Whether you are transferring from one college to another, applying to grad school or applying for a job, you might need a sealed, official copy of your transcript. In many cases, your transcripts will need to be sent directly from one college to the other---not directly to you. The simplest thing to do is to contact your college. The process is the same whether you attended college in 1980 or 2008.

Go your college's website. The easiest way to find the right page on the website is to type "order transcript" in the search box. Read the instructions on the various ways to order your transcripts and what forms of payment are acceptable. If you go to the college in person, you will most likely need to go to the registrar's office.

Decide how you will request your transcripts: online (often recent graduates who still have their college email addresses and student ID numbers), phone, fax, mail or in person.

Order your transcripts. Whatever method you choose, follow the college's instructions to the letter. For instance, if the school only takes cash if you go to the school and pick up your transcripts in person, do not mail cash.

If you are looking for transcripts from a closed college, first find out if the school has actually closed. The U.S. Department of Education's website has a search page that is updated on a weekly basis.

If the school has closed, visit the department of higher education in the state in which the college you attended was located. There should be a link to request transcripts from closed schools. Each state's website will be different, and if you don't find the proper link, find the department's phone number and call them.

You will most likely have to mail in your transcript request and payment with the pertinent information, such as the name of the college, your name at the time you attended the college, the dates you attended, your date of birth and social security number (or the last 4 digits).