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If you want to switch schools, for instance, because you want to complete your degree online, you will need your college transcripts. They are also needed for things such as applying for a new job, for scholarships, or to be admitted to a new degree program. Requesting your transcripts is not an overly complicated process, but you do have to know what you are doing. The information below should explain the process.
Understanding College Transcripts
A transcript is basically a copy of your academic record. This means it shows which courses you took and when, which degree you have been awarded, what your major was, what the level of your degree is, what your Grade Point Average (GPA) is, and which honors you have received while in school.
What to Do Before Submitting a Transcript
Before you actually submit a transcript, you should:
- Make sure you do not currently have an outstanding balance to pay with the institution, as they will not release your official transcripts if you do.
- Make sure that the transcript is placed inside a sealed envelope, and that you ink stamp it to demonstrate there has been no alteration to the document.
- Speak to the recipient of the transcripts to determine how they want to receive it. Some, for instance, want it to be sent directly to them in the sealed envelope, while others want all materials to be in a single package.
Submitting Your Request for a Transcript
Obtaining your official transcripts can be a little bit tricky. The first thing you have to do is speak to the Registrar’s Office at the school you attended. They will usually require a written consent before they will agree to release your transcript. This is part of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Hence, it is best to contact them in writing. Because of the developments in technology, some schools now have an electronic process for applications, but not all do this. Hence, make sure to check the website of your school to determine what their regulations are.
Schools, colleges, and universities have important rules and regulations in place to prevent fraud, which is why they will ask for certain pieces of personal details in order to confirm you are who you say you are. These pieces of information usually include:
- An original handwritten signature
- Your student ID number
- Your social security number
- The dates you attended the school
- The date of your graduation
- Your full name and address details
Before they will mail your transcripts to you, they will usually place it in a sealed, ink stamped envelope, which proves there have been no alteration. This usually takes about ten days to complete. You may also be charged a fee to receive your transcript. Usually, this is between $3 and $10, depending on the school, and you may also have to pay shipping fees.
Transcripts will not be sent directly to you in person. Rather, they will be sent to the school you are applying for, or the employer who wants to see your record. As stated previously, this will be done in a sealed envelope, to prove that they have not been tempered with. You should receive confirmation from the school or employer that they have received your transcripts.
Why You Need Transcripts
There are several reasons as to why you may need a copy of your official transcripts. These include:
- You wanting to be admitted to a different school, college, or university.
- You wanting to be admitted to a new degree program, online or offline.
- You wanting to apply for a grant or scholarship.
- You wanting to be considered for an internship.
- You wanting to be considered for a job.
What to Do If You Encounter a Problem
Transcripts Do Not Arrive
If your transcripts have not arrived when you expected them to, you need to contact the Registrar’s Office and ask them whether they have processed it yet. Oftentimes, they will send the transcripts through registered mail, which means they will be able to track it should it not have arrived yet. Normally, the transcripts should be received within 10 days, so if it is more than 10 days and the transcripts have not yet arrived, you will need to contact the school.
Envelope Seems Tampered
Another potential problem is that the envelope looks as if it has been tampered with. If that is the case, you need to take photographs of the envelope as you have received it. Do not open it further. Immediately contact the school at that time and ask how they want you to proceed.
If School Is Reluctant to Provide the Transcript
There should not be a limit to how often you can request transcripts. If your school seems to be reluctant to provide you with a transcript, it is likely that something else is going on. For instance, you may still have outstanding fees and charges with them. They should be able to inform you about that.
What If Your School’s Name Has Changed
Another potential issue is that the name of your school has changed since you have attended it. Normally, all academic records will then be relocated and moved over to the new institution. Normally, you should be able to contact the new Registrar’s Office, and they will be able to provide you with your transcripts. Should your school or college no longer exist, however, you will need to contact the State Board of Education in the state where the school used to be located. They will be able to determine where your transcripts are now located, and how you can obtain copies of them.
What About Unofficial Transcripts?
On an unofficial transcript, you should see all the same details and information that is found on the official version. However, this transcript will not have the official seal of the school on it, nor will it be signed by the school’s registrar. Unofficial transcripts are still beneficial for your own administration, however. You should be able to request them in the same was as your official transcripts, but they will be sent directly to you and they won’t be placed in sealed envelopes. This process is generally cheaper, as well as quicker. You may even be able to obtain a copy online, or to have it emailed to you by the school.