The pandemic forced most schools to take everything related to the classroom online. Not only were lessons and assignments online, but so were parent-teacher conferences, schoolwide communications, and report cards. For many schools and families, the adjustment was abrupt, disorganized, and hectic, and the results were variable.
However, there is a silver lining to this tumultuous experience. The pandemic provided an overdue opportunity for schools to reevaluate their approach to digitizing materials, including transcripts. As more and more educational institutions decide to take their transcripts online, now is the best time to learn the reasons why this is a beneficial move.
When a school uses physical transcripts, the process of a student ordering a copy of their transcript can be time-consuming. They have to wait for the school to process their request, print an official copy of their transcript, and then mail it to the proper destination(s). Digitized transcripts, however, mean an immediate turnaround. Students and their families won't have to wait for their transcripts to arrive in the mail or feel a lack of certainty over whether a college or other third party received them. Often, figuring out how and when to order one in time to make an application deadline can prove to be stressful. It can also make or break a college application. In 38% of post-secondary schools, the application process is automated specifically for electronic transcripts. This is particularly important when admission decisions are competitive, such as in the case of private, not-for-profit schools, which account for 29% of those schools (AACRAO). Taking transcripts online solves this problem.
Also, digitizing doesn't just save time for the student. As Senior Associate Director of Operations at the University of Georgia, David Graves explains in his blog post, a digitized transcript saves school employees time as well. If an institution switches to a service that enables them to use online transcripts, then this service will often provide software that automatically scans transcripts and saves relevant information to its system to determine enrollment, a time-consuming job otherwise done manually and painstakingly by a school employee. Scribbles offers such time-saving services with ScribOrder.
When institutions use physical transcripts, they must pay for the materials used to print and mail the hard copies. That cost often gets passed on to the student. The price of ordering a transcript from a school can feel like an unfair financial burden to a student, especially when having a copy is often a necessity if they want to continue their education or apply for certain jobs.
When a transcript is online, this price is reduced. Of course, students could still pay for a digital copy, but this is usually lower than that of a physical copy. Many districts will offer digital copies for students for free or at a reduced price but charge third parties for copies. Also, as Scribbles promises with our ScribOrder feature, these digitized copies can both save school districts money as well as generate revenue to cover the costs of programming, so both students and schools benefit.
With hard copies, there are inevitable risks. Catastrophic events like a fire or flood can damage physical records, and there is always a chance that a mailed transcript might get lost in the mail. Also, a student may lose a physical copy while moving and have to re-order, costing them more money and causing them more stress.
All of this potential for complication is eliminated when educational institutions decide to digitize their records. Once students order an online transcript, they have access to this document forever, regardless of their physical location.
We've outlined the problems with ordering physical transcripts without considering how students' lives can vary greatly when they transfer schools or after they graduate. The problems outlined above can be exacerbated by different life circumstances. For example, physical transcripts prove especially difficult for students if they move frequently or if they graduated many years ago.
It's important districts make choices with their record systems that are mindful of the different paths students may take once they leave, so they can most effectively set students up for success regardless of what their future holds.
Since having a copy of their transcript is something most students will need at some point in their life, you want to make the experience of procuring it as efficient, cost-effective, reliable, convenient, and stress-free as possible. Scribbles offers a solution that meets these requirements. If you're interested in how Scribbles can improve the way you serve your students, check out our list of software solutions.
Are you ready to learn how your district can transition to electronic transcripts? Fill out the form below to learn more about our electronic transcript solution and how it can support your district’s unique needs!