When applying to study abroad, you’ll be asked to share your transcripts. It’s an important part of your application to get right. Schools will hold back student applications due to incomplete documentation–including transcripts. Don’t let that happen to you! To help your application process run smoothly, we’ve collected some key steps for requesting and organizing transcripts below.
About Official Transcripts
Because you’ll need to send original copies of your transcript with your application packages, it’s a good idea to request them as early as possible. To be considered official, transcripts usually need to be sent directly from the registrar’s office at the school you attended to the academic institution you’re applying to. You’ll put in the request, but usually won’t handle your transcript yourself.
Official transcripts must be printed on the institution’s official transcript paper and have the school seal (or the right combination of signatures). While most academic institutions still send print transcripts, some can send transcripts electronically. Check with your past schools to see which methods they offer.
Also, check application pages at your target institutions for their guidelines! Some organizations, including Ontario Universities’ Application Centre, won’t accept printed transcripts or supporting documents, and won’t forward them on to your target colleges or universities.
Helping Target Institutions Understand Your Credentials
Looking at study in Canada or the United States? Some academic institutions may request a credential evaluation with your application. This report helps colleges and universities understand how your coursework matches up with their country’s curriculum. In Canada, this report is generally completed by World Education Services (WES) or International Credential Assessment Service of Canada (ICAS). In the US, most agencies are affiliated with boards like the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or the Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE).
Planning to study in the United Kingdom? Some colleges and universities will request a Statement of Comparability. Much like a credential evaluation in North America, a Statement of Comparability will provide evidence of the level of your overseas qualification. This process is managed by the UK Network of Information Centres (UK ENIC), under contract with the UK Department of Education.
If you’re studying in Ireland, refer to the National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC)’s searchable Foreign Qualifications Database. This database compares your qualifications to an Irish qualification level on the Irish National Framework of Qualifications. Note that this database is only advisory, and doesn’t count as a legal document.
In Australia, meanwhile, check with your academic institution for their procedure. In most cases, individual academic institutions will assess your qualifications independently.
Requesting a transcript can take a little longer during busy parts of the year (like the start of the school year, exam times, and graduation). This is especially true for schools that mail them out. As such, it’s a good idea to start requesting transcripts one to two years before you want to become an international student.
If you studied in a language other than English, you’ll also need to have a vetted source translate your transcript into English. Every academic institution has different guidelines around who is an appropriate translator, so check the application pages of your target schools for specifics. Many certified translation services offer a turnaround of two to three days.
Lastly, make sure your transcript is complete and easy to read. If something is missing, or can’t be read, your application may be suspended or even rejected.
Applying to Study Abroad While Still in School?
We know that everyone’s academic journey looks different. Many students apply to study abroad when they’re still in high school or university. Their transcripts will be incomplete compared to someone who has finished all their classes.
If this is true for you, here are a few things you can do to improve your application.
- Include a letter of enrollment from your current school. Make sure the letter includes when you’re expected to graduate.
- Ask your current instructors for the grades they predict you’ll receive.
By including the predicted grades and letter of enrollment, your transcript has a better shot at approval.
These strategies should help your application process run smoothly! Remember to give yourself more time than you think you’ll need for requesting transcripts. And, ensure you’re following the guidelines for each of your target institutions. With those tips in mind, you’re well on your way to becoming an international student. Best of luck on your journey!
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