5 Smart Reasons to Keep a Copy of Your Transcripts

The moment you’ve been dreaming for has finally arrived.

Maybe it’s a job opening for a company that you’ve been watching for years. Maybe you are a high school senior and colleges just opened up their admissions.

You’re about to submit your application when one field stops you in your tracks: record of transcripts.


Don’t be caught off guard when somebody asks you for your transcripts. Here are 5 reasons why you should always keep a copy on hand.

What Does a High School Transcript Look Like?

A transcript is a summary of your high school career. It lists the classes you took, the grades you received, and your cumulative GPA.

Oftentimes, transcripts also list your standardized test scores, like the SAT or PSAT.

Some include your AP scores, though not all do. If you have AP credits, you may need to find proof of your scores elsewhere.

Knowing what your transcript looks like ahead of time ensures you won’t have to scramble to find any of your test scores.

Official transcripts are sent from the institution to the party requesting your records. This eliminates the middleman, ensuring that your records have not been tampered with.

Unofficial transcripts are ones that you can provide others. These may be copies you’ve made or records you’ve pulled from your student portal.

Different places have different requirements, so make sure you send the proper versions.

1. Higher Education

Most college applications require a copy of your high school transcript. Admissions counselors want proof that you are a good student that could be successful at their institution.

They also look for consistency in your history. If your grades are all over the place, that may be a red flag to institutions.

Trade schools also often require high school transcripts. They want to ensure that you have completed high school or have a GED before attending.

If you’ve earned a Bachelor’s degree and are seeking a Master’s degree, graduate schools will need a college transcript.

Graduate schools also often require a CV, which is a resume for your academic history. It will be much easier to write a CV if you have your transcript on hand.

Even if you don’t have plans for graduate school, CVs can be useful in showcasing what you’ve learned while in school.

2. Scholarships

Competition is steep when it comes to scholarships. It’s no secret that college is becoming more difficult to pay for, so almost all students are encouraged to apply for scholarships.

One of the most common types of financial aid is merit-based scholarships. These are awarded based on your academic achievement or volunteer history.

Most of the time, merit-based scholarships require transcripts in the application.

There are other types of aid, like need-based scholarships, that look at your financial standing rather than your academic history. Even with these types of scholarships, they may still require your transcripts.

It’s best not to count yourself out of a potential scholarship just because you don’t have your transcript.

3. Transferring Schools

Maybe the college of your dreams ended up being different than you hoped and you need to transfer to a different university.

If that’s the case, you need to supply the new college with your transcripts. If you are a first-year student transferring, your high school transcript may hold more weight than your one from college.

Especially if your high school grades are better than your college grades, it may prove to an admissions counselor that you couldn’t be successful at your current school.

If you are currently in high school and your family moves to a new school district, you need to provide the new school with your transcript. 

This will inform your new school what classes you have already taken and your test scores. They can plan your new schedule based on the classes on your transcript.

If you attended more than one high school and plan to attend college, you most likely will need to provide transcripts from every school you attended.

4. Employment

Employers may want proof that the credentials on your resume are true. Especially if it is a position that requires you to have certain skills, employers may want to be sure that you are qualified for the job.

Additionally, it may be a highly competitive position. Your transcript may be the document that determines if you are better than the other candidate.

Some jobs require that you have 5+ years of experience. How are you supposed to have experience if you just graduated?

With your transcript.

The classes you’ve taken can prove that you have experience and formal training in an area, even if you haven’t done it for work yet. 

5. Finish Your Degree

If you have some college education but didn’t finish, you may be able to pick up where you left off.

Depending on how many years it has been and if you are enrolling in the same university, your transcripts can reduce the time needed to finish your degree.

How Do I Get My Transcripts?

If high school was a long time ago for you, you may have lost your transcripts ages ago. If that’s the case, you can get a replacement transcript. Just as some people request a replacement diploma, it’s not uncommon to need to request a new transcript.

You should first try contacting the institutions where you’ve attended. There are some online sources like Paribus that allow you to access your transcript without having to contact the school.

If it has been a while since you’ve graduated, you may have to contact the school district or the state department of education.

Ready for Anything

With your transcripts nearby, you’ll be prepared for any situation you find yourself in. You never know when you’ll need them in a pinch.

Have you ever been asked for your transcript? Let us know in the comments below.