Transferring – Addendum about match not being right?

A forum for those current students who are or may be transferring from one school to another. Post any questions, advice, or other transfer related comments here.
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toobusy
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Transferring – Addendum about match not being right?

Postby toobusy » Thu May 06, 2010 3:18 pm

I am applying to transfer. I’ll probably end up somewhere in the top 15-25% at a T30 school. I have lots of academic reasons for wanting to transfer. I also feel strongly that the match between me and my law school is not good for me. I am not doing my best and am unhappy because of the mismatch. It is not about law or law school, both of which I enjoy. For example, I have been active in activities and I am an officer on e-boards for next year.

Is it good or bad to include an addendum with the transfer apps explaining the match being wrong? I think it is good because it shows I am not just trying to transferring up like most applicants. The professors I’ve talked to think I should stay if I make law review, but I haven’t told them I’m unhappy here in case I have to stay. I don’t want to trash my law school. Just to explain why it isn’t good for me. It is a little hard to explain without being negative on the school. I’ll deal with that when I sit down to write. It is obvious that transferring down is not a good idea. The problem is there is only way down and way up from where I am. I don’t quite have the grades to make the up part work for sure. Lateral transfers are not really an option because I sort of need to stay in the city I am in.

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romothesavior
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Re: Transferring – Addendum about match not being right?

Postby romothesavior » Thu May 06, 2010 3:22 pm

toobusy wrote:I am applying to transfer. I’ll probably end up somewhere in the top 15-25% at a T30 school. I have lots of academic reasons for wanting to transfer. I also feel strongly that the match between me and my law school is not good for me. I am not doing my best and am unhappy because of the mismatch. It is not about law or law school, both of which I enjoy. For example, I have been active in activities and I am an officer on e-boards for next year.

Is it good or bad to include an addendum with the transfer apps explaining the match being wrong? I think it is good because it shows I am not just trying to transferring up like most applicants. The professors I’ve talked to think I should stay if I make law review, but I haven’t told them I’m unhappy here in case I have to stay. I don’t want to trash my law school. Just to explain why it isn’t good for me. It is a little hard to explain without being negative on the school. I’ll deal with that when I sit down to write. It is obvious that transferring down is not a good idea. The problem is there is only way down and way up from where I am. I don’t quite have the grades to make the up part work for sure. Lateral transfers are not really an option because I sort of need to stay in the city I am in.


So let me get this straight: you are going to sacrifice your solid grades and potentially law review so you can lateral into another school with similar job prospects? I'm not saying happiness and fit aren't important... but you may be really shooting yourself in the foot long term.

toobusy
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Re: Transferring – Addendum about match not being right?

Postby toobusy » Thu May 06, 2010 3:45 pm

romothesavior wrote:So let me get this straight: you are going to sacrifice your solid grades and potentially law review so you can lateral into another school with similar job prospects? I'm not saying happiness and fit aren't important... but you may be really shooting yourself in the foot long term.


No. I'm trying to transfer up because only that makes sense. My question is only about the transfer addendum. I do think that it would be better to have a good fit in which I would likely do better at say a T10 w/o law review than to stay where I am even with law review.

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YCrevolution
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Re: Transferring – Addendum about match not being right?

Postby YCrevolution » Fri May 07, 2010 11:49 am

..

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Maximus
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Re: Transferring – Addendum about match not being right?

Postby Maximus » Fri May 07, 2010 12:18 pm

I'll be perfectly honest: I hate my current school, but when I wrote my essay about transferring, I did not mention that the school wasn't right for me rather I wrote about all the reasons why the transfer school is perfect for me (I'm ending it by highlighting some of my accomplishments at my current school and how I'm thankful that they gave me the opportunity to attend). Mis-matches happen all the time whether in employment, schools, relationships, etc.

toobusy
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Re: Transferring – Addendum about match not being right?

Postby toobusy » Fri May 07, 2010 4:20 pm

Maximus wrote:I'll be perfectly honest: I hate my current school, but when I wrote my essay about transferring, I did not mention that the school wasn't right for me rather I wrote about all the reasons why the transfer school is perfect for me (I'm ending it by highlighting some of my accomplishments at my current school and how I'm thankful that they gave me the opportunity to attend). Mis-matches happen all the time whether in employment, schools, relationships, etc.


How do you expect the new school to know you are not just BSing to move up? If you're grateful to your current school, why not just stay? I know why not, but how does the new school? Do the admissions folks bother to read into these applications that much?

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Maximus
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Re: Transferring – Addendum about match not being right?

Postby Maximus » Fri May 07, 2010 4:42 pm

Because I visited the school on three seperate occassions. I spent my spring break attending classes at the school and studying for my finals in their library. I spoke with professors, staff and students. My reasons are specific and I have actual experiences to support them.

For me it's not a move up, it's a move into an environment that is better suited for me personally, professionally and more important academically.

Also, the transfer school has dropped tiers in the rankings while mine has continued to climb (I more concerned about placing myself in an environment where I will comfortable rather than an environment based on rankings).

yabbadabbado
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Re: Transferring – Addendum about match not being right?

Postby yabbadabbado » Fri May 07, 2010 11:14 pm

Never bash your current school in a transfer PS. Just talk about how great the target school is and why you want to be there. Pick out specific things that explain why you think the target school is so great/and a good fit for you. That will be enough. Most transfer admissions decisions (when you are trying to move up) are made based on grades/class rank anyway, so as long as you made it clear you'd attend if you were accepted that's really all you can do.

toobusy
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Re: Transferring – Addendum about match not being right?

Postby toobusy » Sat May 08, 2010 4:49 pm

Maximus wrote:Because I visited the school on three seperate occassions. I spent my spring break attending classes at the school and studying for my finals in their library. I spoke with professors, staff and students. My reasons are specific and I have actual experiences to support them.

For me it's not a move up, it's a move into an environment that is better suited for me personally, professionally and more important academically.

Also, the transfer school has dropped tiers in the rankings while mine has continued to climb (I more concerned about placing myself in an environment where I will comfortable rather than an environment based on rankings).


If it is a more lateral move, then it is much more believable that you are moving for fit reasons without specifically saying so.

toobusy
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Re: Transferring – Addendum about match not being right?

Postby toobusy » Sat May 08, 2010 5:01 pm

yabbadabbado wrote:Never bash your current school in a transfer PS. Just talk about how great the target school is and why you want to be there. Pick out specific things that explain why you think the target school is so great/and a good fit for you. That will be enough. Most transfer admissions decisions (when you are trying to move up) are made based on grades/class rank anyway, so as long as you made it clear you'd attend if you were accepted that's really all you can do.


In theory I agree. The problem is that anyone can explain what is great about a target school. That could all be BS just to get in. I'm going to highlight what I like about my target school based upon visits, classes, etc. The problem is that I think that admissions might be more interested in a slightly weaker candidate by grades if they feel that the person genuinely wants to come and wants to leave their current school. That type of person is more likely to appreciate the transfer opportunity and excel. Just because someone is number one and says why not give Yale a try doesn't make them a better candidate than someone a little lower ranked with better reasons to transfer in and transfer out. I don't see how one can express the reasons to leave without any negativity. That is seems to be the reason for not trying, but I suggest maybe it is worth the risk.

For example, I could say I would give up law review at my school if admitted to the transfer school. I would, but I won't know about law review until later in the summer. I could say I participated in the transfer schools writing competition as an indication of dedication. That doesn't exactly tell them how I feel about my school. Maybe I'm just hedging my bets. Many transfer applicants are doing just that. I think the only way to tell them is to forget about political correctness and explain in as gentle a way as possible why I don't fit my school and why their school fits better.

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Matthies
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Re: Transferring – Addendum about match not being right?

Postby Matthies » Sat May 08, 2010 5:27 pm

toobusy wrote: I think the only way to tell them is to forget about political correctness and explain in as gentle a way as possible why I don't fit my school and why their school fits better.


Yea tell them you prefer their school because your current school has too many, poors, minorities and women. :twisted:

toobusy
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Re: Transferring – Addendum about match not being right?

Postby toobusy » Sat May 08, 2010 5:56 pm

Matthies wrote:
Yea tell them you prefer their school because your current school has too many, poors, minorities and women. :twisted:


Anecdotally from sitting in classes, the higher ranked schools have more minorities and women. No way to know about poors, but I'd guess they have more of those too.

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Matthies
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Re: Transferring – Addendum about match not being right?

Postby Matthies » Sat May 08, 2010 6:20 pm

toobusy wrote:
Matthies wrote:
Yea tell them you prefer their school because your current school has too many, poors, minorities and women. :twisted:


Anecdotally from sitting in classes, the higher ranked schools have more minorities and women. No way to know about poors, but I'd guess they have more of those too.


Glad I went to a TTT then!

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Transferring – Addendum about match not being right?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Sun May 09, 2010 7:31 pm

toobusy wrote:
Matthies wrote:
Yea tell them you prefer their school because your current school has too many, poors, minorities and women. :twisted:


Anecdotally from sitting in classes, the higher ranked schools have more minorities and women. No way to know about poors, but I'd guess they have more of those too.


:?:

:lol:

.... seriously? Let me get this straight: you think that higher ranked schools, which take people with higher GPAs and LSAT scores (and nominally do consider quality of UG institution, at least when all else is equal,) have more students who had to work to put food on the table through high school/undergrad, weren't able to consider LSAT prep classes/tutors/dedicating months to LSAT prep while not working?

/facepalm

No. Just... no. Socioeconomic diversity scores you limited, if any, points.

yabbadabbado
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Re: Transferring – Addendum about match not being right?

Postby yabbadabbado » Sun May 09, 2010 7:38 pm

Toobusy,

I was a transfer. For transferring up, I can tell you that most transfer decisions are almost mechanical in nature. They are basically looking for people with the strongest grades/rank that they think will attend the school if admitted. Of course, the school you are trying to transfer from can play a big role and they will evaluate your performance in light of what school you are trying to leave. Some schools will turn down strong applicants for transfer if the school thinks they are just going to end up attending a higher ranked school anyway. That's why you sometimes see transfer applicants get rejected from schools in the 20-30 range but they get into t14s.

They don't care why you want to transfer for the most part. They say they do, but they really don't. If you are trying to move up, they assume that you want to attend a higher ranked school for the opportunity the new school would afford, or obvious things like being in a larger, more popular city.

And if you come off nasty about your old school in your PS, they are going to be suspect about admitting you. Just like employers don't want malcontents who say bad things about their old boss/job, schools don't want to let people in who had bad things to say about their old school.

toobusy wrote:The problem is that I think that admissions might be more interested in a slightly weaker candidate by grades if they feel that the person genuinely wants to come and wants to leave their current school. That type of person is more likely to appreciate the transfer opportunity and excel. Just because someone is number one and says why not give Yale a try doesn't make them a better candidate than someone a little lower ranked with better reasons to transfer in and transfer out.

toobusy
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Re: Transferring – Addendum about match not being right?

Postby toobusy » Sun May 09, 2010 8:34 pm

yabbadabbado wrote:
They don't care why you want to transfer for the most part. They say they do, but they really don't. If you are trying to move up, they assume that you want to attend a higher ranked school for the opportunity the new school would afford, or obvious things like being in a larger, more popular city.

And if you come off nasty about your old school in your PS, they are going to be suspect about admitting you. Just like employers don't want malcontents who say bad things about their old boss/job, schools don't want to let people in who had bad things to say about their old school.


I think there is a difference between being a nasty malcontent and being honest that it isn't working as well as it could at the new school. I can point to specific differences between the schools on specific issues. I just can't do that without acknowledging that my school has what I perceive to be major failings. Some of the failings are abstract, but impact my entire experience. It is implied that a t14 is better than a t30. It isn't obvious or more subtle issues. Also, each person is affected differently by certain environments. That is not going to be perceptible to the adcoms without specific details. People do get into transfer schools and don't go because of money, law review, etc. I'd go regardless because for me a better match will beget more fulfilling success.

I might call some admission deans at a schools I'm not applying to and feel them out.

yabbadabbado
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Re: Transferring – Addendum about match not being right?

Postby yabbadabbado » Mon May 10, 2010 4:58 pm

I'm sorry you feel wronged by "major failings" at your school. I'm not being sarcastic...it sucks that you haven't had a good experience at your school. What you may not realize is that the school(s) you are trying to transfer to have similar problems, and you just can't determine that until you actually start attending there. Either that or they have a different set of problems that are going to drive you up the wall.

I stand by what I said before and I think it is very unwise to criticize your current school in a transfer P.S. Even though you may feel your P.S. is tempered and tactful, it may not come off that way. The best way to avoid problems is to just avoid getting on the topic in the first place. Bottom line is that it's going to hurt you more than it will help you. You'll come off like a complainer at best, and no one likes a complainer. I'm sure you can figure out how to write a 3/4 page, double spaced P.S. that avoids any criticism. If you want to think bad things about your current school, fine, but the P.S. just isn't the place to be venting about it.

Call admissions deans if you want, but you'll probably just get a bunch of B.S. from them.

toobusy
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Re: Transferring – Addendum about match not being right?

Postby toobusy » Mon May 10, 2010 8:05 pm

yabbadabbado wrote:I'm sorry you feel wronged by "major failings" at your school. I'm not being sarcastic...it sucks that you haven't had a good experience at your school. What you may not realize is that the school(s) you are trying to transfer to have similar problems, and you just can't determine that until you actually start attending there. Either that or they have a different set of problems that are going to drive you up the wall.

I stand by what I said before and I think it is very unwise to criticize your current school in a transfer P.S. Even though you may feel your P.S. is tempered and tactful, it may not come off that way. The best way to avoid problems is to just avoid getting on the topic in the first place. Bottom line is that it's going to hurt you more than it will help you. You'll come off like a complainer at best, and no one likes a complainer. I'm sure you can figure out how to write a 3/4 page, double spaced P.S. that avoids any criticism. If you want to think bad things about your current school, fine, but the P.S. just isn't the place to be venting about it.

Call admissions deans if you want, but you'll probably just get a bunch of B.S. from them.


I had a chat with a visiting professor who is probably the smartest law professor I have had. He notices the fit issues I'm talking about as well. Not all schools have this issue. It works for some, but not me. Other schools might have others, but this is really a fit issue not a silly thing like not liking the library. He felt the best way to handle it is make a strong positive statement about the target school like "X school is one of the best in the country for ..." which must imply the current school is not as good. I already did this in my PS draft. I will revise and beef things up to attempt to convey the opposites of why I want out. I will not be negative about my school at all. I won't bother with an addendum, but might end up with a slightly longer PS of say 3 pages.

Is it ok to say "X school provides a Y atmosphere that my current school lacks?" Or is that too negative and I should drop the italicized portion since it adds no positive substance?

Thanks to all for your comments.

yabbadabbado
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Re: Transferring – Addendum about match not being right?

Postby yabbadabbado » Mon May 10, 2010 8:30 pm

Sounds like the prof set you on the right track.

I would drop the italicized portion. Also, three pages seems a bit long. Maybe try to cut it down to two pages max if you can.

Good luck.

toobusy
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Re: Transferring – Addendum about match not being right?

Postby toobusy » Mon May 10, 2010 9:45 pm

yabbadabbado wrote:Sounds like the prof set you on the right track.

I would drop the italicized portion. Also, three pages seems a bit long. Maybe try to cut it down to two pages max if you can.

Good luck.


I agree three is bit long. I cut it to almost two, but then added stuff in so it is swelling to 2.75. I have much more to say now than in the first go round. More intensively tailoring it to a school makes it longer. However, my law school one was much better. I'm too distracted with finals and other stuff at the moment. Hopefully after finals my fog will clear enough to start downing the needless words from the essay forest. I might have to trash it an rewrite entirely. I'm missing the flow and alliteration from last years. Law school is making me dumb.




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