Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Transcript Trouble

Hi Tom,

I really enjoy your column and book. Thank you for the wonderful help you've been to me and countless others.

My code name is Araya88. My question pertains to admissions, below:

I am a Canadian student applying to MFA programs in Canada and the US. I'm nervous, because all schools require all official transcripts from an undergraduate degree. Mine includes a year-long exchange at an unnamed institution in Europe. This university has been really, really disorganized from day 1, and the admissions exec have not answered any of my phone calls, e-mails, or letters from my alma mater asking that original transcripts be sent to the various schools I'm applying to.

Has anyone else been in this situation? I'm trying not to worry, but it's scary to think I might not get in based on this technicality.

Thanks in advance for your help,


Araya88, I can't predict how your situation will turn out, but I can tell you this: In almost all cases, your application will go to the MFA program first, then the Graduate School second.

In other words, let's pretend that I'm the WHOLE MFA committee. I read your writing sample, your personal statement, your letters of recommendation. I want you for TKU. Then, once I've made this decision, I send your official documents onto the TKU Graduate School Administrative Offices, and they process to see if you meet university requirements.

The reason for this: The Graduate School only wants the 20 or so acceptances, not the 400 applications.

This works in your favor. If you still haven't gotten things straight with the No Name European College (sounds fishy to me, Araya88, but I'll let is slide), then you can attach a note with your transcript. If they love your creative work, they'll likely call you in March/April and say, "We've run into a problem with your transcript. Help us work it out."

My point: Try to work it out now. Actually try really hard to work it out now. But if you don't, you're not sunk by the application deadline. Hope this is helpful.

1 comment:

StoshaD said...


I am with Araya88. I am having a similar issue except that I am a U.S. student. I studied abroad at St. Petersburg State University for the summer and was awarded 11 credits from my home institution, UNCC. There is one original of my transcript in UNCC's possession and I have photocopies. Some of the 12 programs I am applying to will take the photocopies and the display of these courses on my UNCC transcript while quite a few are demanding that I produce an original. I have made dozens of attempts to contact SPSU to get my transcript with no success. Do you think I can provide the photocopy and a letter from the study abroad director explaining the situation or should I just save my 50$?