Typically, a complete college application includes some variation on these items: the application itself, test scores, an official transcript, essay, school profile, fee, and recommendation letters. In 2020 (more than in the past), we have been hearing about requests for the Self Reported Academic Record (SRAR) or the Self-reported Student Academic Record (SSAR).
The SRAR and SSAR are student-submitted transcripts of your high school coursework and academic record. The student enters the courses and associated grades that you have completed or will be completing into the system, and it is transmitted electronically to the colleges who request it. Because so much data is necessary and accuracy is extremely important, students need to have their transcript in hand in order to enter their data properly.
It is taking the place of the “courses and grades” section of the Common App for some schools. Here is a list of the 47 schools that currently use the “courses and grades” section in the Common App.
Who uses the Self Reported Academic Record (SRAR)?
The number of colleges using the SRAR is quite small, only 13. The 2020 list is below, and it includes Miami University and the University of Cincinnati here in Ohio, as well as other popular colleges.
- Louisiana State University
- Miami University
- Pennsylvania State University
- Rutgers University, Camden, Newark, & New Brunswick
- Texas A&M University
- University of Cincinnati
- University of Delaware
- University of Minnesota: Morris & Twin Cities
- University of Oregon
- University of Pittsburgh
- University of Tennessee, Knoxville
- Virginia Tech
Not every college listed above requires it. At the University of Pittsburgh for example, it is optional. However, they state on their website that not having the SRAR could cause a delay in processing the application.
Who uses the Self-reported Student Academic Record (SSAR)?
Currently, only a few colleges in Florida use the SSAR: University of Florida, Florida State University, Florida Polytechnic University and Florida Atlantic University.
The SSAR and SRAR are independent systems; however, if you started or completed the SSAR, you can import your coursework from the SSAR to the SRAR. Currently, you cannot import coursework from the SRAR to SSAR (only SSAR to SRAR).
Why this change to more self-reported records?
We can see the benefit to the colleges. Every high school (practically) has a different transcript format. A college employee has to enter all the information from the transcript into their system.
Last year, Penn State received a staggering 153,684 undergrad and graduate applications! That’s a lot of data entry. So, we sense that this reason is the primary motivation for more colleges asking the students to do this entry work and make the process more consistent for the colleges so they can more easily compare academic record information.
Some tips for completing the SRAR that we found on several college websites:
- Enter your grades exactly as they appear on your high school transcript or your score report.
- Enter your final grades for all courses completed in grades 9 through 11.
- If you are a high school senior, choose “In-Progress” for scheduled or in-progress 12th grade courses for which you do not yet have grades. If you have already completed a 12th grade course and received a grade, please indicate the grade that you received.
- Do not apply weight to your grades.
- Do not convert your grades into another format.
- Do not average your grades.
- If your school gives final official grades at the end of each year, then enter that grade.
- If your school gives final official grades by term or semester, then list each course with its final grade by term or semester. You may list the same course twice if repeated in a different term. Give the final grade for each term if that is how it appears on your year-end final transcript.
- If you’ve taken math or world language course work prior to 9th grade, and these courses are necessary to meet admission requirements, indicate those courses on your SRAR in the middle school section for your high school record.
- If your exact course name is not listed in SRAR, type it in exactly as it appears on your transcript.
- Some colleges may request self-reported ACT or SAT test scores. Some may request class rank if provided on the transcript.
These tips may be slightly different on the SSAR. For example, the University of Florida says to “report all grades exactly as they are listed on your transcript. Do not add or remove any weight.”
Thankfully, students only have to complete the academic record once. Students are assigned an identifying number which they can share with the various colleges. (If applying to both SSAR and SRAR colleges, be sure to start with SSAR so you can import that information into the SRAR. As noted above, importing only works in one direction.)
Each college is different.
So, please visit the college’s SRAR or SSAR or admissions web page. They will clearly lay out their process for this step. Some will have a tutorial or a FAQ page specifically about it. Some colleges will prompt you with an email after submitting your application asking for your completion of the record. Others will not and will expect you to be familiar with the steps they require on their admissions page. The key is going straight to the specific college for the finer details.
Submitting a final transcript
If you are admitted and enrolled, you will be asked to submit a final transcript. Colleges will check this transcript against the information you provided so be aware that purposefully reporting incorrect information can have their offer rescinded.
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