Desperately need advice - how long do undergraduate grades count?

I’m in a technical/professional field applying for a government job, for which I interviewed and qualified based on experience. (you could qualify based on experience, education or both) I got a call back asking for more references as well as a copy of my undergraduate transcript, even though they told me I qualified based on experience. (I did not have a college transcript at hand because I wasn’t applying based on my college degree) They needed all of this in a big hurry.

I completed my college degree 18 years ago, and frankly, my grades are abyssmal (a hair below C average) - although I went to a top tier competitive institution, and I’m quite ashamed of my grades. I find it strange that they want a copy of my transcript, especially since the degree does not apply to my current profession.

I’ve worked hard since college to take extra classes, and enrolled in and completed a graduate level certificate program in my field where I earned only As and Bs. Strangely this person didn’t seem that interested in my most recent grades, saying “you can send them, but we really need your college transcript”. When I stated that they were 20 years old and asked if it was just to verify enrollment, they said: “although you qualified based on experience, we want to look at everything, what classes you took, grades, etc.”

So far I’ve sent my graduate course grades via email, but am still working on getting an official transcript from my undergraduate institution.

This is a big blow, it seems I cannot get past my 20 year old college transcript no matter what I do. All my fears have come to fruition despite my best efforts, and despite the declaration of experts I’ve consulted who have told me that a 20 year old transcript shouldn’t matter anymore.
Should I spare myself the embarassment and just bow out of this job competition, since if that’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back, I’m going to lose anyway…

I should add, part of the reason my grades were so terrible (plus it took forever for me to get my degree) is because I had an undiagnosed disability. I don’t want to mention this, however. What else can I do?

Absolutely not! What’s the worst thing that can happen if they don’t like your grades? They won’t offer you the job.

What if they get your transcript and still make you an offer? If you take yourself out of the running, you have denied them the opportunity to hire you, and defeated yourself.

I have been told several times that grades don’t matter once you have your first job.

Obviously, this advice doesn’t apply to your present situation.

I’d send the transcript, and recognize that if this group cares more about your undergraduate grades than the stuff you’ve done in the twenty years since then, you probably don’t want to work for them/be in that environment.

But, I suspect what you are really up against is one of these “We want to ask everyone the exact same questions” type situations. (Which are darned annoying when you are answering the third question in a row with “No, I really don’t have any experience with that, although . . .” And you know they know you don’t have experience). And so, once they look at the transcript, and see the courses, and the grades, they can say “OK, not so hot. But, that was 20 years ago, and look what he’s done since”.

This only really happens with institutions that receive some kind of government funding. When I applied for research positions directly with the government, they always asked for transcripts. When I’ve applied for exactly the same job, but with a government contractor, I don’t think they’ve even called my references.

The only other people who’ve ever asked have been colleges, the public school system and my current job in a research center that gets government funding.

My employer requires them too, because you must have a bachelor’s degree to work for the company. It’s something that several states’ DOEs have pushed for in requiring contracts, though, so it’s connected to public schools in a round about way. On the plus side, at least as far as the OP is concerned, they don’t seem to care about good grades. Just passing ones. Maybe the place you want to work for is similar.

Actually my current employer didn’t want the transcripts, they wanted to see the original copies of my diplomas. Along with my original SS card and my immunization record, which hadn’t had a new entry since 1983. That took some digging around in the storage area.

I’d second elfkin447’s comment: I’ve occasionally been in a hiring position that asked for transcripts. Even for new grads, we never cared about the grades on them – we were looking for moderately hard-to-fake proof that they actually had the degrees they claimed (suprisingly many people don’t).

After my first job, I’ve only had one place ask for a college transcript. They wanted to see my high school diploma as well. Based on other responses, it should come as no surprise that this was a government (DOE) position.

Slight hijack
I had a friend who never went to graduation, and assumed that her diploma would be mailed to her. Weeks went by, she would ask if it arrived, but it didn’t, and she soon forgot about it. Fast forward 20 (count 'em) years - she finds out she never graduated because she was 1 CREDIT shourt!. She had to take a course via correspondance and it was a big hassle.
OK, hijack over.

They just want prrof of your degree. I doubt seriously that they care about grades from 20 years ago.

That’s what I thought, but when I asked, “is this to verify my degree?” I was told “no, although you qualified based on experience, we want to look at everything, what classes you took, grades, etc.”
The thing I find bizarre is that they weren’t as interested in the grades I received for relevant graduate work I completed last year, which I was easily able to email them. I’m not exaggerating.

How do you explain that?

I interviewed with two people, one of whom I would be directly working for, and the other more of a manager type, with the authority to make the hiring decision. I know the person I would be working with liked me, but I’m not so sure of the manager type. I’m worried I may accidentally have offended them somehow, through body language or some sort of faux pas during the interview - so maybe this person is trying to find a reason to disqualify me?

How else would you explain such a bizarre requirement?

My undergrad grades stopped counting as soon as I got my first med school acceptance letter!

" " " " " " " " law school acceptance letter.

ArtandScience, I submit to you Luis Roldán, one of the biggest thieves in Spanish history.

Our first post-Franco socialist government was elected in 1982; the “central government envoy” to Navarra was a guy who had two BSs. In 1986 he was made General Director of the Guardia Civil (one of the two “federal” polices). In 1993, during the scandal caused by GAL (a government-sponsored terrorist group), a newspaper published a report showing that the increase in Roldán’s personal value during his years of “service” didn’t match his considerable salary and benefits.

He was one of the socialist party members who’d been funneling funds from Navarra (we’re too rich or something, they were stealing a big chunk of the budget and we still showed a superavit) into Socialist Party accounts in Switzerland. Of course, since they were already stealing, some of the money became “pocket change” for themselves.

One of the things the reporters uncovered was that “mr two BSs” was full of BS re his education: he’d gone to a trade high school and not finished. They often refer to him as “an electrician”, but he’s not certified.

If it hadn’t been that thief it would have been another, but whenever someone from Navarra or thereabouts complains about being requesting a government job and needing records from kindergarten, people look at him and say “Roldán.”

Most likely they just want to be sure that yes, you have the diplomas you claim to have. The actual grades aren’t relevant: the fact that you got them, is.

Yes, one employer wanted photocopies of my diplomas, but didn’t ask for transcripts. I had to haul my framed diploma to the office to copy it. :smack: