Last Updated: July 06, 2021
Getting the Transcript Evaluated
Students who complete their high school often wish to further their education by doing an undergraduate or postgraduate degree
in the US or Canada. While choosing a course for study
and preparing to go to college can be a task, applying to colleges can seem to be a bigger hurdle for students. Applying to colleges involves a long process that includes collecting college applications to obtaining letters of recommendation, writing statement of purpose
and necessary funding for the said course.
At the same time, it is also important for international applicants to procure their educational transcripts and often get them evaluated by external agencies according to the demand of the university they are applying to. A transcript is a detailed record of the education the candidate has had. This will include the subjects they have studied and the scores or grades they have received in those subjects. It is essentially the proof of education.
Why Should Transcripts be Evaluated?
Evaluating an academic or educational transcript is usually a part of the application process depending upon the university or college the candidate is applying to. For international students applying to the US or Canada, it is mandatory to submit their educational transcript. While most universities have their own transcript evaluation teams, some other universities will explicitly state that the transcripts that are submitted should be evaluated. This credential evaluation is also called Educational Credential Evaluation or ECE.
The evaluation of the transcript is done mainly because of the different methods opted in scoring across countries along with differing syllabi and other educational factors that contribute to the academic excellence of the candidate. In order to club these under a specific comparable format, it is essential that universities have an evaluated transcript to offer a fair chance to all the applicants.
Methods for Evaluating a Transcript
Typically, a transcript evaluation can be completed in four different ways. These ways are-
- Course by Course Evaluation
- Educational Credential Evaluation
- Document by Document Evaluation
- Professional Work Experience
The first method which is known as a "course by course" evaluation reviews each and every course the candidate has taken before the course they have applied for in the United States or Canada. This will include all the diplomas and certificates the candidate has from their previous educational experiences. The aim of this evaluation is to find an equivalent of the mentioned achievements in the country they have applied to. In order to find the proper equivalent, a set of criteria must be met. Their experiences must match certain time periods, specific grades or grade point averages must have been achieved and their overall academic performance must show determination and a willingness to succeed.
The second type of transcript evaluation known as the "educational credential" evaluation reviews the previous educational institutions the candidate has attended and attempts to match the certification or degree attained to an equivalent in the United States or Canada (this could be a Bachelor or Master degree). This type of transcript evaluation is typically used for higher levels of education in North America for Masters or PhDs. The third type of evaluation is called the Document-by-Document evaluation and is done for obtaining a variety of visas. The fourth type of transcript evaluation called "professional work experience" is typically only used for those looking to gain employment past education in the United States and Canada.
Materials Required for Transcript Evaluation
In order to process a transcript evaluation through a course-by-course evaluation, the candidate must present a few documents for reviewing. These documents include the original or certified copies of the transcripts from their previous schools. The document must have their courses, grades, and the number of hours taken per subject mentioned clearly.
For the transcript to be reviewed through an educational credential criterion, the original or certified copies of the academic documentation must be provided. This will include diplomas and school transcripts of the candidate along with the date of graduation. It is generally required that the documents in the original language and a translated version of the same are submitted to the transcription evaluation reviewer.
Once the documents have been submitted for review, the evaluator will connect with the prior institutions (either at a collegiate level or primary and secondary levels) to confirm that the documents in question are legitimate and were given by the said institution. Once the institution has confirmed the documents are correct, the student will be able to proceed with the evaluation process.
Choosing a Service for Transcript Evaluation
As the transcript evaluations are not handled through government agencies, they act as associations and separate businesses. Prospective students should make sure that the service is a member of at least one of the following organizations:
- National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES)
- American Evaluation Association (AEA)
- European Association for International Education (EAIE),
- American Translation Association (ATA)
- Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE)
- American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO)
Other questions that candidates can consider while choosing a decent service for evaluating their transcript are-
- Is the evaluation done pertaining to the course the candidate has applied for?
- Is the report provided in the necessary format?
- Is the fee comparatively higher or lower?
- Do they have an active customer service department?
- Have they been in business for long?
The service should take between one to four weeks to process the documents and information. If the evaluation is not complete within this period of time there is a possibility that the agency is not credible. The service should be able to provide more copies of the evaluation once it has been processed and should have the capability to handle a withdrawal from the process or change the method used in the process.
Reliable Transcript Evaluating Services
Some of the top transcript evaluators in the United States and Canada are-
- International Education Research Foundation (IERF)- This is one of the oldest evaluation services present in the US. They provide general reports, course-by-course reports, and course-by-course reports with course level identification. They also offer rush services for candidates who want their reports sooner than the standard time required. IERF also provides online services to candidates.
- Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE) - They have been in the evaluation business for over 40 years and provide evaluations of three types- general, general with grade average and a course-by-course evaluation.
- Advanced Evaluation Services or World Education Service (WES) - They are a non-profit organization founded in 1974 and provide evaluations for education, immigration, employment, and professional license or certification.
Content of Transcript Evaluation
A transcript evaluation, when done through any of the methods available, will be the proof of education of the candidate in question. The level of education the candidate has acquired in their country will be calculated by comparing it to that of the educational system in the US. The diploma or degree that the candidate has completed will be compared with the eminence of the institution they have studied in and the content they invested time learning. The legitimacy of the institution is a huge factor in the process along with the GPA comparison with the US.
The evaluation report will contain the following elements wherever the candidate procures the report from.
- Name of the Institution the candidate has studied in
- Name of the transcript being evaluated
- The Accreditation details of the previous institution
- Date of Graduation
- Duration and Years the candidate studied in the institution
- Field of Study
- Equivalent degree in the US
- Equivalent GPA in the US