College visits are wrapping up, and you’re excitedly making a list of your favorite college campuses. It’s time to start thinking about applying to college and the info that schools will need to process your application. One of the most important parts of the application process is sending high school transcripts. Every student has a transcript that is updated each semester by your high school counselor or main office. It’s an important tool to show college admissions officers how prepared you are to attend their institution.
A high school transcript is a record of all your academic accomplishments. It lists all the classes you’ve taken, when you took them, and the grade you received in each class.
Transcripts may also include:
Transcripts come in two forms: official and unofficial. The official version is sent directly by the high school to colleges or can be sent by students themselves on CFNC.org. They are usually sent electronically or in a sealed envelope to prevent tampering. Students can request an unofficial version of their transcript from their counselor. You can also view your unofficial transcript online at PowerSchool. It’s a good idea to do this before you send transcripts to colleges so you can review the information for mistakes.
Your high school transcript represents your entire high school academic experience. Check that all your classes are listed, including AP and Honors classes, and that the grades are accurate. No system is perfect. It’s worth your time to make sure all the information on your transcript reflects what you have accomplished in high school.
Some schools include SAT/ACT scores on transcripts. If you’ve taken a standardized test several times to improve your score, make sure the best score is on the transcript. If you plan to take a standardized test again, ask your school counselor to remove all test scores, so a lower score doesn’t affect your application. Either way, you still need to request your official ACT or SAT scores be sent directly through College Board or ACT.
Once you have reviewed your transcript and you feel confident it’s accurate, it’s time to request official copies be sent to colleges. First, check with each college or university to determine deadlines for applications and transcripts.
Most North Carolina public and charter schools are part of the statewide electronic high school system that allows students to send transcripts to North Carolina colleges for free. Once your request is processed, it will take one to two business days for schools to receive an electronic copy. The school will then need to upload it on their end. You can track transcripts easily on CFNC.org.
If your high school is not part of the statewide electronic system or you’re applying to a college outside North Carolina, you will need to request high school transcripts directly from your school counselor or main office. This usually involves submitting a form, and there may be a small fee. If your high school sends transcripts to colleges through the mail, put your requests in early, so you don’t miss an important deadline.
There are also third-party websites that will send transcripts to colleges. The fees are generally higher, so it’s a good idea to start with your high school or CFNC.org to get a transcript.
Colleges and universities have online systems for applicants to track their applications. In North Carolina, students can apply for college, track applications, and more at CFNC.org. Transcripts do not need to be sent with your application, but most colleges will not begin the review process until all application materials have been submitted.
Most colleges have online checklists that will include any missing supporting materials like standardized test scores, AP scores, and transcripts. It’s your responsibility to check the status of your application, just in case something gets lost in the mail or cyberspace.
Once you have accepted an offer of admission, your future college will need a final transcript which shows when you graduated from high school. If you sent your transcript through CFNC.org, a final transcript will automatically be sent to colleges you have selected after your school counselor has posted final grades. This is a free service and you can track everything along the way. If you are not able to use CFNC.org, your high school will likely ask where they want a final high school transcript to be sent. Colleges will not release financial aid and scholarship awards until they receive a final transcript, so check to make sure it arrives at your future school.
Now that you know all about your high school transcript and how you can send it, it’s time to start applying to colleges! Good luck with your applications, and don’t forget that CFNC can help you apply for college.