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I just found out that my undergraduate institution made a tiny error on my transcript of records. I moved to another country and am currently in my masters and I'm wondering if I should make the effort to get that little mistake corrected.

So how often will I need that transcript of records from my bachelors in the future?

I assume that after I have the masters degree I am probably expected to just send in the bachelors and masters certificate (+letters of recommendation etc.) for applications in academia or industry, because adding both transcripts of record would bloat my application significantly.

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In addition to field making a difference, there are strong differences between countries. For instance, for my jobs in the US, I never needed to show any of my diplomas; however, I had to supply my transcripts for undergraduate and graduate programs. By contrast, in Germany, job applicants are normally expected to show their entire pedigrees—which means at a minimum the diploma certificates at both the university and high school levels! (I was also expected to produce the transcripts, of course.)

So, the best advice I can give is to follow the expectations of the industry in the region where you are applying. If you have any doubts about what is required, ask the contacts for the position or program.

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Yes, you should get the error corrected. Do it now, before you need it. Although not all employers will want to see it, there's a chance that some may, and if they do, they will probably need it quickly.

Generally you should not include a transcript or other official documents with your application unless they are specifically requested. Your resume or CV will have the basic information about your degree. As you say, it adds several pages; if an employer wants it (and some will!) they should say so.

This may vary by country, but when applying to faculty jobs in the US, perhaps 10% of employers required a copy of my undergraduate transcript; enough that I couldn't afford to ignore it.

I'm not sure what you mean by a "certificate"; the US may not have a direct equivalent. Here you do get a diploma, but this is just a fancy piece of paper that you frame and hang on your wall; it lists only the degree and the date, with no further details. Nobody has ever asked to see my diploma. For us, the transcript is the only real official document; it is sent directly from the institution so that it can't be tampered with. (However, many employers will be satisfied with a simple photocopy for a preliminary application, and only request an official copy in the final stages.)

As there have been some high-profile cases lately of people claiming degrees that they didn't have, I'd expect that in the future, more employers will want to see transcripts.

  • Very good answer, exactly what I was looking for. By certificate I meant the bachelors diploma, it states the degree+date and the names of the modules+grades (3 pages overall). The transcript however additionally states the courses inside the modules and the terms in whcih they were completed as well as the meaning of the grades (=the grading system) to achieve an international comparability between bachelor degrees - this transcript has 4 pages. I hope this clears this up a bit. :-) – superuser0 Aug 1 '13 at 21:13
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I guess this largely depends on where you apply. Industry usually interested in what recent projects/ education you have. However, academia usually want to see the complete history of the candidate. Regardless where you apply, doing good on the most recent degree is a good sign of productivity.

  • The grades are on the actual certificate, but the transcript of records provides a more detailed description of the courses inside each module and the meaning of the grades - but it also adds 4 more pages to the application and since one should respect the time of the person who reviews the application I want to know in which cases it is standard to send the transcript of records in and in which not. – superuser0 Aug 1 '13 at 17:22

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