I always suggest creating a one-page transcript. Despite what you may read about running out of room, I have no trouble including everything I want to list on a single page, and still get a great-looking transcript. I have had personal success using a one-page design, and my clients have, too. And because I attach a printout of course descriptions with every transcript I create, should there ever be anything that doesn’t fit on the page, it can always be included in the attachment, anyway.
Though others may charge big money to create what they claim is the “best” transcript in the industry, I’m here to tell you there is no magic format that is preferred by colleges and universities. I have never (to date) come across a format that is universally required, and I have never had a transcript rejected by anyone, anywhere. If anything, I receive praises from counselors and admissions officers who receive one of my transcripts. That, I believe, is the most important feedback of all.
The format I use is very straightforward. It’s comprehensive, without being overcrowded. It’s neat and easy to follow. It’s professional, without going overboard on the bells and whistles you might find somewhere else.
The parts of my transcript are as follows:
1. The word “Official” appears across the top. This is perhaps the single most important word on the transcript.
2. All student data is displayed prominently. (This is not the time to skimp on information or worry about privacy.)
3. I show the yearly GPA and cumulative GPA for each of the 4 years. Though colleges recalculate GPA when they receive a transcript anyway, remember that transcripts are used for more than college admissions alone.
5. I list the grading scale used to award grades and credit. This is applied consistently over the 4 years of high school.
6. I provide an Academic Summary. I find this is a great at-a-glance look at the student, and I purposely put it right next to the student’s test scores, too.
7. I choose a reasonable graduation date and display it there. Though part of the Academic Summary, this is worth repeating, as many parents forget to put it on the transcript.
8. I sign and include a statement of authenticity and accuracy. Though it isn’t necessary, when families request it, I also emboss and/or have the transcript notarized, too.
I provide assistance for families needing help in this area, and I am happy to help you produce a transcript that best reflects your student and his/her 4-year high school plan.
Families creating their own transcripts are strongly advised to follow the guidelines I have outlined above.
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