Everything You Need to Know about College Transcripts (2023)

Everything You Need to Know about College Transcripts (1)

College transcripts are the closest thing a student has to a permanent record. They detail your academic history, including your grades, the courses you have completed, and whether or not you graduated. They may also list additional information, such as a history of academic probation, honor code violations, or awards for your school performance.

Your transcripts can unlock academic doors. They’re key to transferring credits from one university to another and are the best way to verify your prior academic performance. Yet many students struggle to get their transcripts and don’t know how to ensure that their previous work follows them from one institution to another. If you’ve found yourself struggling to navigate this process yourself, here’s everything you need to know about transcripts before applying to a college degree program.

(Video) Transcripts (Everything Explained)

What’s in a College Transcript?

A college transcript is a detailed record of your previous schoolwork. It includes:

  • A list of all classes you’ve taken. Depending on your school’s policies for dropping classes, it may also list classes you enrolled in but didn’t complete.
  • The scores you received for all classes. Most transcripts include a number and letter grade.
  • A list of dates attended and majors. The transcript will also list the dates during which you took certain classes.
  • Grade point average. The transcript may also list your GPA as of your last semester of enrollment, or itemize a GPA for each semester.
  • Student information. Depending on the information your school gathers, the transcript may also list your full name, date of birth, and student identification number.
  • Other institutions. The transcript may list other schools you attended, as well as transfer credits you received from those schools.
  • Official documentation. An official transcript also contains a seal, signature, or other official documentation indicating the document came from the registrar’s office.

Unofficial transcripts are free, and list the classes you’ve taken and the grades you’ve received. You usually have to pay a fee for official transcripts, which come directly from your school’s registrar. Most schools will not let you enroll without an official transcript.

Everything You Need to Know about College Transcripts (2)

How to Get a Copy of Your Transcript

You can view an unofficial copy of your transcript by logging into your student account and printing out your history. This transcript is free. It can be helpful as you begin the application process, particularly if the school to which you apply wants a list of recent courses or needs to know your GPA before it receives your transcript. Your unofficial transcript may also help you assess whether you meet certain prerequisites for the classes you hope to take or the program in which you want to enroll.

Most universities won’t accept an unofficial transcript. There are numerous reasons for this, including that an unofficial transcript may be incomplete. It’s also possible to forge an unofficial transcript. So at some point during the application and admission process, you’ll need to supply an official document. Each school’s rules for this vary slightly. Some only require an official transcript upon admission, while others want the transcript to be sent when you apply.

To get an official copy of your transcript, contact your school’s registrar. In most cases, you don’t even have to call or go in person; the registrar’s office may have an online form for requesting your transcript. You can usually pay the transcript fee online too. If the school does not offer such a form, you may need to download and print the right document, then send a check.

(Video) All You Need to Know About Transcripts

The process can take several weeks, so plan ahead. If you’re working under a tight deadline, contact the school to ask about transcript processing times. In some cases, you may be able to expedite the process by paying a transcript rush fee.

If the school you attended has closed, you can still get a copy of your transcript. Each state has its own rules for accessing these transcripts, so check with the governing body that oversees your state’s colleges. In Oklahoma, students can view a list of closed colleges on the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education website. Each school lists the process for getting a transcript. Other states, such as Illinois, maintain transcripts at the office of the State Board of Higher Education.

Do I Need a Transcript to Apply to College?

Students who attended college many years ago or who did not get good grades the first time may wonder whether they need a transcript. Some may even prefer to get a fresh start rather than transferring bad grades to a new school.

The truth is that even if your grades aren’t great, you need a transcript. Even a single transfer credit can help expedite your graduation. Perhaps more importantly, most schools require you to submit all relevant transcripts. It may even be an honor code violation to exclude a school.

Where to Send Your Transcripts

In most cases, you cannot pick up a copy of your transcript and take it to your new university. Instead, you’ll need your old school to directly send transcripts to the new school. This process can take some time, especially if you’re seeking a transcript from a larger school or your transcripts are very old. So contact each school as early in the application process as possible.

Most schools ask you to provide a specific address to which to send your transcript. Your new school’s registrar can provide this information. Contact them before completing a transcript request, because sending a transcript to the wrong office can delay the process or incur additional expenses. Contact SNU’s Registrar Services or Admissions Office for help accessing transcripts or sending grades from previous schools.

(Video) High School Transcript: Everything You Need to Know

A Simple Checklist for Getting Your College Transcripts

Applying for college can be stressful and time-consuming, especially if you previously attended several schools. You don’t have to become a transcript expert to navigate the process. Just follow this simple to-do list:

  1. Check with the admissions office of your chosen school for details about their transcript policy.
  2. Make a list of each school you have previously attended, no matter how long ago or how briefly.
  3. Complete a transcript request form with each school. You can usually fill out the form online, and you may have to pay a small fee.
  4. If the school from which you need a transcript is closed, contact the organization that oversees higher education in your state. They can tell you how to get a transcript.
  5. Follow up with the school to which you are applying to ensure they receive each transcript.
  6. After they have received your transcripts, meet with an academic advisor to discuss which classes will transfer. In some cases, you may have to fill out a form to request that your classes transfer or to appeal a denial of transfer credit.

SNU is committed to student success from day one. We work with each incoming learner to maximize transfer credits. We also understand that college courses may not reflect your true mastery of a subject. We offer credit for prior learning, including military service, workplace certifications, and other experiences. Our prior learning assessment is a comprehensive measure of the things you’ve learned before coming to SNU. You can get up to a year’s worth of academic credit through this process.

We know that navigating the college transfer process can be stressful. Let us help. Contact us for assistance securing and reviewing your transcripts so you can start your degree program as quickly as possible.

Everything You Need to Know about College Transcripts (3)

(Video) Transcripts explained | Official Transcripts Vs Unofficial Transcripts

Want to learn more about SNU's programs?

Request More Info

Request More Information

Have questions about SNU, our program, or how we can help you succeed. Fill out the form and an enrollment counselor will reach out to you soon!

(Video) What is Transcripts Certificate and why it is required ?


What looks good on your transcript? ›

  • Grade Point Average (GPA) The most important step you can take to make yourself a competitive candidate is, of course, to work hard in school. ...
  • Test Scores. For schools that consider standardized test scores, those typically rank second in importance. ...
  • Clubs. ...
  • Sports. ...
  • Community Service. ...
  • Jobs/Internships.

How many copies of transcript are required? ›

Some Universities ask for 2 copies of transcript (one for the graduate school and one for the department). You should always apply for more transcripts than the number of Universities your are applying for. Normally if you are applying for 10 Universities, you should get around 15-16 transcripts.

Why are all transcripts required? ›

Why do I need to order a transcript? In ordered to be considered for enrollment at most colleges and universities, they need to know if you qualify. Along with your application, your past performance will play a part in a school's admissions decision.

How important is the transcript of records? ›

An academic transcript is a vital document, especially when you plan to study abroad or apply for higher education in India or when applying for a job/internship. Every University asks for school and college transcripts to ascertain students' caliber and academic performance at their previous institution.

What grades do colleges look at the most? ›

Generally colleges care most about the grades you got junior year. These grades are the most important because, when you apply in the fall of your senior year, they're the most recent grades the college has access to, so they give them the best idea of your current abilities.

How do universities verify transcripts? ›

Scanned Official Transcript with the university stamp and registrar's signature. Official e-transcript: This can be sent by third parties on behalf of the university. A lot of universities also accept scanned images of your transcript in case you can't get a hard copy. Medical students can submit MBBS certificates.

Can universities check your past academic record? ›

Colleges can see which schools transferees previously attended upon the receipt of the academic transcript and/or financial aid transcript. The Common App for Transfer or a proprietary application also asks about previous schools. However, it usually does not have a bearing on the admissions decisions.

Does your college transcript say you graduated? ›

The final transcript should show all work completed and the conferral date of the degree. This also serves as your degree confirmation. When you request a final transcript from your institution, verify that the transcript states the date that the degree was conferred or awarded.

Can I send official transcripts to myself? ›

If they clearly are official sealed transcripts, yes you can mail them. I'd suggest sticking them in another envelope first so they don't get damaged in the mail. Why send them yourself when it is usually done by the school? Like I said, I just ordered them preemptively before any schools had asked for them.

Can I enroll in college without transcripts? ›

Most schools will not let you enroll without an official transcript.

What happens if I don't submit all my transcripts? ›

If the admissions committee is doing their job, they will discover that you are missing transcripts. Your past academic history at every institution is reviewed during the decision process to accept or deny you. If you neglect to submit all transcripts, you better have a reason that they will accept.

How long do colleges keep transcripts? ›

How Long Do Colleges Keep Transcripts? College transcripts do not expire and schools are obligated to maintain transcripts for all students who have enrolled in and attended their institution — regardless of whether or not that student graduated.

Do academic transcripts matter? ›

Employers of accounting graduates want to see graduates' transcripts as part of their process of evaluating applicants for employment positions. Employers will be particularly interested in your grades and grade point average (GPA). The GPA is a weighted average of your grades.

Are official and unofficial transcripts the same? ›

Transcripts that have been in the hands of the student such as student copy/unofficial transcripts are not considered official. Unofficial transcripts are printed on plain paper and do not have a college seal or registrar's signature. Unofficial transcripts cannot be used to transfer to another college or university.

What does transcript of records contain? ›

The Transcript of Records (ToR) shows the list of courses taken, the exams or tests you passed, and the credits you earned. In the Transcript of Records, you can find the title of the courses, course duration, grade, and the credit points you have gained by passing the exam.

What do colleges care about most? ›

  1. Good Grades. Earning good grades is the most critical factor for college applications. ...
  2. Challenging High School Curriculum. ...
  3. Strong Standardized Test Scores. ...
  4. A Well-Written Essay. ...
  5. Extracurricular Participation and Leadership Skills. ...
  6. Diversity. ...
  7. Enthusiasm for the School. ...
  8. Letters of Recommendation.

What to do if no college accepts you? ›

Here is what you can do if you don't get accepted anywhere.
  1. Apply to a Community College. If you are determined to attend school in September, use a community college as your next step. ...
  2. Consider a Gap Year. ...
  3. Find a Job That Enhances Your Application. ...
  4. Look Into Trade Schools. ...
  5. Wait Until You Can Reapply.

What kind of students do colleges want? ›

Colleges look for students who took the most challenging courses available to them who performed well in each class. Some high schools don't offer many college prep classes. If that is the case for your high school, admissions officers will take this into account.

Can you change grades on transcript? ›

Limitations. The transcript displays the official record of classes students enroll in during school, so most grades cannot be changed or removed. Courses changed before the drop/add date do not appear on the transcript, but any classes you do not drop after that date are part of the permanent record.

How do admissions officers read transcripts? ›

When admissions officers are evaluating transcripts, they will review every element of the document, including the electives you choose to take. It's important to put the same level of dedication and effort into these classes as you do into your core classes like English and Math.

Do jobs check transcripts? ›

Some companies require college transcripts, and the hiring manager will likely check your GPA in this case as well. Instead of making a decision based on your GPA, many hiring managers place importance on your experience, skills and general education.

Is B's in high school good? ›

B - is still a pretty good grade! This is an above-average score, between 80% and 89% C - this is a grade that rests right in the middle.

What does your transcript say about you? ›

The scores you received for all classes. Most transcripts include a number and letter grade. A list of dates attended and majors. The transcript will also list the dates during which you took certain classes.

Is a B good in college? ›

The following grades are used: A — excellent; B — good; C — fair in undergraduate courses and minimum passing in courses for graduate credit; D — minimum passing in undergraduate courses; F — failed. In addition, plus and minus grades may be used, with the exceptions of A plus, F plus and F minus.

Do colleges care about your transcript? ›

Colleges see any and all grades and information reported on your official transcript (again—you should request a copy!), but they care most about and evaluate your final grades in core academic courses.

Can I get into Harvard with 2 B's? ›

Does Harvard Accept B Students? Yes, just like I mentioned above, it's completely possible to get admitted into Harvard University with B grades. Admissions are not reserved only for straight-A students.

What is the minimum GPA for Harvard? ›

We do not have a minimum GPA (grade point average).

What GPA to get into Harvard? ›

Harvard applicants must be at the top of their class and meet the minimum GPA requirements for acceptance into the college. While there are a small number of exceptions, students with GPAs of 4.0 - 4.18 have the best chance of getting accepted.

Does your college transcript follow you? ›

Your college transcript is your “permanent record” when it comes to your college career. Each school you attend will keep a detailed record of which classes you took, the grades you earned, dates attended, majors and minors, and your overall grade point average.

Which is more important major GPA or overall GPA? ›

While graduate admissions committees don't necessarily disregard other grades, generally, they consider your major Grade Point Average or GPA a better representative of your grades. Graduate schools are mainly concerned about you completing the graduate program.

What does a college transcript show? ›

It includes your enrollment history, grades that you got, credits earned and attempted and average of grade-point. The classes would be arranged in chronological format by the enrollment semester or the quarter. The grade-point average may be given individually for each quarter, but total cumulative average is given.

Is it normal to struggle in college? ›

Struggling in college isn't uncommon, and the sinking feeling that comes with poor grades can discourage even the most determined student. But that doesn't mean you need to throw your hands up and call it quits.

Are C's okay in college? ›

Don't kid yourself: C is a bad grade, and D is even worse. Most students in college are getting A's and B's (at many schools the average grade-point average is between B and B+). So if your quizzes and tests are coming back with C's and D's, be aware that you are learning virtually nothing in the courses you're taking.

Does college get easier or harder? ›

Whether college gets easier or harder is a completely personal opinion, but for most, college does seem to get easier as time goes by, even though course material might become harder and more complicated. Most students battle in the first year of college with adjusting to their new way of life.

Do colleges look at all 4 years GPA? ›

Your cumulative GPA factors in the grades from all of high school. The cumulative GPA, along with your high school transcript of the classes you've taken and the grades you received in them, will be what colleges see. They are not as concerned with individual semesters.

Do colleges see your senior year GPA? ›

Your senior year grades hold weight on your overall GPA, which is one of the components, along with SAT or ACT scores, letters of recommendation, etc., that institutions review as part of the admissions process.

Can universities check your past academic record? ›

Colleges can see which schools transferees previously attended upon the receipt of the academic transcript and/or financial aid transcript. The Common App for Transfer or a proprietary application also asks about previous schools. However, it usually does not have a bearing on the admissions decisions.


1. Everything You Need To Know About Uploading Transcripts For Studying Abroad | Study Abroad 2021 |
(Piyush Garg - Canada)
2. How to Get Your College Transcript
3. study abroad: what are transcripts for foreign universities everything explained
(shrutin STUDY in USA)
(Milton Fonkwa)
5. 5 things you need to know about your high school transcripts
(Cosplay Counselor)
6. Evaluating Foreign Transcripts: What Every Counselor Needs to Know! internationaltranscripts.com
(P. L. Grant and Associates)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Madonna Wisozk

Last Updated: 03/06/2023

Views: 6452

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (68 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Madonna Wisozk

Birthday: 2001-02-23

Address: 656 Gerhold Summit, Sidneyberg, FL 78179-2512

Phone: +6742282696652

Job: Customer Banking Liaison

Hobby: Flower arranging, Yo-yoing, Tai chi, Rowing, Macrame, Urban exploration, Knife making

Introduction: My name is Madonna Wisozk, I am a attractive, healthy, thoughtful, faithful, open, vivacious, zany person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.