What are Academic Transcripts and How Do You Get Them?

In General, University by Think Student EditorLeave a Comment

When applying for certain degrees and for higher education opportunities, during the admissions process, applicants will be required to submit an academic transcript. These documents are vital, as they are able to determine the educational background and qualifications from past studies. Universities typically use this to determine whether the applicant is suitable for the course or degree.

An academic transcript is a set of documents that include vital information of your education and personal information that you have collected throughout your academic life. The contents of this include, identification details, institutions identification details, course details, as well as details on your grades. To receive your transcript, you must collect them once they are released from your institution, this can be done online or with a hard copy of the documents.  

If you’re looking to apply for higher education and need extra knowledge or clarity on your academic transcripts, this article is for you.  

What is an Academic Transcript?

An academic transcript is just multiple documents that state details of every course and subject you have attempted and grades you’ve achieved throughout your whole education.  

The official documents of an academic transcript are printed out and has a signature from the principal at the institution you have studied at, as well as a stamp to show where you achieved the results. They are able to be accessed after completion of previous education such as sixth form college or particular university courses.

Why do You Need an Academic Transcript?

Academic transcripts are used by higher education institutions to view before accepting you into their institution. Although it’s a seemingly simple document, it is one of the most important things for higher education employers to have access to. These transcripts are used for higher education opportunities, including university.  

Some people may be unaware of what is classed as higher education as opposed to further education and what transcripts will actually be necessary for. If this applies to you, perhaps this article might be able to give you a better understanding of when transcripts are used.  

It’s important to keep in mind that when applying you will need to upload the documents alongside any other information. Without your transcripts, no higher education institutions will be able to accept you. If it’s still unclear on what an academic transcript is, you can access examples here.  

What Information is Included in an Academic Transcript?

Despite the document seeming to simply show your grades, there is a lot more in-depth information that is included on your transcript. These documents aim to provide vital information of your educational background. The transcripts must include:

  • Details of the student’s identification details, such as their name, parents’ names, date of birth, year of graduation and any other necessary personal information.  
  • The institutions you have studied at identification details, for example, the name of the institution, address, contact details etc.  
  • The details of the institute you studied at and the course details. This will include the name of your degree, title of the course, the duration of study and when you completed the degree.  
  • Your transcript might include additional details such as the start date of your course, the date you obtained your degree, the percentage and grades of your course.   

In simpler terms, your transcript will basically include any vital information that confirms your time at your institution and proof of the grades you achieved.  

How Can You Apply For Your Academic Transcript?

The easiest way to get your transcript is directly from the place that you have studied. Your institution will release official academic transcripts as well as school certificates that you will be able to enquire about in order to receive them.  

The time of release should be similar to every educational institute, so be aware to check with course managers or the board of education to note when this date is. If you contact the principal of the place you studied, or course manager for your courses, you will be issued your academic transcripts online free of charge. Alternatively, you can also receive a hard copy of your academic transcripts, including several duplicates.  

Most students are issued their first physical copy free of charge, however, there can be a fee- typically around £10. For duplicate transcripts there is usually a fee of around £2 for each transcript that is issued.  

When Do You Receive Your Academic Transcripts?

If you are graduating from an institution, your transcripts alongside any other certificates will be awarded to you during the ceremony. However, if you are unable to attend, you are given the opportunity to have these posted to you afterwards.  

There are some degrees that don’t require graduation and instead do not need an official ceremony. Therefore, the time and way in which you receive your certificates and transcripts is different. If you have completed a non-graduate programme, then your record will be updated and results will be accessed through your student gateway. The administration will then arrange for your documents to be sent out to you. This can take up to 6-8 weeks as of when you receive your results.  

If you have not received your academic transcripts after the time period provided, be sure to contact your institution’s administrators and those in control of distribution.  

What Can You do if You Misplace or Damage Your Academic Transcripts?

Despite your best efforts to keep your transcripts safe, accidents can occur and that may result in the loss or damage of documents. Whilst your first reaction might be to panic, it’s important to stay calm, as there is a relatively easy solution and the transcripts can be replaced.  

If you’re looking at a digital loss of your academic transcripts, it is the easiest document to replace. You can simply contact your educational institute, explain the situation and then they should be able to administer another file. Download this and keep it safe to prevent an additional loss.  

As for the loss of a hard copy, the process can be slightly lengthier, as well as costing you money. The first step in applying for a replacement copy for your academic transcripts is to contact your institution and explain that you require a new transcript. You will also need to contact the board of education for additional help. Connecting with the authorities and explaining the loss will allow them to administer you a new document.  

Prices for replacement transcripts may vary, but you will typically pay around £7 to £15 for one hard copy.  

How Do You Show Your Academic Transcript to an Educational Institution?

When uploading a transcript to an educational institution, there are some formatting issues that need to be considered and fixed to ensure a stable upload process.  

Formatting of Your Transcript

If you’re uploading your transcript online, you need to check that the document is formatted correctly. There are some typical guidelines you should follow that are stated down below: 

  • A recommendation of 200 dpi where possible  
  • Institutions and marks are easily identifiable
  • Saved as a PDF file and less than 10mb
  • By scanning in grayscale or black and white you’ll get better results 
  • Check image quality before uploading

How do You Submit a Digital Copy of Your Academic Transcript?

After completing a proper formatted PDF file of your academic transcripts, you must upload directly to your school or institution.

The location of upload can vary depending on where you’re applying, but you should be given instructions of where the upload should be posted to prior. The webpage of the institution you’re applying to is a good place to start, there might be a section that is dedicated specifically to applications and academic transcript uploads alongside other documents. If there isn’t anywhere obvious to submit your transcript then submission may be done through email, or any other method directly to the application managers. 

How do You Submit a Hard copy of Your Academic Transcript?

Despite digital submission of transcripts and documents being the most popular method of application, in some cases colleges, universities and other higher educational institutions might require a physical copy of your academic transcripts.  

To submit a hard copy of your transcripts you will first need to make photocopies in the correct format or use an additional official copy that you paid for. When your copies are ready you should contact the admissions office of your institution in order to access the exact address to send your documents and the procedure of sending them. When sending your transcripts be aware that there might be a cost for shipping.  

How Can You Keep Your Academic Transcripts Safe?

When receiving your transcripts, keep in mind that you usually only get one hard copy free of charge. If this hard copy is lost it might not only be an extra process trying to get a hold of a new one, but it will also cost you more.  

Hard Copy

It is important that if you have a hard copy of your academic transcripts, you keep them safe. Organise them in a way that they will be protected and keep them somewhere that you cannot lose them.  

If a higher educational institution requires a physical copy of your academic transcripts, enquire into sending them a photocopied print so you cannot lose the original document.  

Whilst institutions typically ask for a digital version upon application submission, some places might need your hard copy as physical evidence of your qualifications. Make sure that your physical document, along with any copies, is stored in a waterproof folder and placed somewhere that you are able to access and find easily.  

A file dedicated to documents that are necessary for applications might be a useful thing to look into. For further advice on how to store documents to prevent loss, this website is very useful.  

Digital Copy

As for the digital copy of your academic transcripts, the same rules apply. Make a few downloads of the document and ensure that they are in a safe folder with easy access. Look into putting a password onto the folder in case of data leaks or viruses on your device.  

Also, have the document downloaded onto multiple devices in case the main device breaks or becomes inaccessible. Whilst it is easier in some cases to lose digital files, it can also be more effective as you are able to download and keep them wherever you please. 

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