Can you get an online master’s degree without a high school transcript?

The answer to this question is yes and no. An online masters degree program is an advanced academic degree that requires the completion of a bachelor’s degree. A high school transcript is not one of the documents required for the submission of a master’s degree program application; however, it is generally required for those applying for a bachelor’s program. Due to this, while you do not need to submit an official high school transcript when you apply for prospective online masters programs, you will need it or comparable standardized test results like the GMAT to achieve the graduate school prerequisite of a bachelor’s degree.

What do I need to get admitted?

Though requirements differ by educational institution, there are several requirements that the majority of online graduate programs require for admission. First, an “official” bachelor’s transcript is required by colleges and universities when applying for a graduate program. An official transcript is one sealed by your alma mater. Some schools have Grade Point Average (GPA), i.e. the average of your bachelor’s grades, requirements, and still others concentrate on aspects of your academic, professional, and/or personal background. However, having good grades on your bachelor’s transcript will never hurt your probability of being admitted.

Second, many online master’s degree programs require students to have not only a bachelor’s degree, but one in a discipline relevant to the master’s program to which they are applying. For instance, a bachelor’s degree in graphic design may not increase your chances of entering into an online masters degree in accounting program as well as a business or mathematics-related bachelor’s degree could.

Third, most programs require students to complete and submit test scores from an appropriate standardized test. The standardized test you must take is dependent on the master’s degree you hope to obtain. Below you’ll find the various types of graduate-level standardized tests and the general master’s degree subjects that go along with them.

  • Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT): Generally for business master’s programs.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE): Generally of arts and science related master’s programs.
  • Law School Admission Test (LSAT): For those who wish to enter law school.
  • Medical College Admission Test (MCAT): For those who wish to enter medical school.
  • Optometry Assessment Test (OAT): For those who wish to enter optometry school.
  • Dental College Admission Test (DCAT): For those who wish to enter dental school.
  • Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT): For those who wish to enter pharmacy school.
  • Veterinary College Admissions Test (VCAT): For those who wish to enter veterinary school.

These tests are something for which students often spend months studying. Many students also take test preparation courses because your scores on any of the above mentioned standardized tests can make or break your chances of getting into the school of your choice.

Fourth, you must submit an application. Not surprisingly, when you apply for master’s program at an online college or university, most of the application process will be completed online. Applications vary by schools, as big public schools generally have a standard application, while smaller private schools tend to have their own application.

Fifth, some but not all programs require professional experience. For instance, business programs require, or are more likely to admit, students who have worked in the business world for a few years. Some social science and science master’s programs also require, or look favorably upon, people with experience, though it’s not necessarily always professional experience for which they are looking; often, research experience is required or just as valuable.

Sixth, the majority of master’s programs require students to submit at least two letters of recommendation. These letters are generally written by people whom you’ve worked with academically and/or professionally. Usually, letters from professors, employers, managers, and research program directors are sufficient. Letters are typically required to be mailed and sealed with something indicating that the student did not have direct access to the letter or its content beforehand.

Every school is different, so when it comes time to apply to the online master’s program of your choice, be sure to know in advance exactly what its submission requirements entail.


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