What’s a High School Transcript & Why Is It So Important?

importance of your high school transcript

The college application process involves many steps and most colleges are unique in their requirements. Your college transcript is a large part of the process. Read below to understand what it is, why it’s important, how to get one, and all the things for which you’ll need your high school transcript.

What is a high school transcript?

Each college you apply to will require your high school transcript as part of your application process. Your transcript includes each course you’ve taken, your grades for each grading period, your cumulative GPA, the number of credits you’ve earned, and the scores of your ACT, SAT, and AP exams, and any other standardized tests you’ve taken, as well as any academic achievements you’ve received. And it includes your disciplinary record, date of birth, and the schools you’ve attended. Some also include your attendance record.

Why is your high school transcript important?

Your transcript gives the college admissions office an overview of your academic performance from your freshman year to your senior year. It gives them an idea of how you will perform academically at the college level and what type of academic load you can carry. Your high school transcript also shows whether you’ve met all the prerequisites for the academic path you’re hoping to follow.

Your disciplinary record gives the admission’s office an idea of how you’ll contribute to the college community as a whole.

Overall, a college admissions office can evaluate your work ethic, proficiencies, areas of weakness, and how you balance school and life — just from your transcripts! It’s important to have a strong transcript. If you’re struggling in school, consider a mentor or a tutor to help you do your very best.

How do you get high school transcript?

There are two types of transcripts: official and unofficial. Colleges want your official transcripts. You can request your official high school transcripts to be sent to the colleges of your choice either through your school business office or through an online portal. You’ll likely have to fill out a form letting your high school know the specific person or program to send them to and the appropriate address. If you’re unsure of how to proceed in your particular high school, talk to your guidance counselor.

If you’re entering the military, your recruiter can request your transcripts for you. These transcripts won’t determine your eligibility, but may allow you to enlist at a higher rank.

Unofficial records are simply a printout of your grades that you can pick up or print yourself.

What else can your high school transcript be used for?

You can use your high school transcripts when applying for scholarships, jobs, some internships. Often, this official transcript acts as a fact checker to anything on your resume. You’ll also need your transcript if you change schools during high school. This allows the school you’re headed to know where to place you in classes, be aware of any discipline issues, and find any extra-curricular activities or sports you may be interested in.

Remember, your academic performance is only a portion of your college application. (Learn more about what’s included in your college application here.) Do your best, choose the colleges you are most interested in, stick to timelines, and trust the process.