Are academic transcripts everything in postgraduate applications? Watch

posthumus
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Hello all,

So I have been applying to MSc Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence courses and have gotten a few rejections so far.

I had a very very strong personal statement, but I get the feeling the transcript is what really matters?

I spent quite a long time writing my personal statements and wondering whether it even matters. It might be wiser to get my next applications in as soon as possible and submit an okayish statement..?

Also I am having an issue with 'admissions officers' not being able to see that my Computer Science course contains mathematics within it, as the module names do not make this so obvious for them. Would it be okay to attach a page, with my transcript, highlighting modules and how they make me appropriate for the course, along with their syllabuses?

Many thanks.
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PhoenixFortune
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(Original post by posthumus)
Hello all,

So I have been applying to MSc Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence courses and have gotten a few rejections so far.

I had a very very strong personal statement, but I get the feeling the transcript is what really matters?

I spent quite a long time writing my personal statements and wondering whether it even matters. It might be wiser to get my next applications in as soon as possible and submit an okayish statement..?

Also I am having an issue with 'admissions officers' not being able to see that my Computer Science course contains mathematics within it, as the module names do not make this so obvious for them. Would it be okay to attach a page, with my transcript, highlighting modules and how they make me appropriate for the course, along with their syllabuses?

Many thanks.
Showing that your modules are relevant and relating what you have learned to your prospectives master's course is something you should be doing in your personal statement. I know that you say you have a 'very very strong personal statement', but not including discussion of your previous degree's modules seems like an oversight. Have you shown your PS to anyone with experience of appraising them, e.g. your former personal tutor?
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posthumus
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(Original post by PhoenixFortune)
Showing that your modules are relevant and relating what you have learned to your prospectives master's course is something you should be doing in your personal statement. I know that you say you have a 'very very strong personal statement', but not including discussion of your previous degree's modules seems like an oversight. Have you shown your PS to anyone with experience of appraising them, e.g. your former personal tutor?
Yes, my personal statement is said to be very strong.

This is all included in my personal statement, however I fear that I may be getting rejected/'filtered' for the transcript alone and they do not read my personal statement.

I never realised it was like this, especially considering some of the application fees! I even thought the course director himself has a good look at the whole application, but that often is not the case.
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PhoenixFortune
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(Original post by posthumus)
Yes, my personal statement is said to be very strong.

This is all included in my personal statement, however I fear that I may be getting rejected/'filtered' for the transcript alone and they do not read my personal statement.

I never realised it was like this, especially considering some of the application fees! I even thought the course director himself has a good look at the whole application, but that often is not the case.
The only places you can explain your modules are either in your personal statement, or in your references provided by an academic from your previous university. It is unlikely that they would reject you purely on module titles (as opposed to module performance), and they would not ask for a personal statement if they never planned to read it. If an admissions tutor was unsure of your previous degree's content, it is likely that they would contact you or your previous university for further information. As they haven't, they obviously thought that this wasn't a key factor in rejecting you.

How did you do in your undergraduate degree? Could your module marks be letting you down?
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posthumus
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(Original post by PhoenixFortune)
The only places you can explain your modules are either in your personal statement, or in your references provided by an academic from your previous university. It is unlikely that they would reject you purely on module titles (as opposed to module performance), and they would not ask for a personal statement if they never planned to read it. If an admissions tutor was unsure of your previous degree's content, it is likely that they would contact you or your previous university for further information. As they haven't, they obviously thought that this wasn't a key factor in rejecting you.

How did you do in your undergraduate degree? Could your module marks be letting you down?
I got a First Class Honours, but just about.

My transcript does not look very good, because in the first year I got a lot of marks below 60.

My dissertation grade was also below 60.

I really do feel it is in the transcript letter me down. But in one particular case at least, I know that they only assessed my transcript and did not consider my motivations etc.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by posthumus)
I got a First Class Honours, but just about.

My transcript does not look very good, because in the first year I got a lot of marks below 60.

My dissertation grade was also below 60.

I really do feel it is in the transcript letter me down. But in one particular case at least, I know that they only assessed my transcript and did not consider my motivations etc.
It's probably the dissertation grade. In a masters course (even a taught masters) you will be doing a sizeable dissertation/project/thesis, and they want to know you are able to do academic research to a high level as preparation for this. If you did poorly in your dissertation, and you don't have any other research experiences (e.g. summer research projects and so on) that might demonstrate this otherwise, that would probably raise a few flags.
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PhoenixFortune
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(Original post by posthumus)
I got a First Class Honours, but just about.

My transcript does not look very good, because in the first year I got a lot of marks below 60.

My dissertation grade was also below 60.

I really do feel it is in the transcript letter me down. But in one particular case at least, I know that they only assessed my transcript and did not consider my motivations etc.
Ah I see. That is the most likely explanation for your lack of offers if I'm honest, particularly the dissertation mark. It may make more sense to aim for universities that ask for lower entry requirements, as they may be more lenient.
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londonmyst
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I was under the impression that its the academic references, personal statement and meeting minimum entry requirements that matter when it comes to postgrad admissions.
I've never been asked for a degree transcript or questioned about undergrad modules. But I'm not a STEM student.
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Kits
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It's possible. Like you I'm also a little worried that I didn't explicitly drop buzzwords in my PS about the various types of calculus I had to do in my degree because I assumed it was obvious as an engineer. An admissions tutor said to me that they will just look at my transcript module titles and see whether there are any computer science titles to see if I'm eligible. I haven't heard anything about them needing to see mathsy module titles or to be told explicitly what type of maths you have had to do, but its possible.
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DitsyLady
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(Original post by posthumus)
I got a First Class Honours, but just about.

My transcript does not look very good, because in the first year I got a lot of marks below 60.

My dissertation grade was also below 60.

I really do feel it is in the transcript letter me down. But in one particular case at least, I know that they only assessed my transcript and did not consider my motivations etc.
I have a similar dilemna, I graduated in 1992 when there were no transcripts. The only records that the university have kept are from my first year which aren't very good either. They havemade up a transcript for me (just two modules scoring in the 60's bracket and the rest in the 50's). There is the added problem that I need a 'good' 2:1 to do the course and I cannot prove that I have this. I can only prove that I have a 2:1
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by DitsyLady)
I have a similar dilemna, I graduated in 1992 when there were no transcripts. The only records that the university have kept are from my first year which aren't very good either. They havemade up a transcript for me (just two modules scoring in the 60's bracket and the rest in the 50's). There is the added problem that I need a 'good' 2:1 to do the course and I cannot prove that I have this. I can only prove that I have a 2:1
Have you been working in relevant areas since? A 2.1 in 1992 is at least a high 2.1 nowadays - has the university actually quibbled this? I applied in 2003 and got a transcript for a degree I graduated from in 1989 and no-one quibbled - and I got a 2.2 in an irrelevant subject and was applying for a Masters at Cambridge! Professional experience normally counts much more with that much gap in formal education.
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DitsyLady
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
Have you been working in relevant areas since? A 2.1 in 1992 is at least a high 2.1 nowadays - has the university actually quibbled this? I applied in 2003 and got a transcript for a degree I graduated from in 1989 and no-one quibbled - and I got a 2.2 in an irrelevant subject and was applying for a Masters at Cambridge! Professional experience normally counts much more with that much gap in formal education.
I have been in full-time employment (un-related) since graduating but and have done some voluntary work and courses relating to the specific field I want to study in. The university where I did my BA is the same one as I am applying to study for an MA so they will probably know that all the records have not been kept. The problem is also that my first year marks are not reflective of my abilities. I had an ongoing issue in my frst year and it is something I will not be able to put ona personal statement.
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University of Westminster
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(Original post by DitsyLady)
I have been in full-time employment (un-related) since graduating but and have done some voluntary work and courses relating to the specific field I want to study in. The university where I did my BA is the same one as I am applying to study for an MA so they will probably know that all the records have not been kept. The problem is also that my first year marks are not reflective of my abilities. I had an ongoing issue in my frst year and it is something I will not be able to put ona personal statement.
Hi there

I work in a university enquiries team in London and I would think that your application may have been rejected for two reasons 1) because you studied your first degree 27 years ago and 2) you have (in your words) un-related employment. Although you studied Computer Science originally and you covered some Maths modules the admissions teams will probably be looking for more recent academic learning or at least minimum of 3+ years of relevant work experience. Some of your first year modules and your dissertation grade were below 60 however these are not bad grades and there will be other universities would make you an offer I'm sure.

At some universities it will be the tutors who make the decisions (particularly in more elite universities) and in others decisions will be made by admissions staff based on a list of entry criteria. Universities that charge an application fee will be typically be the most prestigious and will often be more stringent and robust with their entry criteria. You can phone the universities who have rejected your application and ask what the reason was for the rejection and more importantly what you would need to do now to meet the entry criteia.

Best wishes

Kim
Course Enquiries Team
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DitsyLady
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Hi. Thank you for your response. My degree is related to the MA I want to do. I didn't do maths that is the original poster. Though what you are saying is still very relevant. Thank you. I have not yet presented my application. I did Ancient History and Archaeology and now want to do Classics and Ancient History at MA Level. At the post graduate open day I spoke to a lecturer who did not mention the fact that my degree was so old as being a problem. I have done voluntary work at museums and archaeological digs as well as a relevant short course (uncredited) and done extensive reading accompanied with down-loadedcourses to keep my knowledge up to date. I was hoping that my degree, my enthusiasm and motivation would pull me through.

Thank you for your response.
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