Transcript, letter of recommendation, and test score deadlines
In the lead-up to application deadlines, our office is frequently inundated with emails and phone calls from applicants who are concerned that their transcripts, letters of recommendation, and test scores must arrive by the deadline for them to be considered for admission. For those applicants who apply on the day of the deadline this would be literally impossible, so there is often quite a bit of panic from these applicants.
Following consultation with graduate programs at a GSAC meeting, we have now added information to our application confirmation email and to our website clarifying that, although the online application must be submitted by the deadline, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and test scores are not expected to be received prior to the deadline (though they are expected to arrive shortly after the application is received). We do not specify a time frame in our messages, but if your graduate program does have a set deadline for these materials please ensure it is posted on your website.
Extending your application deadlines
For those programs whose final deadlines have passed but would like to increase their application pools by offering prospective applicants a second chance to submit an application, our office is willing to extend or add “Space Available” deadlines. If you are interested, please contact Brian Gallagher (email@example.com) for additional details. Please note, however, that application deadlines cannot be waived on an ad hoc basis for individual applicants.
Applicants requesting copies of letters of recommendation
If a current or former applicant contacts you and would like copies of their letters of recommendation, please refer them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Our office will check to determine whether they have waived their right to view the letters. In instances where the applicant did not waive their right to view the letters, we will send the applicant electronic copies of their letters. However, before sending them the letters, we will watermark them to ensure that the letters cannot be used for any purpose other than what the recommendation provider intended.
Important international resources
ForeignCredits is a website which includes a country-specific GPA calculator and a list of the most common GPA scales by country. Although it is not a comprehensive resource (you may not find every grading scale variation for a particular country), I have found it to be helpful and more efficient manually calculating GPAs. The links for the two most helpful pages are as follows:
- GPA Calculator (http://www.foreigncredits.com/Resources/GPA-Calculator/)
- Grading Scales (http://www.foreigncredits.com/Resources/Grade-Conversion/)
World Education Services (WES)
WES is one of the largest international academic record evaluation agencies in the world, and they provide some free resources on their website. In their country profiles you can find grading scale information, UNESCO data about each country, their profile of the country’s education system and grading scales, etc. Again, they may not list every grading scale for each country, but there is still a considerable amount of information to be found in the country profiles. In addition, they also offer free and recorded webinars regarding educational systems abroad.
- WES Country Profiles (https://applications.wes.org/country-resources/resources.asp)
- WES Webinars (http://wes.org/webinars/)
San Francisco State University’s Graduate Studies “Requirements by Country” webpage
SF State has put a lot of time and research into developing a set of resources which are available to both their staff and their applicants. This page includes more countries and information than most resources that are commercially or publicly available. Each country listing contains information about degrees which are considered equivalent to U.S. bachelor’s degrees, the terminology for the academic records required for applicants for that country, and grading scales. You can find their site at http://grad.sfsu.edu/content/requirements-by-country.
The World Higher Education Database (WHED)
The World Higher Education Database (WHED) is a resource that has long been used by international evaluators to determine whether foreign universities are recognized/accredited as well as what the language of instruction is for each university.
If you go to their website (http://whed.net/home.php), you can use the “Quick Search” field on the right hand side of the page for search for individual institutions or by country.
Once you get to the search results, click on the plus symbol:
This will provide you with a considerable amount of information about the university, including the language (or languages) of instruction. For example:
This is particularly helpful when trying to determine if an applicant’s TOEFL/IELTS admission requirement will be waived on the basis of their language of instruction (Graduate Studies will only waive the requirement if the applicant has earned or will earn a bachelors, masters, or doctoral level degree from an institution where English is the *sole* language of instruction listed).
It is worth noting that these four resources may not always be in agreement (with regard to things like grading scales, for example). There will undoubtedly be cases where you will still have to use your best judgment. However, I do hope that these four sets of resources will prove helpful as you review international academic records and consider international applicants and perhaps reduce your workload to some degree in that regard.
The GRE/TOEFL Score Search Tool
In spite of the significant improvements that we have made to GRE and TOEFL matching, we cannot always account for information entered inconsistently or incorrectly by the applicant. Although the vast majority of scores match automatically, there are still applicants whose scores do not match because they’ve incorrectly entered their date of birth, ETS registration number, etc.
For this reason, we are providing Graduate Program Coordinators with access to the ETS Portal GRE/TOEFL Search Tool. However, I would still encourage those of you who are responding to applicant requests to wait a week or so before searching for GRE/TOEFL scores yourselves. Most applicant emails are prompted by their belief that the scores should appear in their application record instantaneously. Often the scores match shortly after their inquiry.
1. To sign in to the ETS Portal, go to https://portal.ets.org/instport/secure/
2. Once you’ve logged in, you can choose to search for either the GRE or the TOEFL by clicking on the respective blue buttons:
3. The search screens provide you with a variety of search criteria you can use:
- For all searches: The more specific information you enter, the faster ETS will be able to complete a search (e.g. searching by birthdate alone will require a long wait). Also, the search tool does not allow wildcard searches. All information entered must exactly match what you’re looking for. For example, if you were looking for a TOEFL or GRE for “Jane Smith” you wouldn’t be able to enter the last name as “Smi%”. You’d have to enter it as “Smith”.
- For TOEFL score searches: We recommend that you start your search with the ETS Test ID the applicant has provided (a 16-digit number that usually starts with a bunch of zeroes). If that doesn’t work, try date of birth and test date range. For TOEFL scores, test taker name is a less reliable method of matching since it must be exact. If there is any variation in the applicant’s name (a hyphen, a space, a middle initial, etc.) it won’t match.
- For GRE score searches: We recommend that you start with the applicant’s self-reported GRE Registration number in GARD (a 7-digit number). Again, if that doesn’t work, try date of birth and test date range. Again, name may be a less reliable method. Also, we encourage you to check the "All" box before clicking the "View Result" button to start your search.
Note: If an applicant has mistakenly sent their GRE scores to the Graduate School of Management (Institution Code 7887) or the School of Veterinary Medicine (Institution Code 4804) instead of to UC Davis (Institution Code 4834), they will need to reorder their scores and have them sent to the correct code.
4. If you think you’ve found the right score, be certain to check the other data that appears on the score sheet against what appears in GARD: name (close match), date of birth (sometimes off by a day but generally correct), email address, mailing address, the scores themselves, the test date, etc. It’s important that you confirm that this is the right score before entering it into the Verified TOEFL/GRE Score sections in GARD. If you see anything that looks off the mark, don’t put it in GARD as a verified test score on the “Manage Application” screen.
5. Additional Features:
You will be able to see the applicant’s picture on both the TOEFL and the GRE (it’s a little icon next to the score for the GRE). This may come in handy if you want to verify that the TOEFL and the GRE were both taken by the same person (especially if you have any doubts based on other matching criteria).
You can review the applicant’s GRE essay – it also appears as a little icon next to the score. It’s not necessary, but it may be helpful if you’re looking for another assessment of writing ability.
GRE Information Center (Additional information on the GRE, launch of the revised test, resources and videos)
Graduate Admissions Cycle Closing Dates
- 5:00pm, June 30 - All final recommendations to admit or deny applicants who are still under review by the graduate program (or in "wait list" status). This is also the last day that GARD will be available to the graduate programs.
- July 1 - Graduate Studies will finalize all remaining graduate applicant admission decisions.
- August 1 - The deadline for all admitted applicants to file their Statement of Intent to Register (SIR). Admitted applicants who have not responded by this date will be assumed to have declined their offer of admission to UC Davis. If an admitted applicant has missed the deadline and would like to SIR, they must contact the graduate program for permission. If the graduate program approves, they should contact their assigned Graduate Studies Student Affairs Officer for assistance.