Thursday, May 15, 2008

Free Iced Coffee at Dunkin' Donuts Today

I know it's probably too early to start bitching about how much the job market costs, but I've started to trying to get my ducks in a row to cut down on the September/October chaos. Why on earth do transcripts cost so much money?!?! Here's what it takes to process a transcript:

Step 1: Search the number I provide,
Step 2: Print out the transcript,
Step 3: Seal the envelope, and
Step 4: If I ask, sign the envelope.

If I order multiple copies they don't have to repeat step 1, but this doesn't make them cheaper. If I request the transcript online so they can process it during a down time in the work day, it costs more.

Transcript alone don't break the bank, but I'm certainly not looking forward to PGOAT's 2 foot long mail receipt. And I'm not indicting the people that process the transcripts. They're doing what they get paid to do charging what they get told to charge. But for the university, charging closer to actual cost (like $1) just seems like a common courtesy that should be extended to someone who has spent years becoming part of the community at the institution.

-- Second Suitor


Anonymous said...

Be sure to check: most schools (it seems to me) will accept unoffical transcripts, though they will then require an official one when they offer you a job.

Anonymous said...

Buy one copy of transcripts and photo copy them. In your cover letter say that they are copies and official will be provided if necessary.

*Most* transcript request are from the college level, not the department level, and you will really only need to provide them if you get a job offer to prove that you have a PhD.

This isn't that big a deal. Every search committee knows this and every applicant should. When I got official transcripts in a file, I noticed that there were other things that showed the person was naive too.

Just send copies and save your money!

Anonymous said...

More simply: Get all of your stuff that is sent to every college -- transcripts, letters of rec, maybe even course evaluations -- and send it to Interfolio. You can even send your writing sample, your CV, and any other supplementary materials. They will distribute a packet, tailored to each school, for $5 each mailing. This will make your life vastly easier.

Anonymous said...

I've heard that Interfolio has poor paper & print quality. Is that true? Can anyone on the receiving end of documents sent via Interfolio confirm or deny?

Anonymous said...

I did a test run on interfolio--paper and print quality are fine, but all materials are in one stack, with no staples, paper clips, or dividing tabs. Also, it's $5 for the first 20 pages, $1/additional 20 pages, so the average dossier will cost $7 to send.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to take this opportunity to express my bitterness about the University of Toronto's transcript fee: $10 per transcript, no bulk or other discounts of any kind.

In my recent round of PhD applications, I applied to 20 schools and wound up needing 30 transcripts (some programs ask for two because they're too lazy to make a goddamn photocopy to send to the grad school). That cost me $300. I hope they fucking choke on it.

Cioran said...

I don't see why transcripts need to cost anything. I did my undergrad at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and there you can have as may free official transcripts as you want. The only constraint is that they will only give you 10 a day. (At least, this was the case in 2005.)

Anonymous said...

UW Madison now charges $8 a piece...

Anonymous said...

Transcripts cost money for numerous reasons.

First, it takes people time to copy your transcripts. People's time cost the university money. So, they charge you for taking the employee's time.

Second, it costs the registrar's office to purchase paper, to purchase the ink for the printer, etc. Since transcripts are released to you on paper using the ink from the university's printers, it costs you money.

Finally, copying transcripts is a service to you. When you perform services for someone else, you expect to be compensated. When you get a job to teach, you're performing a service. You expect to be paid for your services, don't you?

I'm surprised universities haven't requested job applicants to stop sending copies of transcripts because they could be considered illegal duplications. University administrations could make an argument that is analogous to the argument the recording industry uses against file sharing.