Whether applying to USC Price’s Master of Public Administration online program or a graduate program at another university, prospective students must submit official transcripts from all previously attended postsecondary institutions, both graduate and undergraduate, as part of their application. College transcripts are records of your academic performance, including the courses you’ve taken, the grades you’ve received, and your overall grade point average.
What’s the difference between official and unofficial transcripts?
An unofficial transcript is typically a student copy or printouts of academic records and is not printed on official transcript paper with the institution’s official seal. You can usually get unofficial college transcripts through a college or university’s online student portal. These are most often used for personal reference and can be helpful when determining whether you meet the requirements of the degree program you plan on applying to.
Official transcripts on the other hand are issued directly by the college or university’s registrar’s office and include the institution’s seal and registrar’s signature. These are sent directly from the issuing institution to a designated recipient, such as another educational institution, employer, or licensing board, and are either sealed in an envelope or sent electronically through secure channels to ensure their integrity. Official transcripts are often required for applying to graduate schools, transferring credits, verifying educational qualifications, or meeting professional licensing requirements.
General steps for requesting official college transcripts
Make a list
Before requesting your transcripts, make sure you have the necessary information readily available. This may include your full name (including any previous names), student ID number, and dates of attendance.
To ensure a comprehensive application, make a list of every institution of higher education you’ve attended. Include the community colleges and universities where you completed your earned credits towards your undergraduate degree. For example, if you took a summer class at a community college, be sure to include that school in your college transcript list.
If you’re unsure about whether you need to provide transcripts from a specific institution in your USC Price Online graduate application, reach out to your MPA Online admissions counselor for advice: [email protected].
Gather required information
Before requesting your transcripts, make sure you have the necessary information readily available. This may include your full name (including any previous names), student ID number, social security number, dates of attendance, and your list of previously attended colleges and universities.
Contact your undergraduate college’s registrar’s office
Start by reaching out to the registrar’s office of each institution you previously attended. The registrar’s office is the department responsible for maintaining student records, including transcripts. They will be able to provide you with specific instructions and any necessary forms or documents required by the program you’re applying to.
Submit an official transcript request
Most colleges have a formal process for requesting transcripts. Some institutions have an online portal or system where you can submit your request electronically. Others may require you to fill out a transcript request form, which can usually be obtained from the registrar’s office or downloaded from their website.
Many universities use the credential management system Parchment to allow students to order transcripts directly online. You’ll need to create a Parchment account to place an order, however this account can be used to order from multiple institutions. For help creating a Parchment account, check out their Quick Byte tutorial video.
You will need to specify how you want your transcripts to be delivered. Most commonly, transcripts are sent directly from the college to the graduate school. However, some institutions may allow you to receive sealed copies of the transcripts, which you can then include with your application materials.
When requesting your transcripts, you’ll typically need to provide specific details, such as the receiving university’s name and address, the number of copies you require, and any additional instructions or forms requested by the graduate school.
Pay any required fees
Some colleges charge a fee for providing official transcripts. The fee amount and payment methods will vary, so be prepared to pay any applicable charges.
How long do transcripts take to send?
The time it takes for transcripts to be sent varies depending on several factors, including the policies and processes of the issuing institution, the method of delivery you’ve chosen, and the registrar office’s workload.
If transcripts are sent electronically through secure channels, they can be delivered almost instantly, however it’s important to note that it may take a few days for this to be processed as received in your application portal.
If transcripts are sent by mail, the delivery time will depend on the postal service and distance between the institutions.
How to submit your transcripts to USC
If you are applying to a graduate program at the USC Price School, you may submit either an electronic or hard copy. Transcripts and other academic records must be issued directly by the registrar’s office of your previous school(s) and bear the official registrar’s stamp/signature. Unofficial records such as student portal print-outs are not acceptable for the purposes of admission review.
Submitting an electronic transcript
Electronic transcripts should be sent by the previous institution to [email protected] and to your own email address for your records. Once you have received the transcripts, you will also need to upload them to the Academic History section of the application for admissions review purposes.
Submitting hard copy transcripts
If you already have official transcripts on hand, hard copy transcripts should be scanned and uploaded directly to the Academic History section of the application portal. Opened, scanned and uploaded transcripts are acceptable for admissions review purposes. Once admitted, you will need to submit electronic transcripts or sealed, official transcripts to USC. Alternatively, official hard-copy transcripts from previous institutions can be sent via postal mail.
If sending your transcripts via regular mail, please use the following address:
University of Southern California
USC Office of Graduate Admission
3601 South Flower Street, Room 112
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915
If sending your transcripts via courier, please use the following address:
University of Southern California
USC Office of Graduate Admission and Financial Aid
3601 South Flower Street, Tyler 112
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0915
Remember, the process and requirements for obtaining college transcripts can vary between institutions. It’s crucial to contact your college’s registrar’s office directly for accurate and up-to-date information on how to request your transcripts when applying to graduate school. For questions about applying to USC Price Online graduate programs, reach out to an admissions advisor at [email protected]