How Can You Get a Homeschool Transcript?
High School transcripts show the courses that a student completed, the credits they obtained, and the grades received. Students who are homeschooled through a correspondence school or an umbrella school will typically receive a transcript from that particular institution.
Students who are homeschooled through an online public school or a virtual charter school will also receive a transcript from that school. However, parents who have homeschooled their children independently through a curriculum they created or assembled on their own without an umbrella school must create a high school transcript for their children.
When applying to college, a student must have a transcript to submit. The admissions office of the college will use the transcript which includes the GPA and information on the courses that the student took to determine if they are eligible for admission. In addition, high school transcripts are used to determine if the student is eligible for a variety of scholarships.
Therefore, you must ensure that the transcript is professional and complete in order to increase your student’s potential for success. Even if your homeschooler chooses to opt out of college and go straight into the workforce, he/she must still have a transcript, as many employers also ask for it.
Visit The Home Scholar’s Total Transcript Solution to find out more about creating transcripts for your high schooler.
Creating a Homeschool Transcript
Ideally, before starting high school, parents and students need to sit down together and create an academic plan. This plan will help make sure the student is able to remain on track to complete the graduation requirements set by the state and should also ensure proper recordkeeping. However, if you have come to the process of creating a transcript without the benefit of thinking this through ahead of time, it’s still possible to create a quality transcript.
List all coursework/material covered by the student
If you have the benefit of careful recordkeeping, it should be fairly easy to create a year-by-year listing of subjects/materials that were covered by the student. On the other hand, if you have not kept careful records, this may be a more complicated process.
Make sure that you also include any extracurricular activities, classes taken at a local community college or local high school, online classes, and any independent study courses undertaken by the student in subjects he/she had an interest in.
If your student has taken high-school level classes such as Biology or Algebra I before they went into high school, you should also include a section for 7th-8th grade in your transcripts. However, you should only include the high school level material they covered in these grades, not all material.
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Find out your state’s requirements for graduation
Be aware that there are some states with specific requirements for homeschoolers, including the number of courses/credits that must be completed in each subject while in high school. For those states that do not have specific homeschool requirements, you must make sure to meet the public-school graduation requirements in the state where your student will graduate. If your homeschool transcript does not meet these state standards, it could be seen as an indication of a subpar education- which is not something you want for your child.
Typically, states require:
- 4 years of English
- 3 to 4 years of Mathematics
- 2 to 3 years of Science
- 3 to 4 years of Social Studies
Normally, less time is required in areas such as Fine Arts, Physical Education, Health, and Foreign Language. In many states, these requirements are broken down even further- for example: 3 to 4 years of Social Studies must be 1 year of US History, 1 year of World History, 1 semester of US Government, and 1 semester of Economics. Additionally, many states have requirements for electives.
Each state also has its own credit requirements for graduation as well as its own system for calculating those credits. Most of the time, states consider a 1-year long course as a credit and require that students get 20 to 24 credits in order to graduate high school. Of course, this does vary from one state to another.
For example, in Indiana, a year-long course is worth 2 credits and they require 40 credits in order to graduate. In the state of New Jersey, a year-long course is five credits and students need 120 credits in order to graduate. Make sure that you find out about and follow your state’s credit calculation system and that your student obtains the number of credits they need to graduate.
In order to find out what your state’s graduation requirements are, you can visit the Department of Education website for your state.
Create Names for Courses and Assign Credit Values
Now, you will need to take your course/material list and turn it into something that can be entered on a transcript. Since homeschooling usually looks a bit different than formal education, turning their experiences into courses/credits can be a bit daunting.
Use the high school graduation requirements for your state as a guide. If your state requires that students have 4 credits of English, you need to have 4 credits of English and so on. Ideally, your student’s transcript should reflect that he/she has met the requirements for high school graduation in your state. This process is a lot like a puzzle in many ways, making sure that all of the pieces fit together properly.
Keep in mind that you must understand how credits are calculated in your state. The transcript you create must reflect that. Since most states consider a year-long course to be 1 credit, this is the standard used in the examples below.
Homeschool students can earn 1 credit by doing the following:
- Completing text book (high school level)
- Taking a year-long course at local high school or semester-long course at local college
- Taking high school or college level course online
- Finishing a year-long unit study
Since homeschooling takes place outside the school, you may need to adjust your thinking outside of the box. While it’s true that completing a college-level biology course or an Algebra textbook can easily translate into courses/credits, other things may require much more thought.
Always remember that your student’s transcript should showcase his/her accomplishments in academia, whether they appear like formal schooling or not.
One credit typically represents a year-long high school course- but ½ credit could be representative of 1 semester of a high school level course or a year-long course that requires less time/effort than standard courses. For example, a yoga class could be ½ credit of physical education or a semester-long study of bugs/insects could be ½ credit of entomology which would count towards Science credits.
When one course of study overlaps more than one school year, you can decide whether you list it on one year or the other- or if you list it in both. However, keep in mind that spending 2 years on a specific subject may not necessarily translate into 2 credits. For example, with Algebra II, if your student took 2 years to complete it- it’s still only one credit.
What if your student is missing credits?
First of all, think about whether the material was covered in a way that doesn’t look like a formal course. For example, a poetry study or a writing workshop may count toward 1 English credit along with additional timed writing and reading exercises. So, in other words, your student may have the required credits- just not in immediately obvious ways.
In addition, keep in mind that in order to graduate, the student only needs to complete requirements set by the homeschool (that is, the parents)- not necessarily the requirements set forth by the state for graduation from public high school. In other words, your student is not required to meet state graduation requirements. Still, most colleges and universities do require that these standards be met and employers may judge a transcript as deficient if it does not meet these standards.
You might consider putting graduation and your student’s transcript on hold while they complete the necessary credits. Most community colleges will accept students before they graduate high school, which would give them the chance to complete the requirements for high school graduation while also getting college credits. In addition, you’ll find many online resources that can fill in the gaps in your student’s education.
Finally, a GED may be a good option for some students. While it’s true that some people do consider a GED substandard in comparison to a diploma, this may be the best option for those who want to move beyond high school but have not met the requirements for graduation. In most cases, GED prep courses are offered by the state for free.
Enter Info into a Formal Transcript Template
Now that you have gathered all of the info and you’re ready to create the transcript, you have a few different options:
- Use an online form
- Pay someone else to do it
- Download/customize transcript template
- Design your own with word processing software
Keep in mind that no matter which of these options you choose, it’s critical that it looks professional. Your student’s transcript should include the following:
- Student information
- School information
- Courses taken/credits earned/grades received
- Total credits
- Graduation date
- Grading scale
- Signature & date
You can customize the transcript in various ways. You may want to also include a section for achievements such as AP exams or ACT/SAT scores as well as a note section to indicate courses taken through other institutions.
Calculate Student’s GPA
In order to calculate your student’s GPA, you must assign grades to the courses he/she has taken. Some courses may be considered pass/fail and do not need a grade, so they do not need to be added into the GPA. For all graded courses, you must ensure that the grades assigned reflect the student’s effort/mastery of the subject and are fair. Think about the effort that must be put forth by a student in public school in order to receive a certain grade and the knowledge/skills they must master. Your grades should be accurate and fair.
Once you have determined the letter grades, the student’s GPA can be calculated. If you’re using an online template/service, this will probably be done automatically for you. If you are designing your own or filling out a template that you downloaded, you’ll need to do the calculations yourself.
You can easily find a variety of GPA calculators and “how-to” articles to help with these calculations. However, to make it more convenient for you, the basics are explained below:
Each letter is assigned a value:
- A= 4
- B= 3
- C= 2
- D= 1
That value is then multiplied by the number of credit hours. The points are then added together and divided by the total number of credits. The result is the GPA of your student.
Get Diploma Signed/Notarized
Finally, you have completed the transcript. You can print it and sign it. Typically, in the case of homeschooling, the signature will be the parent’s. Of course, it can also be the individual that evaluates the student’s portfolio or anyone else that has some awareness of the accomplishments of the student.
You might want to have the transcript notarized, which means that you need to complete the signature in front of a Notary Public to make the transcript official. If your student plans to attend college, keep in mind that a transcript will need to be sent to each school applied to.
Course Descriptions/Supporting Documents
Though your transcript is complete, there is still another step you must complete.
When a college or a potential employer looks over the transcript from a public high school, they are able to make some assumptions about what it means that a student took US History, Biology, or Algebra I. However, since homeschooling is typically flexible and innovative, these assumptions don’t always hold up.
Therefore, you might want to consider including additional documentations to describe the courses that your student took along with the transcript. The course description document can cover all of the courses or only the non-traditional work.
A course description page is also helpful for clarifying the courses that were taken online, through a community college, through a public high school, with a private tutor, or through a co-op. In some cases, this can be noted on the transcript, but the notation must be brief.
If your student is planning to use the transcript to apply for college, it’s a good idea to remember that research is proving that colleges/universities are putting less weight on homeschool transcripts than those from traditional institutions.
This is typically due to the fact that the homeschool transcript is created by the parents of the student, so they are not as easily verifiable. Therefore, it’s always best to include supporting documents when applying to college.
If your student has transcripts from public/private high school, community college, or an online program, those should be sent directly to the college/university where the student has applied. In addition, CLEP and AP results as well as ACT/SAT scores should be sent directly to the institution. You should also include contact info for tutors or outside teachers in a reference list. The goal is to make sure that there is external verification of your student’s academic achievements.
Can Students Create their Own Transcript?
If you do not take the time to create a transcript for your student after he/she has completed all of the required material and is ready to graduate, the student may have to prepare their own transcript. This is perfectly legal and acceptable.
However, it is not legal and acceptable for the student to forge their parent’s signature on the transcript. If the parent is not willing to sign for them, an individual who has some knowledge of the academic accomplishments of the student can sign instead- or the signature may be able to be left off entirely.
Once you have put the time and effort into creating a transcript for your student, you must consider how you plan to maintain it. Public schools typically keep their records on file- so public school students can request a transcript at any time in their careers. However, a homeschooled student may find that his/her records are more vulnerable.
You may want to consider uploading the document into a cloud storage system such as Google Drive or Dropbox, printing a copy to keep with other important documents in a bank deposit box, and having multiple printed copies in a variety of locations to ensure that it does not end up disappearing when you need to replace your computer.
Students who are homeschooled under an umbrella school will find that it’s easy to obtain a transcript in order to apply for college or gain employment. On the other hand, if the parents are the ones in charge of the homeschooling, it can become a bit more complicated.
However, you can easily create a transcript for your student- and if you’re not willing to, but the student has completed course work, they have the option of doing it themselves. Don’t forget to check out The Home Scholar’s Total Transcript Solution.
Our Top Pick For Homeschool Transcripts
Create a Winning High School Transcript at Home!