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Help with transcript-credits

CRbomber650CRbomber650 Registered User Posts: 196 Junior Member
I need help really badly. As my parents and I were making my transcript for my junior year, we got a bit confused about the number of high school credits I get for each subject. Up till now, we give each course a value of 1 credit (English III honors, Precalc adv, Latin III, Music, Computer Skills, etc.) As I will start taking dual credit courses in AP Biology and AP US history tommorow at my CommunityCollege, (yes, very excited :) ) I realized that instead of giving 1 credit to biology or history, I put the number of credits that the CC gives, in this case bio gets 4 and us hist gets 3. Then I thought, wait... those are college credits, not high school transcript credits. What do I do?
Post edited by CRbomber650 on

Replies to: Help with transcript-credits

  • SusantmSusantm Registered User Posts: 2,188 Senior Member
    There are at least a couple of ways to do this. With my first son, I just continued giving one credit for a year of a college class, but added a notation that this was a college class (and sent along the college transcript, as well as my own). With my second son, I gave .5 credit for each one quarter class of 3-5 units. (also including the annotation that this was a cc class) If your cc has semesters, you could give a whole credit for a one semester class of 3-5 units, I believe. Those are general ideas, not definitive by any means.

    The main thing is to indicate where the classes were taken. Both ways I did it worked fine; both my boys got into the colleges of their choice (or at least SOME of the colleges of their choice), and we had no complaints about the form of our transcripts.
  • CRbomber650CRbomber650 Registered User Posts: 196 Junior Member
    I have seen the word "units" come up alot, and I know they are associated with college credits. What is one unit, specifically? Another word for credit?
  • DianeRDianeR Registered User Posts: 1,541 Senior Member
    Do you know how credits are shown in Texas high school transcripts? There is an advantage to doing it the same way.

    My daughter's transcript states right on it what the basis for credit was. Specifically, "Credits: Carnegie Units; 1 credit=120 hours of study"
    Actually, the 120 figure is the minimum used by our umbrella school; most courses ended up much higher than this.

    Since the college is doing credit hours (usually this means how many hours a week the class meets) rather than a single credit per course, it might be less confusing to put those credits in a separate section of the transcript. My daughter's college credits were from a school that grants one credit per course, meaning everything was consistent.

    I haven't heard of too many places where high school credits are specified with credit hours like many colleges do. I believe it is done this way in California from a discussion I read some time ago, but I don't know if this is true elsewhere. And I'm not sure exactly how California does it, for sure.

    If you google on "Carnegie unit" you can read up about it. It is a common unit for college prep instruction. What is interesting is that folks will not agree how many hours a unit is! 120 is fairly common (it's the one used by Cafi Cohen in her books on homeschooling, for instance). But I've heard higher figures and occasionally lower ones.

    If you finish a standard text or course in a subject, you can claim a credit even if you are below the hours or didn't keep track of the hours.

    Maybe it's just me, but I think it good to tell colleges and who else might get a homeschool transcript what the basis for granting credit is.
  • nannan Registered User Posts: 467 Member
    Most high schools give one semester credit for each class, which meets one hour a day, five days a week. It can be tricky to fit your homeschooling work into those terms, but it might be worth it, depending on how your work was structured. My daughter did a lot of distance learning through a school that used that format, so it made sense for us to make the effort to translate the rest of her work into those terms.

    In addition, as DianeR suggested, we also figured Carnegie units for her work, because there was a section on her ED college application that asked for information in those terms (although they didn't actually call them Carnegie units).

    If I remember correctly, to calculate Carnegie units, I went down her transcript and classified all her courses into about six or seven subjects like English, History, Math, etc. Then I counted the semester hours for each subject, and halved those numbers to get the Carnegie units. Again if I remember right, one Carnegie unit stands for one hour a day five days a week, for a whole school year.

    I don't know if all that was necessary. I happen to be a spreadsheet junkie, and it was still a lot of work. However, my daughter did get accepted to the competitive college of her choice, so this is probably one of the things we wouldn't change if she were doing it again.
  • KatharosKatharos Registered User Posts: 1,062 Senior Member
    Here is what I did when I wrote up my transcript:

    1 highschool-level subject: 1 credit
    AP or college-level: 2 credits

    I also gave myself 1/2 and 1/4 credits for small subjects, such as computer skills and vocabulary. I spend a lot of time playing my instruments, listening to classical music, playing in master classes, attending the honors conservatory at my music school, etc., so I gave myself 2-3 credits for music, depending on the year.

    If you have not done so already, I also suggest that you type up course descriptions. I small paragraph for each subject will suffice.

    Good luck!
  • hsmomstefhsmomstef Registered User Posts: 3,579 Senior Member
    in the state of colorado (which has Post Secondary options) the board of education (and thus all public schools) equates 3 college credits with .5 carnegie units. so in colorado, you have to take 6 college credits to equal a year of high school work.

    isn't necessarily correct -- just how it is done here. You might check with you local school and see how it is done in your state.
  • EllenFEllenF Registered User Posts: 736 Member
    We didn't bother with credits. My son's transcript was a mish-mash of homeschool courses, semester courses, and quarter courses. I merely wrote whether homeschool courses lasted a full year or a half-year and noted whether the others were semester or quarter credits. All the admissions officers with whom I spoke said not to worry about equating credits/courses; they'd figure it out.
  • atomomatomom Registered User Posts: 4,365 Senior Member
    I agree with nan and DianeR that it is helpful, and easier for colleges to interpret, if you convert your homeschool "credits" to Carnegie units--One credit for a full-year course, 1/2 credit for a semester.
    I really agonized over my son's transcript, and this system helped simplify the process.

    I'm more of an unschooler, (except for math) but I classified my kid's learning into the general high school requirements (4 English, American History, etc.) I did give credit for music and PE (ungraded). My son took 4 classes at a public high school, but didn't ask for a transcript from the school. I just included those classes and grades on his homeschool transcript since this is the school he'll "graduate" from. I think it is important to give colleges what they are looking for--something that is in a familiar format. I put in grades, class rank, GPA, standardized test scores, etc. It was one page, and took me a couple hours, tops (and most of that was messing with the columns/layout). I did not include course descriptions or book lists and wasn't asked for any additional information. My kid got accepted with no question at all his schools (high test scores probably helped the most). If test scores are not so high, colleges might look more at the transcript.

    Knowing that homeschoolers are generally considered "oddballs," I tried to show the admissions officers a "normal" (simple, clear, easy to read) transcript--I don't want to make extra work for them.
  • CRbomber650CRbomber650 Registered User Posts: 196 Junior Member
    Another thing is giving letter grades. First of all, is it better to give a letter grade or a number grade (A+ or 97, for example).

    Whenever I study a subject, I really like to go in depth in whatever it is. Like in biology, i dont read passively and move through chapters as quickly as i can. Instead, I read actively, visualizing processes and creating questions that i can ask to an online tutor at tutor.com.

    I guess what i am trying to say is that I learn the material at an "A-grade level"But since i dont take tests given by a teacher, I a required to base my grade on how much effort I put in my work (which I think is more important), instead of an average of test results. Any suggestions on grades?
  • atomomatomom Registered User Posts: 4,365 Senior Member
    If you don't have test grades to go by, think about where your standardized test scores are and judge accordingly. (If you're in the top 1%, you'd be getting A's in school, too). Keep in mind that school grades are subjective, and there is a lot of grade inflation out there. I used letter grades and a 4.0 scale. I think that is the most common system used in schools, though percentages would be fine, too. Just make sure your grades match up with your scores--if your SAT scores are around 500 and you give youself a 4.0, adcoms will roll their eyes.
  • nannan Registered User Posts: 467 Member
    I agree with atomom, if you're going to come up with grades for your home based work, letter grades are best. However, I seriously doubt the value of such grades.

    Many small or community colleges will be perfectly happy with just SAT scores, but other schools will want to see grades from an outside source. You can get these by taking a few community college courses, distance courses from a reputable school, or even taking a few courses at the local high school. If you are unable to do any of those, consider preparing for and taking an AP test or two.

    In any case, don't agonize over home-grades, because they will be taken with a grain of salt no matter what you do. Your course descriptions presented clearly in your transcript or portfolio will carry more weight.
  • DianeRDianeR Registered User Posts: 1,541 Senior Member
    I didn't give grades. I know this is a sure way to generate an argument among homeschoolers, though! To each his or her own.

    We used an umbrella school as a substitute for public school review (cheaper than tranquilizers, I always told people). Its policy is to show only objective, outside grades on the transcript. It has had over a thousand graduates so far. When I asked once, I was told that only one college insisted upon grades for a particular student, but this was more an administrative matter than something that affected admission.

    I asked each potential college whether a lack of grades would be a problem. My umbrella always said that if a college needed them, we would work out a way to give them. Not a single college responded that they needed the grades. They wouldn't say they disregarded parent-generated grades (imagine the outrage if they told people THAT), but they never told me they would be useful either. When the application forms asked for GPA, my daughter just put down NA.

    I mentioned in the description of the home study program given to colleges that we worked until I felt my daughter was doing A level work. I don't know that this meant anything to them, however. I think they were more swayed by her essays, test scores, outside courses and recommendations, and the course descriptions, reading list, and work samples.

    The only one who needed grades was the NCAA Clearinghouse. Yes, I see your course descriptions and your daughter's test scores and she clearly is more than academically capable, I was told, but you see we have this regulation that calls for grades. I had to fax them an assurance that my daughter had passed everything on her transcript.
  • atomomatomom Registered User Posts: 4,365 Senior Member
    I think only the most selective schools are going to ask for extra documentation. Some require extra SAT subject tests of homeschoolers. (Georgia Tech and Tulane are a couple I recall--my kid didn't apply to these schools and didn't take any SAT subject tests).

    There are many, many colleges that will admit students on a homeschool transcript and SAT/ACT scores alone. (If you're applying to ivies, that's another story). I think homeschoolers worry needlessly about this--I know I did. Maybe other parents can share their experiences--post names of colleges that asked your kid for extra stuff, and what they asked for.

    My S applied to 5 schools--2 large flagship state U's and 3 small selective-- but not super-selective-- private colleges. No school asked for any extra info. Most larger public schools have a "formula"--Does the applicant have 4 years of Math? Check. 2 years of same foreign language? Check. etc., required GPA? Check. Required SAT/ACT scores? Check. Meet those requirements and you're in. I think sending extra junk (unless it is requested) --or having a transcript in an "unusual" format--just calls (negative?) attention to a homeschooler's transcript. Just make sure it is evident on your transcript that you meet that school's requirements. Again, much rests on standardized test scores.

    Regarding grades--all grades are in doubt whether from school or homeschool. The school where my kid has taken classes has an average GPA of around 3.5, but an average ACT score around 20. His chemistry teacher gives extra credit for wearing school colors on Fridays. . .kids get credit for group projects where one kid does all the work. . .teachers are absent or have family problems and don't collect/grade homework that they said would count, etc. etc. This is why standardized tests were invented and are required by most colleges--it is the most objective way of comparing thousands of students from different schools/homeschools. While a 4.0 from your homeschool won't really "help" you, you'd be a fool to give yourself a 2.5 if the school requires a 3.0 for admission and you meet all the other requirements. What if you have high test scores that will qualify you for a scholarship, but you also need at least a 3.5 GPA? Are you going to say, "sorry, I don't DO grades," or give yourself a 3.4? Package yourself to fit the college of your choice.
  • DianeRDianeR Registered User Posts: 1,541 Senior Member
    My daughter applied to one safety and seven very selective reaches (including three Ivies). The three Ivies and U Chicago were the only schools in the country that have anything close to what my daughter wishes to study as an undergrad. So we thought it important to make the most persuasive application we could to them.

    I asked all the schools what they wanted from homeschoolers. Her safety didn't want anything special and so they got an application, a transcript, test scores, and nothing else. They only needed an ACT minimum score of 24 for admission and didn't even balk at the lack of grades. (Obviously, if they had wanted grades, they would have gotten them.) The other schools took a "whatever you can provide that will help us decide but we aren't going to tell you what" attitude. Several mentioned course descriptions as useful, one mentioned a reading list, and another school mentioned an outside-evaluated research paper. I came up with what seemed to package my daughter the best and would also satisfy everyone. I wasn't going to come up with something different for each school!

    What you provide to colleges is going to depend on what they want and what all you have to give them. My daughter didn't have much in the way of test results and outside grades (the ACT and two college classes), so we felt the need to give the selective places more -- even when they didn't specify precisely what.
  • lotsofbookslotsofbooks Registered User Posts: 82 Junior Member
    Questions about transcripts/grades, etc. I'd welcome some feedback on students in middle school that do high school work. Do people think this is a good thing to document at this point? We were surprised to see (with older one) upon filling our college app for U. of Wash, that they had a fill out screen for coursework done in 7th and 8th grade. However at the other state school the ad. counselor at the coll. fair assured me that even if a student was doing Calculus in 8th grade it wouldn't matter and they wouldn't count it. (In other words, nothing matters until 9th grade. ) Of course, if one was going to send the student off to college early than one could start the clock ticking earlier, --but with college adjustment and all --it seems maturity is a good thing. So if one was starting a college app and say they had been doing high school level work for 5 or 6 years, would that also look peculiar? I would welcome some suggestions--I kind of think it's nice to have your kids be challenged and then do it at a more leisurely pace, so you wouldn't have to be finished with everything by June 15 every year, for example. Thanks so much.
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