2 Simple Ways To Re-Engage Alumni

Alumni engagement is a task all colleges struggle with, and you’ve likely felt the strain yourself. You have a network of adults all connected through a single institution, but it’s difficult to get them involved.

Struggle no longer – here are two simple ways to re-engage your alumni:

1. Invest in their success

To most alumni, every message from their alma mater feels like a request for something – a donation supporting a fundraiser, an appeal to mentor a current student or a request to use their likeness. Your former students may respond once in a while, but too many of these requests become tedious.

Other typical alumni re-engagement efforts simply tell your former students what’s new with the school. They come in the form of magazines and newsletters published by the institution. Unfortunately, your alumni’s interest in these types of details starts waning the minute they step off campus. Once they’ve secured a good job, they think about their school less and less (assuming they don’t care for college sports or happened to dot the i in marching band)

Essentially, your school doesn’t appear as relevant to your alumni as it was when they were students. Whether or not this feeling is true is beside the point. Your alumni think they don’t need you, so they start to ignore you.

It’s up to you to show alumni that you’re still important. Do this by reminding alumni why they chose your school in the first place: for the credentials. By giving them digital access to their transcripts, diplomas, and other such documents, you remind alumni that your institution is heavily invested in their success.

Ordinarily, alumni would have to contact the school’s registrar office to get copies of their diplomas, transcripts, licenses or other documents necessary for education verification. Without these papers, they have a hard time proving their background to employers. Help them out by making it easy for them to request this information and send it in the blink of an eye.

2. Meet them on relevant channels

When was the last time you checked your mailbox when you weren’t expecting a package from Amazon? If you’re the type who checks every day, chances are you’re often disappointed by the letters you find. Your alumni feel the same way, even when that letter is from their alma mater. Usually, missives from your school go right in the garbage.

Avoid the trap of the trash can by interacting with alumni on the channels they use in the here and now, not a decade (or even a year) ago. In 2018, that means extending your engagement efforts to social media. No doubt your school has general Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages already. It’s beneficial to incorporate alumni engagement posts onto these platforms or to create separate profiles specifically for interacting with former students.

In fact, your digital credential tool can help you in this area, assuming you choose the right one. With Parchment, alumni (and current students!) can share their credentials on their social media platforms. What better way to show school pride than posting a verified version of a diploma on Facebook?

To further engage former students, why not include some user-generated content or hold a social media contest? Have alumni share screenshots of their digital credentials and randomly select a winner for a prize. For a simpler approach, use Facebook, Twitter or Instagram Stories to conduct an informal poll. The more you can get alumni involved via the platforms they use the most, the greater chance you have of re-engaging them.

4 Best Practices for Basic Receive Members

If you are a Basic Receive Member, here are some tips and tricks to help you keep things running smoothly and efficiently.

  1. Receive. Route. Download. When receiving documents, first route by dragging to one of the destinations on the left, and then zip and download. The online status of the document changes to ‘Download confirmed’ and the student automatically gets an email telling them that the document has been downloaded. If you print/download before routing to a destination, no emails are sent.
  2. Add Your Email. Add your email address to your Parchment Receive account in your General Settings. That way, when schools or students use Parchment Send to send transcripts to your email address, the documents will automatically and conveniently go to your Receive account.
  3. Zip Overnight. Check the ‘Automatically Prepare Overnight’ option in your Destination Settings so that the system zips your documents overnight. Then those documents will be ready to download as a zip file first thing in the morning.
  4. Customize Status Emails. Personalize the confirmation message to include customized information in the email students get when documents are downloaded. Go to Settings > Inbox > Delivery. You have 400 characters to work with.

Want to know more about using Parchment Receive? Check out these additional resources:

 

3 Myths About Cover Letter Writing to Tell Your Graduating Seniors

Today’s graduating college students face an employment landscape unlike that of any generation before them. Not only are businesses more international than ever – increasing the number of applicants competing for a single position – but modern ideas like working remotely, contingent/freelance staff and an emphasis on soft skills have altered what companies look for in an employee.

This, unfortunately, means it’s that much harder for students to get a job – even if their credentials are a perfect match. That’s why nuances like a well-crafted cover letter are so important.

That said, just as the job landscape has changed over the past few decades, so too have best practices for writing cover letters. Let’s look at what’s changed by debunking three cover letter myths and reviewing how a school’s Career Services employees can help students write them more effectively:

Myth No. 1: Cover letters are short and light on information

Old advice dictated that cover letters were to be a paragraph long with a generic greeting (“To whom it may concern,” of course) and a brief introduction of the applicant. These days, that type of thinking won’t cut it. Job recruiters are inundated with dozens, if not hundreds, of applications throughout the hiring process. In the interest of saving time, they want to know as much about a candidate as they can before scheduling an interview.

When helping students write cover letters, encourage them to go beyond the basics when discussing themselves and their credentials. Help them describe how their school experience and assignments gave them both the hard and soft skills necessary to succeed in the specific role, rather than simply saying they studied X, Y and Z.

Myth No. 2: Cover letters are just an introduction to the rest of the application

Cover letters were often seen as sort of a throwaway document – a formality that just introduced the resume and application. But as we said earlier, hiring managers want more information up front, and the cover letter is the best way for students to make themselves known.

Student credentials can play a major role here, if written about correctly. According to PwC’s 20th annual CEO Survey, one primary concern of most CEOs (77 percent of them, to be precise) is that incoming new hires don’t have the key skills necessary to succeed in their new positions. Therefore, students should detail in their cover letters both their credentials and the skills they accrued while acquiring those credentials – for example, improved collaboration, proficiency in a specific software application, strong time management and more.

“Students need the ability to easily access their credentials.”

Of course, it helps if students can easily and quickly access their credentials in a secure location. The more easily students can acquire this information, the more likely they are to include it in their cover letters. When helping students write their cover letters, make sure they know where and how to find their credentials, and even how to direct potential employers to verified copies.

Myth No. 3: Cover letters avoid mention of workplace culture

If you’ve paid attention to recent hiring strategies or even read a few job listings, you’ll have noticed that many employers focus on concepts like free snacks or meals, creative workspaces and volunteer days. The idea is that promoting certain perks creates a compelling culture that attracts top-qualified applicants. What’s more, businesses finally understand that a strong office culture increases employee engagement, which can lead to higher productivity and reduced turnover.

If you know the company or school to which a student is applying emphasizes a specific branding idea or company culture, encourage that individual to explain what makes them a great fit. This shouldn’t take up the bulk of the cover letter, but a brief paragraph helps hiring managers get a greater sense of a candidate and imagine them in a specific role.

As today’s graduating students face important decisions about their futures, they need every advantage to help them gain the best opportunities. By providing access to their credentials and helping them adapt their cover letters to meet modern employer-held expectations, you give your students the best possible chance of finding a fantastic job after college.

Parchment makes it easy for students and alumni to access and send their credentials. See how partnering with us improves learners’ success!

Sending and Receiving with The Coalition App in Three Easy Steps

The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success is going into their second year and the number of colleges participating has grown from 45 to 133 (with more to come!) As more and more of your students are applying to Coalition App schools, it’s so easy to send and receive transcripts using Parchment. Here are the three simple steps to sending and receiving with The Coalition App.

Applicants Check the Box

When students at schools using Parchment fill out the Coalition Application, they’ll check the box to indicate that they’ll be sending their transcripts to you another way. Their transcripts will be sent directly to Coalition Application members using the same workflow and experience they use for colleges in general.
CoalitionApp-CheckBox

Students then go ahead and place their order through Parchment, selecting the Coalition App school as a destination:
CoalitionApp-Student-Order

Counselors Process as They Do Today

Student requests will arrive and be processed electronically by high school counselors just as they were previously. With no change to your process whether the student is sending to a Coalition or non-Coalition school, you won’t have to spend time making adjustments. It’s a good thing!

CoalitionApp-SendWorkflow

Receive in Your Parchment Inbox

College receivers will continue to receive electronic admissions documents just as they do today. Basic receivers download all high-resolution transcript PDFs with one click. Premium receivers can go further and automate the indexing process with transcript PDFs and an index file of student data.

CoalitionApp-ReceiveWorkflow

If you have questions or need any help sending or receiving with the Coalition App, contact us!

Guide to Parchment’s Complete K12 Student Record Management System

As we go through our lives, we collect official records. One of our first sets of official records come out of our high school experience: transcripts, diplomas, letters of recommendation, IEPs, etc.

Parchment has developed a platform that makes it easy for high school or district registrars and counselors to manage all of the official records for current and alumni students.

As records move from paper systems to electronic, it can be overwhelming to decide which system is best for you.  What is the student ordering experience like? Is there a lot of work the administrator needs to do? How confusing will this be?  

We know you have some concerns about exploring new systems. But our Buyers Guide breaks it all down and will help you explore and evaluate student record management systems.  

Learn How to:

  • Manage All of Your Records
  • Allow Anyone to Order (Students, Alumni, Parents, and Third Parties!)
  • 3 Simple Steps: Order – Review – Fulfill
  • And more features important to you!

RMS_CTA

An Updated OrderLink Button

Have you put an OrderLink on your website yet?  What are you waiting for? It’s the handy way to get your students to your high school’s ordering page. After all, there’s more than one “Central High” in the US – the OrderLink keeps confusion out of the equation!

Now that your learners, parents and third parties can order any official record using Parchment, we’ve made a small update to the appearance of the OrderLink button.

The image has been updated automatically – there’s nothing for you to do!  

Meet the Updated OrderLink Button

Now the OrderLink will highlight these two important points:

First, that any record can be ordered! As an administrator, you can determine which records you want to make available.

Second, that anyone can begin their order following this button.  Direct students, parents, or third parties to follow this link and begin to place their order.

It also has a similar size and appearance so that it won’t disrupt your web page design:

Order Credentials from Parchment

Add the OrderLink

If you haven’t added the OrderLink to your site yet – what are you waiting for? It’s simple, and makes a big difference for your students!

  • Log In
  • Navigate to Settings -> Ordering
  • Copy the OrderLink code is at the bottom of the page
  • Paste code into all of your web pages that cover ordering official records

Please let your account executive know if you have any questions!

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