The Homeschool High School Transcript

How do you explain your unique educational experience in a traditional high school transcript? Transcripts are formal and boxed and calculated. Whether you are an unschooler, an eclectic homeschooler, someone who favors a school-at-home approach, or a suddenly pandemic-homeschooling family … homeschool is not traditional high school. So how do you create a homeschool transcript? I was a College Admission Officer for over 15 years before becoming a homeschool mom. I get what you want to accomplish as a homeschool parent and I know how a college application review works. I’ll walk you through the Homeschool High School Transcript from both sides of the desk.

In an Admission Office, the high school transcript is all about documentation and data collection.

There are plenty of other places in the application to demonstrate your unique educational environment, but the high school transcript should be created with ease of filing and review in mind. Allow your academic creativity to be expressed in the school report, transcript addendums, and application essay. The official high school transcript is a different beast.

Homeschool Transcript Student Profile

Let’s start with the basics.

A student profile is the header of the transcript. You’ll want a simple to read profile section. This will make life easy on the admission operations staff. {Operations staff are the admission admins whose job is downloading and scanning your application documents into electronic files that will be uploaded to the college’s database.} The less hiccups in filing your application, the quicker your application will be reviewed. Don’t get cute here. Don’t make up your own homeschool name. It’s a Homeschool Transcript. Any other name may cause confusion. This is all about easing the process for the admission staff, so make it clear and use a familiar text style and format.

This personal information will help determine your in- or out-of-state residency. It may help determine which Admission Counselor will read your application. This information is also used for federal financial aid. Down the road, when you get into the financial aid paperwork process — and your head starts spinning — you’ll take deeper appreciation in avoiding hiccups.

Homeschool Transcript Example Course Listings

When possible, I recommend utilizing common course titles, traditional public or private school titles. You may want to check out the curriculum section of your local high school’s website to review their course titles. Course content, descriptions, and textbooks vary high school to high school. Your courses don’t need to match the course descriptions you see on a high school website. Think of course titles as buckets to be filled with the details of your homeschool education journey. I’ve also included an East High School sample transcript, from my old travel territory in Maine. The example titles from East High School are common and demonstrate simple course titles. Titles don’t need to be (shouldn’t be) elaborate or highfalutin.

Why keep course titles simple? The Admission Counselor or transcript calculator is tallying up your courses by subject area to ensure you meet academic admission standards. On most college websites, you can find a highly recommended or required high school academic list for admission. I’ve pulled the high school academic requirement lists from University of Vermont, College of the Holy Cross, and UNC Charlotte to give you an idea. The formats and phrasing vary slightly college to college, but you’ll see the stark similarities for “core” educational areas.

University of Vermont

University of Vermont – Burlington, VT

Minimum entrance requirements

  • Four years of English
  • Three years of mathematics (Algebra I, Algebra II and geometry or equivalents)
  • Two years of the same foreign language (American sign language meets this requirement)
  • Three years of a natural or physical science, including a laboratory science
  • Three years of social sciences

College of the Holy Cross

College of the Holy Cross – Worcester, MA

Academics

  • Most successful candidates have taken four years of classes in the five core areas in high school: English, mathematics, a foreign language, laboratory sciences, and social sciences.

UNC Charlotte

UNC Charlotte – Charlotte, NC

Required high school courses

  1. English: Four units (college preparatory)
  2. Math: Four units including Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, and a fourth year of math beyond Algebra 2.*
  3. Social Studies: Two units, one of which must be U.S. History
  4. Science: Three units (a physical science, biological science and a laboratory course)
  5. Foreign Language: Two units of the same foreign language
Homeschool Transcript by Subject

Simple course titles allow colleges to easily discern if you have checked all the boxes on the highly recommended or required academic list. For the same reason, I recommend organizing your courses by the same core subject areas. The school profile is where your simple titles come to life and your individualized education should shine. I will write about the School Profile in an upcoming post.

You can divide your calendar year into full year or two semesters (traditionally Fall and Spring). On the Homeschool High School Transcript Template, I have included both full year and semester options for identifying your courses and grades. You may want to use the semester format if you have several half-year courses. On a semester transcript, a full year course can have the same letter grade for both semesters or a separate grade for each semester. Consider your homeschool calendar and evaluation style to determine the best option for you.

Homeschool Grading Chart


While many colleges are more accepting of descriptive grading and there are a number of different methods for more traditional rubric grading, I would recommend you consider using a 4.0 grade scale. Colleges will most likely convert any other grading structure to their grade point scale anyway. Admission Officers are looking for well-organized and easily understood grading, and the 4.0 system is most commonly used. If you don’t use grades in your homeschool (like most of us!), consider the descriptor words I have provided below in your evaluation of each course, then convert using the table provided. Honestly though, most homeschool transcripts will be filled with A grades, maybe some Bs. Check out my post, Ask the Admission Counselor, to get a better understanding of how a homeschool student’s grading would compare to the rest of the applicant pool.

Homeschool Grading Chart

Homeschool Standardized Testing

The Test Record should include date taken, sections, and scores on each test completed. I have also created an easy to use Test Record section on the Couture Homestead Transcript Template. Report only your best scores on the transcript. The college will need official test results from each testing agency (College Board or ACT), so you don’t need every detail on the transcript. A quick overview of your test scores on the transcript can be helpful for the Admission Office, especially if your official scores are running late. In some offices, your Admission Counselor may start the application review with the test record from your transcript while the official test scores are pending.

A few notes for each test:
PSAT
You only need to included your PSAT scores if they qualified for the National Merit Scholars program.
SAT
The official SAT result form will include all attempts of the SAT. You only need to include your best scores on your high school transcript.
ACT
The official ACT result forms will only list the individual testing date and not show a cumulative list of all attempts of the ACT test.
AP Exams
You only need to report AP tests with scores of 3 or better on the high school transcript. The official AP score report will include all tests taken.

Homeschool College Admission Note Section

A Notes area on the high school transcript allows you to share additional information, make brief comments, and clarify information from the transcript. As a homeschool student with a unique curriculum, you’ll probably have at least a few clarifying notes to add.

Connecting the Note Section to Courses

College Courses in High School
In the Course Listing section, include the same course title used by the college or university and the institution’s name (example: ENG101 College Composition – City Community College or MATH201 Calculus – State University). If needed, any course title notations can be further described in the Notes section. For any courses completed before senior year, you should also request official transcripts from the Registrar’s Office at the college or university. Any senior year courses can be submitted at the end of the fall or spring semester when final grades become available. Your college credits will only be transferred when the community college or university transcript is received. The high school transcript notations can be used for admission purposes, but is not sufficient for transfer of credits.

High School Courses from Outside Instructors
Perhaps you took some courses at a charter or online high school. Maybe you completed a year at a local high school before homeschooling. These course titles should include notations such as: Biology I (lab included) – Local Charter High School or Art History- Virtual Online Academy. A note section allows you to include quick details or links to more information about your outside homeschool curriculum.

High School Classes Taken in Middle School
All high school level classes should be included on your official high school transcript. If you are advanced in a subject area and completed high school level courses in 7th or 8th grade, incorporate those classes in the 9th grade section of your transcript. Simply add a notation to the course title: Algebra I – 7th grade, Algebra II – 8th grade. The grades and credits from those courses will be included in the 9th grade year GPA and credit total. You then can add the school name or additional information to the Notes section.

Sample Homeschool High School Transcript

Homeschool High School Transcript Template with GPA Calculator!

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