What are Academic Transcripts & How You Can Get It?

Written by World Document Services May 05, 2024

Academic Transcripts

When you’re applying to universities in other countries, you need a bunch of paperwork to support your application. One important piece is called a transcript of records. Now, keeping track of all these documents can be overwhelming. You might wonder what exactly a transcript is and how it’s different from things like marksheets, certificates, degrees, or diplomas.

Well, a transcript of records is an official document that proves your education. It includes details about you, the school you attended, and the courses you took. Sometimes, students mix up transcripts with marksheets and other certificates, but don’t worry, we’ll clear that up for you.

In this guide, we’ll answer some common questions that international students have about academic transcripts: What exactly is a transcript? Why do you need one? How can you get a transcript certificate? And how do you send official transcripts to universities? We’ve got you covered!

What are Academic Transcript Certificates?

Academic transcripts are like detailed reports of your academic journey. They list out all the classes you’ve taken during your time at school or university, along with the grades or marks you received in each of those classes. They also typically include other important details like the names of your instructors, the dates when you took the classes, and sometimes even descriptions of the course content.

Think of it as a comprehensive record that showcases your educational accomplishments. Whether you aced a class, struggled a bit, or improved over time, it’s all there in your transcript.

These transcripts are crucial because they give a clear picture of your academic performance to universities, potential employers, or anyone else who needs to know about your education. They help these institutions understand your strengths, weaknesses, and overall capabilities.

So, academic transcript certificates are essentially your academic report cards on steroids—they tell the story of your educational journey in detail, helping others understand your academic achievements and potential.

What Does an Academic Transcript Contain?

After answering- what is a transcript, let us also tell you what exactly an academic transcript contains. An academic transcript of degree usually consists of the following:

  • Name of the Academic University/ Institution
  • Accreditation
  • Name of Student
  • Name of Student’s parents
  • Date of Birth
  • Year of graduating
  • Roll Number of Student
  • Name of Degree
  • Duration of Course Taken
  • List of Courses
  • Marks/grades obtained in all courses
  • Total Aggregate of the Marks/Grades

What’s a Transcript of Records (ToR)?

Now that you know about academic transcripts, let’s talk about Transcript of Records (ToR). ToR is basically a document that shows all the classes you’ve taken, how many credits they’re worth, and the exams you’ve passed. It also includes your grades and how long each course lasted.

Why Do You Need a Transcript of Records?

Now that we’ve covered what a transcript is, let’s talk about why it’s important. Here are a few reasons:

  • Transcripts give accurate info about your school history.
  • They show how your grades compare to different grading systems in other countries.
  • Universities use them to understand your grades and decide if you’re a good fit for their programs.

Understanding the features of a standard transcript of degree can help you grasp what an academic transcript is all about.

Which Transcripts are Needed for Different Courses?

If you understand what a transcript is and why it’s important, you don’t need to worry about sending the right documents to universities for different courses. Universities usually specify what they need, and it’s typically transcripts from your most recent qualifications.

Here’s a breakdown of which transcripts you’ll need for different courses:

  • For undergraduate programs like bachelor’s degrees, diplomas, or certificates, you’ll need to provide high school transcripts showing your academic records from secondary school.
  • If you’re applying for graduate degrees such as master’s programs or graduate diplomas, you’ll need transcripts from the college or university you attended for your previous degree.

How to get Academic Transcripts?

Here’s a step-by-step process on how to get your academic transcripts:

  • Contact Your Educational Institution: Start by reaching out to your school or university directly. Get in touch with the registrar’s office or records department. They’re responsible for providing official transcripts, so they can guide you through the process.
  • Fill Out an Application Form: You’ll likely need to fill out an application form to request your transcripts. Make sure to provide accurate details like your name, dates of attendance, and any specific instructions they may require.
  • Provide Required Documentation: Depending on your institution’s policies, you may need to submit additional documents along with your application. This could include a copy of your ID, proof of enrollment, or payment receipts.
  • Pay Any Fees: Some institutions charge a small fee for processing and issuing transcripts. Make sure to inquire about any applicable fees and arrange for payment, whether online or through designated methods.
  • Specify Recipients: Clearly indicate where you want your transcripts to be sent. This could be other educational institutions, potential employers, or any other parties who need your academic records. Provide accurate contact information for each recipient.
  • Review and Submit: Before finalizing your application, double-check all the information you’ve provided for accuracy. Look out for any spelling mistakes or errors in dates. Once you’re confident everything is correct, submit your application following the institution’s guidelines.

By following these steps and staying in communication with your educational institution, you can easily obtain your academic transcripts to support your future endeavors.

Documents Required Along with Academic Transcripts

Other than academic transcripts, you may need additional documents when applying to universities. One important document is a backlog certificate, which shows if you have any unfinished subjects. If you’ve passed all your exams, you won’t need this certificate, but some schools might ask for a zero backlog certificate.

Here’s a list of documents you might need for your application:

  • Completed application form and fee
  • Academic transcripts
  • Backlog certificate (if applicable)
  • Scores from English proficiency tests
  • Scores from entrance exams like SAT, ACT, GRE, or GMAT
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • CV (resume)
  • Personal essay
  • Copy of your passport
  • Financial documents

Make sure to have these documents ready when applying to universities.

How is a Transcript Different from Marksheet, Certificate, Diploma, and Degree?

For students applying to universities outside India, a common question is whether transcripts and marksheets are the same. Now that we understand what an academic transcript is in India, let’s distinguish between a transcript and other academic documents like mark sheets, certificates, diplomas, and degrees.

Difference Between Transcript and Marksheet

In India, the term “marksheets” is often used interchangeably with transcripts. The key difference lies in the fact that you may have multiple marksheets for different academic years, but a transcript consolidates all this information, including the grading scale. To create a complete transcript of records, you need both marksheets and a final degree transcript.

Difference Between Transcript and Certificate

In India, university transcripts and certificates are not entirely separate. Certificates are part of the transcript, providing compiled information about your previous degree. While a certificate is awarded upon completing a degree program, it’s important to note that a degree certificate is not equivalent to a transcript.

Difference Between Transcript and Diploma

As mentioned earlier, an academic transcript is an official document containing comprehensive academic information about a student’s completed courses. On the other hand, a diploma is a standalone educational qualification, and it’s included as part of the transcript, detailing subjects studied, grades obtained, course duration, and more. This is the distinction between a transcript and a diploma.

Difference Between Transcript and Degree

The primary difference is that a degree certifies the completion of an academic program, while a transcript of the degree serves as proof of education, offering detailed information about the degree, such as subjects studied, exams taken, grades, institution, and more.


Academic transcripts are essential documents that serve as official records of a student’s academic achievements and performance. By understanding the process of obtaining transcripts and addressing common challenges that may arise, individuals can ensure that their academic records are readily available for their educational and professional endeavors.

If you need to obtain your academic transcripts, don’t hesitate to take proactive steps to request them from your educational institution. If you have any further questions or need assistance, feel free to share your experiences or ask additional questions in the comments section below. We’re here to help you navigate the process and address any concerns you may have.

We hope this blog has cleared up any confusion about academic transcripts and how they differ from other academic documents. Applying to universities abroad can feel overwhelming, especially with the differences in the education system compared to India. However, the key is to ensure you provide accurate information to the universities on time. To stay on track, it’s helpful to gather all your documents in advance and double-check for any missing information, so you can address any issues promptly and meet the university deadlines

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