I don't remember much of High School, but I don't believe my transcripts that I was on the Ladies' Tennis Team.
February 25, 2012 1:11 AM   Subscribe

My high school transcripts have major errors in them and no one in the school system wants to help me fix them! I'm pretty sure I had more than a 0.0 GPA and I know wasn't on the girls' tennis team! (I'm a guy, I think I would remember the skirts!) Will this effect my chances at returning to college?

I am returning to college to finally get my bachelors. I am over the age of 24 and have a 2-year degree from a community college where I had a 3.6 GPA.

At the college I plan to attend, if you're over 24 and have attended college previously, you only need to submit college & high school transcripts with your application.

After being tired of the drama in high school, I eventually dropped out, got my GED, and went to a community college. Dropping out was one of the best things I ever did and allowed me to retain a small portion of my sanity.

Before they sealed my high school transcripts, I asked to see them and they begrudgingly allowed me to. I'm so glad I asked. There were just a few errors. According to my transcripts, I...

- Continued to attend high school a year after I dropped out
- Received only F's from 9th to 12th grade. This explains my 0.0 GPA.
- Was a 10th grader from 10-12th grade.
- Took Chemistry I four times in the same year.
- Took French I four times over the course of my high school years, while taking German and Russian. (I took each of these languages once. After the 11th grade, I determined that I was lucky to speak English and did not try a language again until college Spanish.)
- Was missing 1/2 a credit of Algebra. I still took higher level maths, which all require a complete Algebra credit as a prerequisite.
- Was on the Ladies' tennis team... which has two problems: All extra curricular activities required a 2.0 GPA and I have a penis.

As I said, no one at the school district seems interested in helping me with this problem. They've all been telling me someone else down the line is the person who might be able to help.

It's so comical, but also sort of spending an evening with a psycho ex... you are reminded very clearly why you broke it off to begin with.

And a little back story, my high school has been accused of falsifying transcripts and incorrectly reporting dropouts.
posted by aristan to Education (21 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My university (well attended, "real" university) doesn't even require high school transcripts if you have more than 30 hours of college coursework. You should be fine.
posted by anaelith at 1:53 AM on February 25, 2012

I've had special circumstances arise re: college enrollment (I had to get permission to overload for a double major in another college; my brother petitioned successfully to get into a competitive program after being rejected - not bragging, just stating).

A college admissions person can tell you whether or not the transcript will affect your application. They may be able to advise you as well on your next move.

Have you taken it all the way to the school board?

Also, that sucks. My sympathies. :(
posted by HolyWood at 1:54 AM on February 25, 2012

It is amazing what could happen were you to pony up $100 or so and have an attorney make that next phone call (or, better yet, send a certified letter) to your High School's Administrative office. Granted, you shouldn't have to pay for accuracy, but your time may be worth more than the cost of an attorney.
posted by HuronBob at 2:42 AM on February 25, 2012 [4 favorites]

Since it sounds so over the top ridiculous, a note similar to what you've written, attached to the HS transcript minus the word penis, can be sent to the Admissions persons (seniormost you can find) of the university you intend applying to *prior* to any official application and then requesting their guidance/input on what you should do in this regard. Highlight your GED adn subsequent two year degree as well.

/former Admissions type person
posted by infini at 3:12 AM on February 25, 2012 [7 favorites]

Good grief.... well, were you any GOOD while you were on the Ladies' Tennis Team? (sorry....)

Okay, since these folks have so totally, obviously messed up your transcript, get copies of as many different news articles and reports about their falsifying records and bad record keeping that you can, and include those reports with that screwy HS transcript. Also: do you have any yearbooks? Most yearbooks have pictures of all the sports teams and extracurricular clubs, as well as the headshots of the various students; if you're in any of those team or club photos, that's more documentary evidence. And, of course, include your GED records.
posted by easily confused at 3:26 AM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you really wanted to take this on, you could hire a lawyer to write a letter, and if they did not comply, the lawyer could sue them to correct your transcript.
posted by wurly at 3:56 AM on February 25, 2012

I don't think the high school transcript will count for much in your new university admission. it may not even be looked at. What they will be looking at is your associates degree from the community college and your grades there. Probably all you need is proof of your GED that you did graduate high school. Two of my kids, and myself, did quite badly in high school due to not caring plus a learning disability. We all went back and got college degrees as adults, starting at the local Community college, no problem. The lousy high school record was not an issue. One of my sons now works with all PH.D's in his field, computer graphics special effects, with just an Associates graphic arts degree from County College and a lot of talent and hard work.

As to fixing the high school transcript, which is its own annoying thing, I agree with the person who said to get a lawyer to write or call them. You will be amazed at how that cuts through the red tape.

Good luck with all of this, and congratulations on going back to school.
posted by mermayd at 4:44 AM on February 25, 2012

I live in the district where you went to high school (my daughter goes there now). Contact the area superintendent and key members of the school board. Send the most professional note you can - asking for help, NOT threatening action - to the area superintendent, board chair and the District 5 representative. I know the school board members, and they are both really good people who want to do right by students. Good luck.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 4:52 AM on February 25, 2012 [5 favorites]

That the errors are SO egregious, and yet you still can't get anyone to help you, makes me think the only way you'll ever real help is through a lawyer.
posted by gerryblog at 5:34 AM on February 25, 2012

Write a formal letter directly to the head of the school board. Don't put the penis joke in there.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:35 AM on February 25, 2012

I, too, doubt whether you actually need your high school transcript since you earned your GED ... After all, the GED is considered equivalent to a high school education.
posted by jayder at 5:53 AM on February 25, 2012

Just send 'em a copy of your GED. Don't even bother with these highschool clowns.
posted by Jon_Evil at 7:14 AM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Have you spoken with the superintendent? If that doesn't work, contact the school lawyer and let him know that you can't be the only person this has happened to, this opens up the school for all sorts of legal problems. Ask if he can push the school board to assign someone to the task of cleaning up the mess.

If you can't get through to either of them, go to the next school board meeting with enough copies of your transcript for everyone there.

If you still aren't getting any help, contact the local media.
posted by myselfasme at 8:03 AM on February 25, 2012

My HS transcript contains a few errors - not the least of which is that it says I didn't graduate.

But graduate I did - hell I even joined the Marines and went to a CC.

It was when I applied to the University that anyone caught the error. Like you, I had a similar run around with the School district.

I went and talked with one of the admissions people at the university. The woman I spoke with says it happens all the time. Given my age and other accomplishments, they chose to overlook the error. I thought my dream of going to school was toast. When she told me, I almost leaped the desk to kiss her.

So, I'd advise you to get in touch with someone in admissions at the university - preferably in the department you'll be in (engineering, math, etc.) and see what they have to say.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:46 AM on February 25, 2012

I also find it doubtful that you will need more than your GED info, but if for some reason you still need to correct your HS transcripts, you could follow the money and contact the office of your local, state representatives. Bureaucracies jump when their appropriators get involved.
posted by Skwirl at 3:18 PM on February 25, 2012

First find out if you need the useless thing. If you need/want it cleared up, first thing, write a formal registered letter to the school board and the superintendent of schools.

Second, if you get no reaction, contact the local newspaper(s) suggesting that parents may want to consider that this could happen to THEIR kids, and they would have as little response or recourse. If they're not interested in reporting this, write a letter to the editor. Schools and districts hate negative publicity.

Third, lawyer up. I'm sure a letter will get them off their collective butts.

Last, take your positive GED and all the information you have, documentation of their falsification and drop out issues, and what you've done to try to rectify the situation, including dates of phone calls and your letters, and a noterized statement to the effect that none of what was reported was true, and what you can remember of what actually was taken, grades, etc. (do you have anyone who would write a letter stating the info the school reports was false?) Your mom never kept a report card?

Then go to the college with all your ducks lined up. They will probably agree that your high school is staffed by arseholes. It happens all the time with non-traditional students.
posted by BlueHorse at 4:26 PM on February 25, 2012

I know it's not really the question, but I wanted to add a counter-opinion to all the voices saying it doesn't matter: Just about every job you will ever have in your life will ask about high school. You really don't want to be explaining and/or worrying about this junk every time you submit a resume for the next 30 years.

And while I don't know enough about how HR departments work to know for sure, I have no trouble envisioning losing opportunities or two down the road because the resume fact-checker turned up this major discrepancy which dropped you off the A list with no further questions asked. Take the time to get it straightened out while the stakes are still fairly low.
posted by Ys at 5:09 PM on February 25, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for the feedback! I'm glad to hear that my college is probably used to stuff like this or at least be willing to listen to the explanation.

I will be following up with the school system more to try and correct the problems with the transcript. I just know that it will likely involve jumping thru a lot of hoops and take a considerable amount of time.

My parents are not savers when it comes to things like report cards and I didn't keep things like that because high school was not a happy time for me. A serious bout of depression, feeling absolutely unchallenged by my school work, and dealing with problems just like this daily... it all caused me to eventually throw up my hands and give up. It's been 15 years since I was in high school, and this week has reminded me more than ever that I made the best choice back then.

Right now, my priority is to get into college, and if I can do that while putting this problem on the back burner for a little while, I'll be much happier.

The college I am planning on attending does require the high school transcripts, but from hearing from you guys, it looks like I need to talk to them before I turn in my application, just to be on the safe side.

My GED is included on my combined College transcripts as I took it at the same community college I attended. (Went with my test scores and enrolled for the fall semester the same day.)

Thank you all for letting me vent a little and giving me good advice! Most people I know went thru the same school system at around the same time. Their reaction is only "Well, of course they messed it up." While it is nice to have someone commiserate, some good advice is more helpful in the long run!
posted by aristan at 11:13 PM on February 25, 2012

Agree with BlueHorse to chat with an advisor with your documents and an explanation. I'd also write a letter accompanying your visit saying the same arguments (ideally have the high school admin sign to say you visited to try to talk to someone even if nothing happened) so that the person who sees you doesn't have to re-explain this every time and can just attach it to your transcript.

Good luck!!!
posted by joannqy at 11:17 PM on February 25, 2012

Chiming in to say, do get the errors fixed. Don't let it slide. I'm. 49 and needed official high school transcripts for an employment background check this year. I was told I had not attended the school, I guess I was such a good wallflower that I was completely forgotten. Finally found someone willing to help. Turns out I was correct, did go to the school.
Good luck!
posted by jennstra at 8:19 AM on February 26, 2012

My understanding is that, since the widespread destruction of records during Hurricane Katrina, many college admissions folks have had to become a litle more forgiving about damaged or missing paperwork. I expect you can look for some sympathy there, especially with having all your other, more-recent documents in order.

(I am a university staffer, but very much not in Admissions.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:15 AM on February 28, 2012

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