Welcome to part four of our blog series on applying to American colleges and universities! Once you’ve decided what degree and major you want, selected schools to apply to, and registered for any necessary tests, it’s time to gather your documents for your application. Later we’ll explain application essays, letters of recommendation, and other paperwork.

The colleges you apply to need to know:

  1. what you have studied and
  2. what grades you have made in the past.

Even if you did not graduate, you need to provide a record of the courses you completed. Undergraduate applicants should report on high school courses and graduation. If you’re applying for graduate studies, you need to provide your undergraduate grades and proof of graduation.


A transcript is a document that includes a list of courses and dates, final grades, date of graduation, and other related information.If you attended high school and/or university in the U.S., you can have official copies of your transcript sent to all the colleges you’re applying to. (Contact the registrar’s office at your former school; transcripts usually have to be sealed and marked as official copies.)

If you attended a college but did not graduate, your transcript is still useful because you might be able to count classes you took in the past toward your degree.

Transcript Evaluations

Transcripts from outside the U.S. must be translated and evaluated, as education systems and courses vary from country to country. Check the international admission requirements for each college you’re applying to. Some might require that high school transcripts be translated and evaluated by a recognized education evaluation company; others might accept an English translation directly from your high school.

You will need to have any international college transcripts officially evaluated. World Education Services is one evaluation organization that many IEI students have used to evaluate their transcripts.

There are fees for transcript evaluations, so plan for these in your budget as you apply to colleges. Also, you must request that your previous schools send transcripts to the evaluation company, so begin the process of getting your transcripts evaluated several weeks before your application deadlines.

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We hope that this series has been useful to you. Applying to a college or university in your second language is not always easy, but we’ve helped hundreds of students to achieve their dreams of earning a degree in the U.S. Read a few of their stories here, and if you’re ready to take the first step in preparing to reach your goal, find out how we can help you!