How To Make a High School Transcript

Dr. Jay L. Wile

If you are homeschooling at the high school level, it is important to keep good records about your student’s academic experience. If your student plans to go to college or university, you will have to produce a transcript, which gives a summary of what subjects the student has studied and how well the student did in each subject.

One common way to arrange a transcript is chronologically, such as what is shown here. In a chronological transcript, you report what was done each year, typically breaking the year into two semesters. You then list the subjects studied, giving 0.5 credits for each semester it was studied. You also list the grades the student received for each semester.

If a class was particularly rigorous, you can label it an “honors" course and give the student more credit for it. On the sample transcript, for example, notice that the honors English courses were worth twice the number of credits as the other courses. Instead of giving twice the number of credits, you can increase the value of the grade points, as described below.

Grade points allow you to keep a numerical average of your student’s grades. You give 4 points for an A, 3 points for a B, 2 points for a C, and 1 point for a D. For an honors course, you can make the number of credits the same as all the other courses but increase the grade point values by 1, so that an A is worth 5 points. To report the grade points earned, multiply the number value of the grade times the credit. In the sample transcript, for example, the student got an “A" in English 9A, which was worth 0.5 credits. Her grade points earned for that course are 4x0.5 = 2.

Add all the grade points calculated in that way to get the total grade points for the year. Divide those by the number of credits earned, and that gives you the grade point average, or GPA. It usually runs between 0 and 4, but if you are giving extra grade points for honors courses, it is possible for the student’s GPA to be above 4.

You repeat this process each year, reporting the yearly grade points, the yearly credits, and the yearly GPA. However, you also keep a running total, reporting the cumulative credits, the cumulative grade points, and the cumulative GPA.

It is important to note any courses taken outside the homeschool, where another teacher evaluates the student. On the sample transcript, for example, note the star next to the French and psychology courses in the third and fourth years. At the bottom, the transcript notes that the star indicates that the courses were taken at a local university.

It is also important to make a list of requirements for graduation, because college admissions officers are used to seeing it. On the sample transcript, it is noted that 24 credits are required for graduation, which is rather standard when 0.5 credits are given per class per semester. It is also noted there that the student earned 29.5, which is more than enough for graduation, so it is noted that the student has met that requirement.

Below the credit requirement is a detailed list of “core" classes you require for graduation. These are the classes you have decided the student must take in high school. On the sample transcript, the requirements are listed, along with a note by each requirement that the student has met the specific requirement.

You need to end your transcript with a statement such as the one given in the sample. It indicates who was principally in charge of homeschooling and that the transcript is a fair an accurate assessment of the student’s abilities. Once again, this is important, because college admissions officers are looking for it.

There are two other issues that need to be addressed. First, you don’t have to arrange your transcript chronologically. You can do it by subject, as shown here. In this case, you typically list year-long courses only once, with 1.0 credit given. Honors courses can have up to 2.0 credits per year. If it is a year-long course, a single grade for the year is given. In addition, there is no running total of grade points and credits. There is just a final total for each, leading to a final GPA.

Second, some students are advanced and take high-school-level courses earlier than when they are technically in high school. These classes should be listed on the transcript. If your transcript is chronological, begin it with a table entitled, “High School Courses Taken Early as Part of an Accelerated Program." If the transcript is arranged by subject, they are just included with all the other courses.