When you start applying for colleges as a senior in high school, your high school transcripts become very important. Then, when you graduate from college, or you want to transfer colleges while you're still in school, your college transcripts become important.

Having an idea about what college transcripts look like can help you check for any errors, or judge whether or not you have official transcripts versus unofficial transcripts.

What Are College Transcripts?

A college transcript is very similar to your high school transcripts. It is essentially a copy of your academic record, listing the courses you've taken, your grade in those courses (or, if you took it pass/fail), your overall GPA, and the dates you've attended. Some college transcripts may also say your major, minor and any honors or awards you've received.

When Would You Need College Transcripts?

There are several instances in which you'd need your college transcripts. First and foremost, when you graduate with your undergraduate degree, you'll need your transcripts if you want to apply to graduate school. These transcripts help admissions understand if you're a good candidate for their school and/or program.

Another circumstance in which you would need your college transcripts is if you want to transfer schools. Perhaps you're not happy with the school you chose, or you want to transfer from a two-year school to a four-year school. You will need your college transcripts for that.

Lastly, you may also need your college transcripts to apply for a job after graduation. Though most jobs will likely just ask for a copy of your diploma, others may want to see how well you did in your college courses. This is especially true for people who want to apply for work in other countries, as that country may require you to submit your college transcripts in order for you to apply for a visa.

What Does a College Transcript Look Like?

A college transcript may look different depending on the school you go to, but in general, they all look more or less the same. In addition to listing your major, coursework, the amount of credits earned, grades and overall GPA, your college transcript will also have your name, the name of your college or university, your date of birth and your date of enrollment. Some transcripts are written on a special parchment, and the font used will give it the appearance that it was written on a typewriter.

What Makes a College Transcript Official?

Do official transcripts show classes in progress? Yes. Depending on why you need your college transcripts, if you're applying to another college as a transfer student, you're applying to grad school or for a job that requests your college transcripts, you will need to order "official transcripts."

If your college transcript is an official transcript, you will notice that it has your university's seal and the signature of the registrars' office. Though. usually if it's official, it will be in a secure envelope that you will not be able to open without tampering with it.

Typically, you have to pay for official transcripts to be processed. Unlike official transcripts, you will know that a transcript is "unofficial" if it does not come in a secure envelope, and it does not have a seal and signature. Usually, unofficial transcripts don't have as much information about your degree or major as official transcript do, as their purpose is not for admissions but for you to know how you are doing in school.

What to Do if Your College Transcript Has Errors

Sometimes, you'll see your transcripts and notice errors. Or, worse, the person or institution you've sent an official transcript to has received one with mistakes on it. This can be a bit worrisome if your transcript does not reflect accurate information about you, your degree, your credits earned, your major and how well you did in those courses. If you suspect that an error was made on your transcript, simply contact the registrar's office at your college to have it fixed immediately.

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