Around 11 years ago, Dr. Joseph Gallegos had a vision to provide opportunities for unique students—those who didn’t finish high school and needed other options. That led to the launch of the fully accredited online school Orion High School in 2008.
Right out of the gate, Dr. Gallegos knew he had a problem. Creating high-school transcripts in house was time-consuming and cumbersome. That’s when he discovered Transcript Maker.
We caught up with Dr. Gallegos to learn more about his school and his journey with Transcript Maker.
When did you first hear about Transcript Maker?
I was desperately searching for something that wasn’t really expensive at the time, and that was around 2008, maybe 2009. I was looking for a transcript solution where I didn’t have to go in there and enter lines in an Excel spreadsheet each time. So, I did an online search and found Transcript Maker, and then I did the first couple of transcripts that you had free on the site, and that worked very well.
Wow, that’s cool. So the goal was to find something a little more streamlined—something that would save time?
Yeah, that and some credibility, if you will, around a standardized way that a transcript should look. That, to me, was a bigger piece because as a digital school, or back then an online school, we were looked at differently and we kind of still are. And so if we had a transcript that went out of here, people would always take three or four glances at it before even accepting a student into college. So a big thing for me was some standardization around what it looks like and feels like so that our students don’t get the runaround when they try to enter into higher ed. Before Transcript Maker, we spent two hours on each transcript. Now it takes just 15 minutes.
Before Transcript Maker, how were you handling transcripts?
Well, I had developed a little Access database, so that’s what we were using. But it was a pain. And then there were a couple of open-source student information systems that I remember looking at, but none of them worked well for us because they came along with categories for lots of other student information that wasn’t really pertinent to us as a digital school.
Could you find many alternatives to Transcript Maker?
Every student information system at the time was really meant for a brick and mortar school. There was really nothing that a digital school could use because we don’t need all the frills—we need some pretty straightforward things around courses, GPA, and something that would count the credits. And I just couldn’t find that until I discovered Transcript Maker.
I literally tried everything out there, but I stopped when I found Transcript Maker. It was the exact thing I needed. I didn’t have to house my transcripts on a thumb drive somewhere or drop one in a drawer or print them all out if I didn’t want to. Transcript Maker made it easy.
What are some ways your students have benefited from Transcript Maker?
Short-term, the biggest benefit was that a student could take this new standardized, professional transcript into a college admissions office with confidence. There was less and less scrutiny around the transcript and the school.
How has your school grown since its founding in 2008?
We have grown substantially over the past 10 years. We had 10 students our first year. Today, our peak enrollment has been around 2,700 to 2,800.
Do you have any tips to share with other private schools when it comes to making transcripts?
If you don’t have the resources to hire somebody full-time to handle your transcripts, then Transcript Maker is the solution. It’s so simple and cost-effective. I refer every school I know to Transcript Maker.
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