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What are academic transcripts?

By Haripriya Sivasubramaniam• Last updated: Aug 21, 2023
What are academic transcripts?
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Academic transcripts are an essential aspect of a student's educational journey, serving as a comprehensive record of their academic achievements and coursework completed during their time at an educational institution. 

These documents play a crucial role in a student's academic and professional life, acting as a tangible representation of their academic performance, skills, and knowledge. 

In this article, we will delve into the details of what academic transcripts are, their contents, their significance, and why they are vital for students and their future endeavours.

Also Read: The best post-graduation courses in Canada for career advancement

What is academic transcript meaning?

An academic transcript is an official, detailed document provided by educational institutions, such as schools, colleges, and universities, that lists all the courses a student has taken, grades earned, credit hours completed, and other academic achievements. These transcripts are usually issued upon completion of a specific level of education, such as the completion of a semester, year, or entire program.

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What is the Transcript of Records (ToR)?

The transcript of records compiles all the academic data and documents. It typically includes courses taken, exams passed, and credits earned. These will be from high school, undergraduate degrees, and post-graduate qualifications.

Also read: What are the types of degrees in the US?

The difference between a degree, diploma, and a transcript

Degree/ DiplomaTranscript
The final certificate you’ll receive upon completing your educational qualification.This is the official statement from your high school and university that compiles the data of all the academic records and achievements.

Why is a transcript necessary?

The transcript is a mandatory requirement for submitting and processing your application to a university. Since this comprises all the scholastic data, the admissions committee will look into this first. 

Secondly, most universities require a digital copy of the transcripts. Some universities expect you to send hard copies of ToR via courier services like DHS as the first step of processing your application.

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Contents in a transcript

Here's what a transcript holds.

  • Full name of the student and the institution where you studied.
  • Board of school education and college education (in which you completed your schooling and degree).
  • Complete name of the course.
  • Subject-wise scores in marks/grades for all the semesters in high school and university.
  • The overall grade received by the student in the whole academic year/course.
  • Proof from the educational institution to officiate this as the transcript letter-head paper.

Common names given for an academic transcript

The academic transcripts/ official transcripts provided in schools and colleges are given below.

  • Mark sheet
  • Mark list
  • Academic record
  • Report card
  • Record of achievement 
  • Cumulative record file
  • Permanent record file
  • Transcript of Records

When does a student need transcripts?

A transcript is necessary for higher education admissions. It would be best to have an official academic transcript of records ready while applying to college or university. When you graduate from high school, these will be provided to you.

Documents required for academic transcripts

When applying for academic transcripts, you typically need to provide certain documents and information to the educational institution or relevant authorities.

Here are some common documents often required for obtaining academic transcripts:

  • Transcript request form
  • Identification proof
  • Student identification number
  • Academic details

What transcripts do you need to include while applying?

  • You will need to submit your high school official transcript as a part of the undergraduate admissions.
  • You will also have to provide your undergraduate course transcript to process a master's admission. Most institutions ask just for these two copies, and sometimes they won't require one for a postgrad or MBA programme. 
  • Additionally, if there are any backlogs in your schedule, you must submit a backlog certificate alongside the records.

What to check in your academic ToR?

Once you get your transcripts, double-check the following details and see whether the data provided is accurate.

  • Date of issue
  • Signature of the administration officer
  • Official stamp of the institution that issues the transcript

Some universities might deny your application if they encounter any fault in the transcripts, so make sure it’s accurate.

What to do if your transcript gets delayed?

If exams get delayed, so too might your transcript when applying to study abroad. In these circumstances, you can use an interim transcript approved by the institution you are studying.

Which kind of academic transcript is needed for which course?

The type of academic transcript needed for a particular course or purpose can vary based on several factors, including the level of education, the institution providing the transcript, and the requirements of the course or program you are applying for.

Here are some common scenarios where specific types of academic transcripts may be needed:

  • High School Transcripts: When applying to colleges or universities for undergraduate programs, you will typically need to provide your high school transcripts. High school transcripts detail the courses you took, grades earned, and graduation date.
  • College Transcripts: If you are applying for a postgraduate program (master's or Ph.D.) or transferring to another college or university, you will need to submit your college transcripts.
  • University Transcripts: For advanced academic pursuits, such as applying to a doctoral program or for academic positions, you may be required to submit your university transcripts, which include your bachelor's and master's degree records.
  • Professional School Transcripts: If you are applying to professional schools, such as law school or business school, you will likely need to provide your academic transcripts from your undergraduate and any relevant graduate studies.
  • Transfer Transcripts: If you are transferring from one educational institution to another, you will need to provide transfer transcripts.


What to do about the transcript if you are in your final year?

You'll receive your ToR after completing your final semester exam. But if you have applied for masters overseas and are waiting for the final results, you can submit the second year's official transcript.

What documents are required to support the records if you apply abroad?

Apart from the academic transcripts, you'll need to submit a backlog certificate. This will be additional proof of your academic record.

What are transcripts from the university?

Transcripts from the university are official documents that provide a comprehensive record of a student's academic performance throughout their academic journey.

What is a transcript certificate?

A transcript certificate is a formal document issued by a university or educational institution that authenticates the accuracy and completeness of the student's academic transcript.

What is a degree transcript?

A degree transcript is a specific type of transcript that provides a detailed summary of the courses completed and the grades obtained by a student during their degree program.

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What is the difference between academic and college transcripts?

The term "academic transcript" is more commonly used in universities and higher education institutions, while "college transcript" is often used to refer to the academic records of students in community colleges or similar institutions.

What is a university transcript?

A university transcript is an official record of a student's academic achievements at a specific university or college.

Is a transcript the same as a mark sheet?

Transcripts and mark sheets are related documents, but they are not the same. A mark sheet typically provides a record of a student's grades for a particular academic year or semester. On the other hand, a transcript encompasses a student's entire academic history, including all courses and grades from the beginning of their studies until the present.

How to apply for transcripts?

To apply for transcripts, students typically need to contact their university's registrar's office or academic records department.

What are official transcripts?

Official transcripts are certified and sealed copies of a student's academic records provided directly by the university or college.

How to get transcripts from college in India?

To get transcripts from a college in India, students typically need to contact their college's registrar's office or academic records department. They may be required to submit a written application along with the necessary fees. Once the request is processed, the college will issue the official transcripts in a sealed envelope.

Is a transcript required for a Canada student visa?

While transcripts are not generally required for a Canada student visa application, they may be requested by the Canadian immigration authorities as part of the application process.

How to send transcripts to Canadian universities from India?

To send transcripts to Canadian universities from India, students need to request official transcripts from their Indian university or college. Once received, the transcripts should be sealed and mailed directly to the Canadian universities' admissions offices. Some universities may also accept electronic transcripts sent through secure channels.

How long do colleges keep transcripts?

In many cases, colleges retain academic records for several years or even indefinitely.

When do students need a Transcript of Records?

Students may need a Transcript of Records when applying for further studies, seeking transfer credits, or applying for employment opportunities.

What is required for study abroad admissions - transcripts or mark sheets?

For study abroad admissions, universities and colleges typically require official transcripts rather than mark sheets.

With your documents and application profile set, what's stopping you from taking the next step?! Connect with Edvoy today for a smooth experience when applying and enrolling on your dream university!

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