. Anything that forces you to consider different points of view is beneficial. I believe that if I’m not being challenged then I’m not growing. Having an open mind opens so many doors that makes

Learning to coexist and invite diversity into your life are values that I share with UT-Austin. At a university that truly exhibits a desire to integrate, with projects and organizations such as the Multicultural Engagement Center and the OIE, I feel I can truly belong. One thing that appeals to me about UT is that there are students that come from almost every county in Texas, all of the states in the United States, and over half of the countries in the world.

I look forward to meeting others who share mixed-identity backgrounds and learning from their experiences. Texas and the rest of the world is becoming increasingly multicultural, and I need to receive an education in an environment that helps prepare me for the challenges of a global community.

Commentary

This former University of Houston student applying to Economics with a 3.4 GPA for Fall 2018 needed homeruns on their Essay A and E to gain admission.

Like the above examples, instead of discussing an issue of importance unrelated to them or one where they lack personal experience, they chose to use their response to provide additional context to their home life and development.

It is almost always preferable to select an issue of importance that you can relate with directly. The more concrete and personal, the better.

Their discussion of growing up in a mixed-religious household demonstrates effectively how they will bring unique and diverse perspectives to UT classrooms and campus. Incorporating specific “Why UT” statements in an essay is always an advisable strategy.

Let’s work together! Complete my questionnaire for a free consultation of your admissions chances.

Kevin MartinTransfer, Essays