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.

Faster, Easier Diploma Replacement at Emory University with Parchment

University Registrar’s Offices are notoriously busy and always looking for ways to increase efficiency—like taking replacement diploma ordering online. That’s why Emory University partnered with Parchment to simplify the process. Today, graduates can reorder lost or destroyed diplomas on the school’s online transcript ordering portal, and track order status as well. As a result, the staff member solely dedicated to processing the paper diploma orders now has time to do more.

According to Brittney Simmons, Business Operations Specialist, it was a daunting task to keep track of the paper trail generated by the replacement diploma ordering process. With Parchment, there are no more paper forms or checks and money orders for the office to handle. And there are fewer calls from students wondering where their orders are, which also saves time and money thanks to tracking options through Parchment.

“Parchment has allowed us to create a simpler process for ordering a replacement diploma, making it a lot easier for us and our students,” Brittney says. For the busy Registrar’s Office staff, ordering diplomas through the Parchment storefront is fast, secure and environmentally friendly. Something the students, and staff, really love.

Check out the case study!

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Digital Credentials Are the Key To Opportunity for Professionals

As professionals, each of us is looking to improve our careers and potentially make that next step. To do that, at one point or another we may need to seek additional learning or skills. Whether that’s a professional development course, a training program, or even going to trade or graduate school. Each one will result in a credential, such as a badge, certificate, license or degree, that certifies all of your new knowledge and opens the door that was holding you back.

With so much on the line, it doesn’t make any sense to have these credentials only as paper documents that your employer will never see. Without verified proof, they just have to take your word for it that you have the credential you say you have.

Luckily, employers, licensing boards, associations, and other organizations are utilizing Parchment’s digital credential platform to issue digital diplomas, certificates, and badges to their recipients. Offering digital credentials makes a big difference to both the learner and to the organization.

For Employers, Going Digital Is Simple

Adopting digital credentials for your organization is simple and secure!

  • Employers love being able to increase brand awareness and employee recognition with a shareable digital certificate.
  • Licensing boards and other organizations find managing their credential programs simple by uploading a spreadsheet.
  • Associations can increase their membership and reach by letting their members promote the association through their social media channels.
  • The secure and verified link to a digital credential is used by employees any time they need to share the credential you’ve issued them.

Learners Love Digital Credentials

We live in a digital world, so having our achievements in an easily shareable format can help learners make the most of their investment.

  • Available immediately, digital credentials can be put to work right away. Most recipients of digital credentials are able to get the steps to their promotion moving more quickly. They don’t need to wait for their paper credential to arrive!
  • Being able to share digitally on social media platforms like LinkedIn can make them much more marketable. Back up your claims with verified credentials to rise to the top of the pack.
  • Enjoy one place to collect and manage all of their credentials. Parchment lets everyone store their transcripts, diplomas, licenses, and certificates in one convenient place. Anytime you need to share your credentials, they’re just a click away.

In the modern world we live in, having our credentials stuck in a drawer or on the wall, doesn’t help. We need to be able to securely share our accomplishments to get that opportunity we’re looking for. You earned your credentials, you might as well be able to show them off!

To learn more about offering digital credentials like badges, diplomas, certificates, and licenses, contact us here!

A Communication Guide To Promoting Digital Credentials

When diplomas and certificates are digital, they are a powerful tool for your students.  As an institution, you can help your graduates make the most of their education by making sure they know how to claim and use their digital credential.  In this post, we’ll cover some of the guidelines for how to really promote digital credentials at your institution.  The more your graduates are claiming and sharing your diplomas and certificates the more your brand will be emboldened. This guide will make it easy as 1-2-3!

Communication Guidelines

Before we get into where you should promote (including some great samples) here are a few things to keep in mind as you’re creating your messaging that will make it effective.  

  • Be brief. No one likes reading a really long paragraph when a sentence will do.
  • Let graduates know why a digital credential is important for them.
  • Include pictures. A picture says a thousand words … and you remember how we feel about too many words, right?
  • Think mobile friendly. Chances are you’ll reach students the first time on a mobile device like their smartphone.
  • Hook to students’ emotion. Acknowledge a graduate pride and accomplishment rather than simply providing transactional information.

Making Your Plan

According to Nielsen Media, it requires 42 impressions for the average person to absorb a message or brand. That means you can’t promote the fact that you now offer digital diplomas or certificates too much.  Letting your students claim and share their credentials digitally is a big deal … make sure they know how much digital credentials can help them!

Here are the top 5 things to keep in mind as you’re developing your strategy:

  1. Add information about digital diplomas or certificates to your website. 90% of your graduates will look there first.
  2. Email graduates before, during, and after their conferral.
  3. Text message too! Institutions that issue their digital credentials via text message see a 30% better claim rate.
  4. Include a flyer in your diploma cover during graduation to let them know about the digital credential they will receive.
  5. Encourage your graduates to share their credentials on LinkedIn!

Download The Complete Guide!

[callout-1 image=”/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/KitThumbnail.png” button-text=”Download” button-link=”http://info.parchment.com/communication-kit-for-digital-credentials.html” secondary-text=”Guide to Promoting Digital Credentials to Your Learners”]
It’s easy to get started with this complete guide to promote digital credentials.  Go ahead and check it out and let us know when you’re ready to start getting digital credentials into the hands of your graduates!
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Announcing New CAS Destinations

We know sending to Centralized Application Services (CAS) is important to your learners. We’re excited to announce a relationship with four new CAS destinations. You’ll begin to see these destinations in the searchable destination list.

Each CAS has special requirements for the information they need to accompany the records they receive. For example, they may want an application ID, or a special record header. As part of our relationship with these CAS destinations, we’ll make sure they get the specific fields or information they need. Your learners won’t have to go back and forth to provide supplementation information.

New Centralized Application Service Destinations:

ADEA AADSAS: American Dental Educators Association

MFTCASL: Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education

PTCAS: Physical Therapy Centralized Application Service

PHARMCAS: Pharmacy Centralized Application Service

Please reach out to your Account Executive if you have any questions, or leave a comment below.

Parchment Connect National 2018: Registration is Open!

The signature event for those interested in the future of academic credentials, Parchment Connect National 2018, is now open for registration. You will not want to miss this opportunity to connect with K12 counselors, Admissions Offices, Employers, and University Registrars and Records Managers. Each year, attendees rave about the networking opportunities, lessons learned, and information gathered.  You definitely do not want to miss it!

Register Today

Parchment Connect National 2018

March 24-25, 2018
Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld
Orlando, FL

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Save 50%: Early Bird Registration
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Time & Place

This year, we’ve realigned with AACRAO Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, to make it easier for people already planning on AACRAO to join us for Parchment Connect National.  Immediately preceding AACRAO, March 24 – noon March 25, you’ll be able to participate in all of the kick off events for AACRAO. We want you to arrive in style, so we’ll be providing a convenient shuttle to the Orlando World Center Marriott at the conclusion of the conference!

Parchment Connect National will be held at Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld. Learn more about the super-low room-rate and all of the other logistics on our Travel & Transportation page.

Share Your Story!

The best part of Parchment Connect National is hearing the real-world experiences of our members. We have so many people who are doing amazing things. Whether you are just starting out with digital credentials or you’re ready for new frontiers, having this conference opportunity to connect with more than 200 of your peers will help you get the information you need to effortlessly.

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Sharing the work you’re doing is a key part of Parchment Connect National. Members from across the country struggle with similar issues and will benefit from your expertise. Now is the time to share your challenges, successes, explorations, and interests. The conference needs you to be a success!

We’re seeking proposals that would support one of these topics:

  • Blockchain and the future of verified credentials
  • Analytics in the Registrar’s office
  • Gauging your learner’s satisfaction and annual reporting
  • Digital diplomas and creating a cohesive learner experience
  • Comprehensive student records
  • Digital Diplomas and the future of the apostille
  • International students and verifying their credentials
  • How your peers are perfecting credential exchange and empowering their learners!

Accepted proposals get free registration and hotel stay on March 24!

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Nominate Your Peers!

You guys are pretty awesome. Everyone should know about this!

This year, we’re celebrating the dreamers and the doers in our community with our first peer-nominated Award Ceremony.  
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Get your peer (or yourself, because you’re also pretty darn amazing) nominated today!

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We’re so excited to see you in Orlando in 2018!

3 Things to Look for in an eTranscript Platform: Start With Convenience

When you’re evaluating how to offer your student transcripts electronically, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the features and functions that should be included in a college transcript software solution. The truth is, of the major eTranscript solution providers, everyone is offering pretty similar solutions. As with any competitive situation, one vendor’s new feature is soon replicated by the others.

So how do you choose? What are the criteria that are harder to replicate? It basically comes down to the organization’s philosophy and approach to credentials. To help you in your research, this is the first in a three part series on the three categories that we recommend you evaluate as part of any student transcript management system selection.

First: Convenience That Goes Beyond Reducing Time Spent Processing Orders

The primary motivator in moving to an electronic (or digital) student transcript processing system is convenience. Making it simple for you and for your students. No one would adopt this technology if it didn’t make lives easier. Which it definitely does! Our members uniformly tell us that after adopting Parchment, they have seen the time spent on processing and following up on transcript orders drop by 90% or more! This is true for any of the systems you could select.

But here’s where convenience starts to get differentiated:

Convenient Ordering For Anyone

Having one place to order transcripts, another to request replacement diplomas, and a third for enrollment/graduation verifications leads to errors and confusion for your students. Parchment believes that no matter who needs to order, there should be a single point to order and track all of your academic records. As a student moves from high school to community/4-year college, to professional certification programs, they will have one place where they can collect their achievements — from any of these institutions — and order official copies, share with employers, or post on their social profiles like LinkedIn. Convenient ordering isn’t restricted to the institution they happen to be currently affiliated with.  

They would be able to order any and all records that are available to them, choose to send them electronically or in print and get tracking at every step of the way.  

Not only can students and alumni order, but third parties including admissions offices, scholarship boards and parents can all conveniently order transcripts or verifications on behalf of the student. Learn more about how to manage student and third party ordering.

Convenient Fulfilling Of Any Student Record

Just as having a central place to order any record type, it’s vital that it’s very convenient to receive and process incoming orders from students, alumni and third parties. By streamlining the way your office receives requests for transcripts, replacement diplomas, verifications, etc into a single channel it will make it easier to manage staff responsibilities, generate comprehensive reports, and collect fees securely. With simple integration and automation options, processing requests can be done by uploading the PDF record, retrieving and sending with or without administrator review, or print and mail/pick up. Parchment has flexible Connectors to integrate directly with Banner, PeopleSoft, CampusVue, Colleague and other major Student Information Systems that will honor the customizations to your workflows. And implementation is fast – within 3-4 weeks! (Read the case study)
Going digital has brought ease and convenience to almost every other industry. But, it’s not the only thing that you should factor in as you’re evaluating your eTranscript options.  

Stay tuned for our next category: Doing More. Your Credential Management Platform Should Give You Superpowers.

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