The Sailor-Marine American Council on Education Registry Transcript for military personnel has been replaced. The Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard personnel now need to use the Joint Service Transcript in place of the SMART transcript. The JST holds the same weight as a SMART transcript, assisting colleges, trade schools and other academic institutions in awarding credit for the rigorous military training and occupational experience. A Joint Service Transcript request is a relatively simple endeavor once you navigate the correct online channels. There are a few rules to know when applying to a college and using a JST transcript with your application.
Joint Service Transcript Request
If you haven’t already found the JST website and registered with it, it is highly recommended that you do so. The site is streamlined and easier to navigate than former versions of the SMART site. Once registered on the JST site, you can generate a transcript online. An official copy of your complete transcript will then be sent directly to the preferred college or university. Make sure to fill out all fields as specifically as possible so that the JST transcript ends up in the correct department. A college or academic institution will not accept a hand-delivered JST transcript from service personnel. It must be generated from the JST site and sent via the site. A service person can request an unlimited amount of JST transcripts to send to a number of higher education institutions. The service is free and is relatively easy to do on the JST site.
What the JST Includes
The JST is filled with all of a military service person’s accomplishments. It lists the military occupations that were held, the ratings, certain Navy-enlisted classifications, military occupational specialties, limited duty officer/chief warrant officer specialties, military training courses that were completed and college-level exams that were officially taken at a military testing site. It includes military courses that may not match the official American Council on Education credit recommendations. It further explains these for maximum benefit to the military service person.
Education-Related Information on the JST
The JST has a streamlined summary of the person’s transcript that closely resembles a standard college transcript. Any academic degrees and certificates that are from accredited institutions from a regional or national accrediting agency and recognized by the Department of Education will be listed. Any nonacademic certifications and licensures are also included. If the service person gained degrees from foreign colleges or other education-based institutions, those will also be listed on the JST.
Benefits of the JST
Tuition expenses can be reduced by using a JST transcript. Receiving credit for your time in service and all the experience you gained, from entry-level training through courses completed during your military career, can significantly reduce the amount of classes you need to take to qualify for graduation. This can also reduce the cost and time spent in classes on subjects you have already mastered.
Guide for Getting Into College
The JST transcript offers the recommended college credit for the job experience and training a military person received. These recommendations are made by the American Council on Education. The ACE publishes a reference book to which colleges and universities refer in order to evaluate a potential student. The “Guide to the Evaluation of Learning Experiences in the Armed Services” is thorough and covers each branch of the military. No matter in what branch or area you served, the ACE’s guide gives a detailed account of what you more than likely mastered during your time in the military. All colleges or academic institutions have their own policies when it comes to transferring credit.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business trends and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.