transfer advice...am i crazy?

<p>Hi Everyone! </p>

<p>I'm so glad that there's a new thread just for transfer students. and the new site is so much easier to use. awesome!</p>

<p>i have a couple of questions about transferring (obviously).</p>

<p>i am currently at a tiny college in a rural setting. i'm from chicago, so i'm a little anxious for a more urban environment, not to mention one that is more intellectually challenging for me. i'm a sophomore, so i'm looking to transfer for my junior and senior years. here's some info about me:</p>

<p>-african american female
-philosophy/sociology major at current institution...but looking to transfer to an institution with an urban studies program or major
-career discovery program at harvard grad. school of design this summer
-3.6 College GPA
-31 ACT
-President, Residence Hall
-Vice-President, College Democrats
-Treasurer, Student Global AIDS Campaign
-Sophomore Class Student Senate Representative (Student Affairs Committee; Faculty Liason for Student Affairs)
-Phi Sigma Tau, International Philosophy Honors Society
-Cello lessons for two years (yeah, i'm no superstar, it's just a fun hobby)
-College Radio Station DJ
-Writing Studio Peer Tutor
-College Newspaper writer
-New Student Orientation Peer Advocate (sort of like an orientation leader for a week)</p>

<p>okay, i really hate talking about myself, but i guess i needed to for the following questions.</p>

<ol>
<li><p>i'm worried because while i am pretty involved in college, i didn't do all that much in high school. in applying for junior level transfer, are such things taken into consideration?</p></li>
<li><p>i have a pretty good college gpa, and in high school it was also pretty good, but because of grade inflation, my rank wasn't all that stellar and with unweighting, it's probably a lot lower than i would like it to be. is that a problem considering my upward trend in college?</p></li>
<li><p>here are the schools i'm considering:</p></li>
</ol>

<p>*yale (my number one choice. i spent a week there last year and i absolutely fell in love with it. too bad i probably will not get in....)
*university of chicago (my very close, probably more attainable second choice.)
*brown (the only problem is that they have terrible fin. aid for transfers!)
*stanford
*barnard
*nyu</p>

<p>can anyone (<em>cough</em> up40love <em>cough</em>) critique me honestly to give me suggestions, opinions, etc. about transferring to these schools? that would be awesome...thanks!</p>

<p>Why do you want to transfer? Simply wanting to return to the city life isn't a compelling reason, especially if you want to transfer to a school like Yale where the most important component of your application is the essay articulating why it's the perfect place for you and why they need you there. It's not enough that they have a major that your current school doesn't have. You need to figure out why you need Yale's or U of C's particular program, because they're not the only ones who have it. </p>

<p>Depending on the school, your high school performance may or may not play a large role in the process. I know that U of C, Penn and Dartmouth--I know you didn't list all of those, but this is for reference--refer to your high school records and the latter two place great weight on them. Yale and Brown, however, tend to accept personalities rather than numbers. That's not to say you can get away with being accepted to either one as a mediocre student with a shining personality. </p>

<p>How are your relationships with professors? You need to be honest with yourself when evaluating that. Some people opine they have wonderful, close relationships with instructors, but really don't. Seek out the professors who will write anecdotal recommendations, not just someone who can enumerate a cursory evaluation of your work and character. It's vital. It determines whether or not adcoms view you as a person or as a list of characteristics. </p>

<p>Maybe you need to cut back on your EC responsibilities and invest more time in fewer of them while also raising your GPA.</p>

<p>thanks so much for responding! i really appreciate it. i have trouble with the "compelling reasons" part of the essays. honestly, when i visited my friend at yale for a week, i felt that it was just the right place for me, you know? i have never felt that at home at my current institution. however, i did not get a chance to sit in on classes because i did not want to be distracting during finals time. i just love the environment in new haven. the people, the activities, the opportunities...they're all very appealing to me. i've read works by yale profs and they've interested me as well. so that's why i like the institution in connecticut.</p>

<p>the university of chicago is slightly different. having grown up in chicago, i have had numerous opportunities to be in contact with the u of c. i enjoy the intellectual environment the most, i think, and the fact that it's such an integral part of chicago. i also got the chance to observe a wonderful lecture by a philosophy professor there this weekend...i'm majoring in philosophy, so i wonder if that is an alright reason? again, i just feel so much more a part of the university of chicago than i ever have (or will) at my current school. </p>

<p>as i said, i need help determining what makes a good "why this is the place for me" essay. i have a feeling that "it just feels right" isn't going to cut it. can anyone give me suggestions?</p>

<p>i have a couple of profs that i am close to. honestly. i have taken several classes with one, and the other is an advisor for one of my ECs. they have both offered to give me recommendations for whatever i need in the future, so i will take them up on this offer when transferring time rolls around, which is pretty soon! </p>

<p>thank you so very much for your help.</p>

<p>If the colleges you are looking at are a step up, intellectually, from the one you are at, you can tactfully say that as a reason. (Something about wanting to be among students who have the same type of intellectual curiosity/interests, etc. that you do). That's basically what my D said when applying from a less selective school to much more highly selective ones, and she got into all of them (Tufts, Wesleyan, Oberlin.) Transfering as a junior, I think your HS record will not counting nearly as much as your college one, since you've had 1+ years to establish one. Your college ECs and GPA will probably be most important, along with essay/interview/other soft stuff.</p>