How Can I Get My College Transcripts?

A college transcript is a written record of your postsecondary academic history. It includes classes taken, grades received and credits earned. Transcripts also show your grade point average (GPA). If you're a college student or alumni needing your transcript, keep reading for more information.

How to Order Your College Transcripts

You'll probably need a copy of your college transcript if you're applying to graduate schools or transferring to a different college. In some professions, prospective employers may wish to see a copy of your college transcripts for degree verification purposes. Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), however, no one may obtain your college transcripts without your written consent. You'll need to be in good financial standing with your school before they'll release a transcript to you.

Typically, colleges allow students to order copies of transcripts online, by mail or in person. You may need to fill out a form, and you'll probably be asked for several pieces of identification. Some colleges use a third-party verification agency, such as the National Student Clearinghouse, to handle transcript requests and delivery. You'll most likely be required to pay a fee when ordering your transcript, whether through a verification agency or through your college. Some colleges do, however, provide transcripts at no cost. Generally, colleges provide two types of transcripts, which are described below.

Official Transcripts

Official college transcripts are sent directly to employers, academic institutions or other agencies, rather than to students. This ensures that the transcripts an organization receives are valid and unaltered in any way. These transcripts are signed by the institution's registrar. They carry official college seals, and they are delivered in specially sealed envelopes. To make sure that official transcripts aren't faxed or copied, some colleges embed them with images that obscure the text during faxing or photocopying. Processing of official transcripts may take several days; however, some colleges have expedited services available at additional cost.

Unofficial Transcripts

An unofficial college transcript contains the same information as an official transcript, but it generally isn't marked with the school's official seal or the signature of the registrar. You can usually request and receive unofficial transcripts fairly quickly through your college's website or in person at the registrar's office.

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