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Preparing a Transcript

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By Beverly S. Krueger

Most colleges require a high school transcript from applicants. If you are like many eclectic homeschoolers, your child may have what seems like a crazy quilt education. How can you put all that he has done into the structured format of a typical transcript? Or if you are just approaching high school, how can you plan for a complete transcript?

Most transcripts include the following items:

  • Student Information - Name, birth date, address, phone number
  • School Information - Name of your school, address, phone number
  • Dates of Student Attendance
  • Courses - Subject of course, grade given for course, year course taken, brief course description, grade level of course, credits given for course.
  • Summary of Credits Given - Language Arts - 4, Math - 3 etc. Total Credits - 24 (for example)
  • Grading Scale A = 100-92% 4.0 B= 91-83% 3.0 C = 82-77% 2.0 D = 76-70% 1.0 F = 69-0% 0 (for example)
  • Standardized Test Results - Year test taken, score (These could include the PSAT, SAT, ACT, SAT II Tests)
  • Grade Point Average
  • Rank in Class
  • Extracurricular Activities - listed by grade level or year accomplished
  • Awards

Some of these items can easily be incorporated into your own transcript. Others have no relevance at all. For items like Rank in Class, you can include them, but put N/A for not applicable. Since you are creating the transcript, you can include or exclude as you desire. Be sure to contact the university or college where you are sending the transcript, so that you can include what they think is relevant.

The real trick is turning your studies into the type of set courses that a typical transcript includes. Most colleges require four credits in Language Arts. Typically they would be called English 1, English 2, English 3 and English 4. If you are using a traditional curriculum, you can easily fit into this mode. English courses would involve literature study, writing, and grammar. They could also include many other things. For example, if your child spent several months reading and learning about Shakespeare and his plays that could equate to a semester of English 4. If you'd rather break your Language Arts down into specific subjects, you can have Grammar & Writing 1, Grammar & Writing 2, Advanced Composition, Year Book, Journalism, Introduction to Literature, The Short Story, Drama, American Literature, World Literature, British Literature, Poetry, Shakespeare, each of which could be semester courses. Each semester course is equal to 1/2 credit.

A general rule of thumb is for every 150 hours of actual work, you can count one credit toward the subject being studied. A typical school year is 180 days. A typical class at your local high school will have at most 50 minutes of actual time on task. That's the equivalent of 150 hours of work. The Davis's of Elijah Company use a more complicated formula that takes into account days missed from school, time spent in nonacademic endeavors during class, and homework time that computes an average of 100 hours of actual time spent on task per high school credit.

You can also determine courses by actual content. The content of a year course in high school biology can be determined by looking through the table of contents of a high school biology text. Make a copy of the table of contents. As your child covers the concepts mark them off. When your child has completed 85-90% of what the book covers, you can count that as a completed course.

Resources for determining course titles and descriptions:
UNL - Independent Study High School Credit Course
BYU High School Course Catalog
Indiana University High School Courses
World Book Typical Course of Study

Typical College Prep Course of Study
Language Arts 4
Science 2 (At least one lab science.)
Math 3-4
Social Studies: US History 1, Government 1/2, Economics 1/2, World History or World Geography 1
Foreign Language 2
Physical Education 1
Health 1/2
Keyboarding 1/2
Electives 6-9 Can include additional science, additional social studies, humanities, music, fine art, business classes.

Resources for determining a typical course of study:
NC Standard Course of Study
Typical Course of Study in a Four Year High School Program

For more ideas about preparing for a high school transcript read:
How Do I Handle High School - EHO
The High School Years - Elijah Company
And What About College: How Homeschooling Can Lead to Admissions to the Best Colleges & Universities by Cafi Cohen

Sample Transcript

Blank High School Transcript - Fill this form out in your web browser.

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