This article was originally published in the Sep/Oct 2012 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. Learn more at www.HomeSchoolEnrichment.com

Hey! Where are you going? Come back; you’ll enjoy this article! Read the title again: it says “fearless,” not “fearful,” transcript preparation. Relax, read to the end, and you’ll be on your way to creating a professional-looking document for your teen. You can do it!

Record Keeping

To make your job extra easy, keeping records during high school will be necessary. “Uh oh,” you’re saying, “I’m not good at keeping records; I don’t like record keeping.” Don’t panic. The list of records to keep is really quite short—probably shorter than you think. 

If you track the materials you use for each high school course (name of textbook, list of resources), write up a short scope and sequence (what was taught and in what order), determine how much credit was earned and the grade received, you’re well on the way to collecting all the information you’ll need for the transcript.

In addition, file away the scores from tests your teens take during the high school years. These include standardized achievement tests, PSATs, SATs/ACTs, SAT subject tests, CLEPs, and AP tests. (You won’t need these for the transcript, but for college applications.)

If you want to keep from being frustrated later on in high school, especially when your son or daughter fills out college and job applications, there is some additional information to keep. “I knew it; I knew it! It’s not as easy as it was made to sound,” you say. Trust us; there isn’t much more, and it really will be helpful.

Taking time now to list awards and honors, extracurricular activities, leadership experience, special training and certification, volunteer work or community service, employment, internships, travel, and medical records will refresh your memory when this information is needed later. All you’ll have to do is pull it out of your files or off your computer—easy!

You get to choose the record-keeping system that works for you. It can be as simple as a set of file folders into which to drop information. Or you might have your teen set up files on the computer to input the data. Whatever you choose, streamline the process so it won’t take much of your time. If it’s too cumbersome, you won’t use it.

Transcript Sections

Now you are ready to create your teen’s high school transcript. There are a variety of transcript samples on HSLDA’s website you may use. How easy is that! Choose a style that works best for your teen. 

The top portion of all transcripts begins with a title. If you have a name for your school, use it; otherwise, it can be titled “Official High School Transcript” or “Home School Transcript.” Following the title will be your teen’s personal and school information.

The next section will be the body or academic portion of the transcript. Some formats set this information out by years; others by subject. “Which is better?” you’re asking. Either way is fine—it’s your choice. Whichever you choose, you have the opportunity to list the course work your teen has completed during high school. It’s helpful to title courses in a manner that describes the course content for admissions counselors or employers to understand. For example, don’t necessarily title the course by the book used (“Saxon Advanced Math”). A better title would be “Precalculus,” which more precisely communicates the content of the course.