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Essay for transfer student with previous poor academic performance


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Aug 24, 2010, 03:21am   #1
Hi. I would like to get some feedback on what I have written for my college essay. I have never had to write a college essay before. The previous university I attended didn't require one, so I have no idea if this is right or not. I tried to answer the question about my poor academic performance in the past, and why I want to transfer. I would like any honest feedback about what I should keep, grammar/wording, how it should end, if it's being to vague... you can even tell me it stinks and I should scrap the whole thing and start over. Any feedback accepted, and you won't hurt my feelings. Thanks!


From the application:
An essay describing your past academic experiences and your reasons for wishing to transfer to [school name] at this point in your academic career is required. Students who have been out of school for several years, or who have a personal circumstance that affected their academic performance, may wish to address that situation in their essay. Your essay should be no more than 300 words.

Essay:
Like most students, when I started college in 2003 I was confused about a major. I chose criminal justice because it was the only major that seemed interesting, and because I have several family members in that field. After two years of majoring in criminal justice it occurred to me that I was not enjoying the major, and my grades ...

SEE BELOW

Aug 24, 2010, 09:28am   #2
I think your essay needs more meat, less bone. Cut it shorter, some things you mentioned were a bit unnecessary. For example, I think you should streamline your discussion on your choice of criminal justice a bit more by focusing on how you had no other option/ family pressure.

It seems to be weakness on your part that youre grades dropped such a huge amount just because you are not interested in it. Try providing a more... concrete reason that shows you in a better light?

More importantly, I think while your discussion of new opportunities are good, you should also discuss how your new choice is different from the old one. In other words, what stops you from becoming bored of your new course?

Provide more contrast, add some conviction, and cut out the bones!
Aug 24, 2010, 02:57pm   #3
Thanks for the tips! I reworked my essay to address your suggestions. Here is draft #2 of my essay. All feedback welcome. Thanks!

From the application:
An essay describing your past academic experiences and your reasons for wishing to transfer to [school name] at this point in your academic career is required. Students who have been out of school for several years, or who have a personal circumstance that affected their academic performance, may wish to address that situation in their essay. Your essay should be no more than 300 words.

Essay:

In 2003 I had no work experience, and I felt pressure from my parents to start my college education for which they were paying. I was confused about a major, and I chose criminal justice because because I have several family members in that field. After two years I saw that my classes were designed around people already working, and I had no desire to work in the field. Despite my reservations, I decided to continue with criminal justice because I viewed it as my only option. My parents felt that college should last four years, and I had already used two. My grades continued a slow decline until I was place on academic suspension. It was then that I took responsibility for my actions in college and became the adult I am today. It is only when you feel you have hit bottom that you know your true character. A friend suggested I look into the National EMS Academy offered by South Louisiana Community College. I enrolled there and received my EMT-Basic certification. After working in the field as a volunteer, I know I want to help save lives and advance in EMS/Fire Protection. I was researching university fire protection programs when I came across Maryland's program on the Silver Spring, MD Volunteer Fire Department website. I would like to transfer to Maryland because the school is one of the top universities in the country, and I believe I should strive for nothing less. It is the best place to restart my education because of the quality of the courses offered, and because the program objectives appeal to my own career objectives.
This is very good, but something seems missing. You indicate a lack of decisiveness about what you want to do in life, and now you are applying to Maryland as the result of something you found out about yourself when following the advice of a friend. I think you should divide this into three paragraphs and focus the third paragraph on the personal reasons you want to go this route. Talk about your clearly formed ideas for the future.

:-)



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