I had poor grades for my bachelor's but turned my study habits around and got serious for the masters and graduated with high honors.

Now, my prospective employer asked for my transcripts, and I cringe at the idea of my bachelor's transcripts stealing the thunder of my masters.

If it makes any difference, my masters degree is directly correlated to the job position at hand although both degrees are relevant (the position and my masters are in marketing, while my bachelor's is in economics and business.)

I'm in The Netherlands if that makes a difference.

They didn't specify which transcripts they wanted. They just asked for transcripts.

If a prospective employer asks for transcripts, do you give both your bachelor's and masters or just the masters transcripts?

  • 2
    Why not ask them which transcripts they want? Since each set requires some hassle to order and often a fee, it seems like an innocent request to clarify which ones they really want. Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 3:51
  • I would only consider this if there was a job offer, and I would make them provide me with an document listing exactly what they expect and intend to do with the transcripts. There is quite a bit of information on your transcripts that could be useful in social engineering and identity theft. Not that I expect the employer is going to do that but many companies do not have the best document retention and destruction practices. Commented Feb 11, 2014 at 14:54

3 Answers 3


In your case it seems like it could be a good idea to send along only your master's transcripts, especially since they are highly relevant for the job at hand. By doing so you risk:

1) Your employer dismissing you out of hand because you didn't submit "the right" transcripts.

I find this unlikely, and especially so if the employer was actually interested in hiring you in the first place. I have little experience with non-academic employment, but in general I find it hard to believe that employers would be so dismissive without being specific.

2) They contact you again asking for your bachelor's transcripts.

If this happens, of course you should provide them if you are still interested in the job. You could still make a better impression by showing the better ones first and the worse ones second -- people tend to form opinions quickly and then instinctively want to stick by them -- but who knows?

Anyway, the idea that -- unless asked otherwise -- "transcripts" means transcripts from your most recent academic institution sounds vaguely reasonable to me.

(P.S.: I didn't read the "Netherlands" part until the end. Since this is a rather small employment scene which may well do things in its own way, it would be prudent for you to also ask for local advice.)


Since you posted this originally on academia, I don't think you can hide your grades. Most companies would probably accept your masters only.

You're not the first person who started their academic career off poorly. They're not hiring the 18 year old who wasn't focused and/or prepared for college work. They are hiring an adult who obtained a masters degree.

You can explain all of this in a cover letter. You may have had poor grades, but you didn't give up. When given a chance in a masters program, you did very well. Focus on where you're at right now. The past is just that.


In general, you need to give employers the transcripts they ask for. This can be a problem if they have specific criteria for new hires—and many of them do. Companies generally do allow for managers to ask for exemptions to those criteria, but then you have to be so outstanding a candidate that it's worth it for them to stick their necks out to request the exemption. Otherwise, it's probably not worth the administrative hassle for them to go through the trouble.

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