What Are Transcripts and Why Do They Matter?
Though it may be difficult to track down transcripts, it’s something that you have to do if you want to go back to school. Your transcripts tell us which classes you’ve taken and the grades that you got — which is how we make sure that you get credit for the classes you passed. To learn more about transcripts and why they matter, click here!
Unofficial VS Official Transcripts — What’s the Difference?
Don’t let the names confuse you! Both official and unofficial transcripts contain the same information. The main difference is that while you can access your unofficial transcripts on your own (most people just print them off the computer), your official transcripts need to be ordered and are sealed so that no one can tamper with the information. See below for more information about each option!
Unofficial transcripts are copies of your academic record that you can open, take pictures of, and upload to your Guild application. Unofficial transcripts are obtained by using Parchment (a third-party transcript service) within the Guild application, or by contacting your school(s) directly. Typically, schools can either email or mail unofficial transcripts to you. They contain the same information as your official transcripts, however, since they are unsealed, they are considered unofficial and are not viable for credit evaluation.
Colleges legally have to provide you with a copy of unofficial transcripts, even if you owe a balance. They're sometimes called "grade reports" or "degree audits," and they usually come in a digital format. These should always be free!
If your school does not provide unofficial transcripts, then you can just order an extra set of official transcripts for yourself. Note that when you open your official transcript, it invalidates it and it becomes unofficial, so you will still need to provide an official copy of your transcripts directly to the school you're applying to.
Official transcripts are copies of your academic record that are either sent directly from your previous school to your new school, or mailed to you in a sealed envelope. Additionally, you may be able to request official transcripts to be sent to your school(s) of choice via Parchment within the Guild application.
If they are mailed to you, make sure to keep the envelope sealed, place it inside another envelope, and mail them off to the school(s) that you’re applying to. Again, these must stay sealed in order to maintain their “official” status. If they are tampered with, they will no longer hold their official status and cannot be used for credit evaluation.
Colleges typically charge a fee to order official transcripts. If you owe a balance to your previous school, they may put a hold on your transcripts and not release them until you pay off your balance or set up a payment plan.
Which Transcripts Do I Need?
Each Guild program has different application requirements, so we encourage you to check with your Guild coach about which transcripts you’ll need to apply. Typically, though, you will need to provide both your unofficial and official transcripts throughout the application process.
You will need to provide transcripts for every school that you've previously attended. To learn more about how to find your transcripts, click here!
If you’ve taken courses outside of the United States, then you may need to get your transcripts translated and/or evaluated. Click here to learn more about that process!
How Do I Upload My Transcripts?
If transcripts are required for your program, you will have the option within the Guild application to request your transcripts through a third-party service called Parchment. If your school is not listed in Parchment, then you will need to track down your transcripts on your own.
You will submit your unofficial transcripts directly into the Guild application, and then once we move your application forward, you will submit your official transcripts directly to the school you’re applying to.
If you have a digital copy of your unofficial transcripts, you can upload them directly into your application, as long as they're a PDF, JPG, or PNG file. You can also take a picture or screenshot of your unofficial transcripts and that would work as well. If you have a physical copy of your transcripts, then you can either scan them or take a picture of them and upload the file directly into your application. Please ensure that all 4 corners of the document are showing and that all details are legible.
If you have the option between sending your transcripts electronically or by mail, we highly recommend skipping the snail mail and going electronic.
Will My Previous Credits Transfer?
With any of our partner schools, the only way to know if your previous credits will transfer is to fully apply and send your transcripts. Once you do that, the school will be able to determine how many of your credits they can accept.
Article Contributor: Zoë Wallis, Education Coach