Do I HAVE To Submit All College Transcripts?

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  • Last Post 17 June 2011
admin posted this 17 June 2011 - Last edited 24 February 2016

I'm considering applying to a university in the US that offers on-line degrees (an entirely legit university with an "A" rating from this site). Their website says to send all transcripts from previous colleges along with one's application. However, I'm wondering if a sin of omission wouldn't be better in my case. My freshman year in college was 30 years ago. I was unprepared for life on my own and I basically blew off everything that I didn't want to do, which meant that my grades for that year were very poor. I then went to a community college off and on for the next few years, again only applying myself when I wanted to and dropping out of courses when I didn't. Consequently, my grades for the 6 or 7 semesters I attended there, were atrocious. Frankly, if I worked in an admissions office, I wouldn't give a person with my transcripts a second glance. However, in the more than two decades since then, I've matured considerably, my values have changed, and I now would like to earn a Bachelor's Degree and then go on to a particular university outside of the US for a Master's. I don't want to deceive a prospective school but at the same time, I don't want to sabotage my chances of being accepted, either to the US university or the one outside of the US, whose admissions are extremely selective. 1. In sending my high school transcripts to a prospective university, is there any way that they could tell that I had attended any college after high school? 2. Would simply omitting to include whatever transcripts still exist out there for me with my application be more likely to improve my chances of acceptance; starting from a blank slate, as it were? Or would I have the same (or better) shot if I had my transcripts forwarded but also tried to plead on my behalf with the application? Thank you for any opinions.

1 Comments
VickyPhillips posted this 17 June 2011 - Last edited 24 February 2016

That's a very interesting question. An honest one, too.

Believe it or not I have heard this same question several times before back when I was a college registrar and admissions counselor.

So, 30 years ago you attended at least 2 colleges and at both did not leave a stellar record. eh?

Well, that is also true of many people who go to college young and are not really prepared or motivated. Many online learning degree programs enroll older students who have checkered academic pasts, so the good thing is that your case may not be as unusual as you think.

Your questions --

1) Should you pretend you never went to college and submit only your high school transcripts to the college you now want to attend?

Hmmmm, I have to say it's probably not a good idea to do this. In fact, it may be illegal to do this.

The reason is because almost all colleges have honor codes or ethics clauses that go along with the admissions process that require applicants to certify that your application is true and complete. Moreover most honor clauses/codes allow the university to actually revoke your credits/degrees earned if it is every revealed that you submitted false records. They would consider a sin of omission -- leaving off bad old college transcripts -- a violation of this ethics clause.

For the record I do know of at least 1 case where someone earned a degree and then had it revoked because they submitted false transcripts from a college they never attended. It would be a risky move on your part.

The good news -- most adult degree programs are very forgiving of old college records -- especially if it all happened 20-30 years ago. Most colleges require applicants to have a 2.0 (C) transfer average from all previous college.

BUT if you applied with an honest 1.0 almost all colleges will still accept you but mark your status as "provisional." Provisional means that you are admitted to the degree program BUT will be allowed to take some courses. Then, you have to pass these courses. Once you pass these courses and show that you can pass college courses they let you be formally admitted to the degree program.

Besides, while your overall GPA may not be 2.0 (C) I bet you had a few courses that you did pass with at least a C or B. If so, you can still probably get credit for those courses toward a new degree.

2) In sending my high school transcripts to a prospective university, is there any way that they could tell that I had attended any college after high school?

Most likely, yes. I've seen a lot of transcripts in my day. Often high school transcripts do get updated and marked with a list of colleges were they have sent that transcripts and sometimes with notations that the student was admitted or received aid or rec letters from the college. So, you can;t be sure there is no record of college on your HS scripts. It's a toss up on that item.

3)Or would I have the same (or better) shot if I had my transcripts forwarded but also tried to plead on my behalf with the application?

I don't know which college you are seeking admission to .. but based on a long record working inside adult degree programs I'd advise you be honest and then plead your case. If you write an honest impassioned application and point out that you were a bit of a fool when younger I am betting almost EVERY school you apply to will accept you. It will probably be a "provisional" acceptance but that just means you'll have to take a few courses to prove yourself.

Be Well,

Vicky Phillips
Founder - GetEducated