Dear Harvard College Students,
During the last week you’ve shopped courses, made your class selections (and perhaps second-guessed them), talked to your advisers and friends, and finally submitted your study cards. The result is a roadmap for your spring semester – possibly your last at Harvard, or still early in your journey. It’s also one piece of your Harvard transcript, the document that charts your undergraduate curricular experiences. Too often your transcript can feel like a burden, carrying with it the expectations of a perfect GPA or a series of qualifications designed to appeal to graduate schools and employers.
Today, I am happy to announce the Transcript Project, an alternative way for all Harvard undergraduates to think about their transcripts that takes grades and GPA out of the conversation. Created by Robin Kelsey, Dean of Arts & Humanities and Shirley Carter Burden Professor of Photography in the Department of History of Art & Architecture, the Transcript Project asks you to discard the conventional markers of academic success and instead celebrate the uniqueness of your intellectual journey at Harvard. It asks you to reflect on your choices, to consider why you selected the courses you did, and to revisit the process by which you found them. Which semester or courses stand out in retrospect? What hidden stories does your transcript contain?
Here’s how it works: you create a submission in one of three categories – Read, Hear, or See – that provides a personal account of your transformative curricular path at Harvard. You can visit the Project website at transcriptproject.org for competition details and guidance, including Dean Kelsey’s own Transcript Project. I encourage you to check it out.
I, along with Dean Kelsey, hope this competition is an opportunity for you to think beyond your grades and further explore what your time here at Harvard has meant to you.
Danoff Dean of Harvard College