Ready to create your teen’s high school transcript?

Whether you’re using your home computer to design the transcript yourself or entering your student’s information into an online transcript service, it helps to understand the sections of a transcript and what information goes where.

Now, why not take a minute to open or even print out the sample transcripts at the bottom of this post. Then you can follow along as you read.

It can helpful to keep in mind that while there is no standard transcript format that all high schools use nationwide, the information found on transcripts is generally the same.

Ready? Let’s get started!

First, a quick refresher: A transcript is a one-page summary of your teen’s academic record, including all high school courses completed or in progress. It includes all parent-taught courses as well as courses taken from outside instructors.

There are four main sections on a high school transcript.

Student identification and homeschool contact information

This section lists your teen’s personal and contact information as well as contact information for your homeschool. Although there is a great deal of overlap between the student identification information and homeschool contact information, they are listed separately to prevent any confusion about where the student went to school and who the homeschool administrator is (usually the parent).

Academic information

This section forms the body of the transcript. Most transcripts use a yearly grade-level format listing courses by grade level and school year. There are specific instances when a subject format is appropriate, with courses listed under subject headings.

For each course, indicate the title, final grade, and credit earned. List academic subjects (English, math, science, history, and foreign language) first, followed by elective courses.

If you have withdrawn your student from public or private school to finish high school at home, the transcript will need to show all the courses your student takes during the full four years of high school. (Use the notes section on the transcript to indicate what courses were taught by a specific public or private high school or other outside instructor, such as a course from HSLDA Online Academy.)

Choose course titles that clearly convey course content. A textbook title is usually a poor choice for a course title. For example, even if your student is using Saxon’s Advanced Mathematics textbook, name the course after its content: Precalculus/Trigonometry.

If you are homeschooling a high schooler with unique learning challenges, you can find lots of great tips for creative, customized coursework along with sample transcripts here.

Academic summary

This section consists of the four yearly GPAs as well as the four cumulative GPAs.

Nervous about calculating your student’s GPA? Never fear! We have step-by-step instructions right here.

Certification

The self-certification, signature, and date attest to the truthfulness of the information presented and bear the signature of the person (or people) who supervised the homeschool education (that’s you, mom—and/or dad!).

A note about dates

The transcript should include two dates: your student’s graduation date and the date of signature. These dates will likely not be the same.

The graduation date should be specific, including month, day, and year. Typically, it occurs after the completion of all senior-year courses, and this same date is also indicated on the homeschool diploma. (The graduation date is not necessarily the date you award your teen their diploma or the date of their graduation ceremony.)

Whenever the transcript is requested, always provide an original of the document, signed and dated in ink. The signature date is the actual date you sign the document and will change each time someone requests the transcript.

Makin’ it official

When colleges and other entities request an “official” transcript, it may be best to sign and date the transcript and place it in a sealed envelope; then sign your name again across the sealed flap of the envelope. This second signature assures the recipient that the transcript has not been changed in any way since you sealed it.

Some colleges, scholarship committees, and others will request an electronic signature if you send your transcript via email or if you submit an online application that requires an electronic version of the transcript. You should send the transcript in PDF format so that the information on it cannot be changed by the entity receiving the transcript.

Generally, it is not necessary to use watermark paper. In some instances, people may be more inclined to view the transcript as official if it is printed on watermark paper. Watermark paper makes the transcript look professional and provides an extra measure of security because it prevents the transcript from being duplicated or altered in any way.

Now that you’ve toured a high school transcript and had a look around, the next step is start filling in your teen’s transcript. You can get started with How to Calculate a Grade Point Average (GPA) and, if you’re an HSLDA member, you can download a free transcript template right here.

This article is partly excerpted from Simplify Your Recordkeeping and Transcript, written by HSLDA’s Educational Consultants. Want even more detailed transcript instructions? Download your copy of the e-book!