Students and alumni will now be able to order and send their official transcripts electronically through a new online delivery service launched Monday by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Registrar’s Office in an effort to maximize delivery efficiency, cut down on processing time, and simplify online applications.
The “e-Transcripts” service will allow students to order their transcript as they have in the past—through the Registrar’s website, which then directs students toward the FAS’s transcript agent, the National Student Clearinghouse. However, according to FAS Registrar Michael P. Burke, students now have the option to send an official, signed transcript straight to the receiver's email instead of waiting for the Registrar’s Office to process and send a paper copy of their transcript.
Some of Harvard’s peer institutions, including Columbia and MIT, already support online delivery of official transcripts.
“Instead of our office processing it, printing it, and then mailing it, which could take days and days for the recipient to get it, they could get it the next day or something sooner than that, even potentially the same day,” Burke said.
Gregory A. Llacer, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, wrote in an email that his office “eagerly welcomes this news.” He noted that several major national scholarship programs, including the Rhodes, Fulbright, and Churchill scholarships require official transcripts, but expect them to be uploaded to their online application portals.
“The ironic problem is that we have seen all sorts of things happen to the manually scanned official transcripts—they get wrinkled and creased, and worse, the "void" watermark, which is revealed by scanning or copying, cannot be removed,” Llacer wrote. “An official, electronic transcript will completely eradicate these problems.”
Students also said e-Transcripts will ease the processes of applying to internships, jobs, and graduate schools.
“I think [e-Transcripts] are definitely a great idea because they help save a lot of paper and they increase the speed of the process,” said Dhruv P. Goyal ’16, chair of the Undergraduate Council’s Education Committee. “Unless your recipient has processed your transcript, the entire admissions process will not go forward.”
Rohan W. Goel ’15, a Molecular and Cellular Biology concentrator, said that whenever he applies for summer jobs at pharmaceutical companies, he always worries whether or not his transcript will arrive on time.
“It’s been a bit of a hassle in the past,” said Goel, a Crimson multimedia editor. “I think [e-Transcripts] will help because it will, at least to some extent, make students feel like their transcript will get there in time, because email feels more instantaneous.”
Since his appointment in 2011, Burke said he has focused on prioritizing FAS’s online services. Last year, the Registrar’s Office made unofficial student transcripts available online for the first time, two years after the Undergraduate Council and Graduate Student Council had suggested the idea to Burke.
Along with the development of e-Transcripts, the Registrar’s Office plans to launch a centralized Student Information System, which will allow students to submit study cards online, in 2015.
“This is definitely a theme,” Burke said. “Making our services more efficient.”
—Staff writer Meg P. Bernhard can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Meg_Bernhard.