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I'm wondering if anyone has advice on some transcript questions I'm hitting, as I'm putting this together for DS's common app.

He's planning on a STEM major (probably Chem or ChemE) and targeting selective schools (Stanford, Northwestern, CMU, Michigan, UW, Chicago. no UCs)

 

1) would you including 'non-core' classes in the transcript.  He has 6 or 7 credits / year from core classes (English, foreign language, math, science, social science). Currently, everything else is an activity. Will the target schools care that there's no PE class or art classes? competitive swimming & theatre + voice I'm currently listing as activities.  

2) include math and foreign language from before 9th grade? How far back to go? Does anyone care, or would they assume that if he took PreCalc in 9th he probably took Geometry and Algebra II before that, so I shouldn't bother?

3) reporting weighted vs unweighted GPA? If weighted, which classes to give the bump for? Just AP & DE? Honors Chem and PreCalc also? Does the answer change if unweighted GPA has been trending down slightly (4.0 freshman year, 3.86 last year) but weighted is steady at ~4.3?

4) assign 1/2 or 1 credit for each of Physics C Mechanics and E&M (and this year for MacroEcon and MicroEcon)? I think he has 'enough' credits either way. Many of the local HS's seem to treat each of the Physics' as full-year classes, but I don't want to just pad the number of credits since I don't think he needs that.

 

thanks in advance for any feedback!

 

Edited by AEC
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1. A transcript that looks bare bones (even if the courses are high level) is no good, especially for selective schools. An activities list that's short and unimpressive is similarly no good. I'd go through it and balance it out, pick and choose. It's hard to say without seeing it. They will not care about PE or art.

2. I don't think this matters much. Do it or not. They will assume he had pre-requisites if he's taking later classes.

3. I think it's smart to calculate both weighted and unweighted. But honestly, in the end, they will reweight. All the schools you listed will definitely reweight. I generally think homeschoolers should only weight DE and AP courses. But honestly, I don't think this matters as much as people think it does. Don't agonize. Just pick a system and go with it.

4. I'd probably break the physics into two credits and combine the econ if he did them in a single year. But... I think it's up to you. I'd go by time spent more than anything.

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Posted (edited)

thanks. So, this is where we're at (I went ahead and pulled the math and German classes from pre-9th. That seems like a very reasonable prospective)

 

Edited by AEC
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I think the transcript looks good but for me- (just personal preference) grades 11 and down will just be single final grade. I had 5 columns (grades<=8, 9,10,11  and 12).

high school classes and AP classes taken in middle school were added. Some schools just want to be able to check something off and may not always assume- California has a thing with geometry and it is just better to put it there so I did Algebra and up. 
 I will add non core classes because it shows breath. Some colleges do not want just a pointed academic student- they want to see students that challenge themselves in different areas. I was in a counselor session today and one of the admissions counselor mentioned that she will prefer a student that has 5 AP in different fields than in just one. 

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1 hour ago, AEC said:

I'm wondering if anyone has advice on some transcript questions I'm hitting, as I'm putting this together for DS's common app.

He's planning on a STEM major (probably Chem or ChemE) and targeting selective schools (Stanford, Northwestern, CMU, Michigan, UW, Chicago. no UCs)

 

1) would you including 'non-core' classes in the transcript.  He has 6 or 7 credits / year from core classes (English, foreign language, math, science, social science). Currently, everything else is an activity. Will the target schools care that there's no PE class or art classes? competitive swimming & theatre + voice I'm currently listing as activities.  

2) include math and foreign language from before 9th grade? How far back to go? Does anyone care, or would they assume that if he took PreCalc in 9th he probably took Geometry and Algebra II before that, so I shouldn't bother?

3) reporting weighted vs unweighted GPA? If weighted, which classes to give the bump for? Just AP & DE? Honors Chem and PreCalc also? Does the answer change if unweighted GPA has been trending down slightly (4.0 freshman year, 3.86 last year) but weighted is steady at ~4.3?

4) assign 1/2 or 1 credit for each of Physics C Mechanics and E&M (and this year for MacroEcon and MicroEcon)? I think he has 'enough' credits either way. Many of the local HS's seem to treat each of the Physics' as full-year classes, but I don't want to just pad the number of credits since I don't think he needs that.

 

thanks in advance for any feedback!

 

1) I would list non-core classes if you gave him a credit for them or a grade. My son had what sounds like a similar transcript. He is a competitive swimmer which we listed as a activity. We also listed theater and piano as activities. His electives were things like Computer Science and Economics. He had no fine arts type of credits on the transcript.  I also listed 1/2 credits for Personal Finance and Driver’s ED which are typically given at public schools around here and he did classes for both. 

2) I listed math and foreign language taken before 9th grade. I didn’t list other high school level classes that were taken before 9th. I think Farrar is right and they would just assume he had the prerequisites but it made me feel more confident at the time to put them on there. I didn’t include them in GPA. 

3) I reported both weighted and unweighted but knew they would likely recalculate. I only called things Honors if it was either an outside class that was called Honors by a teacher or if it was a program/curriculum that was is widely thought to be advanced (AOPS Math and Lukeion were the only two that I called Honors that weren’t a specific AP class). I used the scale where you add 0.5 for Honors and 1.0 for AP. I stated that on the transcript so it was clear. And in our school description I stated that all his classes were taught at what I considered an Honors level but that as it was hard to define for homeschool they were only listed as such if designated that way by an outside source. 

4) Ds had the same classes and I did 1/2 credit for each Physics class and 1/2 credit for each of the Econ classes. He had enough credits without them and I felt like it looked more like I was padding the transcript to list them each as a separate credit since they were all taken the same year. 

 

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I looked at your transcript and I am going to offer a different perspective and say I don't like it.  I use a column style like that, but I do it to incorporate more information than you have provided on yours.  I think a yr by yr presentation would present your information more clearly.

FWIW, I only list final yr grades for classes prior to 12th.  For 12th I list IP (in progress) for currently being taken and PL (planned) for classes that will be spring semester only classes. 

I would move CS into an elective section.  Does he have any other electives than the 1 CS course?  

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23 minutes ago, Lilaclady said:

I think I will also give the AP micro and macro 1 full credit each as most colleges that accept them for credit give 3 college credits for them. 

I would look at what the state high schools do.  I have only ever seen them awarded .5 cr since they are taught as single semester courses in most high schools.  Here is what our state diploma requirements state: Macroeconomics, AP 1 term/½ credit

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My dd was admitted to Stanford a couple of years ago.  

17 hours ago, AEC said:

1) would you including 'non-core' classes in the transcript.  He has 6 or 7 credits / year from core classes (English, foreign language, math, science, social science). Currently, everything else is an activity. Will the target schools care that there's no PE class or art classes? competitive swimming & theatre + voice I'm currently listing as activities.  

I did not include PE, but I did include a performance art, mainly because it was a UC a-g "requirement" (in quotes because not really sure how required it was) and also she actually took a cc, so I didn't have much choice.  It was also a pass/fail class and despite the rumors that P/F classes are translated as a "C" it didn't seem to hurt her.  

I would not include swimming as a class or as a PE, but should be included elsewhere as an EC.  If he did something that looks like a class w.r.t. his theater and voice (did he train with a voice teacher?) I might turn that into a class.  Otherwise EC is fine.  

 

17 hours ago, AEC said:

2) include math and foreign language from before 9th grade? How far back to go? Does anyone care, or would they assume that if he took PreCalc in 9th he probably took Geometry and Algebra II before that, so I shouldn't bother?

My dd took algebra and geometry in middle school.  We included geometry because UC.  We went back and forth on including algebra and ultimately went with including it on the transcript.  I don't have strong feelings about whether this was the right decision but ultimately we felt like we wanted to include it for any box checkers in admissions.  

She did not have much meaningful foreign language before high school.  

 

17 hours ago, AEC said:

3) reporting weighted vs unweighted GPA? If weighted, which classes to give the bump for? Just AP & DE? Honors Chem and PreCalc also? Does the answer change if unweighted GPA has been trending down slightly (4.0 freshman year, 3.86 last year) but weighted is steady at ~4.3?

We reported weighted GPA because it was higher than unweighted, but not by much.  We weighted anything that was AoPS, AP, or Honors.  

 

17 hours ago, AEC said:

4) assign 1/2 or 1 credit for each of Physics C Mechanics and E&M (and this year for MacroEcon and MicroEcon)? I think he has 'enough' credits either way. Many of the local HS's seem to treat each of the Physics' as full-year classes, but I don't want to just pad the number of credits since I don't think he needs that.

0.5 credits for mech and 0.5 credits for e&m.  

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16 hours ago, AEC said:

thanks. So, this is where we're at (I went ahead and pulled the math and German classes from pre-9th. That seems like a very reasonable prospective)

 

DraftTranscript.pdf 37.71 kB · 24 downloads

Nice work so far!  Since you have a STEM student you want to highlight his STEM coursework.  I would move the Math and Science sections to the top.  I would also put the most recent courses (and most advanced) to the top of each section.  So fourth year ASL will be at the top.  

I would rewrite  your course titles to have AP as a prefix, not suffix.  (I think that's more common.)  So:

AP Calculus BC, AP Computer Science A, etc.  

As PPs have mentioned you have a lot of wasted space with all those empty squares.  Condense it all so you have one column for grade leve (9-12) and now you have room for other things like a legend if you need one or test scores if they are high.  

Think about what is most impressive and make sure that's the first thing they see.  

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I agree with PPs not to include semester grades, especially since in every single case, his semester 2 grade is the same as his semester 1 grade.

He did earn 2 different grades in his physics classes, but I consider those to be 2 different classes, so 2 different grades for that year.  

This will also save you a lot of space.  Remember, your document will also need to include a heading that says "Official Transcript" and all that stuff, plus a signature box at the bottom.  

Did he self-study all these at home?  Or did you outsource to PAH or elsewhere?  I found it helpful to include a legend with abbreviations of our "Educational Partners" where there was impressive branding, like MIT OCW and Stanford OHS.  (I've heard colleges like even Harvard are familiar with PAH, but not really sure.  @Farrar do you think PAH is well known among adcoms?)

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1 hour ago, daijobu said:

 

This will also save you a lot of space.  Remember, your document will also need to include a heading that says "Official Transcript" and all that stuff, plus a signature box at the bottom.  

Did he self-study all these at home?  Or did you outsource to PAH or elsewhere?  I found it helpful to include a legend with abbreviations of our "Educational Partners" where there was impressive branding, 

This format is what I use and is probably similar to the format @daijobu used.  

 

 

 

scrubbed transcript 2020.pdf

Edited by 8filltheheart
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7 minutes ago, 8filltheheart said:

This format is what I use and is probably similar to the format @daijobu used.  

 

scrubbed transcript 2020.pdf 64.69 kB · 1 download

Yes, similar, except I took the next step of making "Year" it's own column with 9,10,11,12 as choices.  (Notice at the top are her math classes taken in year 12 because I was positioning her as a technical applicant.)  But yes, otherwise very similar layout.  

 

image.png.2fc00d3cef8dc7cf643b5e38f41ede62.png

My student had enough technical courses (other than math or science) that we could justify a "Technology" department that included AP CS, machine learning, AI, algorithms and a EE course.  But I think including AP CS in electives or math is fine.  

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1 hour ago, daijobu said:

I agree with PPs not to include semester grades, especially since in every single case, his semester 2 grade is the same as his semester 1 grade.

He did earn 2 different grades in his physics classes, but I consider those to be 2 different classes, so 2 different grades for that year.  

This will also save you a lot of space.  Remember, your document will also need to include a heading that says "Official Transcript" and all that stuff, plus a signature box at the bottom.  

Did he self-study all these at home?  Or did you outsource to PAH or elsewhere?  I found it helpful to include a legend with abbreviations of our "Educational Partners" where there was impressive branding, like MIT OCW and Stanford OHS.  (I've heard colleges like even Harvard are familiar with PAH, but not really sure.  @Farrar do you think PAH is well known among adcoms?)

Honestly, no. The exception is when they have a dedicated homeschool reader - and it's not terribly uncommon for those folks to have actual experience homeschooling. They do know CTY, Stanford OHS, NUMATS, maybe a few other things... But generally it's really limited. That's why I honestly think it's not worth putting it on the transcript for most people. Like, if you have a kid who took a lot of courses through those "adcoms may know this provider" sources, then maybe. But otherwise, it's clogging up a transcript, IMHO. It's better to explain that stuff on the school profile and in the course descriptions.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/20/2021 at 4:41 AM, 8filltheheart said:

 I use a column style like that, but I do it to incorporate more information than you have provided on yours. 

such as?

 

Quote

I would move CS into an elective section.  Does he have any other electives than the 1 CS course?  

I could move Econ in to 'electives' and make 'social sciences' be just 'history'. That seems a bit better.

Edited by AEC
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On 8/20/2021 at 11:12 AM, daijobu said:

Nice work so far!  Since you have a STEM student you want to highlight his STEM coursework.  I would move the Math and Science sections to the top.  I would also put the most recent courses (and most advanced) to the top of each section.  So fourth year ASL will be at the top.  

I would rewrite  your course titles to have AP as a prefix, not suffix.  (I think that's more common.)  So:

AP Calculus BC, AP Computer Science A, etc.  

As PPs have mentioned you have a lot of wasted space with all those empty squares.  Condense it all so you have one column for grade leve (9-12) and now you have room for other things like a legend if you need one or test scores if they are high.  

Think about what is most impressive and make sure that's the first thing they see.  

thanks for the input. I'll try that and see how it looks.

He got a 36 on the ACT.  It'd be nice to highlight that. I've not seen a lot of test scores on transcripts, though. I'll look around for some formatting.

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On 8/20/2021 at 11:21 AM, daijobu said:

Did he self-study all these at home?  Or did you outsource to PAH or elsewhere?  I found it helpful to include a legend with abbreviations of our "Educational Partners" where there was impressive branding, like MIT OCW and Stanford OHS.  (I've heard colleges like even Harvard are familiar with PAH, but not really sure.  @Farrar do you think PAH is well known among adcoms?)

English was at home (except the DE this year). Math was AoPS (taught by me) up till this year - LinAlg and MVCalc is at the local CC. Everything else was outsourced (German from OKState, Chem from CloverValley, Physics, CompSciA, Econ, APUSH were through PAH).

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4 hours ago, AEC said:

thanks for the input. I'll try that and see how it looks.

He got a 36 on the ACT.  It'd be nice to highlight that. I've not seen a lot of test scores on transcripts, though. I'll look around for some formatting.

Yes you should highlight it. I had a section on the right side where I listed test scores, AP scores. I wanted everything possible on that single page. I did not highlight the partners like PAH. Like someone mentioned, that was explained in the course description. The only ones highlighted on the transcript are the dual enrollment colleges. 

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this all raises a general question.  Suggestions to provide only a single grade / class and include test scores on the transcript seems like great suggestions - you do want to highlight all the important bits in a single, easy to see manner.  OTOH, standard public school transcripts have semester grades and don't include test scores...right?

On the one hand, there's no real reason to be constrained by the public schools do. I wasn't for class planning or teaching, after all.

OTOH, admin offices see a bazillion applications and transcripts. Maybe they'd rather have everything in a standard, expected format?

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Lots of ps systems include test scores on transcripts.

FWIW, Kathy in Richmond is the one who originally shared that format with me.  Her kids attended MIT and Stanford.  Those schools are used to seeing that format/variations of it.

Another FWIW, I would not run away from being a homeschooler.  Your student is.  You know it and they know it.  Embrace it with 100% confidence in why you opted for that educational option bc you and your student both need to affirm that choice in your paperwork.

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