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I have applied few universities for the graduate admission (PhD in physics) in this fall. Maximum of the universities require all of the official documents for the admission and review process.

Before applying these universities I emailed the graduate coordinator and the admin of the department to know if they allow the scanned copy (I upload the scanned copy of my transcripts and students copy of GRE/TEFL score cards.) They replied that the review process can be done without the offical copies but final decision will be made after the official copy they have with them.

My intention is that I want to send the official copies to the department after hearing the review results from them because if I send the official scores before the decision I may loose some amount of money and also I may not get an admission offer (my financial status is not that great).

My question is that, will it create any problem if I send the offical copies after I get any positive news (admission offer) from any of the university?

"If you uploaded your documents with the application, you do not need to mail anything at this time. If you are admitted, you will then be asked for official documents." this was from University of Tennessee.

Do I have to send official transcripts? "For the sake of evaluation purposes, no, you do not have to submit official transcripts. You are welcome to upload unofficial transcripts to the on line application website. If you are admitted, you will be required to submit finalized official documents".it is from the Washington state University

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    Have you asked whether they will tell you a tentative decision based on the copies? – Patricia Shanahan Feb 13 '16 at 1:36
  • No I haven't asked them but they have said that the review process can be done without official copies. – Numerical Person Feb 13 '16 at 2:16
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    one of the admin wrote this "the department can review your application without the official scores from ETS. But UIC will not admit you until they have the official TOEFL scores. Then I will not give the Office of International Services (OIS) your I-20 information until I have your official GRE scores." – Numerical Person Feb 13 '16 at 2:18
  • "If you uploaded your documents with the application, you do not need to mail anything at this time. If you are admitted, you will then be asked for official documents." this was from University of Tennessee. – Numerical Person Feb 13 '16 at 3:12
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I would bet that the postgrad admission process at most universities involves at least the following steps:

  • You send in scanned copies of your transcripts (I am assuming here that these days most of the admissions procedure is handled electronically, in particular for international students)
  • Someone checks to which degrees from "well-known" institutions your degree is roughly equivalent to and convert your grades into the local scale (e.g. GPA). On this basis, a first assessment is done whether you satisfy admission criteria.
  • In my institution the previous two steps are handled centrally, but the next step involves academics: assuming your grades are good enough to satisfy requirements of the department (which for highly attractive departments might be higher than the regulations say), it is checked whether your profile and interests align well enough with one or more academics to be sure that a supervisor can be found, and (if applicable) whether sufficient funds are available to support you.
  • Only if all of this is checked positively will the university make an offer to you.
  • When you accept the offer, you have to supply the formal (perhaps) transcripts and have to provide evidence that these are indeed proper certificates (i have heard of cases where this has to be duly apostilled). Clearly, there is a strong expectation that your official transcripts match the ones from the first step.

Universities have a strong interest in getting students (and their tuition fees) so they want to make the first few steps as easy for the "customer" as they possibly can and "lure him in". The onerous part only comes with the last step.

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