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:

 

Your 2018 Digital Strategy – Things To Consider

If you’re like most people, you probably can’t remember what the beginning of 2017 was like. So much happened last year, with 2018 already upon us bringing a “Bomb Cyclone” across the nation. As schools and businesses put the final touches on their digital strategies for the next 12 months, let’s take some time to look at how credentials can come into play. You may not realize it just yet, but digital credentials can be a driving force in achieving your goals this year:

Sending and receiving: How digital credentials play into a modern strategy

Think about how much of our lives are tied to the internet these days – you can order groceries, pay bills, send money to friends and find the nearest car wash all from your smartphone. In school settings, students are taking courses and earning degrees completely online, both at the high school and college levels. Businesses no longer post “Help wanted” ads in newspapers; now, they list open positions on job websites and accept resumes through digital applicant tracking systems. 

Yet for all this innovation, one thing that could be easily digitized has remained stubbornly in the paper past: credentials. Much to learners’ chagrin, many administrative offices don’t support digital credentials. This means, for example, students who want to access their high school diplomas online are unable to do so. Instead, they must complete the cumbersome, time-consuming process of getting their paper records. Similarly, college students are unable to order transcripts online and send them instantly to other schools or potential employers. The time delay associated with paper record delivery could be the difference between a college graduate getting the job of his or her dreams or being underemployed.

In many ways, digital credentials can improve learners’ success. Students can immediately access and send verified PDF copies of their transcripts, diplomas and other credentials to a large network of destinations, reducing the uncertainty and eliminating delivery delay.

What’s more, digital credentials are good for schools and businesses. They help high schools, colleges and universities expand their digital marketing reach, allowing students to share their successes on social media and putting the institutions in front of countless eyes. Meanwhile, they make businesses more competitive by making it easy for applicants to send proof of their education. With 40 percent of companies fighting against a shortage of talent, according to research from Manpower Group, businesses need every trick in the book to attract the most qualified candidates.

No matter what field you work in – education, recruiting, marketing or other – it’s important to understand that digital credentials can play a huge role in shaping 2018.

Want to learn how digital credentials make your job easier? Contact Parchment today.

 

3 New Year’s Eve Resolutions For Registrars’ Offices

2017 is quickly coming to a close, and 2018 preparations are well under way. As your office gets ready for a new semester and a new year, it’s good to set some concrete rules for how you’ll operate going forward. We always make New Year’s resolutions to improve our personal lives, so why not our professional lives as well? After all, don’t we all deserve to breathe a little easier in the office next year? Here are three resolutions to help you do just that:

1. ‘I will escape the trap of paper-only systems.’

Working in a registrar’s office, your weekdays are filled with request after request from students. With the class of 2018 spending the semester looking at post-graduation options – first-time jobs, graduate school, etc. – many of these requests will involve transcripts and diplomas. In a paper-only setting, your office can easily become overwhelmed by all the documents you need to send and receive, making it highly likely that someone’s request will fall through the cracks. 

Switching to a digital system alleviates a lot of that strain. No longer do you have to search through cabinets full of files and mail things by hand. Instead, the system does everything for you, automatically pulling student records and sending them to their destinations in an instant. Convenient, no?

2. ‘I will ensure my office puts learners first.’

Have you noticed that the standard process of sending transcripts makes students very nervous? There’s rarely any delivery tracking, so students anxiously await news from the recipient that their credentials made it to their destination. Since mail takes anywhere from a few days to a week or more, your students are left in the dark leading to more questions for your office.

With digital credentials, that worried feeling completely disappears. Their transcripts are immediately sent wherever they need to go, regardless of whether the recipient is within the school’s destination network or not.

In fact, it helps to have a third-party service with a large network of academic and professional institutions within reach, thereby completely relieving you of the burden of credentials. That said, be sure to choose a provider that also sends physical records with USPS or FedEx tracking, just in case students send their credentials to destinations that only want paper.

3. ‘I will make sure our transcripts are accurate and protect the authenticity of the school.’

Digital credentials like eTranscripts aren’t new, but schools have been very reluctant to adopt them. According to a survey from the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, one of the primary reasons for avoiding digital is integrity concerns. Many school officials are afraid that digital transcripts and diplomas can be altered more easily than paper ones.

In actuality, digital credentials are safer than their traditional counterparts. Parchment, for example, sends verified PDFs that alert recipients if and when the information inside has been altered.

Make your office run smoothly in 2018 by offering eTranscripts and other digital credentials. Take a load off your mind and learn how Parchment can successfully work with your school to improve your office and the lives of your students.

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!

Upcoming Webinar: Credential Engine Application Showcase

Credential Engine is powering the credentialing marketplace forward through the use of its unique common credentialing language and a web-based Credential Registry that collects and connects critical credentialing information in a clear and comparable format. Through these tools, Credential Engine is making the vast and complex landscape of credentials more user-friendly.

View the recording here.

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