Homeschooling high school students come with a different kind of responsibility. Whether your student unschooled or participated in an advanced, college-level prep curriculum, your student will need a high school transcript!
Colleges and Universities have generally done well over the last decade to embrace the growing number of homeschoolers entering higher education. Previously, most colleges and especially universities would only accept an official transcript and diploma from an accredited high school. Since the number of homeschoolers has increased by nearly 20% since the mid to late 1990s, and continues to increase yearly, institutions of higher education have recognized the trend and adjusted their admission policies to keep pace with the changing face of education. Admission requirements have become more flexible with age limitations (allowing younger students to enroll in classes- even offering programs such as dual-credits that allows students to earn both high school and college credit) and more accepting of the diverse, non-traditional types of classes and recordkeeping that comes from homeschool families.
A transcript is not only a beneficial tool for any high school student who plans on attending a college or university after their official graduation, but it is also an excellent record for students who pursue employment, vocational training, or even apprenticeships during and after their high school years. A transcript that is well organized can show more than an academic record- it can demonstrate a students’ strengths, character, and personality.
Building a homeschool transcript has become easier than ever. While some families still prefer to create physical binders for each year of high school for students to showcase their work, online transcription resources (including templates for creating your own transcripts or online transcription services) have become readily accessible and user-friendly.
What are colleges and universities looking for in a homeschool transcript? What makes a homeschool transcript stand out amid the thousands of other transcripts that admission officials receive every year? The first step is to create a solid base for the transcript. There are a few simple tips for creating a great transcript!
- Before you begin transcripting, create a good plan. Look into your state’s requirements for the number of seat hours that are needed to fulfill your high school district and state graduation credits. If your student has plans for attending a specific college, university or vocational school after graduation look into the credits required by their admission policies. Some higher education institutes require additional credits in subjects such as math, science or languages depending on the major your student plans on taking. You and your student can create a four-year curriculum plan based on the information.
- Keep good records. Make sure that your student transcripts regularly. It is ideal that your student transcripts daily or at the very least weekly. This way, your student will be able to record with better accuracy and less chance of accidentally leaving out something that would be ideal on their transcript.
- Keep your transcript well organized. Make sure that you have each section clearly labeled and organized and that those sections contain only the supporting work that demonstrates knowledge of the subject. Clearly, show the calculated grade point averages per subject. Many of the online transcription services provide the option to download copies of printed and photographic material directly into online folders. While picture documentation is important, choose only the most relevant material to include.
Some things that help build the transcript in ways that can highlight not only the academic achievements of your student, and helps them stand out among many applicants, is to include other non-academic achievements. Homeschoolers tend to include and emphasize more skill and character-building activities that just academics. Generally, you do not need to include religious-based experiences unless you are applying to a religious-based college or university. Some exceptions can be made if the experience directly relates to a category- meaning if your volunteer work included a mission trip or being a youth leader where a student gained specific skill sets. A well-rounded transcript should include:
- Transcript: a well-organized transcript that clearly documents the work done, grades and grade point averages.
- Volunteer Service: be sure to include mentorships, work is done with community organizations and any volunteer work done with children, seniors or animals.
- Awards and Honors: include awards or honors from Boy or Girl Scouts, National Honor Societies, science fairs, recognition from volunteer work, JROTC, sports achievements or 4H Clubs.
- Competitive Activities: transcripts should include documentation of any type of sport, whether team sports or solo activities. Besides physical sports, like soccer or basketball, including other competitive activities such as speech and debate, chess or robotics.
- Certifications and Training: be sure to include certification for CPR training, lifeguard training, first-aid, or babysitting classes.
- Work Experience: when you include work experience in your transcript, be sure to detail what skills you gained from your experience. Be sure to include any entrepreneurial efforts or apprenticeships.
A good transcript has many benefits. Even if your student feels that a transcript is unnecessary, the dedication and attention to detail in itself is an excellent skill-building opportunity! Having your students take responsibility for their transcript and the creation of their own plan for their education helps them build skills such as accountability, accuracy, and perseverance.