What Is on a Transcript? Your Guide to the Essentials

Transcripts transcribe transitions. 3.7 million students graduated from American high schools during the 2018-19 school year. 

Many of these students received a transcript as they were transitioning to college or the workforce. Yet many people don’t know about what a transcript is, let alone what is on it. 

What exactly is on a transcript? What can you use your transcript for? How is it a record of grades, and how can you get a duplicate? 

Answer these questions, and you can show off what you have learned to everyone important in your life. Here is your quick guide. 

The Basics of a Transcript

A transcript is an official record of a student’s grades. A transcript is sometimes called a record of grades because the document records what classes a person took and how they did in each one. 

You may have a transcript in high school or college. Depending on which schools you went to, your high school transcript and your college transcript may have significant differences from each other. Most college transcripts contain signatures and watermarks to confirm that they are official documents. 

Yet all transcripts are the same at their core. They show how a student progressed from course to course and what their accomplishments were. 

Why You Need a Transcript

Transcripts are important for several reasons. You must supply a high school transcript to the colleges you are applying for. You need to send one copy to each college to verify your GPA and graduation. 

You also must send your college transcripts to the graduate schools you are applying for. If you plan on transferring to another school, you need to do the same. The copies of your transcript must contain complete details about your performance, including an overall GPA. 

An employer may want to verify that you went to a school. A transcript may be all that they need for certification. 

Internships offer college credit that you can use to graduate. You may need to give them a transcript so they can transfer the credit accurately. You may want the credit to apply toward a major instead of your general graduation requirements. 

Many people like to frame their transcripts, especially when they did well in school. You can get a copy and then frame yours to show off to others. 

Transcript Sections

Each school has its own style for transcripts. Yet many of them share similar features. Your transcript should have all of these sections so you can use it for employment and educational opportunities. 


A transcript will contain the courses you took while you were at a particular school. Most transcripts are organized in chronological order, with the most recent classes appearing at the top.

But you may have a transcript that is organized based on department. The courses you took for your major will go toward the top, while the courses for your minor will go toward the middle of the document. 

To save space, your transcript may list codes instead of the names of each course. “Introduction to the Advanced Study of Literature” may become “ENG 101.” Some courses will list codes and names as an extra layer of verification. 

Your transcript may include failed or incomplete courses. You may want to remove this information, but you should keep it in. An employer will find it suspicious that you omitted those courses if they ever find out about them. 


The listing for each course will contain a letter grade for your performance in that course. Most schools use an A through F grading system. 

Your grade point average (GPA) is your overall performance across all courses. An A corresponds to a 4.0, while an F is a 0.0. 

Some schools will list your GPA as a weighted GPA. This means they take into account the difficulty of a course. You will receive bonus points for getting an A in an advanced class. 

Try to find a transcript that lists your unweighted and weighted GPAs. Some colleges will only look at your unweighted average, but employers may want to see what advanced classes you took. 

Student Information 

A transcript will not contain intimate details. Yours will have your name, date of birth, and contact information on it. Your student ID number may be on it, especially if you go to a large school. 

Your college transcript will have your major and minor listed. If you switched majors or minors, you might have your original ones on your transcript. 

How to Get a Duplicate Transcript

Try to keep the original copies of your transcript. They don’t need to be laminated or framed. Put the papers in a folder and then store the folder inside a weatherproof plastic crate. 

If you need a copy, contact your school right away. Most high schools and nearly all colleges have registrar offices. Give the office a call and ask them to send a copy of your transcript to your mailing address. 

You can buy replacement transcripts online. It is a good idea to send your replacement to the registrar’s office of your school for an official signature.

Do not use a fake transcript to get a job or educational opportunity. You may lose the opportunity or face a lawsuit for fraud. 

Track Down Your Transcript

A transcript is the official record of your grades. You must provide one when you are applying to another school, and your employer may ask you for a copy.

Your transcript will list off each class you took. Your letter grade for each class and the average of all of your grades will be listed. 

If you lose the original copy, don’t panic. Contact your registrar’s office and ask for a new one. 

You can also turn to resources online. phonydiploma.com has 20 years of experience in providing fake and duplicate transcripts. Request a free sample today or buy one now!