Friday, August 7, 2009

Keeping Good Records

My boss gave me a project to do this morning. My frustration grew as I progressed further into the project because the records I needed were not there. Now we are having to reconstruct the records from other sources. Those sources are scattered as well.

One piece of advice I was given early on in my nontrad journey was to keep hard copies of my records. One never knows when one will need to access those records and they may not always be readily available. Modern technology is great, but modern technology also crashes and gets hacked.

Ok, so what kind of records will I need to keep? Here are some suggestions:
1. Non-official transcript: This is usually free. This document will include all the pertinent information from your college career thus far - cumulative GPA, dept. GPA, classes taken and the grade received in each on, number of credits attempted, number of credits completed. This is an oft requested document.
2. DARS (Degree Audit Reporting System) report (or something similar): This document will have your cumulative GPA, your dept. GPA, and the classes you not only have taken, but still need to take in order to graduate. It also has the number of credit hours you have successfully completed as well as how many you still need in order to graduate. You should be checking this information on a regular basis throughout your college career to make sure you are on track to graduate.
3. Grade report: Your "report card". Keep a copy on hand as proof you did take x class and you did get x grade in x class.
4. Class schedule: It is not necessary to keep a hard copy of this from each semester as your grade report will serve as proof you attended the class. However, it's good to keep a hard copy of the current semester as non-official proof of your enrollment.

All the other normal records usually asked for (birth certificate, driver's license number, social security number, etc.) should always be within easy access for you but no one else. Twitter and Facebook got hacked yesterday. Common sense says that you should not put your vital information online (social security number, credit card numbers, etc.).

Who knows what value those hard copies of information may have one day? Your great grandchildren may be fascinated by the fact that you had to take Elementary Underwater Basketweaving as a requirement for your Liberal Arts degree and that you got a B+ in it! Stay tuned . . .

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