When you want to study abroad, whether you are going for your bachelor studies or masters or simply going on a semester abroad, you need to prepare lots of paperwork. Your transcript, or transcript of records, is one of these papers you need to prepare and ensure it is prepared correctly. Read on to learn more about what it is and how to use it when applying to a university. 

What is a learning agreement? 

The transcript of records can sometimes be named ‘academic records’ or student records closely correlates with the ‘learning agreement’ plan. This learning agreement plan is a document that outlines the courses, research and training to be undertaken during your course time. 

This document needs to be signed and verified by your current university and the one you are applying to. Any change in the learning agreement needs to be approved by each of the universities and yourself. 

The Learning Agreement and your academic transcript present official documentation of your courses and the credits you gained while studying abroad. 

Read more: How Study Abroad Can Change your Life

What does the transcript of records include?

The transcript is a document that you need to present as part of your application to the university of choice as part of the application process at your future host university from your current university. If you are going to join an exchange program, another document will be required when you have completed your course of study. 

This document will be approved and completed by the university where you studied abroad so that your home university knows exactly the credits you received so study abroad university can transfer them to you. 

Your transcript is basically made up of a list of items such as the courses you have taken, the examinations you were successful in passing and the credits you have gained during the course of your study abroad. It also includes the code that corresponds to a specific university course given by your host university, the one you are studying abroad at.

It also includes the title of the courses you have taken during the course of your study at the host university and how long each class lasted, whether a semester or two or longer. Finally, it also presents your grades, which you will use to get your ECTS credit and specifies how many credits you gained by passing the course, whether through offering a project or passing an exam. 

Whether you fill out the academic records yourself or the home or host university does it for you depends on the regulations at each institution. The international office usually fills them out if the university will do so. They do this when you have fulfilled all courses in the learning agreement and passed all required exams. Usually, they only list passed courses and leave out failed ones. 


How to request one

You typically request the document of records when you are done passing all courses during the study abroad program. This is so that administration can add all passed exams to the document at one time. 

If you want to make the process faster, once you know you have passed an exam, you can request from your professor to write it directly on the rough copy of your exam result. This can happen during the process of the other parts being filled out to save time if you are in a hurry. 

When your document is finally completed with all the courses and exams you have successfully fulfilled, you need to deliver the copy to your home university’s international office. You will also need to hand in the rest of the paperwork that is asked for.

What if my transcript is late?

If your transcript is late and you need one urgently, either your home or study abroad university should be able to provide you with an official temporary draft. This documentation can show the courses you have fulfilled so far. You can also email your professors and ask them to send your course scores directly to the international office to fill out the document quickly. This happens commonly, and they’ll know exactly how to do it.

For example, when it comes to Erasmus exchange programs, exams happen in the last weeks, and receiving all your grades on time can be difficult. This pressure on international students to get out all Erasmus grades simultaneously can make producing the documentation a bit of a tedious and time consuming process. 

When you have finished all your exams and everything is ready, the study abroad school, or your home school, will send hard copies of your grades directly to the needed institution. They will also likely forward one or two hard copies to you so that you have them on record.  

Tips when it comes to filling it out

Your transcript is an important document, and when it comes to receiving it, you should make sure certain things are in check to avoid having to repeat the process. Ensuring that all information is correct and that the record is fully completed can help make the process of transferring your grades to your study abroad school or back an easier one. 

Ensuring a fully completed record

One of the first tips you should follow when receiving your paper of records is double-checking that all the needed fields are filled in. The most important points to check for are the date, signature of the administrative officer and stamp of the institution, whether the home university or the study abroad one. If your document isn’t fully completed, they can deny it, and you’ll have to repeat the long and tedious process again.


Check that it complies with your school of choice

Another tip you should follow is checking that the transcript of your home school complies with your host school or the opposite. You should check that the layout of the transcript of records is the same at both universities you are dealing with. If you don’t know what the design is, or your student record is different at both, refer to general guidelines for the document. If you are still confused about what to do, you can ask at both universities so that you know exactly what to do. 

Read more: Upsides and Downsides of Studying Abroad

Benefits of having one

There are several benefits to having a transcript of records. Moving to a new school, getting into the school of choice and advancing your career are all reasons why you want to prepare this documentation to hand in. The following section describes the benefits of having a transcript of your grades.

Moving to a new school

If you want to transfer to a new school, having this record is essential. These documents help the school admins see if the students can enrol in classes at a study abroad program by checking if they have the necessary prerequisites and if they got the required grades. Preparing the transcript for your intended school is essential while getting transferred to a new school. 

Getting into a school

You also need a transcript of records if you are applying to a university or a higher education school. The grade documentation allows general guidelines to evaluate if an applicant is eligible or not for admission to the university. It helps administrators check all needed information in one document instead of checking several certificates and documentation. 

Advancing your career 

Sometimes, in order to advance your career or get a new job, some companies want to see your academic records These are typically handed in either with your CV at the beginning of the application process, or after you have passed the first stage of interviews. It lets them check academic records to see if they are suitable for the job role at hand. 

What’s the difference between my transcript and my degree?

Finally,  it’s essential to know the difference between a transcript of records and a degree. It can be confusing to see the difference between them. They both display academic track records, but they present them differently. For example, a transcript of records is more of a summary of all the grades and certificates that you have completed. At the same time, a degree just depicts the program achieved by the student, whether bachelors or masters program. 


In conclusion, if you want to study abroad, you will need to prepare a transcript of records. This document is crucial to getting accepted into the university of your dreams as it presents the grades you have received in a program, whether these grades are in exams or projects or courses. However, it’s essential to make sure the transcript documents are in the correct format and that it contains all the required information so that the application process goes smoothly.