The term official transcript refers to a document that lists the classes taken by a student along with their grades and grade point average. Official transcripts are oftentimes needed by students when applying to an academic program or as part of a company's employee screening process.
Institutions of higher education oftentimes request copies of official transcripts as part of their application screening process. These documents are also used by companies as part of their application verification process. This includes both high school as well as college transcripts.
While a former student can make a copy of their grades and grade point average (GPA), an official transcript is a sealed document that is delivered directly to the requesting agency (school or company) either through a common carrier such as the United States Postal Service, or electronically. The transcript will contain a listing of the classes taken by the student as well as the grade received in each subject. It will also contain a GPA, which is an average of these grades weighted by the number of credit hours assigned to each course.
A request for high school transcripts is typically sent to a guidance office, while the registrar's office is the point of contact for colleges and universities. A small process and handling fee may apply, and the former student will be required to provide a unique identifier such as their Social Security number or school identification number. Since transcripts contain confidential academic information, they will be released in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). This means they will not be sent to a third party without authorization from an eligible student (alumnus) or parent.