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Everything in our world seems to be becoming more digital — and diplomas, awards, and commencements are no exception. To learn how academic institutions are using digital tools to enhance the graduation process, we presented The Modern Commencement Webinar. Hosted by Joel Musika, Regional Sales Manager at Parchment, our panelists included:
The panelists shared their experiences with Parchment Award – Diploma Services, a digital platform that allows students to securely access diplomas as soon as the school issues them. Let’s explore how digitizing diploma services benefits both students and schools as well as how our panelists are using Parchment’s services to enhance the commencement process.
In today’s digital society, students are used to receiving things instantly, so waiting to receive a paper diploma doesn’t align with those expectations. Digital platforms allow schools to provide quick, secure, and easy access to awards, creating a positive experience for students. When polling our webinar participants about the most interesting aspect of digital diplomas, 75% agreed that instant access for students was the top priority.
“That instant gratification…Getting [digital diplomas] as soon as their degree is posted is very important to this generation.”
Assistant Dean and Registrar, McKendree University
Digital diplomas are also an exceptional social media branding tool. Students can download their diploma and share on social media networks the same day as graduation. Parchment’s Diploma Services include LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter integrations, making it easy for students to share their successes online.
“The day we print the diploma is the same day we issue the electronic diplomas. So it’s still one to two weeks before [students] receive the paper one,” Matt DeMayo noted during the webinar. “But it’s really exciting to see those [digital diplomas] hit social media ahead of time, in the spirit of commencement and certification, rather than in June or July.”
In addition to sharing awards with family and friends, students are using digital diplomas to assist in their job search. Many jobs require proof of graduation, and students can use the digital diploma as a placeholder until the paper one arrives.
Ensuring we have a [digital] diploma that’s easily accessible, can be distributed and has security to validate it is very important for us.
Director, Student Intake Operations, Grand Canyon Education
Students aren’t the only ones benefiting from schools going digital — the participants in our panel noted how Parchment’s Diploma Services have reduced the tedious workloads that registrar staff undertake during graduation.
“The use of the diploma service has freed up days of our office staff stuffing diplomas and sending them off,” shared Deborah Larson. “And we have a pretty high rate of students who claim their digital diplomas, so they’re using them, and they like them.”
Additionally, digitizing diplomas is a cost-effective solution, and partnering with Parchment to provide transcript services often makes digital diplomas completely free for the school.
“We do our digital and print [diplomas] through Parchment – it’s really been a great lifesaver for our office.”
MBA, Admissions and Records, South Plains College
The panelists also agreed that utilizing digital award services has allowed them to streamline their graduation processes, adopt a data-driven and less paper-based approach to developing ceremony labels, and modernize their commencements.
For example, one of the most frequent issues registrar staff tackle is not having the correct mailing address to send printed diplomas, as many students submit campus housing addresses or move to new locations before diplomas are issued. Sorting out these problems often falls on registrar staff, which can be a time-consuming hurdle. To overcome these challenges, Parchment’s built-in Address Verification feature requires students to verify their physical address with the U.S. Postal Service before the learner can move on to claim their digital diploma. With more students receiving their diplomas at the correct address, registrar staff face fewer issues with return diplomas, reprints, and related resources.
Parchment’s top priority is to provide learners with high-quality and seamless services to support a positive academic experience. Visit our website to download our free Higher Ed Buyer’s Guide to help you determine which diploma, transcript, and record management service is the best fit for your institution.