What are Academic Transcripts?

Students applying for higher education in foreign countries must provide several documents as a part of their application. One such important document is the academic transcript. So, what are these academic transcripts? The following article not only has the answer to this question but is also an in-depth guide to the various formats and requirements. It also includes samples for a better understanding.

What are Academic Transcripts?

An academic transcript is a comprehensive record of a student’s academic performance. It is the evidence of education that includes the subjects studied and the grades/marks received by the student. The educational institution provides students with academic transcripts while applying for admission to foreign educational institutions.

What is the need for an academic transcript?

The academic transcripts are required by the admissions committee of a university as proof of education. It also helps them understand the applicant’s academic performance. This is a mandatory document without which a student cannot  apply for admission to foreign universities. 

Students applying for graduate programs require high school transcripts whereas, students applying for postgraduate programs have to provide their graduation or related previous university academic transcripts.  Universities may sometimes ask students to submit transcripts of their last 2 qualifications. This is a very specific requirement and will depend on the university and the course you are applying for. 

You must always keep a soft copy of your transcripts handy so that you can upload them while applying. You should also go through the requirements of the university carefully as universities sometimes seek hard copies as well. In certain cases, students might not get a hard copy of the transcript as it is mailed directly to the new institution by the previous institution.

Some important points to keep in mind before submitting your transcript:

  1. The document must be in English.
  2. It must be legible.
  3. Information on the transcript must be accurate and without any mistakes.  
  4. It must be an official document issued by the institution.

Different names for academic transcripts: 

Academic transcripts are called by different names in different countries or educational institutions.

Common names for academic transcripts:

  • Mark Sheets
  • Transcripts of Record
  • Report Card
  • Diploma Supplement
  • Cumulative Record File
  • Academic Certificates

The purpose of all these documents is the same as academic transcripts, i.e., to provide evidence of education and academic performance. 

Different types of Academic Transcripts:

  • Official Transcripts 

This type of academic transcript is a detailed record of your academic advancement. Official Transcripts usually include your exam credits, transfer work, and the degrees you have earned over the years. These transcripts are mailed by the institution and bear the university seal and the registrar’s signature. These are sent only at the request of the student and require the student’s written signature.

  • Unofficial Transcripts 

This transcript is not as credible as the official transcript. These also do not bear the university seal or official signature. 

Acceptable formats for Academic Transcripts:

Universities usually accept various formats of academic transcripts while assessing applicants. Some of these formats are mentioned below: 

  • Scanned Official Transcript with the university stamp and registrar’s signature. 
  • Official e-transcript: This can be sent by third parties on behalf of the university. 
  • A lot of universities also accept scanned images of your transcript in case you can’t get a hard copy.
  • Medical students can submit MBBS certificates. 

How to get Academic Transcripts?

Academic transcripts are released by institutions where the student has already studied and completed his/her course/education. It includes school certificates as well as certificates for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

Students can collect the official academic transcript from the college/university once published. They can also submit a soft copy of the document while applying for admissions. However, some institutions require  a physical copy of the transcript. It has to be mailed either by the student or by the previous academic institution.

Students who are still studying can collect an interim or provisional academic transcript from their institution and send it across to the university. But an official transcript has to be submitted eventually to ensure admission.

What information does an Academic Transcript include?

An academic transcript must contain a detailed description of a student’s academic performance including the subjects, practical work, and other academic aspects. 

An academic transcript generally includes the following information:

  1. The student’s full name
  2. Name of the educational institution along with its address
  3. Either the name of the educational board or the university
  4. Names of the courses studied by the student
  5. Record of all academic and non-academic achievements
  6. The student’s academic statement
  7. An evaluation by the faculty
  8. Scores of all the subjects either as grades or marks

Some academic transcripts might also include the following:

  1. A cumulative grade of the student throughout the course.
  2. The class’s average grade. This provides a better idea of where the student stands as compared to others.

Supporting documents required with your Academic Transcript

The academic transcript includes your final grades in all subjects throughout your course. A backlog certificate from your institution is required by several colleges as verification of backlog history. Backlogs can affect your prospects of admission to many universities.

What is the difference between an Academic Transcript and a Degree Certificate?

Although both these documents are proof of education and qualification, they have some differences.

Academic Transcript

Degree Certificate

  1. It encapsulates your entire academic performance throughout your degree or education. 

  1. This is proof of education, qualification, and performance

  1. Interim transcripts are available before you finish your education at an institution.

  1. Includes academic and non-academic achievements 

  1. Subject-wise description of grades and scores provided

  1. This is a mandatory part of your application abroad.

  1. This is a final certificate you receive after completing your education from an institution.

  1. This is proof of education and qualification.

  1. This can only be provided once you have completed your entire course.

  1. It does not include any achievements.

  1. Grades aren’t mentioned in a degree certificate. 

  1. This may not be part of the application if you are already providing your academic transcripts.

Academic Transcript sample:

“College Letterhead”

This document certifies that Mr/Ms. XYZ was a student at XYZ Institute from July 2011 till June 2014. He/she has completed his/her 3 years bachelor’s degree in B.Sc. Economics from XYZ institute, XYZ campus in June 2014.

Mr/Ms. XYZ is applying to your institution for a postgraduate degree. He/she is a pragmatic intellectual with a high aptitude for Economics. 

The following is a comprehensive description of the B.Sc. Course in Economics of XYZ Institute, along with a performance chart of the student for every examination.

NAME: XYZ

Duration of course: July 2011 to June 2014

  1. Every subject is compulsory with the inclusion of a dissertation in the final semester. 
  2. There are a total of six semesters where each semester is 16 weeks long.
  3. Each lecture is 45 mins long. 
  4. Internal papers make up for 30% of the total marks which includes oral examinations and presentations. 
  5. The rest 70% is based on the university exam held after 16 weeks of each semester.
  6. Every student requires a minimum of 24 credits to get promoted to the next year which is based on their overall performance in academics and extracurriculars.
  7. A total of 10 grace marks can be awarded to a student to help them clear the examination or attain a better score. This is as per the criteria set by XYZ University.
  8. XYZ University provides grades based on GPA and provides grades ranging from A+ to D- and F for failure to pass the exam as follows:

Marks (GPA)

Grade

3.7 and above

A+

3.4 to 3.7

A

3.0 to 3.4

B+

2.7 to 3.0

B

2.4 to 2.7

C+

2.2 to 2.4

C

2.0 to 2.2

D+

1.7 to 2.0

D

Below 1.7

F

___________

Signature of Registrar

College Letterhead

Course: B.Sc. Economics                                                      1st Year (July 2011 to June 2012)

Name: XYZ

Roll Number: XXXXXXX045

Date of Passing: 14th June 2012

Semester I

Subject 

GPA

Grade

Credits

Microeconomics 1

3.3

B+

3

Macroeconomics 1

3.8

A+

3

Indian Economy

3.1

B+

3

Mathematics 1

3.9

A+

3

Statistics 1

3.6

A

3

Econometrics 1

2.9

B

3

Semester I

Subject 

GPA

Grade

Credits

Microeconomics 2

3.2

B+

3

Macroeconomics 2

3.3

B+

3

Indian Economy

3.7

A+

3

Mathematics 2

3.8

A+

3

Statistics 2

3.9

A+

3

Econometrics 2

3.7

A+

3

Total CGPA for the 1st year – 3.51/4

___________

Signature of Registrar

Self-evaluation in an Academic Transcript:

Most academic transcripts do not have a self-evaluation section but there are exceptions. Universities sometimes expect you to include a self-evaluation with the transcript. Here are a few guidelines on how and what to write:

  • Provide a brief description of your favorite subjects in the course and mention why.
  • Mention subjects you were weak in and describe how you got over the challenges.
  • Briefly evaluate the practical experiences within the course.
  • Provide a crisp insight into how the course has helped you become a more capable individual.

This section has to be within 150 words and needs to generate a positive impression about you. Even when it comes to your weaknesses, try and portray them as challenges so that it boosts your image.In a nutshell, an academic transcript is an integral part of your application to foreign universities. It is important to check your transcript for mistakes before submission. Mistakes and mismatches of information can disqualify your application. Don’t try to forge your transcript under any circumstances. Universities usually do a thorough background check and if you are caught, you will not only be disqualified but also get blacklisted. This could also ruin your opportunities at other institutions. Make sure you apply for your transcript ahead of the application deadline to avoid last moment confusion. You can log on to the upGrad Abroad website for more information on applying and studying abroad.

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