I was recently contacted by the HSLDA and asked if I was aware of their Fast Transcripts program, which helps homeschoolers create transcripts. I had never heard of the program before and agreed to give it a trial run. I have already graduated four kids now and made all of their transcripts the old fashioned way using Word, so have a good idea about how complicated it is to create a homeschool transcript from scratch. You do not need to be a member of HSLDA to use Fast Transcripts and you can sign up for a free 30 day trail, on their site. The trial includes complete access to all the features of FastTranscripts.com for one student’s records, except for printing. You must purchase a paid subscription in order to print transcripts.
When you first log into the program, you can immediately create a transcript for one student. I created a fictional transcript for Gohan.
Filling in the student information is easy and straight forward.
You then choose the year you want to add courses and grades to. If you don’t know the name of the course you are entering, you can type in the general subject name and then the program will offer suggestions. For instance, if you look at the screenshot below, I typed in “Eng” for English and a drop down menu appeared with 13 suggestions.
The program has some bells and whistles that are available for this section that are covered in their FAQ. For instance, you can enter pass/fail grades, award weighted credit for Honors or AP classes, and award partial credit for courses that would not qualify for a full year credit. You can see an example of the partial credit option in the screenshot below where I gave .5 credits for our mythical music and art appreciation courses.
The program automatically calculates the total credits earned and GPA for each year and then has a cumulative summary at the bottom. You can change the grading scale or even hide it if you’d rather.
There is a “miscellaneous” section, which is where I choose to note with an asterisk the fact that Gohan had taken some of his mythical courses at a mythical community college. You can then sign the transcript digitally or by hand after it is printed (I did it digitally with my laptop’s mouse, hence the childlike signature).
Below is a screenshot of the transcript I created (I had to join two screen shots, hence the jagged formatting at the bottom of the 11th and 12th grade sections).
The cost is $16 to sign up for the service (members pay $12). You can also pay more to have them print out a watermarked copy. In regards to HSLDA, I know the organization can be quite polarizing for homeschoolers. We are not actually members and I am not taking a stance either way about their organization.
Overall, the program is very easy to use. It is a bazillion times easier to use than creating a transcript from scratch. Even if I was going to use my own personal transcript, I’d probably pay for the program just to get it to calculate my student’s GPA, which I consider to be the hardest part of creating a transcript.The transcript looks fairly professional, though I would prefer not to have the “Official High School Transcript” stamp on the form. I understand why they offer that option, I’d just prefer to have the option to leave it off. Instead, I use a gold foil seal that I emboss with out “school’s” name and information (I had a custom embosser die made). While I could put my gold foil seal on top of their stamp, it would look weird to have a gold foil stamp up on top of the transcript.
Turning Things Over to You
Have you graduated a child from your homeschool yet? If so, how did you create your transcript? Do you have any thoughts on this transcript maker?