In the future, students may not have to wait to receive their transcripts in the mail. Instead, they may be able to simply download them.
Last Saturday, Yale College Council Academics Director David Lawrence ’15 and Morse representative Azan Virji ’17 contacted the Registrar’s Office, requesting that unofficial online transcripts be made available to students in a PDF format. The project’s goal is to create an option on the Student Information Systems website that allows undergraduates to directly download copies of their transcripts. Lawrence said that with the proposal still at an early stage, the Registrar’s Office is currently determining whether or not the change can be implemented.
“There is a meeting scheduled for later this week to discuss the issue,” University Registrar Gabriel Olszewski said. “The decision [to not offer online transcripts] predates me, but I know it is not a technical limitation of our systems.”
Although the initial outcome of the project remains unknown, Lawrence sai he is confident it will be implemented if the school’s system is capable of supporting the feature.
He added that the online transcripts would be provided through the Yale SIS system, but alternative platforms are open for consideration.
“We raised this topic with the Registrar’s Office recently and will continue to work with them towards a resolution,” Lawrence said. “They seemed open to this change, and they are looking into the technical feasibility.”
Many fellowships and summer internships for Yale undergraduates require an online submission of students’ transcripts.
In the past, this has complicated the application process as students are only allowed to mail their transcripts from the National Student Clearing House, the company which provides transcript services to Yale.
“In the past, I suspect that nobody raised any concerns with the issue directly to the registrar’s office,” Virji said.
While some universities like Yale only offer physical copies of a student’s official transcript, many also provide access to a free, unofficial transcript online. Presently, the only way for Yale undergraduates to obtain a PDF version of their transcript is to mail order an official transcript before then scanning it themselves.
Harvard University, which also works with the National Student Clearing House to provide mail order transcripts, allows its students to download a PDF copy of their transcripts through the registrar’s online system. Likewise, the University of California, Berkeley allows students to submit a request for an electronic version of their transcript and receive the document as a PDF the same day.
Of 20 students interviewed, all of them said it is an unnecessary inconvenience that there is no method to access an online file of their transcripts. All 20 also agreed that online transcripts seemed to pose no potential problems and would greatly help when applying to summer programs and internships.
“I definitely think it would help to have access to an online copy of our transcripts,” Ariadne Lih ’17 said. “You need the mail option because some people ask for the transcript to be sealed, but it seems crazy to not have an online version, and [instead], make you order, pay and then scan the transcript yourself.”
Austin Long ’15 said that in the past, he would save his unofficial transcript grades directly from the SIS system webpage as a PDF file when submitting online applications. He admitted that while the method worked, the file did not look professional and also could not be used when official transcripts were asked to be uploaded. He noted that since many programs ask for both a sealed transcript and an online copy, the only option is to purchase two transcripts.
It costs $7 to mail an official Yale College transcript from the National Student Clearing House.