How Long Are School Transcripts Valid?

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When taking classes in school or college, students should keep in mind that they are creating a permanent record of work ethic, academic ability and planning skills. These records are the permanent transcripts that schools and colleges keep of current and former students. Most of the records are electronic, but some of the older transcripts are available in paper copies only.

High School Academic Track

  • High school transcripts can reveal what academic track you took as a high school student. This will help a prospective employer determine, for instance, if you are qualified for a vocational job that requires certain training. It will also tell a college admissions office if you took the proper course of study to prepare you for college.

High School Work Ethic

  • Your high school transcripts also reveal your work ethic. Were you a "A" student, or were you a "D" student? Poor high school grades can mean that you were not serious about academics or not mature enough during your high school years. Decent grades are also needed for entry into the military.

College Course of Study

  • College transcripts show the courses, grades, degrees and special honors you received as a college student. If you took courses at multiple colleges, each college will have a transcript of your grades. College transcripts are often requested by graduate programs and prospective employers, and they are needed when entering into a profession such as teaching. Often, if a student has outstanding fees at a former college of enrollment, that student will not be issued a transcript until all fees are paid.

Degrees and Grade Point Average

  • College transcripts are proof of the courses you took and the grades that you made. When applying for a job as a college professor, you must present a college transcript to show that you have taken the specific courses and minimum number of credit hours to qualify to teach at the collegiate level. Usually dean at the college will examine your college transcripts to look for evidence that you took and passed these courses. Colleges generally charge a small fee of around $7 for each transcript.

Acquiring High School Transcripts

  • Acquire your high school transcripts. Remember, these are permanent records; they never expire. Make copies of any transcripts that you receive from a former school. Call your former school's main office or visit to request copies of your high school transcript. They can often be faxed or mailed to you, but if they are mailed they may be marked "No longer valid if opened" to preserve authenticity for the party the former student is requesting them for.

Acquiring College Transcripts

  • Make copies of any transcripts that you receive from a former or current college. You can acquire the transcripts by emailing, calling or visiting the registrar's office. Colleges usually charge a fee of about $7 for copies of college transcripts to be mailed to your or to other institutions or prospective employers. On the issue of transfer credits, consult the individual college to see how long each will accept transfer credits. This varies greatly from 5 years at some to 10 years or longer at others.

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