Friday, October 26, 2012

The Application Process: Transcripts

We get a lot of questions in the Admissions Office about transcripts: where to send them, what formats we accept, if we require translations and/or evaluations, etc.
Here’s the skinny: We require official transcripts for all college-level course work
What does “official transcripts” mean?  An official transcript is issued to SAIS from the college, either electronically (via a service such as eScrip or Scrip-Safe) or in hard copy (paper).  If take the paper route, you can (and should) request that the school send the transcript directly to SAIS.  If you choose to deliver the transcript to SAIS yourself, it still needs to be sealed in the original envelope, with your college registrar’s stamp over the seal.
What’s not considered official: a grade report printout from your student account; a photocopy; a transcript that’s already been opened.
What does “all college-level course work” mean? Isn’t my degree-granting transcript enough?  Most students have at least a few transfer credits on their undergrad transcript for various reasons, ranging from study abroad to summer programs to switching schools.  You will need to submit transcripts for ALL of this coursework.  We want to see how you’ve done in all your coursework–not just some of it. 
Check with your alma mater.  If they list the course titles AND grades for all transferred credits on your degree-granting transcript, then you don’t need any additional paperwork.  If they don’t do that, ask if they have copies of the other school’s transcript in your files - if they do, you can ask them to include copies with your degree-granting transcript.  (Most schools have these and are willing to send along copies.) 
If neither of these options works for you, you’ll need to contact multiple schools to request all the transcripts you need.  Additionally, if you’ve taken any additional coursework post-graduation, for credit, you’ll need to supply those transcripts as well.
What about international transcripts?  Regarding non-American transcripts, there’s no sense in re-inventing the wheel.  I wrote a blog post last year that  covered this very subject, and it’s still relevant (and, more importantly, accurate) today.  If you want for get the skinny on international transcripts, I suggest you read the following post: What’s the deal with international transcripts?
In other news, did you know that we have some recruiting events on the west coast next week?  It’s true, we do!  We’ll be in the Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles areas, doing a combination of graduate fairs and school visits.  To find our where we’ll be and to get more information, visit our recruiting schedule.
Thanks for reading!
– Erin Skelly Cameron, Associate Director of Admissions