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The Tale of the Misinterpreted Diploma

June 7, 2011

Lucia recently moved to the United States from Mexico. Soon after her arrival, Lucia applied for enrollment at a local community college. Her ultimate goal is to become a licensed teacher. And in order to attain said license, Lucia will need proof of a bachelor’s degree. So her plan is to attend the local community college then transfer to a four-year university where she will complete her degree before applying for her teacher’s certification. Sounds pretty straight forward, right? Not exactly.


Lucia’s community college admitted her but misinterpreted her vocational high school diploma, and subsequently gave her 30+ units of transfer credit. Lucia will inevitably face problems when she applies for transfer to a four-year institution and the state licensing board, but right now she is oblivious to her future dilemma. And it’s not even her fault.


Had the community college referred Lucia to an evaluation service first, and then considered her application for admission, the impending stress Lucia is bound to face could have been avoided.


Lucia is not alone. She is merely one of many foreign students/workers who come to the United States in pursuit of the America dream, only to be tossed and turned through a convoluted system.


There is currently no regulation in the credential evaluation industry, and unfortunately it can be difficult to locate trustworthy evaluators. The worst part is the students ultimately suffer the consequence. Which means it’s up to private evaluation companies to hold one another accountable and work together to create a transparent, standardized system, even if the government doesn’t require it.


My sponsor, SDR Educational Consultants, and fellow members of the Association of International Credential Evaluators Inc. (AICE) are doing just that. Every member of AICE is owned and operated by a senior evaluation expert or experts with at least 15 years of industry experience each, and AICE members share information with each other to advance consistency in the industry.


Lucia is going to wish her community college had called SDR before misinterpreting her diploma. Hopefully they won’t make that mistake again.

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