An essential, often forgotten component to your graduate admissions application is your academic transcript. Your graduate application is not complete until your official academic transcript is received.
What Is an Official Academic Transcript?
Your official academic transcript lists all the courses that you have taken and your grades earned. It is "official" because it is sent directly from your college or university to the graduate admissions office and it bears the official college or university stamp, signifying its validity.
How Do You Request Your Official Academic Transcript?
Request your transcripts by contacting the Registrar's Office at your university. Stop by the office and you can complete a series of forms, pay fees, and you're on your way. Some institutions allow students to request transcripts online. Visit the Registrar's Office webpage to determine if your institution provides online transcript services.
What Do You Need to Request Your Official Academic Transcript?
Have the addresses for all the graduate schools to which you are applying on hand. You'll need to provide the Registrar's Office with each address. Be prepared to pay a fee for each transcript that you request, typically $10-$20 each.
When Do You Request Your Official Academic Transcript?
Regardless of whether you request your transcript online or in person, you must process your transcript order early, well before the admissions deadline. What many applicants don't realize is that the official transcript is sent directly from the Registrar's Office at their university to the graduate admissions offices of the schools to which they are applying. The Registrar's Offices of most institutions require at least 10 business days or about 2 weeks to send official transcripts. It's a good idea to check with your university well beforehand to ensure that you request your official academic transcripts on time.
In addition, the admissions season is a very busy time, so it's a good idea to request transcripts even earlier than the guidelines set by the Registrar's Office. Allow for time to resend the transcripts if necessary. Sometimes transcripts are lost in the mail. Your graduate admissions application is not complete until your official academic transcripts are received, so don't let something silly like missing transcripts jeopardize your application.