I know it sounds weird, but I don't want the transcript office of my US alma mater keeping records of where my transcripts were sent.
The reason is I don't want people I know to call the transcript office pretending to be me and get the names of schools I applied to.

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    If you are in the US, isn't this the kind of thing FERPA was designed to prevent?
    – fkraiem
    Feb 4 '16 at 12:29
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    Have you double-checked whether the applications demand official transcripts? As far as I know, many allow for unofficial submissions initially (although this might depend on your field). If it's allowed, you could mail them yourself. Feb 4 '16 at 12:51
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    The triple exclamation mark in the first sentence is very off-putting... Feb 4 '16 at 22:19
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    If you are in the US, this is precisely the kind of thing FERPA prevents. I have known students who successfully hid from abusive parents using FERPA. @jwg: And given how many people their parents called that I know about, I'd be shocked to learn that they didn't call the registrar to ask where transcripts were sent. OP's "paranoia" may very well be justified.
    – JeffE
    Feb 5 '16 at 2:00
  • I'd be shocked if any university office disclosed personal information to an unverified caller. I'm sure the university office could be asked (via some student liaison officer?) to put a note for extreme privacy on your records. You could just say you had a stalker if you didn't want to go into family details. Feb 5 '16 at 16:03

If you're in the US, talk to your registrar about what we call a "Privacy Lock." It is pretty much a set of measures to apply should the students wish to remain private. Things as extreme as taking you off the online directory, conceal all your names and e-mails, etc. can be done. Each school may do it slightly differently so you'd need to talk to them and get a sense of what is covered.

As for the transcript recipient, you can actually try asking them to put a flag in your personal profile. Most school registrars will probably open up your online record should someone call and ask about you, and if they see the flag they will know how to act accordingly. You can discuss with the registrar on what kind of privacy measures are in place by default and see if additional flags is appropriate, such as "do not disclose information unless in a face-to-face meeting with official proof of ID," etc.

And lastly, you may have to learn about the same security measures in your next school as well, perhaps as soon as you're enrolled. A lot of information is put online and I personally think it's exhausting to make sure that your name will not be featured anywhere. For instance, what if you applied for a scholarship and got it, and the funding agency wants to make a press release? What if you wanted to publish a paper and the journal needs to know your name and affiliation, and will print them if your work is accepted? Somewhere somehow they may still be able to find you so you'll need to be prepared.

And whatever that is driving you guys apart, I wish you'll find resolution and peace soon.

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    At my university in the U.S., the registrar will not tell anyone anything without explicit release by the student. This explicitly includes students' parents, for example, whether or not the parents are paying the tuition. I think this is a consequence of FERPA, specifically. Feb 4 '16 at 14:27
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    @paulgarrett, thanks! Yes, same in mine too. We cannot discuss student's grade in a recommendation letter unless the students explicitly allowed so. I'm looking at this as an anti-social-engineering answer as the OP is worried that someone may pretend to be him/her. In any case, I agree that a meeting with the school to learn your basic rights is a great recommendation. Feb 4 '16 at 14:32
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    @paulgarrett at most universities, a simple phone call and knowing a student id number is all that's required to make dramatic changes to your account, etc.
    – SnakeDoc
    Feb 4 '16 at 18:04
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    @SnakeDoc, are you sure? At my univ, access and/or changes require the student's login + password, and nothing can or will be done over the phone, more than sending a new temporary password to the pre-established email. True, if someone's hacked a student's password and/or email, then there's a problem... but larger. Student ID numbers are privileged info, but insufficient to get access... Feb 4 '16 at 18:07

It used to be the case that you could get an official copy of your transcript from most registrar's offices sealed in a blank envelope that you could then address and mail yourself. You might try asking your university about that. Then they don't know anything about where it went.

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    I know that at all three of the Universities I have attended, "Official Sealed Transcripts" are accepted either through the mail or through hand delivery - as long as the seal has not been broken (all US Universities)
    – LinkBerest
    Feb 5 '16 at 1:01
  • @user48716, in this mode, they are typically sealed in a tamper-evident way. Who cares where it was mailed from as long as it has the seal?
    – Bill Barth
    Feb 5 '16 at 2:16

While this might depend on the country, I would think unofficial transcripts would be suitable for the initial part of the admissions process. Some schools may require an official transcript prior to officially offering admission. I would ask whoever is writing a letter of reference for you to include a copy of your transcript with the letter. The letter should briefly explain the situation.

Any school that is not willing to help protect your privacy during the admissions process is probably not a good fit for you in the long run as they may not be willing to protect your privacy as a student.

That said, I am not sure what you are protecting against. I am not sure what damage knowing where you applied can cause.

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    It is hard to imagine, but I know cases from other (non-academic) environments where third parties sabotaged prospects of a candidate by knowing where the candidate applied to. If there is a reason to suspect that there are problems, it is reasonable to have at least the option to prevent third-party intervention. Feb 4 '16 at 18:00
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    "I am not sure what you are protecting against" - In the situation alluded to by the OP, my first thought was that the OP may simply be concerned about their "estranged family" finding out what city they are moving to. Feb 4 '16 at 18:43

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