My University of Maryland Transfer Application Essay That Got me Accepted

Need your essay reviewed? Email me at zach (at)

I applied to college the other day. My University of Maryland (UMD) transfer essay was one of the more fun aspects of applying.

You might remember that about a year ago I asked the internet what I should do — return to university or not.

Most respondents said I should go back to school.

I’m excited to share (a year later) that I have taken the first step towards making that a reality. I’ve applied to become a student at the University of Maryland.

I had a lot of fun writing my UMD transfer essay and I’m excited to share it here, online. The University of Maryland transfer application has no prompt. It’s pretty “wide-open.” The only restriction is a 300 word limit. It was a challenge to create a compelling argument in so few words. Hopefully I did.

The “prompt”

Please describe your past academic experiences and your reasons for wishing to enroll to Maryland at this point in your academic career. Students who have been out of school for several years, or who have a personal circumstance that affected performance, may wish to address that situation in their essay. Your essay should be no more than 300 words.

The UMD transfer essay

The University of Maryland has embraced the “Fearless Ideas” mantra. “Fearless ideas ignite bold invention.” “Fearless ideas drive passionate leaders.” “Fearless ideas launch daring ventures.” It is undeniable that fearless ideas are at the core of the University’s mission and vision.

At 21 years old I am fortunate to have experience pursuing “fearless ideas” — I founded a company from my dorm room while in college. Yet, one thing I am missing is a strong academic foundation. I’m excited to combine my experience with a world-class education.

In the past I have struggled to take schoolwork seriously, yet now with experience under my belt, I feel more prepared than ever to dedicate myself to the challenge. I am applying to the University of Maryland initially as a non-degree seeking student to help me pursue my own fearless ideas.

In December of 2014, my mother was diagnosed with a rare form of late stage lung cancer. When she told me, I knew that I needed to be at home to give and receive support. I withdrew from the University of Pittsburgh to live full-time at home in Maryland.

In the nearly two years since, I have started my career. I joined an established company called MarketSmart, founded by a University of Maryland alum, Greg Warner.

At MarketSmart I started as a graphic designer and web programmer — skills I had taught myself while in high school. Since then, my role has evolved. Now, I oversee an entirely new department that I helped create. I was given an opportunity to pursue a fearless idea, and I ran with it. Along the way I learned that it takes hard work to turn a fearless idea into a successful reality.

Returning to college is my latest fearless idea. I can’t wait to get started.

The decision

I was accepted as a student to the University of Maryland.

I ultimately declined to attend.

Need help with your application?

Do you need someone to review your essay? If so, email me at zach (at), and I’ll help you out.

About the author

I'm Zach Shefska, welcome to my personal website. I'm currently working on CarEdge. I like to travel, write, and make pottery.