I called my old school only to discover they don't do transcript requests over the phone. It can only be done by fax or online. I filled out the form online. My transcripts arrive without being signed and sealed. So I have a pile of five transcripts which are useless. I double checked the online request form but nothing on it says anything about the transcripts not be signed and seal. There is no way to request that they be signed and sealed in the form itself. By this point it's getting close to the deadline so I'm going to request again and pay to courier them. To do this I have to print out the fax form, fill it out by hand (it's a pdf that can't be filled out on a computer), and fax it back. I do this and add the extra $30 for a courier fee. Nothing shows up. I phone (long-distance) the school and all they can tell is that the request has been processed. They can't tell me who the courier is or even if the transcripts have been passed onto a courier at all. It's against their policy.
Ten business days later my transcripts show up in the mail in a regular envelope. They are not signed and sealed. I phone the school again and get passed back and forth between the front desk, the register, and admissions.
I finally get somebody from the register who seems to be the right person. She tells me that you have to specifically request that the transcripts be signed and sealed because they never send signed and sealed transcripts to students. I tell her that there is nothing on the website or the forms that says this and that it's standard at most schools to sign and seal them automatically or offer the option. She then proceeds to tell me that even though it's not on the form I should have known to call and ask them to do it. I explain, again, that since there is nothing on the site and that all the other schools I have to deal with do it as standard practice there was no precedent for me to expect this. She then tells me that this school has lots of students going on to graduate school (implying other schools don't) and potential grad students don't want signed and sealed transcripts. This is an outright lie. I know from personal experience that if the transcript isn't sent directly it must be put in the application package signed and sealed. This is the procedure for applying for scholarships, grants, etc. I tell her that my experience has been that signed and sealed must be done or the transcripts are useless. She tells me I'm wrong.
Since I'm obviously not swaying her on this point I ask about the courier.
She tells me that regular mail is the courier. I ask for a refund because a courier service does not take ten business days to deliver something. That's way I paid the $30 - to get the transcripts within two days. They don't do refunds and I got the transcripts. I tried a couple times to explain that courier service does not mean the regular post and that's what they'd sent me. It doesn't matter they never do refunds on anything to do with transcripts.
In the end I paid another $30 to get yet another set of transcripts sent by courier after being assured that they would be signed and sealed. I ordered triple the amount I needed because I don't want to do this again. The transcripts arrived by regular post again but at least they were signed and sealed.
Edit: I got the awards application in a day before the deadline so now it's just fingers crossed waiting to see what happens with it.