By Julianna Dotten
If you have students in high school, transcripts can seem overwhelming (especially for you busy mamas teaching little ones at the same time!). So I’m going to keep things simple here and break it down into 4 easy steps.
But first, a few FAQ:
- There are no high school graduation requirements in Colorado. That’s right! However, you are required to have covered the following subjects some time during K-12: Communication skills of reading, writing, and speaking, mathematics, history, literature, science, US Constitution, and Civics (check out our new Colorado Civics curriculum here – it’s great resource for high schoolers too!). But specifically for high school, you’ll want to set your students’ required courses based on their college/career plans.
- The more you plan ahead, the easier making a transcript will be later (especially if you student is college-bound). To decide what credits your student will need depending on his post-graduation track, check out HSLDA’s excellent charts in this high school pamphlet here. You’ll also want to check with any possible colleges to see what credits they require. For example, most colleges require 2 credits of the same language, but some only require 1. If your student is hoping to go to a STEM-based university, more math (and higher level) math credits will be required than at a liberal arts college.
- All about diplomas. In Colorado, homeschool diplomas are issued by the parents. (Check out our personalized diplomas you can purchase here). Because of this, colleges will assess homeschool students primarily by their transcripts and college entrance exam scores, though they will still need a diploma.
How to create a high school transcript
First, I would recommend you have your student be involved in this process. It’s great preparation for the many forms and documentation they will be required to keep track of as they step into adult life. Plus, there is a definite sense of accomplishment that comes from compiling all the work you have done over the past four years!
Now, here are the 4 steps:
- Find a transcript template that works for you. If you are a member of the CHEC Independent School, you have access to such templates on your all-access page when you log in. Also, you can view HSLDA’s templates (and more transcript advice) here. There are two basic types of transcripts: grade-based (where you list the credits taken in each grade of high school) and subject-based (where the credits are listed by math, English, science, and so on). The grade-based format is more common, but subject-based can be helpful if, for example, your student took more than 4 years to complete high school.
- Fill in the credits and a letter-grade for each. My family found it most helpful to generalize some of the credits, naming our English simply “English 1,” “English 2,” etc. since our literature was less conventional. However, if your student did a year of British Literature, then American Literature, etc. those titles may work as well. Beside each credit, place a letter grade for that course. You can learn more about how to determine grades for high school work here. For more information and sample high school transcripts from successful homeschool graduates, I would recommend reading the high school chapter in the Colorado Homeschool Guidebook.
- Determine GPA. On a traditional grade-based transcript, you would include the GPA for the year as well as the cumulative GPA for all the grades leading up to that. So, for example, in 9th grade, your GPA and cumulative GPA would be the same, say 3.75. However, in 10th grade, your GPA may be 3.69 while your cumulative would be your GPA on all credits taken so far. Learn more about how to calculate GPA here. In addition, you can find a helpful GPA calculator (that will do the work for you!) here. Ultimately, the most important number on a transcript will be the final cumulative GPA as that will be a major determining factor in college admissions.
- Have someone double-check your transcript. If you are a member of HSLDA, did you know their high school consultants will give you feedback on your transcript for free? This can be tremendously helpful, especially if your student it trying to get into a competitive university. Learn more about HSLD’s transcript service here.
As you can see, homeschool transcripts are quite-doable! Congratulations as you graduate your homeschool student!