I know I graduated from the university many moons ago, but my wife has been attending community college for awhile and wants to transfer to an online program with Arizona State University (ASU).

My understanding is when you transfer from one institution of higher learning to another you transfer your transcripts. I am not sure how did conversation asking my wife for her high school transcripts from her country of origin, where she has to get them notarized and translated and what not ended up as part of the conversation.

It's a given she did this once already as that is how you get into a US accredited local community college already.

So can anyone help me out here because otherwise I am thinking they are hearing an accent and asking her what they shouldn't and just going down a road of treating her like she is some international student who is trying to apply to school here.

  • 2
    Every US institution has its own rules. You need to ask them for clarification. It might have been different had she completed the community college program. But rules at one place mean nothing at any other.
    – Buffy
    Jun 7 '19 at 0:56
  • 2
    Having been doing college tours for my son lately, when the overview gets to transfers they usually ask for transcripts from your current institution and from your high school. Not sure why, perhaps just to see if they might have admitted you originally. So, it likely is a real, albeit bureaucratic, policy.
    – Jon Custer
    Jun 7 '19 at 0:57
  • @JonCuster, wow, times have changed then. It wasn't that way when I was in college. Feel free to post that as an answer. I always understood that once you are admitted to college and then transfer they just ask for your transcripts from your current college, not sure what your high school from way back has to do with it.
    – Daniel
    Jun 7 '19 at 1:02
  • I agree it is different these days. I think more people transfer, and transfer more broadly, so they may have had more attempted fraud? Does your community college have an agreement with a four year college to transfer more seamlessly?
    – Jon Custer
    Jun 7 '19 at 1:05
  • 1
    Can the current community college supply certified copies of the translated high school transcripts?
    – Bob Brown
    Jun 7 '19 at 12:08

The latest degree matters

She's joining a new institution from scratch. If she hasn't graduated anything else, the new college is admitting a high school graduate, and they want to see these transcripts to verify that she is a high school graduate. They have no reason to assume that some other organization did the verification in the way they require. They may have some process to transfer (partial) credits for courses completed in the previous college, but that happens after she's been admitted.


You may be suspecting racism where there is none (just lack of common sense and/or inflexible procedures). I have in the past had to submit transcripts and diplomas in the most non-sensical circumstances, independently of whether I applied in a foreign country or where I am a natural born citizen.

Examples include having to provide high school diplomas in addition to undergraduate and graduate degrees, having to provide diplomas and transcripts to the same university that originally issued them, and being asked for diplomas that were not required for the position and that I never claimed to have.

All in all, asking for a specific, and not necessarily well-maintained, checklist of documents is part of the normal procedure for admission and hiring processes. Unless it is particularly annoying or expensive to deliver these documents I would just comply and think no further of it. If it is very cumbersome to acquire the documents you can see if they can make a "common-sense" exception.

  • Agree. In particular asking for an exception. Policies are made to cover 98%+ of students, but exceptions can and are made when reasonable Jun 7 '19 at 11:12
  • All these answers are great, not sure which to pick and I did not know what to suspect but only had my past college life as reference and I do not remember my fellow students being asked for high school transcripts when they were leaving to another university or those that transferred in. Never heard mention of being asked for high school transcripts just the transcripts where you are coming from, but again that was over a decade ago.
    – Daniel
    Jun 7 '19 at 12:21

I can add some weight to what Peteris has mentioned but from a Canadian perspective. My highschool chemistry teacher initially did his degree in pharmacy, opened his own business, and lived a life as a fairly successful pharmacist. Once he got bored with that, he went back to university as a teacher (at the same school he got his pharmacy degree in) and they were admitting him based on his highschool qualifications. It seems silly, but the system needs to be easily applied to every applicant to handle the volume that a university does.

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