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I received my undergraduate transcript with the fall semester grades a week back; I was wondering whether I should use it over an old transcript for my application to grad school in the US (top 10 in physics).

Reasons for sending old transcript (latest: spring grades from junior year):

  • Spring semester showed good grades.
  • Higher CGPA (+0.05 on a scale of 10.0).
  • Subsequent fall semester shows a downturn in grades (-0.7 on a scale of 10.0).

Reason for sending new transcript (latest: fall grades from senior year):

  • Shows advanced physics and math courses; I have talked a bit about these courses and a project in my Statement of Purpose.

One reason for the less than ideal performance in the fall semester is taking a lot of theory courses; however, I have not "explained" this in my SOP as there aren't any failing grades (or really poor performance).

Does the choice between the two transcripts really matter or am I overthinking this? If it matters, I am an international applicant from India.

P.S. I have completed the essential courses earlier so that is not a factor to be considered.

Edit: As pointed in a comment below, this question is not a duplicate as my grades are quite good (sorry for not mentioning this in the original post).

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    Not a duplicate as my grades are quite good (sorry for not mentioning this in the original post). – cutculus Jan 6 '16 at 11:44
  • Just curious about this GPA system (I am in a 4-point system.) Do you mean the GPA dropped by -0.7, or do you mean getting a GPA of -0.7 out of 10? I feel that the absolute position of your GPA matters. – Penguin_Knight Jan 6 '16 at 14:04
  • @Penguin_Knight, I meant that it my semester GPA dropped from 9.5 to 8.8. Overall my CGPA dropped by 0.05 on a scale of 10. I was not sure if it was a good idea to put my exact grades. – cutculus Jan 6 '16 at 15:02
  • If your CGPA is already high enough, dropping 0.05 won't matter (say from 9.48 to 9.43). However, if your CGPA is already low (say 6.2/10), then your question is a duplicate of the linked question. – scaaahu Jan 7 '16 at 8:34
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You should include the latest transcript. The reason is simple: that is now your true transcript, and replaces the prior transcript. If you don't include the most recent grades, then the universities where you are applying may wonder why: did you have terrible grades? Were you not attending classes at all?

Your current transcript is your transcript. Just include it, and don't play games about it.

  • " If you don't include the most recent grades, then the universities where you are applying may wonder why" - thanks, I did not think of that. – cutculus Jan 6 '16 at 15:04
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    This is also important - especially considering I bet they asked for "your most recent transcript". Essentially it could be taken as lying if you provided an earlier version. – Sh4d0wsPlyr Jan 6 '16 at 21:48
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Generally the grad school you are applying will have guidelines on the specific transcripts to be sent. This will include all your previous grade cards including your high school and expect them to be checked thoroughly.

On an ethical point of view, hiding relevant information especially in academia for the sake of gaining a sweet spot is not advisable and most of the times are not going to pay well.

  • I asked the question only because the school in question does not have any such guidelines. While I understand the point about not wanting to "hide" information, I don't think this is a particularly egregious case. – cutculus Jan 6 '16 at 11:48
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    No American University i know of asks for high school transcripts for graduate applicants. – Matt Jan 8 '16 at 7:10

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