Simple Guide | Academic Transcripts & How to Get Them

In General, University by Think Student EditorLeave a Comment

The idea of an academic transcript and having to get one may seem like an intimidating prospect to some, while others may not even know what they are, or why they can be useful. If you fall under the category of either of these, fear not! This article will explain what academic transcripts are, why they can be important and how you can get one worry-free.

An academic transcript is essentially a collection of documents that provide a summary of your academic achievements and educational history. This would include personal identifying information, such as your name, date of birth, etc., details of institutions you have studied at, and acquired grades. These can be obtained both digitally or as hard-copies, once they have been put together by an educational institution.

So, if you are interested in learning more about academic transcripts, their benefits and how to get them, this article will aim to do just that!

What are academic transcripts?

An academic transcript is a record summarising your educational achievements, grades, and institutions attended.

Academic transcripts can also come in various forms. For example, high school transcripts will summarise achievements in secondary education, including 11+, 13+, and GCSE qualifications. College and sixth form transcripts will contain information about A-level choices and results, while university and higher education transcripts detail degree achievements.

Being official records, academic transcripts are typically made by an institution’s registrar, who is responsible for organising these important documents and paperwork. This means that the transcript will have to be presented on institutional-letterhead, contain its seal or stamp, and be formally signed by an accredited member of the institution’s issuing team. After this, the transcript will then be sent by the institutions themselves, when a student wants to apply and start the admissions process for a different school, college or university. Alternatively, students can also choose to individually request their academic transcripts to directly send them themselves.

What is on an academic transcript?

An academic transcript will contain various details such as: personal details connecting your education history to your personal identification, details about the institutions you have studied at and details of what was studied at the institution and further information about this study.

Table about what kind of details your transcript will have on it:

Education and Personal Identification Details about Past Institutions Attended Details of Studies at Past Institutions

Forename(s) and Surname

Date of Birth

Parent(s) or Legal Guardian’s Name(s)

Year of Graduation – to ensure prospective programme does not overlap

Student ID – to prove enrolment at your educational institution

Name of Institution


Location and Address of Institution


Contact Information of Institution


Name of Degree Programme

Course Title

Duration of Study

Date of Course Beginning and Completion

Names of Modules Taken or Attempted

Grades Obtained

The table above provides a more general idea of what kind of information academic transcripts contain.

It is, however, important to remember that there will be differences and not all transcripts will look the same. These differences may, for example, depend on factors such as:

  • Type of Institution – A secondary, sixth form, college or university will all have differences in the scope of information provided.
  • Country Preferences – international applicants may need to provide extra information for their qualifications to be recognised.
  • Personal Requirements of Individual Institutions – extra proof of language proficiency or certain capabilities.

Finally, it is important to again highlight that transcripts are official documents. So, for them to be accepted, they must have been made by the appropriate registrar, on institutional-letterhead, with a stamp or seal of approval from the issuing office, and have been signed by an appropriate member of the institution. To have a better idea of what official academic transcripts look like, you can find some examples from the University of Bath’s academic registry here. These can be helpful to look at, since unofficial transcripts can be rejected or considered as transcript fraud.

For more information about transcript fraud, you can consider these guidelines from the University of London. In addition, any modification of a legitimate transcript, or forging of a fake one constitutes a violation of the 2006 Fraud Act, making it a legal offence and so, is heavily discouraged.

How can you get your academic transcript?

The easiest way to get your academic transcript is by directly requesting one from your institution of study. This should be your first point of contact. But, institutions will also make official academic transcripts available through a regulated system, which means they will be released within a specific time period or on a set date. This is usually different depending on the institution, so it is always best to check with them. However, after you have contacted your institution and figured out how they typically give out transcripts, you will be able to either access them online through a portal, via email, or have them sent as a hard-copy in the post.

Essentially, there are numerous ways of getting hold of your academic transcript, but not every institution offers all of these methods.

Getting your transcript by post

Institutions may give you the opportunity to get your academic transcript as a hard-copy in the post. To get your academic transcript by mail, start by going onto the institution’s website to find a section about requesting hard-copies of your transcript. Once you have done this, you will most likely have found a form that you will need to complete, where you provide your details and specify where the transcript should be sent. An example of what this form may look like can be found here from Imperial College London. After you have done this, the institution will process your request and mail the transcript to the address you provided.

Getting your transcript via online portal

Many institutions nowadays may also have the option of an online portal to use in order to get your academic transcript. To get your academic transcript this way, start by going to the institution’s website and finding the section about academic records. Once you have found this, you will most likely be redirected to an online portal that the institution uses to generate the transcripts, these may be Digitary CORE or Gradintelligence to access the HEAR (Higher Education Achievement Report, essentially, your academic transcript). Here, you will need to log in with your student details and follow the steps to request the transcript. Some institutions may generate these online transcripts right away, while others take a bit more time, but you should soon receive your transcript in a digital format using this method.

Getting your transcript by email

Email remains a readily used means by institutions of providing academic transcripts. To get your academic transcript via email, start by going on your institution’s website to find the transcript request form. Here is an example of what this form may look like taken from Glasgow Caledonian University. Once you have found this, you will need to fill it out, specifying some details about yourself and providing where you would like the transcript emailed to. Some institutions may email you the transcript directly as a PDF document, while others might give you a secure link to download it.

Getting your transcript as an in-person pickup

In-person pickups are also an, arguably less used, but still possible means of getting your academic transcript. With this one though, it is best to start by contacting your institution’s registrar’s office or academic services department directly to ask about their in-person pick-up option. Once you have done this, they will most likely provide you with a form to fill out. After completing the necessary paperwork and providing your details, you will be told to come to a designated location on campus to pick up your transcript. Some institutions may offer immediate access, while others might have a specified timeframe for processing in-person requests, such as particular hours that are acceptable for pick-ups.

It is important to also be aware that some charges can also apply when getting your academic transcript.

Universities in particular may charge per copy requested. This will usually be between £15 – £25 per copy, however, these costs will vary depending on the university. Some specific examples and information about university fees for getting academic transcripts can be found on this website from King’s College London, and this one from the University of London.

When can you expect to get your academic transcript?

Typically, institutions aim to process transcript requests as quickly as possible, so the time can range from a few days to a few weeks. However, this timeframe still heavily depends on the specific institution. Academic transcripts are usually processed and released after the grading period is finalised for a specific semester or term. You will likely be given a more clear timeframe of when the transcript will arrive from your institution and depending on the method you have used for getting it.

Alternatively, if you are completing a graduate program at a university, for example, they may provide you with your academic transcript, along with other certifications, upon graduation.

There are, however, some potential challenges that can make the process of getting your transcript more complicated. For example, transcript requests may take time to process, and delays can occur, impacting deadlines for applications or other purposes. In addition, there is always the potential for communication problems or technical issues that can affect the timeframe for getting your academic transcript. Therefore, it is helpful to be aware that getting a transcript from an institution may take some time, so planning ahead and allowing sufficient time is advisable.

If there is a delay or you haven’t received your academic transcript within the specified time, your institution or the admissions office should be your primary contact.

When would you need an academic transcript?

Academic transcripts can be useful as proof of your academic achievements and educational progression. They are usually used by higher education institutions, so if you are planning to apply for these, make sure you remember that your academic transcript will be considered.

In most cases, higher education institutions will clearly state the need for an academic transcript in the admissions process, along with other required documents.

Higher education does not just refer to university though, if you are applying for internships, or going on to further studies, you will likely also need to present an academic transcript.

But, these situations are not the only times you might require your academic transcript. Since it summarises all your academic accomplishments, you might also need it when applying for visas or verifying your educational qualifications during background checks.

How can you submit your academic transcript?

An academic transcript can be presented to an institution, either digitally or as a hard-copy. When applying digitally, the online submission of academic transcripts is most commonly done via an online application portal system, as an allocated section in the application process, or through email to the admissions office.

Although digital methods are more commonly used to upload academic transcripts to institutions, some may still request a physical hard copy. If a physical copy is required by your institution, you will likely receive direct information during the admissions process or find details on the institution’s website outlining academic transcript requirements. Details on where to send physical transcript copies and the related procedures are probably outlined on the institution’s academic transcript section of their website. If not, reaching out to the admissions office is advisable for more guidance.

It is also important to be aware of any extra charges, like courier fees for shipping, especially for international applications.

It is always recommended that you keep multiple copies of your academic transcripts in both physical and digital formats, as there might be requests for either type

Do potential employers check academic transcripts?

The short answer is: yes they can, but the odds are unlikely and it is highly dependent upon the employer and the position you are applying for.

It is not guaranteed that every employer will ask for or require you to present an academic transcript. In fact, in most cases, they will likely not request or check your academic transcript.

When applying for positions with potential employers you will most likely be required to present a CV, which will contain details regarding academic background and education. For most employers, this will be sufficient and they will not ask for an academic transcript proving the credibility of these achievements. In some cases, however, in order to verify that the information on your CV about your academic details is, in fact, true, they may request you provide an academic transcript as evidence of your CV claims.

If you want to learn more about how to correctly put your degree results on your CV, so that it looks good to potential employers this Think Student article may be useful to consider.

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