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Whoever wants to study abroad needs a Transcript of Records or Record of Study. The transcript of the foreign university together with the “Learning Agreement” is the most important document for the recognition of academic achievements abroad.
But what about a transcript for studying abroad? How do students get to the document and how does it differ from other certificates? These questions are answered in the following text of the guide.
Components of a transcript for study abroad
The Transcript of Records is an instrument of the European Credit Transfer System. This is an overview of the student’s performance or a grade chart that provides information about the student’s academic achievements.
A look at the Transcript of Records reveals the following points:
- All modules and courses completed so far
- Forms of examination and the semester in which the student has completed the respective certificate of achievement.
- Achieved ECTS credits
- Grades achieved
In addition, a transcript for a study abroad should include the name of the student and the university, the matriculation number, the subject of study including the major and minor subject as well as the desired degree. In order for a transcript to be accepted by the host university for study abroad, a stamp and signature of the home university are also required.
Since other countries have different staves, the transcript for study abroad ideally contains an additional explanation of the staves used at the home university.
Due to the fact that the application for a semester abroad is made with a preliminary transcript of records, there are often modules for which there is no grade yet. In this case it is advisable to add the reference “pending” or “not graded yet” at the appropriate place. ECTS points are only given for completed modules.
Function of a Transcript of Records
A transcript for studying abroad provides the target university abroad with important information. For example, if you would like to spend a semester abroad and attend advanced courses, you usually need to have a certain level of specialist knowledge.
Many universities require successful participation in specific courses. The Transcript of Records provides information on whether the student at his or her home university has attended comparable courses in terms of content and whether he or she has acquired specific specialist knowledge and thus meets the necessary prerequisites.
Following the semester abroad, the host university of the home university issues an overview of all study achievements abroad. This is the basis for the recognition of courses completed abroad.
Request a transcript for study abroad
Many universities in Germany create a transcript for studying abroad on the basis of their databases. In this case, it is possible to apply for a list of services at the Examination Office, the International Office or any other official office of the university.
However, there are also universities that provide a template for a Transcript of Records. This must be filled in by the students and submitted to the competent authority of the university. In case there is no form for a transcript at the home university, College Contact provides a template for students.
When creating a transcript for a study abroad it is important that it is written in English or in the corresponding national language. It is not enough to fill out the head of the form in English. In addition, an English translation of all courses taken so far is required. Otherwise, the host university abroad cannot get an impression of the applicant and his or her qualifications.
In case there are no English language course titles, students can translate the course names as accurately as possible.
It is not necessary to convert your own scores because of the transcript’s sheet. Following the semester abroad, the home university converts the student’s grades obtained abroad into its own marks.
Other certification documents
In addition to the Transcript of Records, there are a number of other documents that form part of the final documents: the Diploma Supplement, the Certificate of Completion and the Diploma Certificate.
The so-called Diploma Supplement supplements the diploma certificate and is produced as an English-language document by default.
The Diploma Supplement is intended to make it easier for universities and employers in Germany and abroad to evaluate and classify the content of their studies and academic degrees. It provides information on the graduate’s individual data and contains uniform information on the following areas:
- University status
- Type of degree
- Formal and substantive features of the study programme (study objectives and content, course of studies, application requirements, qualifications acquired with the degree)
- Standardised explanation of the German higher education system (National Statement)
- Relevant additional information, if applicable
Certificate and diploma
Once all achievements have been achieved and the bachelor or master thesis has been evaluated, students receive a certificate and a certificate. A Bachelor’s or Master’s certificate confirms that you have successfully completed your studies.
The Bachelor’ s/Master’s certificate, on the other hand, lists the individual modules with module grades and points according to ECTS as well as the topic of the thesis. The difference to the Transcript of Records lies in the fact that the general module designations are noted in the diploma, whereas the transcript documents the individual course of studies.
Important notes on a transcript for studying abroad
Before applying for a postgraduate course of study, it is important to find out whether the host university accepts a preliminary list of services. At some universities, it is possible to submit the final grade certificate under certain conditions. At other universities, applicants can only apply with the complete final documents.
There are also different approaches to delivering the transcript depending on the university. Some universities request the transcript for studying abroad directly from the issuing university, partly in a sealed envelope. Applicants can submit the transcript themselves to other institutions. College Contact takes care of this step for students and ensures that all application documents are mailed on time.
Letting a Transcript Authenticate
In contrast to the Bachelor’s degree or other final documents, a Transcript of Records can in principle be produced several times, since it is a current overview of the applicant’s performance. For this reason, a transcript for study abroad usually has to be submitted in the original and not as a certified copy to the target university.
If a copy of the transcript is sufficient, the document must be officially certified. This can be recognized by the following features:
- a statement certifying that the copy corresponds to the original
- a signature of the certifier
- an impression of the official seal in the original
All public authorities holding a stamp are authorised to issue official certifications. These can be federal, state or local authorities, notaries or churches organized under public law. Not recognized are certifications of lawyers, accountants, accountants, associations, banks or insurance companies.
In the event that a transcript for study abroad consists of several individual sheets, each page of the copies must contain a seal imprint. If the sheets are stitched together and a part of the seal imprint appears on each page, this is also recognized.
Good to know: At some universities in Germany, transcripts for studying abroad are created automatically and are valid without signature and stamp. However, since the target universities abroad cannot verify the authenticity of the document, an automatically generated transcript without a signature is usually not sufficient.
It is only accepted for an application if it is provided with a so-called verification code: a multi-digit number printed on the transcript. By means of this code, it is possible to verify the transcript via a publicly accessible link of the university.
If such a verification code is not available, the transcript must also be signed and stamped by the examination office of the respective university in order to confirm the authenticity of the expression.