What is an Academic Transcript? Why is it Needed and How to Get it?

By Neha Kumari Updated On - Sep 01, 2021 06:10 PM

An Academic Transcript is a set of compiled documents containing mark sheets and degree certificates of a candidate’s previous years of studies. It is mandatory to present to the university while applying for admission at a foreign institution.

During admission processes, applicants are usually asked to submit Academic records or Academic Transcripts as part of their application. These transcripts or documents aid the higher educational institutions in gauging the abilities, qualifications and understanding of the candidate for a particular course.

Academic Transcripts are a set of documents to show the student’s records of studies like the courses completed, grades obtained, subject wise marks, degrees and awards. It is an official document awarded to students by schools, colleges and universities. It is popularly known as mark sheet and pass certificate in India and is also referred to as academic record, school transcripts, college transcripts etc. 

The official academic documents are printed and have the valid signature of the counsellors, registrar or principal and have a stamp of the academic institution.

Each Academic Transcript contains the following details of students:

  • Students identification details like Name, Parents' Name, Date of Birth, Year of Passout etc.

  • Institutions identification details like Name of the Institution, Address etc.

  • Course Details like Degree, Title of the Course, Duration, etc.

  • Other details like Start Date of the Course, Date of Receipt of Degree, Percentage, Subject-Wise marks etc.

What is the Need for Academic Transcripts?

Academic Transcripts are among the most important documents needed to apply for admissions in colleges/institutions/universities for higher education both nationally and internationally.

The official Academic Transcript is the source to authenticate the academic background of the students like his/her previous qualifications, grades and the institution from where the previous studies have been completed. Thus, every student must maintain and preserve the academic transcripts for any future enterprises.

While filling in the application form for admissions at higher education institutions, students are required to upload/ send some mandatory documents and an Academic Transcript is one of them. Without an official academic document, none of the higher education institutions offers admissions to a  candidate. 

Also Read: Statement of Purpose (SOP): Format, Writing Tips and Requirements

Official Academic Transcript vs. Unofficial Academic Transcript

Official documents are printed and duly signed by an authorized official of schools/ colleges/ universities. Universities across the globe, only accept official documents for admission purposes. However, at times the schools/colleges take some time to release the official transcripts. In such cases, students can use unofficial Academic Transcripts while filling the application form and later on get the official documents verified.

Unofficial Academic Transcripts are nothing but photocopies or digital copies  of the official academic records. In case the unofficial academic transcript is accepted to complete the application form at an institution, students can send the downloaded copies, photocopies or fax copies of the transcripts  to the institution. The Unofficial Academic Transcripts contain all the details of the students except the official signature and stamps. 

How to Receive Academic Transcripts?

The Academic Transcripts are released by the academic institution from where the student has completed his/her studies. It contains the school certificates as well as undergraduate and postgraduate degree certificates (if completed).

Students can collect the official academic transcript from the institution once it is released. While filling the application form for admissions students can upload the softcopy of the documents. However, some universities also demand students to send a hard copy of the documents. 

Those who are in the final year of their studies or their results are awaited can request provisional transcripts from the institutions and submit them with the application. It will be needed as proof of completion of studies while applying for higher education. 

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Need for Academic Transcripts to Study Abroad

Academic Transcripts are  one among the many documents that a student needs to submit at the academic institution while planning to study abroad. 

While different countries have varied education and grading systems, the institutes usually convert the grades/ marks obtained by students in an acceptable format while considering admissions. The academic transcript is thus needed to determine the marks and grades of students for admission purposes.

There are certain pointers that students must keep in mind while submitting the Academic Transcripts at an institution abroad. These are listed below:

  • The document must be clear and readable.

  • The information printed in the document must be in English. In case, it is in some other language, the student must get it translated into English.

  • The final academic transcript submitted at the institution must be official.

  • There must not be any spelling mistake in the transcript.

  • All information mentioned in the transcript must be correct. Candidates must ensure to cross-check it while collecting the transcript from the institution. 

Also Read: What is Grade Point Average (GPA) & How is it Calculated?

When to Request an Academic Transcript?

The ideal time to ask your professor to write in your academic transcript is after you have passed an exam. This would ensure that you do not wait long for this document to complete your university application. And, because an academic transcript contains the list of exams you have passed or failed during the program, it is usually one of the documents you need to submit while applying to a university.

Acceptable Formats of an Academic Transcript

The following academic transcript formats are usually accepted by universities while assessing international applications. However, this may vary from one university to another;

  • A scanned version of an official transcript: This will include a signature or stamp to certify it. It should be readable but watermarks caused by scanning or copying may be acceptable;

  • An official e-transcript obtained from a third-party electronic system: You can also share an official transcript if you have access to an electronic system like Digitary. The same will then be added to the rest of your application;

  • An electronic copy of a provisional or interim transcript provided by your institution: In case you are not able to provide an official transcript because you are still enrolled or currently studying and final results have not been released, you may submit an interim academic transcript;

  • Screenshot images: This will be allowed if you are unable to obtain a transcript document;

  • A Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) certificate;

  • A Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR).

Difference Between Academic Transcripts and Degree Certificate

Academic Transcripts and  Degree Certificate are different sets of academic documents. The  Academic Transcripts are a compilation of different mark sheets and degree certificates. It contains documents and information on  Class X, Class XII, undergraduate studies and postgraduate studies. Marks and grades of all the academic studies are compiled together to form the Academic Transcripts.

On the other hand, a degree Certificate is a single document that is offered to a student in India who completes a degree programme at an undergraduate or postgraduate level. While a student may have multiple mark sheets of different years of studies and subjects, a degree certificate or pass certificate is only granted to a degree holder. Both mark sheets and degree certificates are required for admissions in universities for higher education which are together referred to as Academic Transcripts. 

Still Have Doubts About Academic Transcripts?

To know more about the study abroad admission process and queries, write to us at abroad@collegedekho.com. One of our counsellors will help you with all your questions and doubts. 

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