College Transcripts: How to Get Them and Where to Look

what are college transcripts

What are College Transcripts?

A college transcript is essentially the documented academic history of a college student or graduate. College transcripts detail which courses were taken by a student, grades earned in those courses, cumulative GPA, honors received, degree type and majors and/or minors. Should a college student want to transfer to a different school or apply for graduate school, a transcript is almost always required to show the new school how the student has performed throughout his or her academic career. Additionally, employers may request college transcripts to learn about the relevant experience and knowledge a student or graduate may have obtained through college.

How to Get College Transcripts Online or In Person

Because of the detail and information contained in college transcripts, a fairly thorough process is usually required before a student or graduate can obtain his or her respective transcript. This process normally requires a written request to the college’s Registrar’s office, but some colleges allow requests to be made online. If a college allows online transcript requests, it will usually be through the Registrar’s page of the school’s website. A written request can usually either be dropped off directly at the Registrar’s office of the school, or it can be mailed to the office. Just like any online request procedures, the mailing address of the Registrar’s office should be listed on the office’s page of the college’s website.

A college’s Registrar’s office frequently requires a variety of identity verification before sending out an official copy of a transcript. Information needed may include a personal signature, social security number, current address and dates of attendance at the college. Once proper information has been provided, the Registrar’s office generally charges a small fee that rarely exceeds $10 for the transcript to be sent. Before making a request, though, be sure that no tuition money is still owed to the school. Colleges almost never process transcript requests from students and graduates who are not up to date with all tuition and fees.

How Transcripts are Sent

Regardless of whether a transcript is requested online or through written request, it is never sent electronically. Typically, a college transcript can be mailed either directly to the requester, or the requester can have it sent directly to the desired school or employer. It can take up to 10 business days for an official transcript to be processed and shipped, so it is best to make a request sooner rather than later. College transcripts are sent in ink-sealed envelopes to guarantee to employers or other schools that they are unaltered documents.

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