There is a lot of talk in education about electronic transcripts these days. There are conversations around security, data vs. image, cost savings / ROI and many other timely topics that will put you to sleep if you have to listen to them for more than about 5 minutes. I know this as fact because I am one of the people that are frequently invited to various conferences to talk about these topics. Yes, they are important and if you are not up to speed on all of this, please contact me personally and I would be glad to discuss anytime.
But, today I don’t want to talk about any of the above. I want to talk about cookies – specifically homemade chocolate chip cookies. Now, there are many good cookies out there, but the chocolate chip is my favorite – particularly when they are freshly baked. Maybe it is the one of a kind aroma that fills the kitchen or maybe it is the melted chocolate that oozes out from every bite – it truly is my favorite cookie. And, it is a true American classic. The Chocolate Chip Cookie was invented about 90 years ago in Massachusetts at the Toll House Inn. Yes, there really was a real Toll House AND yes, they baked Chocolate Chip Cookies there. And, in case it is ever asked on Jeopardy, the state cookie of Massachusetts is in fact the Chocolate Chip.
Fast forward 90 years later and in 2013, Chocolate Chip Cookies are everywhere. And, to my delight, I married a terrific baker that jumps at the chance to make chocolate chip cookies right in our own kitchen – really good chocolate chip cookies too.
With demand for Parchment at an all-time high, I have been working incredibly hard lately. Bringing Parchment to schools is a 7 day a week job and as much we love what we do, fatigue can catch up with you. It was 3pm last Saturday when my wife walked into my home office and she sensed that I was feeling a bit fatigued. “I think you need some cookies,” she said calmly. I smiled, nodded and off she went to the store to buy the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies.
While normally the thought of knowing that in just a few hours I would be eating freshly baked cookies would be a good pick-me-up, on this occasion it was actually a bit of a distraction. Instead of responding to emails from schools wanting to become Parchment members, I started thinking about my wife and the errand that she was running. In order to make her delicious cookies, she would need to get the chocolate chips, the butter, the sugar etc. That in turn led me to start thinking about the supermarket and how we really take for granted the fact that we can go to one place to purchase our groceries (or in this specific case, ingredients for cookies). I got to thinking – what if instead of a supermarket, she had to go to individual stores to purchase each ingredient. First, she would go to the dairy for butter, then to the chocolate store and then to the sugar store etc. That would be time consuming, inefficient, costly, and confusing. In fact, if she had to do all that to bake cookies, I am not so sure she would be as excited to do it. It might just be easier to not bake at all…
By now, a good 15 minutes had passed by as I was thinking about yummy cookies, grocery stores and my wonderful wife. Work was calling again, so I forced myself to re-focus and think about Parchment once again. Then, it occurred to me that there actually may be a comparison between supermarkets and Parchment. Both offer a “one-stop-shop” experience. Just as my wife needed only to go to the supermarket for all of her cookie ingredients, schools need only use Parchment to send all of their transcripts. And, this is actually a pretty interesting topic to discuss.
Right now, there are a number of options for schools to use to send transcripts electronically. In some parts of the country, there are state provided solutions. Some high schools use Common App to send transcripts and some use other vendors. While these solutions are not bad by themselves, they each have limitations and cover only a certain number of destinations or services. What this means is that if a student needs transcripts to 4 or 5 destinations, chances are that a school would need to use a mixture of these options to fulfill delivery (just like having to drive to a different store for each ingredient for cookies). And, even that might not cover it, and a school may be forced to print and mail a transcript. Parchment, on the other hand, is the supermarket for transcripts and the ONLY solution that provides fulfillment to any destination. If a student needs a transcript sent to a college, you can use Parchment. If a student needs a transcript to go to the NCAA, you can use Parchment. If a student needs a transcript to go to the military, an employer, to an insurance company, scholarship or ANYWHERE else, you can use Parchment. This is why Parchment is so valuable and something every school needs.
It’s 4 o’clock by now and my wife gets home with a bag full of cookie ingredients. A few minutes later, I hear the oven pre-heating and batter being stirred. Only a few more moments and I can begin to smell that tempting cookie aroma. Work is officially on hold as I head into the kitchen. The cookies are just 2 minutes from being ready and I truly can’t wait. As the timer is showing 30 seconds, I open the fridge and grab some ice-cold milk. Just as the timer on the oven expires, my milk is poured and my plate on the table. It’s cookie time!