Transcript vs. Diploma (Meaning, Diff, Similarities)

Certificates have become an important requirement to succeed in life. Certificates can serve as a means of employment, to get awards, and so on.

In this article, we will compare two types of certificates: “Transcript vs. Diploma”, and their importance, differences, and similarities.

Transcript vs. Diploma

What is a Transcript?

A transcript is a complete proof of education that can be written, printed, or given online. It comprises a record of all your courses and grades from your previous or current educational institution.

A transcript is very important as it is useful for traveling abroad for education, transferring to a different school, getting employment opportunities, etc.

 Academic transcripts have some other names like;

  • Mark Sheet
  • Transcript of Record
  • Record of Achievements
  • Report Card
  • Statement of Learning
  • Permanent Record
  • Academic Certificates
  • Mark List
  • Diploma Supplements

Transcripts are received from your educational institution of study, which the education board of conduct has already generated.

Contents in a Transcript:

There are several pieces of information that a transcript may have, which are:

  • The student’s information: A transcript should have the student’s full name, the student identification number, and the date of birth of the student.
  • The student’s overall grade: College transcripts contain the student’s GPA, while for other educational institutions, it will contain the grade of all courses and classes attended and applied for.
  • The average grade of the class: It may also contain the average grade of all class members; for some academic institutions, compare the result of the student to the average.
  • The number of students in the class: A transcript may contain the total number of students in that particular class.
  • Names of other educational institutions attended.
  • List of all courses attended: It should list all courses applied for and attended. Some even contain courses that could have been applied for.
  • Awards and achievements are presented to the students during their school years.
  • An official signature or stamp from the registrar of the academic institution.
  • The duration of the student’s attendance at the educational institution.

Transcript vs. Diploma

Importance of Transcript

A transcript is useful in several ways, which are:

  • For employment or to get a job.
  • To travel abroad for educational reasons.
  • To transfer to a different school.
  • For admission purposes to a higher-level educational institution.

Transcript vs. Diploma

What is a Diploma?

A diploma is a certificate an academic or educational institution awards to a student as proof of study. Diploma courses do not require much time to complete. However, doing a diploma, you can only choose one major course.

A student gets a diploma from either colleges, universities, or even high schools. At the same time, a student can complete a diploma course in one or two years.

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The tuition or fees required to complete a diploma course are less than a degree. However, the disadvantage of a diploma is that diploma holders earn much less than those with a degree.

A diploma course greatly emphasizes a practical approach to learning. However, using a diploma, you can apply for a degree, which means moving to a higher level of education.

Before choosing to become a diploma holder, you should go through all the details involved with or attached to the title.

A diploma can contain a variety of information, including:

  • The name of the academic or educational institution, whether high school, university, or college.
  • The name of the student.
  • In the case of a high school diploma, the district or county.

It is important to safeguard the original copy of the diploma as it is very hard to get a replacement.

Importance of a Diploma

  • It adds to or fattens up your resume.
  • It provides employers with a very good reason to hire an individual.
  • A diploma gives you a competitive edge compared to your colleagues who lack it, putting you in line for a promotion.
  • It helps individuals to find worth in their existence.
  • A diploma creates opportunities that were formerly unavailable.
  • A diploma helps individuals to qualify for training programs or higher education.
  • It is available to different people, either high school dropouts, people who lack money as the fees aren’t much, or people who lack time to finish a degree.

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Transcript vs. Diploma (Differences)

  • A transcript is a complete proof of education that can be written, printed, or online. It comprises a record of all your courses and grades from your previous or current educational institution. At the same time, a diploma is a certificate awarded by an academic or educational institution to a student as proof an individual has completed a specific course of study.
  • A transcript is mostly what colleges require as part of the admission process. In contrast, the colleges only require a diploma as a certificate for admission.
  • A transcript contains the courses a student takes and grades, while a diploma contains the certificate that proves the completion of a specific course studied.

Transcript vs. Diploma: Understanding the Difference

DefinitionAn official record of a student’s academic performance and achievements.An official document certifying the completion of a course or degree.
ContentLists courses, grades, credits, GPA, and sometimes notes on academic standing.States the degree awarded, institution, student’s name, and date.
PurposeTo provide a detailed record of an individual’s academic history.To confirm that an individual has successfully completed a program.
Issued ByAcademic institutions (schools, colleges, or universities).Academic institutions upon completion of a degree or course.
FormatTypically a multi-page document.Generally a single-page ceremonial document, often suitable for framing.
Frequency of IssueCan be issued multiple times, whenever required.Issued once upon graduation or completion of a course.
Used ForCollege applications, job applications, or other scenarios requiring academic verification.Proof of graduation and can be a pre-requisite for certain professional licenses or further studies.

While both the transcript and the diploma are pivotal in the academic realm, they provide different information about a student’s academic journey. Always ensure that you request the right document for your needs, and keep them in a safe place; they’re vital for your academic and professional future.

Transcript vs. Diploma (Similarities)

  • Both transcripts and diplomas are certificates.
  • A transcript and a diploma prove that a student has studied at an academic or educational institution.
  • An employer can use either a transcript or a diploma as a reason to hire an individual.

FAQs on Transcript and Diploma

What is a transcript in the academic context?

A transcript is an official document that records a student’s academic performance, including courses taken, grades received, and notes on academic standing.

What is a diploma?

A diploma is an official document certifying that an individual has successfully completed a particular course of study or degree program. It typically states the degree awarded, the institution, the student’s name, and the completion date.

When might I need a transcript vs. a diploma?

A transcript is often required for college applications, transferring schools, or job applications to verify academic achievements. A diploma is primarily used as proof of graduation, which might be needed for certain jobs, professional licenses, or further studies.

Can I get multiple copies of my diploma like I can with a transcript?

Typically, institutions issue one diploma upon graduation. If lost, they might provide duplicates or certified copies, but it’s not as routinely available as copies of transcripts. Always check with your institution for their specific policies.


A transcript and a diploma are important certificates that contribute to an individual’s future. This article has explained both a transcript and a diploma. Choosing to get a diploma is a personal choice.

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Hello, I am ST Admin! For five years, I began actively assisting students in Europe, the United States, and Canada in their pursuit of college advice and scholarship prospects. I am the Administrator of at present.

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