Is It Possible To Prove I Have A BA Without Submitting My Erratic College Transcript?
September 17, 2012 9:01 AM   Subscribe

I'm applying to sit for a professional certification exam. Part of the application requires me to submit a list of schools I have attended, along with confirmation of my attendance and diploma or degree earned. What should I submit to confirm my attendance/diploma/degree? (a bit long, bear with me)

I suppose the easy answer here is transcripts. However, my college transcript kind of embarrasses me. I did very well in classes related to my major, but I was mediocre (and in a couple of cases downright terrible) in the classes I took outside my major. The result is a transcript that looks awful, to me, and while my major GPA is strong, my overall GPA is pretty shoddy due to being weighed down by the classes I didn't do well in.

It's been 5 years since I graduated college and it's not like any of my jobs have ever remotely asked or even cared about my GPA/transcript, but I'm a little hesitant to provide evidence of my erratic performance in college to a governing body that will decide whether or not I'm fit to sit for this exam. I am more than qualified for the exam based purely on my professional career, and my colleagues have nothing but positive things to say about me should they be contacted as a reference, but I reviewed my college transcript last night and am worried that it's bad enough that it might cast doubt on my general aptitude. So I am reluctant to submit it as proof of my attendance/degree unless there are absolutely no other options.

But I really can't think of any other way to prove that I attended and graduated. Scan and send a copy of my diploma? Ask the registrar to provide some sort of letter that confirms I went there and graduated (I don't know if this is even something they do)? Does anyone have any suggestions for what I might do to prove I have a college degree? Or am I stuck having to submit my sad little transcript?

They also want me to include my high school in the list of schools I've attended and verify attendance/graduation - it's been nearly a decade since I've spoken to any teachers/administrators from my high school. I don't even know where to begin or who to contact for this. I went to a dinky small private high school, so I wouldn't be dealing with any school district bureaucracy, but I also have no idea who works in the administrative offices at my high school anymore. Any suggestions for how to go about this (getting my transcript or any other proof of my high school diploma) would be appreciated, too.

Hopefully this isn't too convoluted a question. I can provide follow-up if needed.


Other info in case it's relevant: since college I have also completed a certificate program related to my industry - no official "transcript" there but I do have a letter from the program attesting that I completed the courses and achieved the certificate. I also recently passed the CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) exam and will be providing the documentation associated with that as well. Despite all that, I'm still nervous that if I have no other option than to submit my college transcript, it will sink me when I apply to sit for this other exam. Maybe that's overly paranoid? If that's so, I'm totally open to people shaking some sense into me regarding the transcript. But be nice, please. :)
posted by thereemix to Education (10 answers total)
Ask the registrar to provide some sort of letter that confirms I went there and graduated (I don't know if this is even something they do)?

Yes, absolutely. Have you pursued this option with your college?
posted by vacapinta at 9:05 AM on September 17, 2012

A copy of your diploma should be perfectly fine in this situation. If it isn't they will let you know. If it wasn't appropriate I feel like they would say that they specifically need transcripts. You can also usually get a confirmation of graduation letter from the registrar's office.

My high school actually had an online form I could fill out to get a copy of my transcripts. I doubt you need to know a specific person, just call the main phone number for the school and say you need a copy of your transcripts, I have no doubt that they will know who to send you to.
posted by magnetsphere at 9:07 AM on September 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

The best thing would be to ask the licenser what form proof they require and go from there. You can probably scan your diploma. My employer asks for a copy of our degrees, and everyone has just brought in a copy of their diploma.
posted by nerdcore at 9:07 AM on September 17, 2012

The registrar at your college does this sort of thing all the time. Call that office, tell them the name of the examination you are sitting for, and if they have dealt with it at all before (which they almost certainly have) they will tell you what you need, probably before you are saying all the syllables of "North Haverbrook Professional Dog-catching Examination" or whatever.

If they don't know, you can contact the examining authority and ask them. You're not trying to cheat, you're just trying to answer the question. "What documentation is necessary to support my answer to Question 10?"
posted by gauche at 9:07 AM on September 17, 2012

Ask the registrar to provide some sort of letter that confirms I went there and graduated (I don't know if this is even something they do)?

It is something they can do, even if it isn't something they "do."

I applied for a license under similar circumstances, where the authority was very specific about requiring a "Certificate of Graduation" although this particular thing doesn't exist at many schools. I contacted my undergraduate institution and explained briefly what I needed, and a representative from the registrar's office typed and mailed a satisfactory letter that same day. It was easy.
posted by cribcage at 9:12 AM on September 17, 2012

When I was finished with all of my coursework and had received my grades, but hadn't yet received my actual degree, I asked for and got a letter from my university confirming that I had graduated. I think lots of students need it when applying to jobs in that space between the end of exams in April and the ceremony in June.

Anyway, though, every time I've been asked to prove my degree since then, I've just submitted a scan or copy of the degree itself, and it's never been a problem. I wouldn't even think to send a transcript unless it's specifically requested.

There's no reason why your high school wouldn't fax a copy of your transcript right through... they probably get this kind of request all the time.
posted by snorkmaiden at 9:23 AM on September 17, 2012

I honestly don't think the governmental agency will care about anything other than that you have the degree you claim to have. If you want to go through the whole rigamarole of working around that, that's your deal, but for the agency I had to do this with (California Architect's Board), they didn't care about grades, they just wanted confirmation of my degree so they could assign me the requisite amount of time credit towards licensure. My school record isn't atrocious, but it certainly isn't impressive by any means either. They didn't really care about my work history either beyond providing proof (signed form by the registered architects that I worked for) that I'd worked for the amount of time that I said I did.
posted by LionIndex at 9:34 AM on September 17, 2012

I agree with LionIndex. If they are just asking for proof, and that proof can come in multiple different forms, they aren't at all concerned about your grades. And I suspect they actually can't say "oh no, your grades blow so you don't qualify." Again, go through all the hoops if that's what will make you feel better, but I think they aren't looking to disqualify you.

Also, I'm guessing your transcript is just fine. You say you did well in your major classes, mediocre in some others, and terrible in others. This is generally what college transcripts look like and if you've been out of school for years, are performing well on the job, it's certainly not a reflection of your abilities.
posted by Sal and Richard at 10:31 AM on September 17, 2012

I agree with LionIndex, your worries seems groundless. Either you're qualified to sit for the exam or you're not. You're qualified because you've met the standard by having a degree, and perhaps work experience. The people giving the exam don't give a crap about you personally or your less-than-stellar grades, they just want to make sure you meet the criteria for taking the exam. Do whatever is most convenient, don't create hoops to jump through.
posted by shoesietart at 10:31 AM on September 17, 2012

My university (University of Wisconsin - Madison) generated a letter for me confirming the degree I got, and the year I got it. I didn't need to submit transcripts at all. That was more than satisfactory for my employer's needs.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:39 AM on September 17, 2012

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