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How to Answer the Required UC Transfer Application Essay in a Memorable Way

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If you’re hoping to transfer to a University of California (UC) school next fall, you will have to write four essays. Transfer applicants are asked to respond to one required question (more on this below) and choose three of seven remaining prompts to respond to in 350 words or fewer.  These seven prompts overlap with the UC freshman personal insight questions (except for prompt #6), so be sure to check out our UC Essay Guide to explore those prompts and our expert advice for answering them!

Now, on to the Required Question for UC Transfer Applicants. The prompt reads:

Please describe how you have prepared for your intended major, including your readiness to succeed in your upper-division courses once you enroll at the university.

Then the admissions department provides these considerations to keep in mind:

How did your interest in your major develop? Do you have any experience related to your major outside the classroom; such as volunteer work, internships and employment, or participation in student organizations and activities? If you haven’t had experience in the field, consider including experience in the classroom. This may include working with faculty or doing research projects.

If you’re applying to multiple campuses with a different major at each campus, think about approaching the topic from a broader perspective, or find a common thread among the majors you’ve chosen.

While freshman applicants have the option to submit their UC applications without addressing their academic interests in their essays, transfer applicants do not have that freedom since you have most likely completed your general education and will be enrolling mainly in major courses. Admissions wants to know how you have prepared for your intended major, so it’s incredibly important that applicants are able to build a bridge between their past experiences in their field of interest and UC’s academic offerings.

Think about the experiences you have had—classes, extracurricular activities, work experience, research, personal relationships, or hobbies—that have enabled you to further develop your interest and knowledge of your chosen field. Once you have some ideas at hand, do a little research on the particular majors or programs at the UC campuses you’re applying to so you can connect the dots.

Finally, admissions wants to assess how ready you are to succeed in upper-division courses, so don’t be afraid to toot your own horn and reference experiences that have instilled confidence in you, even if those experiences are outside of your chosen field (think: research papers, end-of-year projects, or independent studies that show you can handle the major-focused workload expected of juniors and seniors). You’ll want to avoid general statements (e.g. I am hard-working, I am ambitious), and instead give concrete examples (a.k.a. the first rule of writing: show, don’t tell!). 

Remember that admissions will expect your writing to be at a higher level than freshman applicants, so this is not the assignment to rush through or leave to the last minute. Our advice? Write this essay (and the other three UC Transfer essays) in advance, then proofread, and finally, share them with someone you trust to get a second opinion.

Need help writing your remaining three UC essays?
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Our UC Essay Guide can help with that!

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