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Do Jobs Ask for College Transcripts? Here’s What You Need to Know

An interviewer holding the job applicant's resume with the interview answering their questions.

Post-college life can be viewed as one big problem to solve, especially when it comes to making that cash. As you define your aspirations in life, the significance of your GPA is looming in the background, and you might wonder if jobs ask for college transcripts.

The short answer is probably no, but it all depends on a few key factors.

Do Jobs Ask for College Transcripts?

A female applicant fresh out of college in the middle of a job interview in a corporate setup.

Though it’s unlikely for you to be required to send off your official transcript to a prospective employer, for various reasons, companies may request it. The request is usually made to ensure you actually acquired a degree like you say you did. A potential employer may also want to review your grades depending on the job classification or industry (typically high-paying jobs like prominent law firms or investment banking firms). 

But the truth is that there is a TON more than school transcripts that companies search for when deliberating over a job applicant. It usually comes down to specific talents and soft skills more than details on your education. 

That said, it’s important to know about the process of ordering transcripts at your school, how a job may verify your grades, what happens if you lie about your academic record and other essential tips for success. 

How Is an Employer Able to Verify a Transcript?

Let’s say your job application requires university transcripts. How would an employer verify that your overall GPA is accurate? There are several ways:

  • Instead of accepting an unofficial transcript, organizations may request official academic transcripts with university letterhead and envelopes.
  • A job may call the school directly to confirm.
  • You may be asked to verify your college transcript by giving access to your online university student account.
  • An employer could use a third party to verify an electronic transcript like the National Student Clearinghouse.

Should You Lie about Your GPA?

A female applicant in corporate attire with a mug of coffee beside her laptop, preparing for a job interview and contemplating about her GPA.

No way. Never lie about your school grades on a job application or in a job interview. This isn’t just about being morally correct. The truth is that it can bite you in the butt…badly. 

No one can accurately say the chances of being caught. But even if you think it’s worth the risk to turn in fake transcripts, think again. The consequences are not worth it. Here are some likelihoods:

  • You could lose your job.
  • Future job opportunities at your current employer could disappear. 
  • Even the largest of cities and industries are small worlds. You could damage your future as a job applicant elsewhere. 
  • You could lose critical job references.

Remember that even if a former student gets away with fake transcripts or falsified degrees, it’s arguably even more detrimental if the lie is exposed in the future. It could wipe out any credible job history

Breaking Down the ‘Big Deal’ with College Transcripts

Does my official transcript really matter?

Employers will look for other qualities aside from someone’s college education to determine whether or not they’re a good fit. College transcripts hold various levels of significance to different employers. 

What should you do if you have a bad GPA and employers ask for transcripts?

If you’re worried about a low GPA and asked to share, the best thing you can do is be honest and focus on other aspects that make you a great candidate. These could be internships, memberships, people skills, specific coursework, student clubs, or work experience. 

Remember that even if you must conduct a transcript request to your university for a job, it’s likely not that big of a deal to the company. 

Tips for Success

A female applicant fresh out of college, in business casual clothes filling out a job application form on a wooden desk.

If you’re unsure how to navigate using your higher education to your advantage in the real world, here are some tips that will support you on your career journey.

When should you include your GPA on your resume?

  • If your resume lacks work experience, adding your GPA can fill some blank space without being considered “fluff.”
  • If your school grades are higher than a 3.5, that’s impressive to pretty much anyone. Add it to your resume. 
  • And of course, if you’re asked to. Follow the directions to show you take the application process seriously. 

When should you not include your GPA on your resume?

  • If you’ve already been in the workforce for a few years, leave your university GPA off your resume. At this point, your focus should be on your work experience and skills. 
  • If you have a GPA below 3.0, it’s not too impressive for employers. Leave it off if possible.
  • If you’re not asked to include it, remember that less is sometimes more. Especially with large companies and competitive industries, keeping things concise will help you stand out in a sea of applicants. 

How should you list your GPA on your resume?

  • Under the education section of your resume, create bullet points with your GPA and academic achievements, such as scholarships and awards.
  • Keep in mind that extracurricular activities could be great assets on your resume. Add sports teams, clubs, or other memberships to your resume, along with your GPA.
  • Take out the GPA numbers entirely and list academic honors (i.e., cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude). 

What else can you do to be prepared?

  • Know the process of ordering transcripts ahead of time. It could take weeks to receive them from your university registrar’s office, depending on how an employer wants them sent or the time of year. 
  • Prepare to answer tough questions if you have a low GPA. Be ready with reasons why you’re still an excellent fit for the job.
  • No matter what, keep your confidence. Not everyone is a star academic achiever, and that’s okay. 

Final Thoughts

A female applicant fresh out of college handing her transcript and other job requirements to a potential employer.

Though most employers do not require college transcripts for job applications, it’s still good to know that some do. If you’re applying to a prestigious position or a giant corporate entity, you may need to order official transcripts from your university. 

Regardless of your GPA, remember that there are always other assets that help people get good jobs. You just need to know how to showcase them.

Written by The Metamorphosis

The Metamorphosis is a lifestyle blog about the journey of college to adulting. Here you can find the tips for college, self-improvement, adulting, and more.

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