Launch Global Education
Sparks blog: What is a transcript review?

by Mr. Michael Wagner

Among all the documents needed to apply to and be accepted by a college, a student’s transcript will be the most important. The more familiar a student is with the role of the transcript, the better prepared they will be for the college application process.

Owning it

When I advise students, I always make it clear that it is the student’s responsibility to own their education. This encompasses not only how they handle their academics, extracurricular activities, community service, summer programs, internships, and other activities, but it also means recording, tracking, and verifying the documentation associated with these activities. One of the most important ways a student must do this is through verifying that the final grades earned in a class are properly recorded on their transcript. It is the official academic record and it is vital that the student makes sure it is correct.
student pointing at a laptop screen

Reviewing an unofficial copy

The easiest way for a student to verify the classes and grades that are recorded on the transcript is to simply request a copy of the transcript after each grading period, and review the grades that are recorded by the school registrar (the person responsible at a school for record keeping). Even if you have an online record of your grades, it is important to see what will be mailed or emailed to colleges and universities to ensure that it is correct.

It is a simple process to review each post, subject-by-subject, to make sure that the grade listed is the actual grade earned. If there is a discrepancy (too low or too high), the student should immediately meet with the corresponding teacher to clear up any misunderstandings or incorrect postings. The teacher will be the one to correspond with the registrar to fix any incorrect grades.

Why every term?

The reason it is so important for students to conduct their own transcript review after each grading period is to allow for a timely correction of any mistakes. Students will have a much better chance of obtaining a correction shortly after the grade was posted, than years later when teachers could be gone or no longer have a fresh recollection of the class.  In addition, grades posted will also be reflected in the student’s overall grade point average (GPA). A student’s GPA also plays a vital role in the college application process in the student’s senior year.
clock with 11:38 pm

No one’s job but your own

To reiterate, high school students need to own their education, no matter what part of the process is involved. The student best understands the cumulative work they have accomplished and is therefore the best keeper of those records.  Of those records, there is not a more important one than the student’s transcript. It will not take a lot of effort for a student to complete this very important review and in the end, it may save a lot of time and heartache by not having it become an emergency issue when submitting college applications. And don’t forget the basics!  Make sure your first, middle, and last name are spelled correctly, and important distinguishers, such as a U.S. Social Security number, and your home address, are accurate.

emergency button

Benjamin Franklin is credited in saying, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” This underlines why I strongly recommend that students conduct transcript reviews each term, and well before the beginning of their senior year.

Own it!
Mr. Michael J. Wagner

Michael Wagner, MAED is a founder and the Knowledge Pilot for Launch Education.  Mr. Mike has assisted hundreds of students around the world on their college pathways.