A search on the topic of high school transcripts reveals abbreviations and terminology that may be unfamiliar and confusing. We’ve come up with a handy cheat sheet that will help you feel like a pro in your next conversation with other home educators and college admissions counselors.

ACT is one of the two most common college entrance exams. To find out when the ACT will be offered in your area, when to register, how to prepare for the test, and more, click here. Begin gathering this information while your child is in eighth grade so you do not miss important deadlines. Read more: A beginner’s guide to mastering the SAT and ACT

Advanced Placement (AP) classes are challenging college-level difficulty courses that offer students the opportunity to earn college credit by taking an exam after completing the course. Click here for more info. Read more: What every homeschool family should know about AP courses and exams

Career Technical Education (CTE) refers to courses such as auto mechanics, cosmetology, food service, veterinary tech, certified nursing assisting, and other such technical and trade courses. Read more: Could career and technical education put your student on the stairway to success?

Class Rank shows how the academic performance of one student compares to another. Homeschool students can simply say on their college applications that their school does not rank its students and will not provide a rank.

Course Status tells where a student is in regards to the course. Typical course statuses are In Progress, Completed, Pending, Proposed, or Withdrawn.

Dual Credit is when a student takes a single course and receives both a high school and college credit for the course upon satisfactory completion.

Dual Enrollment is when a student is in high school and college at the same time. Sometimes the classes the student takes at college count twice—once for high school credit and another time for college credit, which is called dual credit (see above). Read more: 6 reasons to pursue dual enrollment (for your transcript’s sake)

Extracurricular Activities are those activities in which a student participates that are connected to school, but are ungraded activities such as: sports teams, clubs, drama, debate, and community service activities. Read more: Tips for adding extracurricular activities to a transcript

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is an application that is completed by a student and parent that helps the family know how much federal student aid the student will be eligible to receive. Colleges want students to have completed a FAFSA prior to applying to their institution. As with other entities, there are deadlines by which the FAFSA should be completed. You can find complete information here. Read more: The one thing that can help you afford college

GPA is grade point average, which is calculated by adding the final grades for each course and dividing the result by the number of courses. Read more: How to get the most out of grades and GPA

Honors courses are more challenging academically. These college preparatory courses require more effort from the student in vocabulary, reading, writing, more extensive lab work in science, and more challenging  math courses. 

The NCAA is the National Collegiate Athletics Association. If your child wants to play college sports, there are requirements to which they must adhere in high school and there are certain pieces of information that need to be on their high school transcript. To find out more about the NCAA, click here. It’s advisable to start learning the requirements before your child begins high school to avoid missing important deadlines. Read more: What homeschool athletes should know about playing college sports

Unweighted GPA treats all courses the same. There is no additional value given to Honors, Dual Enrollment, or Advanced Placement courses.

Weighted GPA means that courses marked as Honors, Dual Enrollment, or Advanced Placement (AP) receive extra “weight.” Though this can result in a GPA that’s higher than 4.0, most colleges accept and even prefer weighted GPAs. Read more: Should I use a 4.00 or 4.33 GPA on my transcript?

The SAT is the other one of the two most common college entrance exams. To find out when the SAT  will be offered in your area, when to register, how to prepare for the test, and more, click here. Take the time to learn about the SAT and the PSAT when your child is in seventh or eighth grade to give them the best preparation possible.

Wrapping up

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the abbreviations, terms, and organizations that may come up while you are homeschooling your high school student. It includes items that I wish I had known more about when my first child began ninth grade and I hope it makes your journey as a home educator and school administrator a little easier.