You know how to get the major parts of your high school transcript right, but did you know there are some small missteps that could cost you in the eyes of college admissions departments? Here are five subtle yet significant changes that can make a big difference in your transcript!

1. Certify and notarize your transcript

This one is directed to parents: As the instructor or principal for your homeschool, you have the authority to certify your student’s transcript. Don’t forget this important step! It adds credibility and acknowledges your homeschool for what it is—a legitimate academic institution. All you have to do is sign and date the bottom section of the transcript.

Occasionally, a college may request that the transcript be notarized. In this situation, leave the bottom of the transcript blank until you are in the presence of the notary. They will witness you sign the transcript and they will then sign and stamp below your signature to notarize it.

2. Reduce the number of credits on your transcript

Generally, a high school transcript needs 24 credits. If you’re a high achiever as a student, your total credits may exceed 24. While that’s fine, it’s best to limit total credits to no more than 28. Anything higher than that can look suspicious to colleges who are used to seeing standardized credit totals from public high schools.

If you have more than 28 credits, consider combining or cutting out classes. For example, you can combine separate physical activities (like ballet and sports) into a 1 credit “PE” course for each year of high school.

As long as you have enough credits in the correct subjects to graduate (per your state’s requirements), you shouldn’t have any trouble getting into college. It’s not necessarily going to benefit you to have a huge amount of credits on the transcript. Variety is more important than quantity!

3. Add a custom footer

If you’re already a Transcript Maker subscriber with an annual or biannual family plan (or subscribed to one of our school plans), you can add a custom footer for your transcripts. Adding a custom footer adds another layer of professionalism.

What should you put in a custom footer? Think of details that will lend credibility and authority to your transcript, including the type of GPA scale you use, the parameters of your academic year (for example, September 1 to May 31), definitions of acronyms (such as IP = “In Progress”), etc. Learn more about footers here.

The Ultimate Homeschool Guide to Creating a High School Transcript

4. Replace generic course titles with more descriptive ones

Rather than say “Advanced Math,” describe the exact types of math covered. Don’t be afraid to get precise. For instance, if you used a custom curriculum that included elements of Algebra and Trigonometry, use something like “Advanced Math in Algebra and Trigonometry.”

5. Include your full demographic information

Be sure to include your full name (including middle name or initial), gender, date of birth, place of birth, phone number, and home address. You should also consider including a Social Security number, though this isn’t always required (check each individual school’s requirements). Graduation date is a must. While your class rank is nice to see, it’s optional. Naturally, all of this information should be double checked for accuracy.

Looking for more tips?

Check out these past blog posts: