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How much do late transcripts affect graduate admission decisions?

  1. Dec 31, 2011 #1
    UG senior currently finishing up my applications. Applying to 8 schools (MIT, Stanford, Columbia, Caltech, MSU, Notre Dame, Duke, UW-Seattle for the curious). I have plenty of research experience and a 3.8 gap (higher for math, physics). My recs should all be solid. This past semester was pretty hectic, and I somehow totally forgot to get some of my transcripts ahead of time. Specifically, I mean the transcript from one semester when I studied abroad (at a mathematics program), and the transcript of the introductory physics classes I took at a local university one summer. The transcript for my UG institution has been submitted on time.

    I'm going to send these out in the next few days, so optimistically most schools will receive them by mid January. How much will this affect admission decisions? Will they have already thrown my application out? Is there anything I can do?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 31, 2011 #2
    not sure, but i imagine it can't be too bad if you have the app in already, but not the transcripts. mainly you may miss out on funding if they have already offered it to others, but i really can't say for sure.
  4. Dec 31, 2011 #3


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    This was probably a bad move. Any application that is incomplete for any reason will probably go straight to the bottom of the pile, simply because it is incomplete. You then have to hope that somebody will take time out to match up the missing documents with the original, check the application IS now complete, and restart its journey through "the system". If there were already 1000 complete applications for 100 places, you can probably guess for yourself what priority will be given to doing one-off tasks like that.

    The most cynical view would be "why would we want to select people who can't even submit the application correctly". Yes that's harsh, but welcome to the real world.
  5. Dec 31, 2011 #4

    Vanadium 50

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    Highway, I ask again, have you ever sat on an admissions committee? You like to provide advice, but, with all due respect, it doesn't sound like you know what you are talking about.

    Realmadrid, it depends on the school. If the admitting department has the application, they can decide how much to weigh self-reported grades for a few classes. Realistically, this matters only if you're right on the line. The bigger problem is that the admitting department might not even get the application. There are places where the applications are received centrally, and once they are complete, a "packet" is sent to the department. If the application isn't complete, then the packet doesn't get sent, the committee never sees it, so if course they don't consider it.
  6. Jan 1, 2012 #5
    The one piece of advice is to send everything overnight mail the first moment that you can.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2012
  7. Jan 1, 2012 #6
    I will acknowledge right now that I have not been on an admissions committee. My comment is that in many cases, receiving the online application should be in control of some individuals who head the graduate department you are applying to. If you submitted on time, they should have it.

    Usually, unofficial records are asked for in addition to the mailed in official one. Many schools say that they can only make an official offer if an official transcript is received....though I am fairly sure they use the unofficial one's when evaluating you at first.

    Have you submitted an unofficial version of your missing official transcripts? If so, for many schools your application will receive due consideration. I feel even if your ugrad info is in, missing info might lead to your application being sidelined, but if you are very strong, they will keep you high in consideration. Introductory classes do not matter so much, but a significant abroad study may be something they want to see.

    If you are required to submit an application to a graduate school without a specific department in the picture, it may be more problematic if it states explicitly the transcripts need be in. I believe this is what Vanadium means by the packet being received centrally.
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