What are Academic Transcripts & How to Get Them?

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Anand Patinge

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When universities or corporations ask for your academic transcripts, they ask for your proof of education. They’re looking for a record detailing all the subjects you’ve studied, and the grades you’ve scored from your institute.

Common names for academic transcripts

An academic transcript is also known as

  • Mark list
  • Report card
  • Mark sheet
  • Cumulative record file
  • Academic certificate
  • Diploma supplement
  • Academic record
  • Transcript of records
  • Permanent record
  • Record of achievement
  • Statement of learning

What details do academic transcripts include?

Academic transcripts must have the following:

  1. Full name of the institute with location
  2. Full name of the student
  3. Board for school education
  4. Grades for all semesters
  5. Complete name of the course

Your academic transcript could look something like this:

Difference between academic transcripts, certificates, diplomas, and degrees

Difference between a transcript and a mark sheet

While you’ll have many mark sheets for different years of education, a transcript is like a record that must include your mark sheets.

Difference between a transcript and a certificate

You get a certificate when you complete a degree program. Whereas you get an academic transcript (which includes your certificate) to get a detailed proof of education; a detail of all the grades you’ve scored for every subject.

Difference between a transcript and a diploma

An academic transcript is a document containing academic information. A diploma, on the other hand, is an educational qualification.

Difference between a transcript and a degree

While a degree signifies you’ve completed an academic program, an academic transcript provides information about the degree, such as subjects studied, grades, exams taken, etc.

When to request an academic transcript

When you apply to universities abroad, they will ask for your academic transcript. You will also need it to apply for your visa to study abroad.

Here’s a list of all the study abroad visa documents you’ll need, presented by GradRight:

If you’re still studying at an institute at the time of application, you’ll need to submit an unofficial/provisional academic transcript. But if you’ve already graduated at the time of application, you won’t need to apply for your academic record. You would have already received it as per the procedure.

Make sure to include a backlog certificate along with the rest of the documents you’ve submitted (if you haven’t cleared an exam on the first attempt).

The ideal time to request the transcript is 1-2 weeks before you submit your application form to your desired university.

Formats accepted while submitting an academic transcript

Universities usually accept the following formats while assessing students’ applications:

A scanned version of an official academic transcript

You must make sure this scanned version has a stamp or a signature. This will certify the transcript.

An electronic copy of an interim/provisional transcript

As mentioned above, if you’re applying for your desired university before you’ve graduated from your current university, you can submit an interim transcript at the time of application.

An e-transcript officially obtained from a third-party electronic system

If you have access to an electronic system, such as Digitary, you can submit an official academic transcript obtained through it.

Screenshot images

This will be accepted if you’re unable to obtain your transcript.

Some typical guidelines to ensure your document is formatted in the right manner include:

  1. checking if grades and names of institutions are easily identifiable
  2. saving the document in PDF format, with a file size of less than 10 MB
  3. checking image quality before uploading
  4. ensuring the resolution is of 200 dpi wherever possible
  5. scanning in black and white or grayscale

Please note that these acceptable formats may vary from one institute to another.

Self-evaluation in an academic transcript

Most academic records will not require you to include a self-evaluation section with the transcript. But there are a few exceptions, and some universities may ask for it. Here are some guidelines on how to go about it.

  1. Write a brief description of your favorite subjects, and also mention the reasons why.
  2. Write about the subjects you feel you’re weak in and how you overcame these challenges.
  3. Evaluate practical experiences you’ve had in the duration of the course.
  4. Provide an insight into how the course has helped make you a more capable person.

The entire section shouldn’t be more than 150 words. It also needs to generate a good impression of you. Make sure that, even when you write about your weaknesses, you write them as opportunities for growth, and not qualities that may make you come across as a bad student.

Academic transcripts: 8 things to keep in mind

  1. They must be clear and readable
  2. The details provided in the transcript must be presented in a language recognized by the institute. If it’s not recognized by the institute of your choice, you will need to get it translated into the language accepted by them. It should be noted that some institutes may ask you to have it translated by an authorized body.
  3. You can submit an unofficial academic transcript at the time of application submission, but you must ensure that the final academic transcript you submit is official.
  4. Make sure your academic transcripts have no grammatical errors or spelling mistakes.
  5. It is important that all the information provided on the transcript be correct. Cross-check with your institute at the time of collection.
  6. If you’re applying to an undergraduate course, you’ll need to include academic reports from Class 12, or an undergraduate diploma if applicable.
  7. If you’re applying to a graduate course, your academic reports must include information about your undergraduate courses.
  8. Before applying to any university abroad, read the document checklist and find out if you need to submit a backlog certificate. This certificate is proof to show you have no backlogs.

Need help finding a university that’s the best fit for you? Take help from us at GradRight!

Academic transcripts: more questions, answered

Should I provide documentation for every school I’ve attended?

Yes. If not, there could be a delay in processing your application. Mention all the colleges, universities, and technical schools you’ve attended.

You should also include details of your graduate work, community college courses, evening school, CLEP exams, and any other education for which you’ve received academic credit.

What if I haven’t received academic credit for some training courses? Can I include those in the transcript?

No. Don’t include courses for which you haven’t received academic credit. Examples of these kinds of courses include short courses and Navy, Army, or Air Force Service Schools.

If my institute won’t reproduce my transcripts, will universities abroad accept a photocopy of the transcripts?

Yes. Usually, universities will accept a photocopy as long as it’s presented directly from your current institute and is verified as a true copy by the relevant authority.

To make sure your desired university accepts this copy, send your current university’s controller of exams a copy of your academic transcript along with a copy of the completed Transcript Request Form, and have them verify it and stamp the copy. This will prove that your document is the true copy. Then, send out this verified document to your desired university.

What documents need to support academic transcripts?

  1. Backlog certificate: If you have any backlogs, you’ll need a certificate that shows you’ve cleared them. Even if you have no backlogs, some universities do still ask for a no backlog certificate.
  1. Completed application form and fee: Make sure you submit your application before the deadline. Have all your documents ready, and pay the exact amount.
  2. Entrance test scores like that of GRE, SAT, and GMAT: Universities will usually have a certain range within which you’ll need to score to get in or a cut-off.
  3. Letters of recommendation: This document, issued either by your professor or manager with whom you’ve worked in the past, is proof of your credibility as a student or employee. This document testifies to your expertise, achievements, and skills. There are 2 different types of LORs: Academic and Professional.

For an academic LOR, the following attributes need to be mentioned: your academic performance in a subject, co-curricular activities you’ve excelled in, relevant research work or projects, and specific incidents that prove your good work ethic and expertise.

For a professional LOR, attributes like your leadership abilities, soft skills, specific work incidents that showcase your strengths, and other areas of expertise need to be mentioned.

  1. Financial documents: These would include your bank account statement, scholarship letters that show your financial capacity, loan approval letters, and so on. You’d also need to submit a copy of your passport.

Need help with your student loan? Reach out to us at FundRight.

  1. CV: This short career summary will be helpful to understand you as an employee and what fields you do best in.
  2. Personal essay: This is an essay that shows the admission committee who you are and why you deserve to be a student of your desired college.
  3. Tests for Eglish language proficiency: IELTS is one such test widely accepted by several universities worldwide.
Picture of Anand Patinge

Anand Patinge

A master storyteller, Anand has enriched multiple entities with captivating designs, compelling messaging, and impactful media campaigns. Beyond work, you can find him feeding stray dogs, exploring art, and watching insiprational documentaries.

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