Transcripts & evaluations

We have received lots of phone calls and emails about our new requirement that international transcripts be evaluated.  I realize that many of you may be confused by this is extra step in the application process, and may wonder why we have created this requirement when none of our peer institutions are doing so.  First, let me state that our policies are not based upon what other Yale programs or peer universities require.  The decision to ask for evaluations was not made lightly, and stemmed from a few different issues.  Most importantly, evaluation is the only way we feel that we can fairly consider transcripts from all different educational systems.  And, unfortunately, there have been suspected instances of transcript fraud.  So, in a sense, we have a situation where one or two “bad apples” have spoiled the whole basket (those of you unfamiliar with apples may not get this saying… but it is pretty common here in the U.S.)

Ideally, we require all individuals with a bachelor’s level degree received outside the United States or Canada to use a course-by-course transcript evaluation service such as www.wes.org or www.ece.org.  But because the transcript evaluation process can be time-consuming and costly, we have included a less-formal option through the EducationUSA advising network.  First and foremost, I want to state that EducationUSA does NOT conduct transcript evaluations.  However, most offices will provide students with a certification or attestation that their degree is equivalent to a US baccalaureate-level degree.  They can also provide an explanation of the educational system in the country where you attended university.  This is especially important so that our faculty members can understand what it really means to get “upper second class honors” or an overall score of “9 out of 15 points”.  Many educational systems do not have grade inflation as we see here in the United States.  So, it may be virtually impossible for students to receive an “A” or a “100%”.  Perhaps the best that a student from your university can ever hope to receive is a “B or C,” a “75%” or “7 out of 10 points”.  Without some explanation of your educational system, we won’t know that no one ever scores higher than an 80% or receives more than 9 out of 15 points (for example). Therefore, when the Admissions Committee reviews a transcript, we may not recognize that your grades really are quite impressive!

Additionally, I realize that this requirement may discourage some of you from applying to Yale F&ES.  As Director of Admissions & Financial Aid, I understand that this is a potential consequence to my actions.  However, the admissions process is fully underway now and there is no changing the policy.  In order to be considered for admission to the August 2012 class, you must submit an official transcript evaluation from an approved credentialing agency, or secondarily a certification through EducationUSA.  I sincerely hope that you will continue with your interest in Yale F&ES.  Please feel free to contact me with questions.