When I was in college, I quickly learned how important it was to keep records. You can’t rely on your university to keep track of everything correctly. Maybe they will, but just in case they make a mistake, you need to be prepared.
One habit I formed early on in college was to get a copy of my transcript each semester. One semester, there were an extra 15 hours of credits on the transcript for classes I had not taken. After doing some checking, it became clear that they had accidentally given me credit for someone else’s work. I explained it to the university and they straightened out the records. However, I imagine it was much easier to get something taken off than it would be to get something added. By keeping a copy of my transcript, I had a very simple way to prove what classes I had taken if my credits ever accidentally were given to someone else.
About eight years later, I was taking classes through Harvard’s extension school toward a second Master’s degree. One day I was looking over the requirements and discovered that all of the work I had done wasn’t going to count. There was a requirement that you take your first 3 courses in a particular order and I hadn’t done that. Obviously, I was very concerned because I had already earned about 20 hours toward the degree.
I went to my file and found a dated print out of the same page that listed a different set of requirement–requirements that I had followed. I went to the office and showed them my printout and asked if the requirements had changed. They said that the requirements had changed, and I would only have to meet the old requirements for my program.
I could have probably gotten it straightened out without having my print out, but it was much easier to deal with since I had kept good records.