SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Sept. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- To help minimize the confusion of applying to colleges, and to help streamline the process, Parchment Inc. recently launched parchment.com, a free website that gives students tools they need to find colleges that would be right for them, and lets them request transcripts online.
Parchment Inc., the nation's leading provider of academic credential data solutions to schools, universities, and the individuals they educate, created parchment.com to put the predictive power of data and the collective intelligence of the Web to work for students as they make one of the most far-reaching decisions of their lives. Using statistical modeling and crowdsourcing techniques, parchment.com gives students an opportunity to compare their chances of being accepted into different colleges and universities based on their academic records. And once they're ready to apply, the site lets them bypass the usual transcript-request process.
The site also uses data from over a hundred thousand applicants who have voluntarily shared their admissions results through mychances.net, acquired by Parchment Inc. earlier this year, to give students a realistic sense of where they could get in. Students can use the site to discover which colleges their peers applied to, and which are most preferred by admitted students when compared head to head.
Parchment.com gives students key intelligence that helps guide their academic plans as well as their college searches. By looking at the profiles of admitted applicants, students can see early in the college-admissions process how their range of admissions possibilities might change if they improved their GPAs or took more advanced courses prior to applying to college. It can help students decide whether they'd be likelier to be admitted if they doubled down on extracurriculars, went for that varsity letter, or retook the SAT.
How it Works
Parchment.com helps students leverage vast amounts of data in much the same way as Netflix or Amazon provides recommendations based on large quantities of other users' input. Students input their academic profile, including their GPAs and SAT or ACT scores, extracurricular activities, location, and other factors. They are then shown colleges that may be a good fit for them based on the actual decisions and preferences of huge samples of former applicants who have shared their profile, and can search for other colleges that best fit their profile.
Once it's time to apply, instead of having to fill out forms and wait in line, students can request official transcripts online from wherever they are, and have them sent in the format a specific institution prefers – electronically, overnight, or regular mail. Students and parents can then get immediate confirmation that electronic transcripts have been received.
"We believe that by helping students manage their transcripts and analyze the data within, we empower them to make decisions that will better prepare them for college, and help them select the colleges they are more likely to succeed in," said Matthew Pittinsky, CEO of Parchment Inc. and co-founder of Blackboard Inc. "Harnessing the knowledge from our experience serving educational institutions, we are now helping individual students and their families to benefit as they navigate the college application process."
A core element of parchment.com was developed by two brothers, both in their twenties. James Pirruccello was a Yale senior who was puzzled by the lack of reliable relevant information when researching which medical schools would be right for him. Even after he got into medical school, he remained interested in solving this problem. Putting to use his interests in statistics and software development, and with the help of his brother Brent, a Stanford student, they developed a way for thousands of students to share their preferences and academic credentials from campuses all over the country.
"An enormous amount of effort is put into researching college admissions each year by students and parents, but all of that effort evaporates after each admissions cycle," said James Pirruccello, a General Manager of parchment.com. "When students use parchment.com, the fruits of their effort are passed along for the benefit of the next group of applicants. Parchment.com makes sense of all of this college admissions data, allowing us to provide benefits for the students such as acceptance chances, suggestions about colleges they might want to consider, and visualizations of what kinds of students are applying to each institution."
While other sites use social networking, students can transparently use the pooled data of their peers to help them better understand the schools they are applying to and which one to attend – a significant improvement over choosing a school only from brochures or a single college tour.
Parchment.com also breaks new ground when it comes to the traditional college-ranking system. Instead of basing rankings on subjective measures like reputation, or on distorting factors such as how many applicants each college rejects, parchment.com maintains a ranking of colleges and universities based on the relative percentage of students who prefer it when offered admission there.
And as with the SAT or ACT, students can opt to let colleges and universities searching for certain types of students for scholarship and recruiting purposes reach out to them directly.
Parchment.com is part of Parchment Inc. which was founded to provide the type and quality of education credential- and data-management that exist in other fields, such as credit information services and personal health and legal records management. Parchment, which is on track to deliver a million transcripts this year, also offers Docufide by Parchment, a platform that allows schools and universities to capture, transform, exchange and manage transcripts and other student records. With over 7,000 high schools, colleges, and universities, and with over a hundred thousand individuals having exchanged millions of transcripts and other student records, Docufide is the largest network for academic credentials in the world, and has been selected by six states to provide the infrastructure for electronic exchange initiatives.
Parchment's mission is to unleash education credentials by unlocking the critical data they embody. We work with institutions and corporations around the world helping people collect, promote and share their education credentials in simple and secure ways. Six state education agencies, 7,000 schools and universities and hundreds of thousands of individuals trust and rely on the Docufide by Parchment platform to transform and deliver millions of transcripts and other student records each year. Parchment is credentials unleashed. www.parchment.com
SOURCE Parchment Inc.