Why Do your Transcripts Matter?


Post #41 Three Items Recorded on Transcripts

Is it likely your next (or any) employer will review your college transcripts?  There is no way to know.  Some employers will scrutinize every transcript and other employers won’t.  Be aware of items listed on your transcripts other than completed grades (also see Post #40)   Read this post to learn about three items recorded on transcripts!



Every institution may operate differently.  I recommend you seek guidance from your academic advisor.  An Incomplete, or “I”,  given by a professor usually indicates that your coursework was interrupted.  Work could be interrupted by unavoidable absences (maybe a death in the family) or by causes beyond your control.  The Incomplete on a transcript indicates you do not have to retake the whole course.  Rather, you would be responsible for the work remaining in order to earn a complete grade.  There is most likely a deadline associated with an Incomplete.  If your professor has agreed to give you an “I”, you must work closely with them to understand expectations.  An Incomplete is NOT a substitution for a final grade.  If you do not follow expectations or fulfill the remaining course work, your Incomplete will be converted to an “F.”

Withdraw and Withdraw Fail (W, WF)

Some colleges may refer to this as “dropping” a course.  When a student withdraws, or drops a course, one of two things could happen.  It is best to ask your academic advisor how your college handles withdrawals from courses.  But one very important thing you should know is that if your college permits withdrawals, there is a deadline.  In general, if a student obtains the required signatures prior to the withdrawal deadline, the student’s transcript will indicate a “W.”  This means that the student was enrolled in the course and decided to withdraw.  Another option is that your transcript may indicate a “WF.”  This stands for “Withdrew Failing.”  In this case, the professor indicated on your paperwork that you earned a failing status as of the time of withdrawal.  It most likely does not affect your GPA.  However, it does indicate you were failing the course.  Your professor, who must sign your form, ought to let you know that you will be receiving a WF.


Pass/No Pass

Students may enroll in courses on a Pass/No Pass basis at some colleges.  This allows students to broaden their education without having to be concerned about grades.  You may be able to register for courses with a pass/not-pass option.  Your academic advisor will be able to provide details.  As the student, you still have an obligation to make efforts to pass the course.  Be cautious!  Some colleges consider any grade under a “C-“ as not passing.  Be sure you understand the course grade necessary to pass the class.  Either way, a Pass/Not-Pass will still show up on your transcripts.  It could potentially bring up questions by a potential employer!

In summary, there are three items recorded on transcripts that students are not always aware of.  Withdrawal/Withdrawal Fail, Incomplete, and Pass/Not-Pass are always going to show up on your permanent records.

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