The purpose of this section is to explain how ISA handles the foreign university transcripts of North American students who participate in our study abroad programs. ISA students study at accredited foreign universities and receive an official transcript upon completion of the program. The transcripts are sent to ISA from the foreign university. Because the American and overseas university schedules differ, it may take as long as 3-4 months for ISA to receive the official transcripts from the foreign university after the completion of an ISA program. Most U.S. universities are accustomed to this delay. Once the transcripts are sent to ISA, the Academic Records Department automatically sends one official transcript to the student's respective home (U.S.) university and one unofficial photocopy to the student, unless there is an outstanding balance on the student's account.
ISA sends official transcripts to students' home universities via UPS, and the photocopy of the transcript that is sent to the student's permanent address is sent via regular mail. This photocopy will be accompanied by a letter containing the UPS tracking number so that students may track their transcripts on the UPS website. Students may also check the status of their program's transcripts at one of the links to the left.
Each transcript that is sent to students' home universities is accompanied by an ISA cover letter that contains valuable information and is meant to facilitate the job of the transcript evaluator. The accompanying letter includes a translation of course titles, the number of hours of instruction for each course, the language level for each course (if applicable), the language of instruction for each course, and a note as to whether the courses were "regular" university courses (with local students of the host country) or "special" courses specifically designed for international students. Finally, the cover letter offers a grading scale recommendation. However, it is ultimately the responsibility of the student's home university to determine the grade equivalencies and decide how classes taken abroad will apply to each student's degree program. Once the transcripts are received by the home university, it often takes up to 8 weeks to evaluate transfer credit and update students' academic records. In order for credits to be transferred, students must obtain course approval from their home universities. ISA recommends that students get this approval prior to departure. To view sample documents, including sample transcripts and cover letters, please refer to the ISA Academic Guide.
At the end of an ISA program, it greatly benefits students to meet with their on-site professors to find out their grades BEFORE departing their study abroad site. This may not always be a possibility, but several of the programs will allow students to check their grades before departure, and this will help avoid academic disputes several months after their program has ended. ISA also recommends that students save all coursework and syllabi from the courses they complete at the host university. This may be beneficial to students if they contest a grade after returning to the U.S. This may also facilitate the transfer of credits from the host university to students' home universities after the completion of the program.
Please note that transcript procedures differ slightly for the Fine Arts and French Language summer program in Paris. Please contact Abby Comeau at ISA (see below) for additional information.
Should you need additional transcripts sent in the future (for jobs, graduate school, etc.) you must complete an Additional Transcript Request Form (ATRF) and send it in with the required payment amount. Please read the payment information on the form very carefully. Requests submitted with a money order, cashier's check, or credit card will be processed within 3 weeks. Requests submitted with a personal check will be held during a 2-week clearing period in addition to the 3-week processing period. To pay with a credit card, you must fill out the Credit Card Authorization Form found in the column on the left and send it in with your ATRF.
Students should also include any additional required forms with the ATRF: i.e. AADSAS. If you are requesting a transcript to be sent to a university that is part of the University of California (UC) system or to WES (World Education Services), an original transcript will be required. In this case, please contact ISA to review your options.
Upon receiving the ATRF and payment, ISA will send an official copy of the foreign transcript to the location designated on the student's ATRF. All transcripts are stored at the ISA Austin office indefinitely. If you have any questions about requesting additional transcripts, please contact Elise Blum (email@example.com).
Remember that your home university will ultimately make the decision about how classes taken abroad will apply to your degree program. If you have any questions regarding transcripts, please contact the Academic Records Department in the ISA Austin office: