Sending transcripts

nmarquez027
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:29 pm

Sending transcripts

Postby nmarquez027 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:08 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm new to the forum, so please let me know if this question was asked before. I'm looking forward to apply to the graduate programs in Physics at Universities here in the US by the end of this year, and in the process of doing so I came across a common requirement from most of them regarding transcripts. Usually either one or two copies of the transcripts are required, which have to be signed, stamped and sealed in a official envelope and sent directly from the home University to the University where the person is applying. The problem is, in my home University (I'm an international applicant) they don't have the resources for sending this copies directly to the US. In some Universities (Stanford for example) they even state that they won't accept copies sent from an individual himself, so what are the options in a case like that?

Thanks!

TakeruK
Posts: 874
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Sending transcripts

Postby TakeruK » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:23 pm

You see these requirements stated the way they are because they are "calibrated" for North American schools, which often have systems in place to distribute transcripts. However, as you said, many international schools don't distribute transcripts in this manner. Fortunately, most US schools also know this about international schools, so they likely have a procedure in place to handle these exceptions.

First, I would find out what is possible from your home University so that when you contact the US schools, you know what are you able to provide.

Then, I would email the department you are applying to and explain that your undergrad school in [name of your country] does not allow you to send sealed transcripts directly to their school. Say what is possible and ask them what they would like you to do instead.

Finally, US applications are often a two-step process, with some University-wide office (e.g. the Faculty of Graduate Studies) managing the application documents and giving final approval/admission to the school while the Department selects the candidates to nominate for admission. So, whatever happens, you will likely also have to meet document requirements for the University as well. So, if your department arranges for you to send transcripts or grades in some other way, depending on the solution, you might need to also email someone at the University level to ensure your application will be regarded as complete.

One common solution for international students with limited ability to send transcripts would be to ask you to just send unofficial transcripts for the department to make the decision. After they have accepted you and you decide to come, then they might ask for an official transcript. So, even for schools without the ability to efficiently send out lots of sealed transcripts, they might be able to send one single copy once you decide where you want to go. Usually the graduate school / University level admin might be okay with a copy of your degree instead of your transcript too. But these things depend on each school, so you'll need to talk to each place you're applying to if you can't easily get the documents they need.

nmarquez027
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:29 pm

Re: Sending transcripts

Postby nmarquez027 » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:03 pm

Thanks for the reply. Actually, my home University can provide me with a signed, stamped and envelope-sealed copy of the transcripts, the only problem is that they do not have the resources for sending this abroad. Would you say that if I email the copies myself my whole application could be considered as non-valid? Is it that strict? Also, if that's the case, should I have to contact each one of the University departments I'm applying explaining this situation?

TakeruK
Posts: 874
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Sending transcripts

Postby TakeruK » Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:52 am

nmarquez027 wrote:Thanks for the reply. Actually, my home University can provide me with a signed, stamped and envelope-sealed copy of the transcripts, the only problem is that they do not have the resources for sending this abroad. Would you say that if I email the copies myself my whole application could be considered as non-valid? Is it that strict? Also, if that's the case, should I have to contact each one of the University departments I'm applying explaining this situation?


Yes, you should contact each University that requests a signed, stamped, and sealed copy of your transcript. You must follow the instructions or get permission for an alternative. In one sense, I think it is strict because some application systems will automatically filter out your application if it's not complete. However, it is also not "strict" in the sense that if you are able to explain your situation to the department, they will be able to find an exception for you.

But remember, you only have to contact the Universities that require signed, stamped and sealed copies of your transcripts at the application stage. Many universities do not require this official transcript just to apply....they often are okay with a scanned copy of your own transcript or even a screenshot from your online student record.

It's good that you can easily get signed, stamped and sealed copies of your transcript. You should let the schools you're applying to know this. I think one solution they might accept is for you to receive the signed, stamped and envelope-sealed copy from your school, and then put that entire sealed envelope into a bigger envelope and mail that to the school you're applying to. Or, will your own school send the copies abroad if you pay for the shipping?

However, this is all assuming that the main problem is that your school won't send the transcripts. Depending on where you are, it could be very expensive for you personally to send all these transcripts too! If you are facing financial hardship to apply, you should let the school know as well. They might offer more affordable solutions, such as accepting an unofficial transcript to judge your application and then only requesting you mail (or bring with you) the official transcript if you accept the offer. This way, whatever difficulty you have to face, you only have to face once.




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