A student’s high school transcript is his life on paper. Academics, extracurricular interests, volunteer work, and standardized tests are compiled together, a one-or-two page summation of four years’ work. If you’ve been recording your student’s work up to this point – which in some states is required and is always highly recommended, if not necessary – you might already have a transcript template in place. Whether or not you do, here are some tips for compiling a strong transcript that will show your student in his best light.
Find a Template
Templates are not difficult to come by. Many homeschool blogs and websites offer free transcript templates, and there are even computer programs that automatically compile a transcript for you as you plug in your student’s academic information! You can also design your own template in a program like Excel.
Make sure whatever template you use is clear, organized, and readable. Use no-nonsense fonts and blocks of text – like Excel tables – to organize class titles, grades, and credits earned.
What to Include
The most essential elements of the transcript are:
- School name, address, phone number, and “superintendent” (parent)
- Student name, address, birth date, and date of graduation (intended, if still in high school)
- Each year of high school thus far completed with classes listed, respectively
- Grades for each class
- Number of credits earned for each class
- Cumulative GPA for each year
- Cumulative GPA for high school career (up to current date)
- Test scores (you will also have these sent to college from the testing agencies themselves)
If your student took honors or college courses, their GPA may be weighted (beyond a 4.0 scale). If this is the case you may need an online GPA calculator to estimate their GPA. Keep in mind that some colleges unweight the GPA (an A is a 4.0, regardless of what kind of class was taken), so it may be wise to list the GPA in both weighted and unweighted form.
If your student is taking CLEP or AP exams and using the study time as partial credit, list the CLEP or AP name (e.g., English Composition, History of Europe) as the class it fulfilled, designate it as a college course, and assign it the appropriate amount of credit (homeschoolers who count studying for a CLEP or AP as credit typically list it as a ½ high school credit).
Create a separate box on the template for extracurricular work or volunteer experience. Here you can list all the sports, clubs, or groups in which your student was involved. Try to show specific accomplishments like you would on a resume: “Participated in six state level debate competitions” as opposed to “member of debate team”.
Signature and Addendum
Finally, add a signature as the parental superintendent of the school. This can go near the addendum: a statement articulating that your homeschool has been in compliance with your state regulations for home education. Not all colleges require this, but it’s a good disclosure to include on the transcript.
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