It’s April. That means the college application season is just around the corner. Is your family ready? If you’re like a lot of people, the task of creating those homeschool transcripts might already be getting away from you. So, what better time to address the basics than now?
Over the next few weeks, we’ll publish a series of six blog posts on transcript foundations. This is the perfect motivator to finally get started on that homeschool transcript! This series is ideal for:
- Rising seniors and juniors
- 8th graders and rising 9th graders
- Any parent interested in learning how to build a transcript
Let’s get started: The basic building blocks of a transcript
Here’s an easy way to think of a high school transcript—it’s a detailed record of a homeschool student’s career. At a minimum it should contain:
- A title and student’s demographic information
- Name and address of your homeschool
- Courses taken and completed
- Credits earned from completed courses
- Grades received
- Grade Point Average (GPA)
- Extracurricular activities
- Standardized tests (e.g. the SAT or ACT)
- Expected or final graduation date
Here are some tips:
1. Get your records together
Keep a record of accomplishments, awards, extracurricular activities, dual enrollment courses, courses at homeschool co-ops, and anything else that pertains to your student’s educational journey. A simple Word document is fine. You can refer back to this when constructing a transcript.
2. Figure out your GPA approach
Decide on a grading scale (e.g., 4.0 vs. 4.33) and course weight methodology and stick with it consistently.
3. Scope out courses and credit hours in advance
Plan out your courses and credit hours in advance. Some homeschool families come to the end of high school and realize they don’t have enough credits to put on a completed transcript. Planning in advance will reduce the chance of this.
The recommended core credits include:
- Mathematics (2-4 credits): Coursework for math electives can include geometry, vocational math, algebra, pre-calculus, calculus, accounting, and trigonometry.
- English (4 credits): Your student may count courses in literature, vocabulary, composition, rhetoric, grammar, journalism, creative writing, speech, and more as transcript credits.
- History/Social Studies (2-4 credits): History courses may include American history, world history, geography, ancient history, economics, or any combination of specialized topics of interest to your student.
- Science (2-4 credits): Your student’s transcript may include coursework in anatomy, biology, chemistry, genetics, earth science, physics, and physical science.
- Foreign Language (2 credits): Think Spanish, French, German, Chinese, etc.
It’s never a bad idea to include course descriptions, too.
4. Decide whether to include your student’s Social Security number
Generally, colleges or universities will request the student’s Social Security number as part of the application process, but it doesn’t typically need to be included on the transcript itself.
Colleges use the Social Security number to determine if your student has any scholarships or other financial aid that need to be applied to his or her account. Once a student is accepted, the college issues an ID number that can be used instead of the Social Security for future communication.
The bottom line is that the Social Security number doesn’t need to be on your transcript unless the college specifically requests it.
A final word: Put a premium on consistency
Throughout your transcript, keep in mind that consistency is key. In the end, remember that each school is unique. You’ll need to tailor your transcript to individual admissions departments in order to be most effective.
What’s next: How to handle courses and credit hours on your transcript