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A stepping stone: Transfer Student for the Common Application (Emerson College)


gber371 3 / 8  
Feb 22, 2010   #1
Hi all!

I'm looking to transfer to Emerson College next semester and would love any tips, advice, or edits for my Common App essay.

**Please provide a statement (250 words minimum) that addresses your reasons for transferring and the objectives you hope to achieve.**

When I applied to the University of Vermont, I was intrigued by the school's film department, but was not entirely certain that I wanted to major in film. It was a perfect school in which to test the waters, so to speak. I entered my freshman year, like many, as undecided. At orientation I picked my classes, and made sure to register for a film course. Of the options available, I ended up selecting a video production class, titled Introduction to Media. To this day, that course, with Professor and filmmaker Theodore Lyman, was one of the best courses that I have taken in my educational career.

Throughout my childhood, my friends and I would make short films in our free time, but we knew very little of what we were doing. So, then, I was in a state of euphoria when I was enrolled in my first production class. To learn all of the different camera movements, tricks of the trade, and proper methods to convey a story or an emotion was revelatory for me. About half way through the semester, I absolutely knew that I wanted to continue working in the medium, and officially declared my major as Film and Television Studies. I was not yet aware of how much I overlooked the "studies" portion of the title.

For the next two semesters of my college career, I registered for classes on the history of film, and the theory behind it. While these offerings were certainly intriguing, and intellectually stimulating, I was rather disappointed that I did not have the option to put this new found knowledge into practice. I understood that a solid base education in theory and history was necessary, but the fact that UVM only offered a handful of production classes was quite discouraging. Even hands-on camerawork in the future was not certain.

This is, far and away, my greatest reason for wanting to transfer. I want that exhilarating feeling that production and creativity instills in me, a feeling that the University of Vermont cannot consistently provide. The film department at UVM is undoubtedly amazing for what it is. It is crammed full of overwhelmingly knowledgeable professors and interesting subject matter, yet it just does not satisfy my particular desires. Even so, I owe my continuing love of film, in part, to UVM for helping to rekindle my passion for such creativity.

This is a passion I know that Emerson College can continuously infuse within me. Although it was a great challenge for me to choose a college out of high school, it was not at all hard for me to select a college to transfer to. While a structured background in the history, and theory, of film is still required, I know for certain that I will have my hands on a camera in due time. Emerson's program is organized in such a way that sets the student up with a concrete, liberal arts base, and allows them to reflect that foundation in future creative endeavors.

Additionally, the fact that Emerson's film program completely immerses the student in the medium is a huge draw for me. At UVM, there are very few classes offered by the department, so even if I were to solely take film courses, I would not have enough credits per semester. At Emerson, I know this will not be a problem. With the amount, and quality, of courses offered, I am sure that I will receive a diverse and fulfilling education, and make professional, and personal, contacts that I would not have the opportunity to make otherwise.

Networking is most assuredly a large part of the industry, and I am positive that this will be simple to do. While many of the professors in Vermont are wonderfully talented and intelligent, very few of them have connection to the industry itself, since most of them are film or English scholars. Given that Emerson is in a city such as Boston, I imagine that contacts abound, and are generally unproblematic to make.

In retrospect, enrolling at the University of Vermont may, at a glance, seem like a mistake. However, I do not see it as a misstep. Rather, I see UVM as a stepping-stone for sorting out my career goals, and a necessary step at that. If not for UVM, I may never have solidified my desire to pursue a profession in the film industry. Moreover, I would not have a model of comparison for what I truly want in a school. Just like the age-old adage of, "You cannot have good without bad," I could not have realized the positive and negative aspects of a college program without experiencing both. Discovering what I was not so fond of at UVM played an essential role in determining what I love most about Emerson College.

Thanks in advance!!

afurgeson 2 / 11  
Feb 22, 2010   #2
Overall this is a good essay. I think the tone you take in paragraph one can be softened a bit. This sentence really threw me back... in fact, when I first read it, I really did not think you were someone I would want to help: "I was not yet aware of how much I overlooked the "studies" portion of the title."

So the image that popped into my head when I read that was a teenage reality show star, who expects everything to be handed to them. YOU AREN'T That person -- I know that from the rest of your essay. This statement and the ones that follow just seem overly critical of your old school. Try to limit complaints about your old school to the simple fact that it doesen't offer the opportunities you are looking for.

By the end of the essay, it is clear that you don't have harsh feelings toward your old school, but I would avoiding taking your audience there in the beginning.

This sentence could also use reworking:
"In retrospect, enrolling at the University of Vermont may, at a glance, seem like a mistake."
I'm not sure what is grammatically wrong with it (if anything).. it just does not sound great.
OP gber371 3 / 8  
Feb 22, 2010   #3
Thank you so much Colin!

I see what you mean about tone. Maybe I was being a bit too harsh without realizing it :). I'm really glad you read it and pointed out the oversight. I will be sure to fix it.

Also, that sentence does seem a little awkward, so I'll work on rewording it. Thanks again
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,334 129  
Feb 23, 2010   #4
Of the options available, I ended up selecting a video production class entitled "Introduction to Media."

To this day, that course, with Professor and filmmaker Theodore Lyman, was one of the best courses that I have taken in my educational career. --- this is the last sentence of your first paragraph, so when the reader gets to it, s/he pauses and thinks, "Oh, so this is what the essay is all about... a class taught by this guy named Lyman."

But actually the essay is about your reasons for transferring, so I am hoping you will give a clear answer to that question near the beginning of paragraph 2 since you did not do it in paragraph 1.

No, I see that you continue to tell a story throughout paragraphs 2, 3, and ... then you give a reasn for wanting to transfer: "...yet it just does not satisfy my particular desires." after this sentence, you need to elaborate on these particular desires to achieve a high level of specificity.

So, I suggest giving some examples of the particular interests (it's always impressive when students have particular rather than general interests in their subject matter), and ADD A SENTENCE to the end of paragraph one -- a thesis sentence that answers the question of why you want to transfer. Then, in the body paragraphs, you can tell your story and explain.

You write very well!!
OP gber371 3 / 8  
Feb 24, 2010   #5
Kevin, thank you very much!!

I thought the structure felt a little off, so this was perfect feedback for me. You should always have a thesis :D.

I didn't even think about specifying my particular interests, but now that you mention it, it seems like a pretty obvious thing to do. I will definitely incorporate these interests after I solidify the paper's goal, and rearrange it a bit.

Again, thank you. I really appreciate the advice, and it's fantastic to have someone else's outside eye.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,334 129  
Feb 25, 2010   #6
you're welcome! Now, if you have a few minutes, go help a few other people on the "Unanswered" list by giving them some ideas that come to mind when you read their essays. :-D


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