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Official and unofficial transcript definitions
A transcript is a complete representation of a student’s academic record that is produced by an academic institution. It includes all courses attempted, withdrawn from, and repeated. It also includes a summary or list of transfer credit accepted by the institution.
Official transcripts are important because they provide accuracy, reliability, and authenticity, ensuring that received transcripts have not been tampered with or counterfeited. They are primarily used as external documents with applications for admission to other institutions, applications for employment, and any other off-campus purposes.
A paper transcript is only considered official if it is sent directly from the issuing institution, in the original sealed envelope & without being opened by anyone outside the receiving institution, including the student to whom the transcript belongs.
Official paper transcripts are printed on official transcript paper (unique to each institution) and usually bear the institution’s embossed or raised college seal and/or watermark, the date, and the Registrar’s signature. Hand-delivered transcripts are only accepted as official when kept in the original institution’s sealed envelope.
Official transcripts can also be sent electronically if delivered securely through an authorized organization directly to the receiving institution (ex: e-Scrip, National Student Clearinghouse, Parchment).
Unofficial transcripts are primarily documents used internally within the university. They can be used as tools for evaluating academic standing, degree clearance, advising, and for general university use.
Transcripts—paper and hand-delivered—are considered unofficial if they have been opened by anyone outside the receiving institution. Electronic transcripts are considered unofficial if they have been opened by anyone outside the receiving institution and/or issued to the student. Transcripts that are faxed are also unofficial.
Unofficial transcripts are different from official transcripts in the information they display and in their appearance. They do not have a college seal or registrar’s signature, and they display current and in-progress courses and final grades as they are submitted. Students can usually access their unofficial transcripts through an institution’s Student Information System (ex: B.O.S.S.).
The Registrar’s Office does not provide unofficial transcripts. Students can print their unofficial transcripts from their Student B.O.S.S account.