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What are Academic Transcripts?

 

Students aspiring to pursue higher education in foreign universities are expected to submit proof of their educational qualification along with the courses taken and the grades scored. This proof of completing their degree course/diploma qualification is called a ‘Transcript.’ In other words, a Transcript of Record (ToR), or an academic transcript/transcript certificate has a detailed account of all the subjects/courses taken, the marks/credits or the grades scored in the respective subjects and sometimes the number of credit hours as well.

In India, transcripts are also referred to as mark sheets. Few other commonly used terms for an academic transcript are Report Card, Academic Record, Grade Card, Record of Achievement, Academic Certificates, Mark List and Cumulative Record File (CRF). Simply put, a transcript/academic record means a document that establishes proof and certifies/attests to the qualification/academic degree that a student has garnered to make him/her suitable for the program applied for.

It is also important to understand that a Transcript Certificate is an entirely different document than a Diploma or a Degree. A Diploma/Degree is a final certificate candidates receive on the day of their graduation ceremony and is given once a candidate completes all the degree requirements successfully. It bears the official seal of the university awarding the degree/diploma and it depicts that the candidate has graduated.

 

What is Transcript Certificate?

A Transcript Certificate/Transcript of Record (ToR) is a document that has a detailed account of all the modules/subjects and practical work/laboratory sessions taken during each academic semester or year. It also indicates the marks/grades scored in each course/laboratory work. Sometimes, depending on the grading system followed by the university or the academic institute, subject-wise credit value may/may not be mentioned. Nevertheless, a transcript always comprises the following information:

  1. Full name of the candidate
  2. Full name of the institute with the location
  3. Affiliated University’s name for undergraduate/graduate educational qualifications or the affiliated board’s name for high-school transcripts. In other words, the affiliated university’s name must be present on the college transcripts or the university transcript
  4. Full name of the course

To add, a Transcript Certificate may/may not have the following information:

  1. The final grade awarded to the student either for each academic semester/year or for the entire course
  2. The rank received by the student in comparison to the strength of the class
  3. The grade point average of the class to help understand the percentile/rank of the applicant

It is, however, extremely important to understand that a Transcript Certificate must always bear the registrar’s signature and this official document must be issued on the letterhead of the academic institute.

 

Are Transcript and Marksheet the same?

No, the transcript of record and the mark sheet are not the same. Although mark sheet is the most prevalent term in India for transcripts, the two documents are strikingly different. Mark sheets are issued for every semester/year that the student had to complete by giving an examination as part of the course requirements, so any student may have several mark sheets. However, academic transcripts are not just consolidated/compiled mark sheets, rather college transcripts or university transcripts have all the information from each of these mark sheets along with explaining the grading scale used to score the candidate.

 

How to get Transcript Certificate/How to apply for transcripts?

College transcripts or University transcripts are ‘official documents’ because they have the colleges/universities registrar’s stamp, sign, or seal. Ideally, to apply for transcripts, a student in India needs to visit the respective educational institute and place a request for the ‘academic transcript.’ The institute then checks and verifies the academic record, and then releases the transcripts. The student is then informed about the Transcript of Record; he/she needs to collect it from the educational institute. If the applicant has any special condition/or is unavailable for some reason, the transcript can also be mailed to him/her. 

It will be good to note that college transcripts/university transcripts in India are sent to the students by their respective institutes by Indian Speed Post. Therefore, if for any reason, a student cannot collect the transcript in person and is requesting delivery via mail, the correct postal address and pin code must be entered in the application form, otherwise, the transcripts can be misplaced/delayed or even lost.

Once the applicant has the academic transcript in his/her possession, he/she can send it to the desired universities via mail, upload it on the university’s website or send it electronically through authorized channels/application portals such as UCAS (for UK universities for UG), WES, Uni- assist (for German Universities) or Common Application for UG to name a few.

Generally stated, the process to apply for academic transcripts is time-consuming. Sometimes, it may even take longer than expected if students need to procure the Transcript Certificate/Transcript of Records from multiple institutes which they might have attended long back. Therefore, it is always advisable to begin early. Some points to be pondered/thought about and acted upon before applying for academic transcripts are:

  • The applicants must educate themselves about the policy to apply for transcripts by getting in touch with the registrar’s offices of all the previous educational institutes attended by them
  • The transcript request application form must be filled in accurately and the required documents along with the application fee must be submitted along with the form
  • Many universities have started the online application to submit the request for an academic record. This process is relatively quick, but the applicants may have to pay a small application fee
  • Following up with the institute that needs to send the transcripts and the institute that must receive the transcript has to be rigorously done by the applicant.

 

How to send transcripts to US universities from India?

As a majority of the study abroad applicants aim to join US Universities, let us understand the process to send transcripts to US Universities from India. The most important criterion to be understood about the Transcript Certificate for US universities is that it must be in English. If it is in any other language, the candidate needs to provide an official English translation of the same. At times, along with the academic transcript, an evaluation is also required.

Once the academic transcript is in hand, there are three most common methods to send the Transcripts of Record to US Universities. These three ways to send the college transcripts or university transcripts are via the Common Application or Coalition Application (only for undergraduate students), the Parchment, or the University of California System.

 

Common Application or Coalition Application:

Both are the most frequently and commonly used methods to send Transcript of Record of undergraduate applicants by their respective school counsellors to US Universities. Almost 900+ colleges and students belonging to 200+ countries use the Common Application. These portals give international students the possibility to use the online application portal to upload their school transcripts/Transcripts of Record. It helps international applicants to submit their transcripts via an online system, which is quicker, cheaper, and far more reliable than sending them by postal mail.

Parchment

This is another easy, economical and a convenient method to send in academic transcripts from one academic institute to another. This service can be used for applying to undergraduate as well as graduate programs. An order for sending the academic transcripts needs to be placed along with mentioning the institute that is the sender of the transcripts and the institute that will receive them. The university in possession of the transcripts then uploads the transcripts in the online system and this is then sent to the university to which the applicant is applying.

 

University of California System

The University of California has its own customized online application system comprising nine universities and the applicant can upload their Transcript of Record/Transcript Certificate through this online system.

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