All About Transcripts

Have you ever wondered what the big deal is about transcripts? What sort of information goes on it and why?

A transcript is a listing of all the grades and credits a student has earned in high school. Transcripts may also include other information, including state test scores, graduation progress, GPA, class rank, grading scale, ECAP fulfillment, and other school information. We have worked hard to make the Sequoia Choice – Arizona Distance Learning transcript as complete as possible. We even have a box for extra information that does not fit in elsewhere.

Some schools’ transcripts may also include immunization information, but this is now rare. Some schools’ transcripts may have SAT, ACT, AP, PSAT, and PLAN scores as well. The College Board and the ACT organization has asked that schools not include such scores on their transcripts. These organizations prefer that colleges and universities receive the scores directly from them. Therefore, Sequoia Choice – AZDL does not include these test scores on our transcripts.

When a student graduates, I always include a final copy of the student’s transcript with the diploma. Students then can see that they have indeed completed all of their high school graduation requirements. I even have a special stamp I use to indicate that the student is indeed GRADUATED.

Official Transcripts

What’s the difference between official and unofficial transcripts? You can request a copy of your unofficial transcript at any time, and anyone in the school’s main office can e-mail one to you or your parents. Official transcripts are different.

An official transcript is a transcript that has been signed, embossed, and sealed by a proper school official, such as the principal or a counselor. This means that we affirm it is correct, up-to-date, and unaltered from the time it leaves our hands to the time it arrives. Transcripts are only official if they remain sealed until opened by the intended recipient. Say you come to my office and pick up a transcript to mail in with a scholarship application. The transcript you receive would be in an envelope stamped OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT on the front and back. This transcript is meant to be sent in for your scholarship. Now say you open the envelope before sending the transcript off. The transcript is no longer official. You were not the intended recipient. But, if the scholarship people open it, it is still considered official.

Official transcripts can also be sent digitally, but these must go through transcript services such as Parchment or SENDedu. They also charge students a small fee for the service, but it is quicker and more reliable when you need a transcript sent to a college or university.

As the school counselor for Sequoia Choice – Arizona Distance Learning, it is my responsibility to send out official transcripts to other high schools and to colleges and universities. I check each transcript for accuracy and completeness before sending it.

Sending Transcripts to Colleges and Universities

If you need to have an official transcript sent to a college or university, please contact me directly with the name of the school and the specific address you need it mailed to. Be prepared! Also, please realize that colleges and universities receive hundreds, possibly thousands of transcripts every week, and it can take six to eight weeks for them to process these documents. I can’t tell you how many times a student has called me panicked because a transcript I mailed a month ago hasn’t arrived. It’s not that the transcript didn’t arrive, it’s just that the school hasn’t registered that they’ve received it yet. Also note that colleges and universities will not accept hand-delivered transcripts, even if they are sealed.

All that being said, please be sure to order your transcripts sent to colleges and universities early. A transcript sent in early July won’t be processed until possibly August. Also, consider sending transcripts digitally through Parchment or SENDedu. It saves both you and me time, worry, and frustration. It does cost a small fee, but colleges generally process transcripts sent digitally much faster than those sent via regular mail.

Sending Transcripts to Other High Schools

Sending transcripts to other high schools is another matter entirely. In order to send transcripts or other school documents directly to another high school, Sequoia Choice – AZDL must receive a records request from that school. In other words, you should not call us and tell us to send your transcript to your new school. They need to send us a records request first. It can take up to two weeks before the new school receives the transcript and other records. We realize that transcripts are important for class placement, so we usually fax an unofficial transcript and then mail an official one. The unofficial transcript may not include all of a student’s final grades and credits, but the official transcript will.

If a student withdraws from Sequoia Choice – AZDL before completing his or her courses, the student will not earn credit. In-progress courses will then be graded out with W’s or F’s. You may want to delay your withdrawal until you’ve completed your courses or see if it’s possible to be enroll in both schools at the same time. If you want to remain enrolled with us and also enroll in a new school, please make sure both schools know that is your intention. Some schools have policies about enrollment in multiple schools. We are fine with it, but the other school may not be.


Transcripts do not have to be a mystery to you. They have a wealth of information that can be useful. Did you ever wonder what your GPA is, or what your class rank is? Your transcript can tell you. You can see your unofficial transcript at any time by contacting me or your advisor.

Order Credentials from Parchment