A foreign academic evaluation is also known as a transcript evaluation or credential evaluation (among other terms). Your transcripts are the official documents that record your academic marks and credits (along with any graduation documentation) as generated by your current or former educational institution. Depending on the country, transcripts can be known as mark sheets, grade sheets or score sheets.
If you’re applying for a new job or for a promotion at your existing job, for admission to a school/college/university, or for a US visa, you will need to provide a record of your prior academic achievements, which includes your transcripts and graduation certificates (if applicable). If your prior education was outside the United States, then you will also require a certification of those foreign academic achievements to the equivalent US standard. This certification process is called a foreign academic evaluation. While it sounds like a complex and drawn-out process, it’s actually very easy and can be completed as quickly as same-day.
There are over 190 countries, and each one has its own set of regulations and requirements related to both applying for, and graduating from, a particular course of study. Consider that each country has thousands of schools, colleges and universities, and its own set of prerequisite admission requirements, course studies, credits earned and scoring (among many other factors). When you leave a country with a particular degree, that may or may not equate to the same degree in a different country. The transcript evaluation process ‘normalizes’ your studies and provides a certification of equivalency for the studies you have earned from the source country as compared to the target country. For continuing education in particular, transcript evaluation is necessary to ensure that your prior credits and courses can be applied by the institution for your future studies, thereby ensuring that you don’t duplicate existing studies (potentially saving you money), or miss courses that are important to complete for success in your continuing education.
There are two main types of transcript evaluations:
For any type of continuing education you will almost always require a Standard Course by Course (“CBC”) evaluation. A CBC evaluation assesses your graduation certificates plus each course of study you completed, how long you studied each course for, and what grade you achieved in that course. This enables the evaluation agency to issue a complete set of equivalent courses, grades and credits within the US education system, along with a certification of the equivalent degree or diploma.
A typical evaluation agency’s CBC documents are 3-5 pages long, however our CBC is 7-9 pages long as we not only include foregoing information, but also information about the post-secondary school you attended, our evaluation methodology, the evaluator’s resume, and citations of reference documents used for evaluations.
Being the most complete type of analysis, a course by course evaluation can be used for both continuing education and work purposes. For immigration purposes, however, we recommend a specialized Course by Course for Immigration (“CBCI”). This will contain all the Standard Course by Course evaluation analyses, and also the ‘education narrative’ section as required by USCIS for visa applications. This is an in-depth explanation of how your evaluator arrived at the conclusion made regarding your foreign academic equivalence. Since the education narrative is required by USCIS, this evaluation is purpose-built for visa applications. A CBCI is the gold standard of evaluations, and is therefore guaranteed for all purposes – visa, continuing education and work.
Also known as a ‘document by document’ evaluation, a general evaluation is a less extensive analysis than a CBC as it evaluates your graduation certificate only. The evaluating agency will then issue a statement of equivalency as to that degree in the target country. Since there are no courses assessed, the general equivalency evaluation necessarily excludes any course information, GPA or credit calculations.
A typical evaluation agency’s general evaluation documents are 1-2 pages long, however our general evaluation is 3-4 pages long as we also include information about the post-secondary school you attended, our evaluation methodology, the evaluator’s resume, and citations of reference documents used for evaluations.
A general evaluation is most often used for work purposes when you are required to demonstrate at least a high school graduation, although most employers may still require a course by course evaluation.
There are two methods of transcript evaluation, the main difference being how the transcripts are provided to the evaluating agency. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages as noted below.
For this method, you will complete an application form and pay the evaluation agency their fees. Once paid, your order is in-process and you will then request that you prior school send your transcripts directly from that school to the evaluation agency. From there, the agency will follow their normal evaluation process.
Advantages: Document authentication
Disadvantages: Length of time to complete; ability to complete; cost
For this method, the client emails a picture or scan of their transcripts to the evaluating agency, which reviews the documents and emails a quote back within a few minutes. An invoice is generated which is usually paid online. From there, the agency will follow their normal evaluation process.
Advantages: Speed; convenience; no application forms; significantly lower cost; guaranteed acceptance
Disadvantages: Document authentication
While there are advantages and disadvantages to both methods, it’s clear that the clients who are able to send their transcripts directly to the agency enjoy many advantages over those who cannot.
make sure your evaluation agency is an American Translators Association member and that they include certified translations when they send your transcript evaluation documents.
make sure the evaluation agency you use offers 100% guaranteed acceptance for all schools, colleges, universities or employers. There should be absolutely no risk to you that their transcript evaluation work will not be accepted. If in any doubt, simply check with the intended recipient prior to ordering from any agency.
Accredited Evaluation Agency
make sure the evaluation agency is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. This protects you, so that if there’s any dispute that can’t be resolved between you and the agency, the BBB will step in to assist you.
do not attempt to alter your transcripts. Reputable evaluation agencies will refuse to evaluate documents that appear to have been doctored or that they suspect are fraudulent.
always provide all your transcripts and graduation certificate to the evaluation agency at the same time. If the agency is required to include transcripts at a later date, they will often charge additional fees (although usually not the entire fee is charged for a modification).