Transfer Admission


I am looking for some advice on what I can do to strengthen my application. I am currently a freshman at a AACSB accredited institution (it’s a good school in my area). My major is Undecided-Business but I am looking to declare as a Finance major and possibly get a dual degree in Economics.

I am planning to apply to Cornell, Villanova, U of Notre Dame, and UPenn. These are all tough schools to gain admission and I am willing to work my hardest to be accepted.

In my first semester, I will most likely end up with a 3.6-3.7 GPA in my first semester (I’m taking high-level courses like Calculus II and an advanced Spanish course). Next semester I should be able to receive a 3.8 GPA at minimum but will probably end with a 4.0.

My college extracurriculars consist of: weekly community service, part of campus ministry that serves in the Sunday morning mass, participate in computer science club, and am the President and Co-Founder of the Chess & Checkers Club on campus.

My high school stats are sub-par. I had a low GPA (upwards trend; I faced many personal difficulties during this time). My SAT was a 1370 (710 Math; 660 CRW) but I can retake it and be able to score upwards of 1480 at least (I’ve done many practice tests). Also, I was heavily involved in athletics in high school.

I am looking to transfer as a rising junior so I will be able to prove I can perform at a high level academically. I will also take classes in the summer because I will be working full-time next fall relating to finance thanks to our co-op program on campus.

*My questions are:

  1. What can I do to build my application?

  2. How do my extracurriculars look?

  3. Other than the co-op program, what can I do to show my passion for Finance and Economics?

Thank you ahead of time!

Hi there,

Thanks for your questions.

In general, you’re doing all the right things. Your extracurriculars are a good start, as long as you get that GPA up you’ll be golden in that area, and retaking the SAT is a good idea.

Transfer usually comes down to this: the universities you’re applying to want to see that you have completely used up the resources available at your current school. They want to perceive that transferring is actually necessary in order for you to reach your full potential, so you have to crush it completely where you are now. You’ve done well by starting a club, but leading a chess club is more of a high school activity, to be honest with you. Step up and get involved in business and consulting organizations (or start one!), and definitely make your way into leadership in one or more of them; absolutely get an internship this coming summer in finance (we can help with that if you need!); start talking to the best economics professors at your college, meet with them during office hours, ask to do research with them and get more involved; and do something unpredictable like starting a reading club for people who don’t read or something like that, that shows uber initiative, humility, a sense of humor, and a strong drive all in one.

Starting a business, getting published in a magazine or newspaper, volunteering, conducting research with a professor…these are the sorts of go-getter things colleges want to see. I didn’t have a 4.0 when I transferred to Harvard. If you must know, I wasn’t even that close to having a 4.0. But what I did have was evidence that I had accessed every facet of my current school’s campus, and still wasn’t satisfied. I talked about desiring a community that matched my passion for learning, a community that made me outwardly curious. And I also had the ‘unexpected’ essay, the essay that stuck out from everything else in my application. They asked me what my favorite book was, and I wrote about Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne, because, truthfully, it was the book that most stuck out in my mind as defining me and my character over time. Yes, the essays do matter :slight_smile:

Let me know if that helps, and/or if you have further questions.



Well, that was an extremely helpful answer! Thank you so much for even responding.

In regard to retaking the SAT, should I also consider taking SAT Subject Tests (Math, preferably because it is my strong point) or just the normal SAT?

Also, I understand chess club is not showing my passion nor initiative. But, does that at least show leadership? Or would a better extracurricular be, for example, student government?

Lastly, I will be sure to come back to Crimson for advice/help for writing my essays.

Thanks again!

So glad it was helpful! You should definitely take some subject tests—at least one in your area of comfort (math), and I would advise you do something like English literature, which will show a sincere commitment to be better at an area of weakness (based on your original SAT CW score). You can self-study really hard to get above a 760, or you can grab some Crimson tutoring; either way, that should be the aim :slight_smile:

Here’s the thing: chess club is absolutely fine. It means you have a passion, and it means you took charge to pursue the passion. But by itself it’s not nearly enough. Student government is pretty much objectively better than chess club if you have to choose—but why not do both?

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