In the midst of college application season, the last thing bogged-down students want is another form to complete, another question to email their guidance counselor about, or another reason to lose sleep at night. Some universities require applicants to self-report their coursework from the past four years – a process that sounds a bit daunting, but is actually a lot less stressful and time consuming than it seems.
If you are one of the lucky applicants required by a college or university to self-report your coursework, take a deep breath; I am here to save the day (and, while I’m at it, explain the ins and outs of the self-reporting process based on my past experience with the system).
Wait, so, what even is self-reporting?
Self-reporting, hence the oh-so-clever name, is a system that requires applicants to personally record and submit their high school/dual enrollment courses and grades (or any classes taken previously at another institution) to a college or university. This process typically takes the place of having high schools or other institutions send mid-year transcripts outlining students’ academic profiles. (In most cases, if the student is accepted and decides to attend the college, they will still need to have a final high school transcript sent.)
To sum it up, self-reporting coursework is essentially the process of recording all the information that appears on your transcript onto a designated form, website, portal, or section of an application.
How does it work?
While each institution has its own unique requirements and instructions, self-reporting is typically done on a portal, website, or separate part of a college application that the applicant will have access to edit and submit.
Applications that require self-reported coursework generally ask for a list of all courses taken from grades 9 to 11 – or courses that count towards high school (i.e. a middle school class that counted for high school credit) – as well as in-progress courses for 12th grade. Applicants are also typically required to report the final grades for the courses. Depending on the school and application instructions, applicants may also have to specify GPAs or semester grades.
PRO TIP: Make sure to pick up an updated copy of transcript from your guidance counselor or academic advisor. That way, all the information you need for the self-reporting process is on one sheet of paper, and you won’t have to second guess course codes, final grades, or the title of your freshman year science class.
Every cloud has a silver lining
While the system of self-reporting may tack on a few extra steps to some applications, I believe it is a smart way for admissions departments to obtain the academic information they need from applicants while limiting the insane amounts of mail they receive and sort (and lose). In my experience with self-reporting, I found it was nice to not have to rely on a guidance counselor to send a transcript (for at least one of my schools). For once, I didn’t have to worry about something getting lost in the mail! Self-reporting my coursework and grades was also satisfying because I was able to review and revise the information myself to ensure my record was accurate.
Self-reporting previous classes and grades for college applications may sound like yet another tedious task to add to your senior year to-do-list, but once you become familiar with the process, you just might appreciate its efficiency and effectiveness.