Why High School Transcripts Count in College

November 25, 2012 Category: College News

Throughout the high school graduation and college application process, there is going to be tons of terms and lingo being tossed around for students to grasp. While some of them might appear foreign to most high school juniors and seniors, the high school transcript is perhaps the most recognizable among them all.

All colleges and universities ask for transcripts from its applicants and won’t consider a student that doesn’t provide this key information. So what is a high school transcript exactly and why is it so important for getting onto a college campus?

The high school transcript is a document that details a student’s academic life during those crucial four years. The GPA isn’t the only vital data that is listed on a transcript, however. The names of the classes taken, as well as the individual, final grades received are also documented.

High School TranscriptsAs simple as the data listed may seem, to a college admissions board it paints a very vivid picture of what kind of potential a student could have once they’ve entered college. A common myth that is very misleading to high school students is the notion that only the courses and grades received during junior and senior year matter to colleges. This isn’t entirely accurate. The transcript captures a student’s progress starting from their freshman year.

It won’t be difficult for an admissions office to identify whether or not an individual has simply been coasting for the first two years (or all four, for that matter). Colleges and universities want students that are motivated, determined and hard working–not those that merely do the minimum to get by.

High school transcripts aren’t just about grades and the classes a student has taken, but the trend or pattern it shows in their approach to their education. Of course the most favorable circumstance to be in is to have a transcript showcasing stellar grades and a variety of classes taken. Because not all high schoolers are able to achieve consistently high marks throughout their four years, the next best scenario would be to have a transcript that identifies a student’s efforts gradually improving over time. This means a student struggling during freshman/sophomore year who eventually gets better grades in certain subjects over time would still have a good shot at interesting a college or university into accepting them for admission.

The scenarios that don’t reflect favorably in a transcript include the situation mentioned above where a student has clearly shown no real improvement in their grades over four years. It goes without saying that receiving consistently poor marks overall is another situation that doesn’t position a graduating high school senior for the best outcome when applying to colleges and universities. Another transcript scenario that won’t impress an admissions office is one that shows a student has only taken the “easy” subjects throughout high school. It’s not mandatory to take all honors classes but it’s worth taking on a few challenging classes each year. A transcript that mostly contains grades for easy subjects like gym and art won’t do a college bound student any favors when it comes time to send out applications.

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