Homeschool Transcripts: The Difference Between “Official” and “Accredited”
Is there a difference between an “accredited” and an “official” homeschool transcript? Sometimes public schools will insist homeschoolers produce an accredited transcript if they want to access any of the public school programs (for example, sports.) But getting a transcript accredited can be expensive! Some school districts charge over $50 per credit to review a transcript.
Homeschoolers in this situation have to assess whether it is worth the $300 - $400 to get their transcript reviewed by the public school or an accreditation agency.
If you don't want to "mix it up" with the public schools, you may never need to get your transcript accredited — even if you plan to go to college. Colleges are much less particular about accredited transcripts than public high schools are. The reason is that universities must assess every student who applies, whether or not they come with an accredited transcript. In addition, many public high schools are not accredited and colleges are used to reviewing applicants from those schools. Universities generally treat homeschoolers exactly like they would a public school student coming from a non-accredited school.
While independent homeschool transcripts are generally not accredited, they ARE official. Accredited transcripts are provided by certified programs, which independent homeschoolers aren't. (Please note: a certified program is not necessarily better than your independent homeschool program.)
There are other programs that can accredit your transcript. North Atlantic Regional High School (NARHS), Family Academy, Clonlara…. and others I’m sure. They are usually about $50-$100 per credit. It adds up quickly, and it can be VERY expensive in the long run. At one point I calculated that a whole 4-year high school would be $2000-$5000 just for a piece of paper that says “accredited.” It wasn’t worth it to me and apparently didn’t matter too much to the universities we applied to. They gave us two four-year full tuition scholarships based on my “mommy-made” official transcripts. The accreditation agencies make a lot of money this way, though.
Accreditation programs generally come with some strings attached. You have to enroll with them, and use their curriculum and programs. So if you are facing an obstinate public school, try to replicate the desired experience in a way that allows you to homeschool independently without giving away your flexibility to homeschool your child the way that fits.