Educational pathways are changing. Instead of jumping straight from high school to a four-year college, students are taking gap years or finding their way to a community college, making the leap to the bigger schools when they’re ready.
And it’s not just a handful of students; it’s most students. According to a new nationwide study of two million students, conducted by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 64 percent of bachelor’s degree earners attend more than one accredited institution before graduating .
Think about that for a moment. As a counselor, for every 10 of your students, six will be transfer students at some point. How can you help them prepare? We asked Kathy Yeager, who is a senior director, community college relations, at Arizona State University*.
Parchment: Are there common gaps in paperwork for students transferring to a four-year school?
KY: Applications for transfer students are usually held up because we are waiting for official transcripts to arrive from multiple colleges. We also require transfer students to submit official high school transcripts, so that can hold up the application process, as well.
Parchment: What are those gaps and how could transcripts be improved to reflect the need?
KY: It would be a much smoother process if all institutions had the ability to send transcripts electronically via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), as Parchment does.
Parchment: What do four-year institutions typically ask for when considering a transfer student?
KY: A fully completed admissions application, official transcripts from previously attended colleges, official high school or GED transcripts. In some cases, depending on major, test scores, and a paid application fee.
Parchment: Is there data that would improve their case?
KY: Not really, as students are admitted based on published admission requirements. Mostly, we just want to see a complete record of achievement.
Parchment: How do you communicate that information today?
KY: Admission requirements for the university and for all of our majors are clearly listed on our admissions and degree search webpages. After a student applies, missing application data is usually submitted through our student portal. Our team will also send emails and call to remind students to submit outstanding documents.
Parchment: What do employers typically ask for when requesting information about a student?
KY: Employers can’t request information about a student from a university. The student has to supply any information required for an application or interview process themselves. Having access to all credentials in a single place, as Parchment provides, can be an excellent tool for meeting this need.
Parchment: Is there data that would be particularly helpful to students being considered for a job? How do you communicate that information today?
KY: The types of items that students may be asked to supply could include proof of degree completion, proof of enrollment, GPA, proof of a particular class completion, writing samples, project samples, etc. This is why there’s such a strong movement toward enhanced credentials that can be accessed digitally and which provide a richness of information that isn’t viewable on paper.
*Some comments edited for clarity
What to Do Next
Students know the landscape is changing. They also know they’ll need tools for smoothing what’s sure to be a winding path through higher education and into the workforce. Help them get there by introducing them to Parchment and the benefits of having a consolidated portfolio of verified, shareable digital credentials.
Not sure where to start? Get in touch now. We’d love to be of service.