During application process to a graduate school in the US, I was asked to submit transcripts from all schools I attended. At the time of application, I was recently accepted to another unknown (by many-many orders of magnitude less known than the program I am applying to) PhD program in my home country. I was not given a transcript from this school, because at the time of application I was enrolled for only two months, and was not taking courses, so I did not upload a transcript on their site. I mentioned that I will be working at the school in my SoP, but never underlined in my application that it will be doctoral studies. When I was invited for an interview, I forwarded on my CV where I mentioned that I was a PhD student at the school. Now I've been accepted to the new school. I may be worrying too much, but could there be any problems in the future because I did not upload much info about that school in my online application? What should I do (if anything) in my case?

  • "I was not given a transcript from this school" is quite beside the point - a transcript is typically something you request, not one hoisted upon you. At least in any application format I am familiar with, your education is listed in places besides transcripts, such as a CV. Intentionally omitting a school from a CV is quite different than neglecting to provide a transcript.
    – Bryan Krause
    Feb 28 '18 at 19:55

It sounds that you knowingly, and intentionally, deceived the school you were applying to by mentioning that you were working at a university, but leaving out that you were a PhD student in your statement of purpose. The fact that you mentioned that you were currently a PhD student during your interview makes the behavior a little less atrocious. That said, I have never heard of a graduate program punishing a student for omitting information from their statement of purpose.

As far as the transcripts are concerned,

at the time of application I was enrolled for only two months, and was not taking courses, so I did not upload a transcript on their site.

again, you were not fully honest, but it is not obvious to me that all universities can generate a transcript for a student during their first semester when they are not taking any classes.

Again, nothing bad is likely to come of your behavior, that said, in the future, you should just be honest and forth coming about your situation.

  • Wow, that's harsh. I contacted the admissions anyway; they didn't seem to care.
    – Alex
    Feb 28 '18 at 20:09
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    @Alex Note that the harsh tone here is possibly in large part motivated by a recurring question we get here which is "can I leave off school X from my application to school Y because of reasons Z?" The people asking these questions are often quite off base ethically and could get themselves in a bit of trouble, and people here are quick to inform them of the peril they do not realize they are in. Not submitting a transcript when they are requested versus omitting an institution or disguising your role at that institution are separate issues - your post suggested the latter.
    – Bryan Krause
    Feb 28 '18 at 20:38
  • @Alex the way I read your question made me think you were trying to deceive the admissions committee. Based on your comments that you included the info on your CV, albeit later, makes me less sure. I still stand by my summary, nothing is likely to happen, but that doesn't mean it is a good idea to deceive people.
    – StrongBad
    Feb 28 '18 at 20:55
  • Well, this certainly could've been viewed this way; still, I find some of the formulations in graduate school forms vague. E.g., consider a sentence "You are required to submit transcripts from all schools attended". First of all, what if the school does not provide a transcript, like mine? Second, how do you define "attend school"? If a person was physically not attending but enrolled, is it attending? Finally, what if you attend the same school for two degrees? If you interpret it literally, it seems that you could only list one degree, but "everyone knows" you need to include both.
    – Alex
    Feb 28 '18 at 21:06
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    @Alex I think all of those questions are answerable with a little common sense as long as you aren't trying to deceive anyone - the meaning is fairly simple: Don't leave out any schools, don't submit just your most recent transcripts. Of course you should submit transcripts for two degrees from the same school. If, like in your case, it makes no sense to submit transcripts because you haven't actually taken any courses or received any grades, a note indicating that somewhere in your application is most likely sufficient.
    – Bryan Krause
    Feb 28 '18 at 21:41

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