With the November 15 Early Notification deadline less than three weeks away, it’s time for me to turn to tips.  And to kick off the admissions tips for the year, I want to start with the solution to our perennial peskiest problem — applicants whose credentials are submitted under different names or multiple spelling variations of the same name.

If your name is now and always has been George Washington, you may have no idea what I’m talking about.  But if you attended college several years ago and now go by your married name, we’re talking to you!  It’s very important that you inform us that the transcript from your undergraduate university will reflect your maiden name. Of course, the same advice pertains regardless of your reason for changing your name.

Additional challenges for our application compilers?

Your full name is James William Fulbright, but everyone refers to you as William.  Make sure your correspondence and documentation reflect your full name.

Your name is Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  If we know you’re from a country that follows certain conventions, we’ll assume we should file your GRE scores under G for Garcia.  But in the absence of such clues, we’re going to assume that your last name (surname) is Marquez.  Into the M’s you’ll go.

Your Chinese name is presented surname before given name on your Chinese transcript, but will appear given name before surname on your U.S. transcript and test score report.

I could go on, but I hope you’re getting the point.  If your name is going to appear with more than one spelling, or in more than one format, you need to let us know.  Otherwise, what will happen is that your otherwise on-time application will be considered incomplete.  We’ll tell you that something is missing, and you’ll scramble around to submit a replacement, which will also be filed incorrectly.

Keep us informed, and we’ll look forward to an admissions process free of name confusion!

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