On the Road Again: Top Approaches to Consider for Your Recruiting
How to Find New, Untapped Students
How to Enable Your School to Better Support Transient Students
Make Parchment a Priority for Your Web and Marketing Teams
5 Ways To Help College Students Find Good Jobs After Graduation
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
Dual Enrollment vs. AP Credits: Which Is Better For Your Learners?
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!
10 Things Every High School Counselor Should Tell Their Students About Transcripts [Infographic]
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!
Two Free Resources To Get You Ready for Back To School
Students are swarming your halls once more! It’s exciting to have them back with all of their energy, laughter, and excitement about the year ahead of them. But in a few weeks, they’ll start knocking on your door wondering how they order their transcripts (and other records too!)
Be ready to answer these questions quickly and easily with these two resources:
Hang A Poster
Download or order a free printed poster and hang it prominently in your office. Then when students come in and start asking … you can just direct them to the instructional poster. Many schools have a computer there in the office so students can place their order right there.
Print or Email How-To Handouts
For step-by-step instructions, provide this handout to students. There are links embedded in the document, so they can access the sign in page, the help center and more. It can also be printed and put on the counter for students who come into the office looking for answers. This is a perfect document to send to students, or link to on your website, to help make ordering records a breeze.
Tip: Parchment will continue to keep this document updated. So if things change, we’ll make sure the instructions always match what students will see. So it’s a good idea to use this URL, so you’ll know you’re always up to date!
Don’t forget to sign up for Training! We released some enhancements this summer – you’ll want to get up to speed on all of the new features. (Like canceling orders, woohoo!)
Let’s Go Digital: Scan & Index Your Legacy Records
Do you have a storeroom that makes you cringe? You have nothing to be ashamed of! More than half the schools in the nation have rooms on their campus bursting at the seams with stored documents. However, being part of a very large group doesn’t make it any easier when a former student wants one of those records. Veritable days could be lost combing through folders and boxes! You’ve had a project to digitize your legacy records on your wish list for a long time. Don’t keep putting off digitizing your paper legacy student transcripts, we can help. It’s easy to move your paper alumni records to Parchment, repurpose that old file room, and take the headache (and the walk down the hall!) out of helping your students out.
Why now? Well, outside of summer being a great time to tackle a project, there are significant security risks when handling money or accepting credit card numbers via mail, fax and email. When the ordering moves online, all of the fee collection happens in a secure and PCI compliant way. (Wouldn’t it be great to not have to deal with the hassle of making change and cashing checks?)
Parchment has a long history of making credentials digital, and we know the security and care that must be taken with them. Converting your paper alumni records to digital helps you preserve your irreplaceable records forever!
Tackling the storeroom
Getting started is a lot easier than you might expect. You can send a sample box to Parchment and we can sort through it to determine what credentials you have – and what you’d like to digitize.
Our team can work with you to scan and index key student information so the records can be ordered and fulfilled electronically. Everything from student achievement records, transcripts, verifications, diplomas … or any thing else the storeroom might hold!
Here’s how it works:
- Simply send a sample box of intact records to Parchment. (No torn, faded or oversize documents.)
- Our FERPA-trained staff digitizes them and provides you with secure PDFs that include seven key data points: first name, middle name, last name, date of birth, student ID, last 4 digits of SSN and graduation year.
- Both you and Parchment QA review the PDFs from the sample box. Then we’ll proceed with digitizing all the student records you provided.
- Store the records in our Credentials Library. (We’ll shred your paper documents or send them back to you, whichever you prefer.)
Scan & Index is extremely flexible, allowing you to create a solution for digitizing and managing all of your paper records quickly and efficiently. Let Parchment know what your goals are for going digital!