Recently, my office has received quite a number of requests from international students (graduated students) to have their degree parchments “notarized”. We have received similar requests from international government agencies as well.
For example, here’s what a recent request looked like, “One of the necessary documents is a copy of my diploma with notarization and apostille.”
I had to look up the word “apostille.” In case you do too, here’s a good website explaining it.
At first, I thought “Why would anyone think this is necessary? Our degrees all have the original embossed seal and signatures on them.” It didn’t make any sense to me. However, after querying a number of my colleagues in the Association of Registrars of Universities and Colleges in Canada, they made me aware that it’s actually the copy of the diploma that needs to be authenticated.
Call me a little slow, but now I understand. In fact, a colleague noted that one of their students had submitted the original degree parchment to a government agent who kept it! This happened twice to that student who had to request a replacement degree each time. This is concerning. I understand the need for certified copies.
But I am not convinced that our office is the one to provide this service.
There are two reasons.
First, several requests cite the necessity of using a Notary Public and Apostille. We don’t have such an officer in our university. Therefore, whatever service we do provide would not suffice.
Second, I contacted several Notaries Public and spoke to a lawyer, all of whom described how much confusion there is amongst their clients over what services are required. I’m not interested in contributing to more confusion, nor am I knowledgeable enough about the topic to try to explain it to students.
The service already exists. There are professionals who do this kind of work as a profession. I am comfortable directing students (graduates) to them to fulfill this need. I think students will receive better service this way.
What does your university or college do in this situation? Please leave a comment to explain.