This month we have been focusing on college planning. So far we looked at choosing a major and taking financial responsibility for college (part 1 and part 2). For our final post in this series, we will look at some tips for high school transcripts.
Pretty soon seniors all over the country are going to start preparing to submit college applications. One thing that most universities require is a high school transcript. You may be thinking, “High school transcripts are so overwhelming!” That’s OK because, while they can seem overwhelming, that doesn’t mean that they have to be. Here are a few questions you may have been thinking about and some answers you may have wanted to know.
Why is it important to have a high school transcript?
A high school transcript documents all academic achievement and validates the work completed during high school. Without such a transcript, there is no way to actually prove whether the student took an adequate amount of coursework, what quality of work the student was capable of accomplishing, and that the student graduated.
What do colleges look for on a student’s transcript?
- Years of high school study
- Titles of all courses taken (including any that did not earn a passing grade, any times the course was retaken, and any that were withdrawn)
- High school course credits (Carnegie units) earned for each course
- All grades achieved in each high school course (including any non-passing grades, any grades earned in a class retaken, and any withdrawn courses)
- Grading scale used to determine letter grades
- Cumulative GPA
- Actual graduation date
When students who have not graduated from high school send in their college applications, they can also have a transcript sent showing the coursework that they have completed so far. After graduation, a final transcript should be sent to the college/university to show their final grades and that they actually completed their coursework and graduated.
Students should check with the college they’re applying to regarding other specific requirements.
What is a Carnegie unit?
A Carnegie unit (credit hour) is a time-based measurement that consists of 120 class hours or instruction time over the course of a year at the secondary level. Typically, a student earns one Carnegie unit by attending class five days a week over the course of a school year. A one-semester course that meets five days a week typically earns half a Carnegie unit.
How should I calculate GPA?
You can find a GPA calculator easily online. A simple one to use is gpacalculator.net.
Regarding the GPA, you should research the common GPA scale in your state. Some states are moving toward a weighted GPA (such as the UGS GPA in South Carolina). In these situations, it would be advisable to provide two GPAs—one based on the 4.0 scale and another one based on the state’s standard weighted scale.
How should I create a transcript?
Making your own transcript from scratch can be intense. To help you, here is a transcript template that you can download creating transcripts for your students or children.
Don’t forget—transcripts should be treated as official documents. Students attending traditional schools can have their school office send transcripts to the schools they are interested in. Homeschool students should have their homeschool teacher (most likely their mom or dad) prepare and send their transcript for them. If you have specific questions about sending transcripts, check with the college/university’s admission office.
Hopefully, some of these questions and answers have helped you better understand high school transcripts. If you have further tips about transcripts, feel free to share them in the comments below.
What has been the most helpful thing that you read in our college planning series?