Transcripts, Take Two!
These winter months are good times to stay warm at home...and work on
transcripts! Regardless of what your teen anticipates pursuing after
graduation, it's important for you to generate a high school
transcript for him or her. So, there's no better time to begin than
At the inception of the HSLDA high school program, we provided
information on how to create a transcript. Since then, many families
have joined the ranks of homeschooling through high school, so we
thought it would be a good idea to revisit the subject with updated
If your child has never attended a public or a private school, then
it's likely you've not seen a high school transcript in a while. To
most homeschool parents, the word "transcript" elicits almost as much
fear as the word "fire" in a crowded room! Some parents think that
they cannot create such a document. We hope that reading this
newsletter will allay your fears and give you confidence that you are
capable of issuing a professional-looking document on your teen's
|Both of HSLDA’s high school consultants homeschooled their children from kindergarten through the 12th grade. Learn more >>
Transcripts: What and Why?
Two questions we frequently encounter are: What is a transcript and
why do I need one, especially if my teen is not pursuing college?
Simply stated, a transcript is a concise and accurate record of your
teen's academic courses taken during the high school years. A
transcript is not only necessary for college admission, but may be
required for scholarships, Vo-tech and other post-high schools,
apprenticeships, entry level employment to evidence completion of high
school, and will definitely be required if enlisting in the military.
Now that we've established the necessity of a transcript, let's look at the different sections of such a document. (It may be helpful for you to print off one or more of the sample transcripts, including a blank form, that are found on our website and refer to them as you read through the rest of the newsletter.)
You will want to begin by placing a title at the top of the document
such as "Official High School Transcript." Or, you may choose to use
your school name, "Smith High School." If you belong to an umbrella or
oversight group, then that may be the school name you'll use (please
ask the group for permission to do so).
Following the title, provide the student's personal information on one
side and the school information on the opposite side (even though much
of this information is identical). The student should list his full
given name, address (including email address), phone number, birth
date, and parents' full names.
A Social Security number is not required on [DD1]a transcript. It will
be requested by the schools in the application in order to match up
any financial aid or scholarship money that is received for your
student. Once in the school's database, most colleges issue a student
ID number to the applicant, and that is the number to use for future
correspondence with the school.
Transcript Academic Record
The major section of the transcript is the academic record (or body)
section which is usually divided into four parts or years. Some
families, however, create a transcript by semesters rather than years.
This is strictly a personal choice, but listing courses by semester
may make it more difficult to keep the transcript short and concise.
Each year will be labeled by grade such as "Grade 9," and so forth.
Under this heading, all the courses taken in the 9th grade will be
listed followed by the credit earned and the grade awarded. When
titling a course on the transcript, use a brief and clear title so
that others will have an accurate idea of the course content.
College courses taken as dual enrollment should be starred and a note
included at the bottom of the transcript that these are college-level
courses, or simply list the name of the college. (Generally speaking,
a one-semester college-level course is equivalent to one year of high
Transcripts submitted with a college application should list the 12th
grade courses even though these courses are not yet completed. Place
an "IP" (in progress) in the grade column of the transcript until a
grade is awarded at the end of the senior year.
Along with the course title and grade earned, also indicate the credit
each course is awarded. There are several ways to evaluate credit.
For additional information see "Evaluating Credits" on our high school
At the bottom of each year, total up all the credits and compute that
year's grade point average (GPA). More detailed instructions on how to
calculate yearly and cumulative GPAs can be found in our October 2009
newsletter, "Computing a GPA--Yikes!"
Transcript Academic Summary
At the bottom of the transcript, the total number of credits and the
cumulative GPA will be listed. Be sure to also include the date of
graduation and that a diploma was issued.
Some transcripts will include a grading scale or table. Providing such
information can be helpful to someone reading your transcript in
understanding your grades. However, if your teen has taken courses
from other teachers or from outside sources, it will not be possible
for you to provide a uniform grading scale. If this is the case, then
it's wise not to include the scale or table.
Signature and Date
The transcript should be typed and professional in appearance. Every
time it is requested, provide an original, signed, and dated document.
It is a good idea to have someone proofread your transcript for
spelling and calculation errors before issuing it.
The Finished Product
The samples on our website will give you the type of information that
any transcript should include, but don't think that you must duplicate
the formats. You have the freedom to design your own transcript to fit
your teen's specific needs. Your transcript will be fine as long as it
is clear and accurately reflects your teen's high school academic
Now, that wasn't so hard, was it? Hopefully this information will give
you the confidence that you, too, can produce a professional-looking
transcript for your teen--one that you will look forward to providing
to anyone who asks.
For members of HSLDA, please know that we are always happy to answer
your questions and walk you through the process when you are ready to
create a transcript. If you are not a member of HSLDA, we invite you
to consider becoming one. You can read about all the benefits of
membership on HSLDA's website.
March winds will blow into your email box our next newsletter that
will provide you with information about summer teen camps. Until
Keeping warm here in the Northeast,
Becky Cooke and Diane Kummer
HSLDA High School Consultants