High School and Transcript Requirements
Written by: SHN Mentor Mom, Denise Cockrell
What classes are required for my high school student?
Arkansas does not have legal requirements for graduating a homeschooled high schooler. You can merely create your own diploma or order one from a site such as this https://www.homeschooldiploma.com/diplomas-and-covers/high-school-diplomas-for-home-schools.html It may be a good idea to provide your student with a professional looking diploma, as sometimes they are requested by employers as proof of graduation, especially if your student isn’t moving on to higher education.
Although Arkansas has no legal requirements for high school credits or graduation, if your student is wanting to continue on to a college or university, most have minimum credit requirements for admission. There is no way to know specifically what your child’s desired university requires without researching that university online (google University of XYZ high school credit requirements). This is a good starting point for planning out your high school years and is recommended that you start this in 8th grade to plan out the coming 4 years. However, if you are already in the midst of the high school years, don’t fret. You can utilize what your student has taken thus far and see where the gaps are that you are still needing to fill.
The Arkansas Dept. of Higher Education has a link that lists the Smart Core recommendations. Smart Core is the college and career-ready listing of courses used by the Arkansas public high schools in preparing their students for college admissions. Again, if your student is not interested in continuing their education after high school, just use these credits as a loose guideline if you are needing assurance your student is getting the education you desire. The list of these Smart Core high school credit recommendations can be found at this link (as of 2018):
Do I need a high school transcript and how do I get one?
In the state of Arkansas, a high school transcript is not a requirement unless your student is planning on attending a college or university following graduation. It is never too late to prepare a transcript. However, much work (and headaches) can be eliminated with a little planning. Begin thinking of a transcript in jr. high. Prepping it at that time will help eliminate the time needed to do it in the high school years (which seem to fly so quickly!).
Most universities require standard information in their transcripts to be reviewed for admissions. Some do not require a paper form, but rather have you input information into their online application. Regardless of the method used, planning ahead can help eliminate taxing your brain and digging through years of paperwork trying to remember what subjects were covered when and what grade was assigned at that time. In addition, a transcript can help give you a snap shot of where you stand in meeting the high school credits you are needing for the university of your choice (see section on “What high school credits are required?” for further information).
If you have a student that does not desire to go into higher education after graduation, it is still a good idea to prepare a transcript for them along the way to have “just in case”. Often, planned future paths can change for a student and life circumstances or desires may place them into a pathway of study during their adulthood years, even if it’s just a single class at a community college. Having a transcript stored on your computer or flash drive will assist in those changed plans. The only thing worse than digging up 4 years of high school information is digging it up several years after graduation!
The following link is a great example of a standard high school transcript. Many of the public schools use a very similar transcript. This can easily be created on an excel spreadsheet in 8th grade, ready to plug in numbers by 9th grade. It is recommended that you do not put a student’s full social security number on the transcript since it could pass through many unknown hands.
“###-##-1234” is a good example of how to display the social security number. A note saying that “a full social security number can be made available upon request” is a good option for maintaining privacy.
If you do not want to prepare your own transcript, Education Alliance of Arkansas can prepare one for you. You will still have to accumulate all the information they need and send it to them. Sometimes it might just be easier to plug information into your own spreadsheet as your progress through the years, but this is an option that is available and desirable to some. In addition, Education Alliance can send sealed transcripts directly to the universities your student is applying for, which some do request. There are other entities out there on google that will prepare your transcript for you as well. Again, it is recommended that you not send sensitive information such as the student’s social security number to those entities. Here is the link for Education Alliance. It is for members of their mailing list, so you may need to sign up for that before proceeding.
How do I calculate Grade Point Average (GPA) on my student’s transcript?
There are two types of GPA-unweighted and weighted. Unweighted is a normal GPA based on the regular 4.0 grade scale. Some universities will also accept a weighted GPA. A weighted GPA takes into account students that take advanced or higher level classes such as concurrent classes at a college during high school (dual credit classes). In this case, those specific classes are given more bang for their buck. Instead of an A grade counting as 4.0, these classes count as a 5.0 for an A.
Such, it is possible for a graduate to have higher than a perfect 4.0 GPA, such as a 4.32 or 4.51, etc. It might be to your advantage to have both the unweighted and weighted GPA calculated and listed on your transcript. This could be the advantage needed if it comes down to your transcript being compared with another transcript for an admission or scholarship award. It shows that your student may have had the same GPA as another student, but your student took much harder classes.
Many of the universities take the unweighted average, but there are some that consider a weighted one as well, so you might as well put both on the transcript! You can use formulas on your spreadsheet that will calculate your GPA automatically as you add grades in each year. This shows a cumulative GPA, meaning a running average to the current date for all classes taken up to that date.
This is helpful because most transcripts are being submitted in the Junior year and first semester of Senior year of high school, when applying for scholarships and college admissions. Therefore, there could be a semester or two missing from your transcript at that point. As a side note, it may be helpful to those receiving your transcript early and incomplete, to go ahead and at least plug in the names of the classes you are planning on giving your student during those semesters so that reviewers can see a picture of what your student has left before graduation (even though there will be no grade beside those subjects).
A full year of a subject counts as 1 credit hour. A semester only of a subject counts as .5 credit hours. However, if it is a dual credit college class, a single semester of a college class counts as a full 1 credit hour of a high school class. Therefore, make sure you give your student a full credit hour for any semester college class taken during high school. This is a great way to get in your high school credit hours quickly, with them also counting as college courses completed and on a college transcript (in addition to being on your high school transcript).
Here is a good link on how to calculate GPA on your student’s transcript: