transcripts tell a story

📷 Dylan Nolte
I can't count the number of conversations I've had over the years with students who want to "change" their transcript. Most have a list of somewhat compelling reasons why that withdrawal or failing grade doesn't represent who they are as a student, much less an individual. Many are concerned by what someone will think when they see their grades in print.

My first question is, "Who is this elusive someone?" In my fifteen years as a college administrator I've been asked to show my transcript to an employer once. That's right, once. With the majority of my jobs (held at five different colleges and universities) I merely had to show proof of my degrees. Now, of course employers have a great deal of interest in how a student performs in college, it's why I recommend students with high grade point averages include the GPA on their resumes, but rarely is your average employer going to study your transcript.

Now, to be fair some industries may be more compelled to look at the transcript than others. I've heard from graduates and college career offices alike that finance firms are very interested in a student's academic success and progress. And that a GPA can make or break a student's chances at getting an internship or entry-level job. But I guarantee you the majority of students I see are not clambering for finance jobs.

In many cases students identify the elusive someone as a representative on a graduate school admissions committee. But again, despite the number of students that tell me that their next step is graduate school, I have to wonder how many really decide to go that route.

So again the question is who are we concerned is going to see this transcript we so desperately want to change.

It's also important for students to realize that a transcript tells a story. If I look at my college transcript  today (as yellowed and frayed with age as it may be), I can immediately pinpoint the timing of personal highs and lows in my life. Ah yes, this is the semester I broke up with my high school sweetheart. Ah yes, this is the semester I studied the work of Federica Garcia Lorca (and I've never been the same since). Ah yes, this is the semester I met the love of my life. Just as I can't erase those experiences, I can't erase the manifestation of those experiences in the classroom.

So kiddos guess what, you can't change your transcript it is what it is. What you can do is either a) stop fretting over it or b) think about the story you want it to tell.

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