Telling parents of a homeschooled teen that they need to prepare a high school transcript can be equivalent to yelling, “Fire!” in a movie theater – panic ensues. While a high school transcript may be a necessity, it is not impossible and can be quite easy if you keep good records as your child progresses.
The Importance of a High School Transcript
Most colleges now require a high school transcript from homeschooled students. Even if your student is not college-bound, creating a complete high school transcript is important for employer screening, joining the military, good driver insurance discounts, and eliminating the need for a GED to prove high school education.
Keeping track of information needed for a complete transcript can be a challenge, especially if you wait until your student’s senior year and try to wing it. Starting in 9th grade, begin preparing a transcript as your student progresses, keeping accurate records of books read and curriculum used in each course along with a brief description of each course and your student’s grades. The courses your homeschooler completes should be aptly named like courses offered in accredited public and private schools in order to standardize the learning requirement: Biology, Algebra, English 1, etc.
What About Nonacademic Courses?
Some courses that can count for high school credit may fall under the category of “life skills”: woodworking or shop, gardening, nutrition, cooking or culinary, computer, and auto mechanics. Anyone looking at the transcript should be able to easily recognize the course as a legitimate high school level course and have some idea of what was taught. Hence, a short course description is necessary. Check online with public and private accredited high schools to see what is taught in accepted standardized courses such as home economics or child development. Then, see what skills your student has learned that would qualify for legitimate high school courses. If you did not use a curriculum, select a few books that apply, have your student read them, and then list these on the transcript in your brief course description.
Colleges require certain college prep courses, but the rest are usually considered “electives.” Contact colleges to see what they require. The earlier you contact them, the better because some colleges and universities have different requirements for homeschooled students.
What Goes On a High School Transcript?
The goal of a high school transcript is to communicate what your homeschooled students have learned and achieved in preparation for college and life.
- Identification info: Student’s name, address, school name (if applicable), phone number, gender, birth date, person to contact and phone number (usually mom or dad’s info).
- Coursework: Include a list of courses, by year, and the corresponding grade (either by semester or by year). Include a short course description when the course is not a required course.
- Credit awarded: You should award either 1 or ½ credit for each course. Give 1 credit for a full-year course and give ½ (.5) of a credit for a semester-long course.
- GPA: Be sure to assign the right number of points for each grade earned when calculating a homeschool GPA.
- Standardized tests: You’ll want to include any PSAT/SAT scores, ACT scores, and scores from any other state proficiency exams.
- Graduation date
- Parent’s signature and date
- Optional: Include extracurricular activities, scholastic clubs, and awards.
You can either start from scratch or use a high school transcript template. The important thing is to list courses clearly and concisely, making it easy to understand your child’s high school learning without further explanation.
What Other Records Should You Keep?
Keep records of anything that may benefit an “audit” of your child’s high school career. This information comes in handy for college entrance and for possible scholarships. Examples include:
- Work samples
- Test results (evaluations or report cards)
- Resources and curriculum used
- Sports and other activities
- Jobs held consistently for pay
- Recommendations from club directors or employers
- Community involvement (church, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, etc.)
- Leadership roles or offices held such as being a club secretary or president
- Awards or special recognition received
Your student’s transcript should be one you can happily provide anyone who may ask because it competently and accurately reflects your teen’s high school academics. Hopefully, the panic has left and you are feeling a little more comfortable in creating a professional transcript for your homeschooled teen!