In the category of YES IT’S TIME TO GET STARTED!!! we have today’s post about what types of documentation for past educational history do you need to submit as part of your MBA applications.
Most schools have very standardized requirements on the transcripts you need to submit with your app, but there are some variations and edge cases that you need to know about.
The most basic case is that you need the unofficial transcript from the school that you graduated from with every degree you hold.
Does it need to be the official transcript? No, and in fact the MBA programs do not want you getting official transcripts sent over just yet. An official transcript is one coming directly from the registrar at the graduating institution, where it (usually) gets mailed straight to the incoming institution in a special envelope that’s been sealed and made “official” in some way.
You’ll need to request that your school send YOU the transcripts, and by nature of you being the one who receives them and opens them, that means that they are “unofficial.” It’s the same exact record, it’s just that you have it in your hot little hands, and it didn’t go directly into the official record of the incoming school. Some schools now do this electronically of course. If you have the transcript though then (unless we’re mistaken on this point based on some new technogizmo innovation) it’s not the official one. And that’s fine for the purpose of applying.
What you don’t want is the student info services screenprint. Some schools have this place where they display grades to the student online. A list of the grades is not the same as a transcript. Request the transcript from the registrar. It still may come in electronically but it needs to be a transcript, not an output of the courses taken (yes there’s a difference).
But what about the school you attended for a few weeks or a summer during a study abroad or a language immersion?
You need those grades too – and not just that you earned 9 credits during that semester, but the actual courses you took and the grades you received. If that level of detail is missing from your graduating institution transcript then you need to request it separately from your foreign (study abroad) university.
What about transfer institutions? What if you started at a junior college or a community college or one college far away and then you had to move closer to home? What if you attended multiple places to earn your undergraduate degree?
Same with the study-abroad experience: If all of the details are on the graduating institution’s transcript and it shows which institution you earned those credits in, then you’re fine. If your final transcript from the place that issued you the degree captures the details, you just need that one transcript. If it’s only got summary info or is capturing just how many credits transferred over, you need to get the transcript from the first institution as well. The MBA adcoms need the details — course names and grades and credits earned.
What about graduate degrees?
Yes, all of those are needed as well. If you only attended one institution and it’s got your bachelor’s and your master’s and your PhD all on one file, you’re fine. If you attended multiple schools, then those need to be gotten separately.
What if you enrolled but you did not graduate? What if you (eek!) dropped out of a program? What if you started at law school or medical school and you decided not to continue?
First of all, it’s not as much of an “eek!” as you may think. And this is where many schools’ policies might diverge. This topic is so important that we’re going to capture it in a dedicated post on it separately.
What if your transcripts show that, umm, you didn’t do so great in school?
That has been covered significantly all over this blahg (check the ‘snarchive!!), and a situation where you might also want to look into our Transcripts & Grades App Accelerator if you want additional information and support in evaluating.
What if your transcripts are not in English?
This is a full-post topic
, which we’ll come back to soon! POSTED HERE!