What are Academic Transcripts

6 mins read2.3L Views 80 Comments
Srishti Chatterjee
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Nov 10, 2021 17:13 IST

So many types of qualifications, so many names of certificates... It is quite natural to get confused as to what a transcript is and how it differs from a degree or diploma. What is the purpose of each document and why are these required? Let us understand everything in this article.

  • Where to find or get a Transcript from?
  • When and why a Transcript is required?
  • How to use a Transcript?

We will discuss all these aspects including the other common names of transcripts to avoid further confusions.

What is a Transcript?

A transcript is proof of education. It has a detailed record of all the subjects you have studied with your scores in the form of marks or grades given by the institution of study.

What are Academic Transcripts

What is Transcript of Records (ToR)?

A Transcript of Record (ToR) is merely another name of Transcript or Academic Transcript. There is no difference between these two or any of the names given below.

Documents known as Transcripts / Common Names of Transcripts

Transcripts are commonly known as mark sheets in India. Given below is a list of documents known as Academic Transcripts or other names of Transcripts:

  • Mark Sheet
  • Mark List
  • Academic Certificates
  • Report Card
  • Diploma Supplement
  • Statement of Learning
  • Record of Achievement
  • Academic Record
  • Cumulative Record File (CRF)
  • Permanent Record
  • Transcript of Records (ToR)

You don't have to possess all of the above. These are just the other names of your academic transcripts and you need to have some proof to certify the qualifications you have completed to prove your candidature.

What is the difference between a Degree, Diploma, and Transcript?

Though all the documents — Transcript, Degree, Diploma, Certificate, and Mark Sheet — are proofs of completing an education qualification, a Transcript is different than a Diploma or a Degree.

Diploma/Degree/Certificate: The final certificate you receive upon completing your educational qualification is called a Degree or a Diploma or a Certificate depending upon the nature of programme pursued.

Transcript of Records (ToR): The mark sheet which covers all the academic records of a student is called a Transcript or ToR. It implies to a sheet that contains the list of all the courses/subjects studied, grades received against each column, the awards and achievements of the student and also the degrees granted to the student for the entire academic programme. There is no limit on the information that could be provided in a transcript.

What Transcript covers?

A transcript must cover a complete list or table of yearly modules/subjects and practical work that we have studied and conducted throughout the study period. It consists of our marks or grades or in some cases the subject-wise credit value is mentioned in it, considering the grading system followed by an institution.

A transcript must have the following information:

information in a transcript

It may or may not have the following information:

  • The overall grade received by the student for the entire academic course/year
  • The total number of students in the class (overall strength of the class to compare where a particular student ranks)
  • The average grade of the class to specify where a particular student stands

Note: A transcript should always be signed with a stamp by the registry of the institution so that it may serve as an official letter-headed paper.

When do students need a Transcript of Records? When to request one?

To attend a college or university abroad, the applicants need to provide the admission committee with a set of documents to support their previous academic qualifications. These documents are called Academic Transcripts or Transcripts of Records. As proof of completing your school, under-graduation, or post-graduation, these documents are mandatory to justify your suitability for the programme that you aspire to pursue.

When and Why a Transcript is required? How to use it?

Students need to produce the transcripts while making an application to an abroad university to attend the choice if their course. Students should keep their documents handy as soft copies to upload then and there to complete an application. Some abroad universities require their students to send out hard copies of their transcripts through courier such as DHL services. It is recommended to read the university requirements thoroughly before sending out your documents.

Which transcript is needed for which course?

As per the general requirements, you need the transcripts of the latest courses studies.

  • Those applying to a graduate degree abroad need the transcripts for their undergraduate education.
  • Those applying to an undergraduate degree abroad need the transcripts of their Secondary School Education (12th grade) or Pre-University Education (Undergraduate Diploma).

However, in rare cases, the universities may ask for proof of your last two or more qualifications. In any case, the universities always specify what they require. Most of the graduate schools do not need your school transcripts for Masters or MBA courses.

What do to about transcript if you are in your final year?

Those still pursuing their latest qualification or waiting for results may not have access to their current transcript. They will get it upon the completion of their respective courses after the annual exam results are declared by the board of conduct. Applicants planning to apply for higher studies while pursuing their last year of education would need some of the other proof of their academics. They should submit an interim/provisional transcript that can be applied from the institution of study with a detailed chart of scores or grades received so far.

For instance, if you are pursuing your final year of bachelors and you intend to join a master’s degree abroad, you should be able to provide the university with your second-year transcript (mark sheet) to establish your current status. Similarly, if you are pursuing your twelfth grade and you aspire to pursue bachelors abroad, you should have your tenth or, in some cases, eleventh grade’s mark sheet handy for the application.

What documents are required to support a transcript for applying abroad?

The academic transcript covers the final scores of all your subjects. To show your backlog history, you need your institution to provide you with a backlog certificate. Some universities need this certificate as proof of whether or not you have had any backlogs. In some countries, backlogs have a huge impact on the chances of your admission. You may read about this in detail at - Do backlogs matter.

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Transcript (ToR) FAQs

Q. How do I get my transcript? OR Where to procure a transcript from?

Transcripts are generated by the education board of conduct, which can be received from the academic institute from where you have pursued your education. These may either be procured by visiting the institution physically or by contacting the authorities and request them to send them via post.

The official transcript is always received in a sealed envelope stamped and signed by the issuing authority and the student can get multiple copies of the same.

Q. What to do if I misplace my transcript?

For the first time, a transcript is issued by either an academic institution or board of its affiliation. In some cases, these are difficult to be re-issued and hence should be kept carefully. For those who have lost their transcripts, directly contacting the board of education will help. Students need to connect with the authorities explaining them the loss of their transcript and ask for a duplicate transcript.

Q. What to do if my transcript is not in English language?

Some institutes do not provide transcripts in English but their native language. In such cases, students need to get their transcripts developed in English. An important point to remember here is that you need to provide both, the original and the translated version, as a proof while applying for admission. Both of the original and translated copies would need to be signed and stamped by the educational institute and the official translator respectively.

The experience of studying abroad differs than studying in India and hence it is quite certain that the application process of studying abroad is also different than that of studying in India. It is always better to take external help from the industry professionals to make an effective application that would help your dream come true.

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About the Author
Srishti Chatterjee
Study Abroad Expert

Srishti has spent six years in the Education industry helping study abroad aspirants draft their application documents for their dream universities. Experienced in creating impressive SOP, LOR, and Essays, she knows... Read Full Bio






Srishti ChatterjeeStudy Abroad Expert


You need to get the transcripts in a sealed envelope.



Hi Srishti,
I am planning to apply for MBA in US, I have 15 years of experience, I did my Engineering in 2006.
I am preparing for the transcripts, do I need the transcripts for four years of Engineering period or I need to obtain the transcripts for 10th and 12th also.

Reply to Mahendrasing


Srishti ChatterjeeStudy Abroad Expert


Only for bachelor studies and any other diploma or courses after bachelors.

Hello ma’am, I recieved the transcripts from my college. But, the transcripts were without an envelope, I didn’t received it in a sealed envelope. The universities want transcripts in sealed envelope, what should I do now?

Reply to Tanish Checker


Srishti ChatterjeeStudy Abroad Expert


You have to ask the college to issue transcripts in a sealed envelope.




I have completed Bachelors and Masters in Commerce as well, now I want to apply for second Masters abroad, so can I upload my all 6 semesters + 4 semesters marksheet I have, on online application, or do I need to request for transcripts from the concerned college?

Reply to Zira


Srishti ChatterjeeStudy Abroad Expert


You have to get the transcripts directly from the college/universities.

How to Submit Official transcripts to USA and Canadian universities?

Reply to Computer Geek


Srishti ChatterjeeStudy Abroad Expert


You have to submit them to the universities directly, on their application portal.

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