IRVINE, Calif., Oct. 5, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — VolunteerCrowd (www.volunteer crowd.com) announced today it extended its partnership with Parchment to offer online character-strength letters of recommendation service to support the college admissions industry’s evaluation of applicants’ non-cognitive strengths.
Covid-19 and the College Admissions Scandal prompted colleges and universities to lean into holistic admissions with a renewed commitment to equity and access. Holistic applications include letters of recommendation.
With selective colleges and competitive careers, letters of recommendation contextualize and differentiate candidates with students’ life experiences, character strengths, commitment, and contributions. A recent course on writing letters of recommendation for character, hosted by Character Collaborative and NACAC, noted "70% of admissions officers deem character to be moderate to considerably important to an applicant’s candidacy." That is considerable and validates the need for a non-cognitive strengths letter of recommendation resource. Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Making Caring Common Project also emphasizes the importance of incorporating character in recommendation letters.
A student’s volunteer, job-shadowing, or internship experience can foreshadow future achievements. Students invest time and build relationships in these scenarios. Recommenders who observe the student can vouch for their character and commitment and give insight into their personal story – a perfect fit for a recommendation.
"Students ranging from middle school through medical school contribute to their communities, explore career paths, and develop soft-skills educators and employers feel are essential to success," according to Amy von Kaenel, CEO and Founder of VolunteerCrowd. "Our new letter of recommendation service is open to all students who want to demonstrate strengths outside of the classroom."
Candidates typically include letters of recommendation to complement high-stakes applications like:
- College, graduate, or medical school applications
- School and local service awards
- College financial and merit aid
- Internship and employment
VolunteerCrowd offers the first online letter of recommendation service for high school, and college students explicitly focused on non-cognitive strengths. VolunteerCrowd received a Startup Launch Grant awarded by UCI Beall Applied Innovation to research and implement VolunteerCrowd’s letter of recommendation service.
"We’re excited to expand our partnership with VolunteerCrowd to make requesting letters of recommendation, through non-traditional channels, easier for students," said Sarah Kiley, General Manager of K12 at Parchment. "It directly aligns with our mission to help as many learners as possible turn their credentials into opportunities."
VolunteerCrowd’s SaaS platform consolidates club, school, and individual volunteering, job-shadowing, and internships on a unified transcript. Students find, track, and verify academic and career-related projects and build their experience credentials in one place. Students’ verified transcripts and Letters of Recommendation characterize and affirm their contributions for service awards and scholarships, internships, college, and ultimately, employment applications. VolunteerCrowd is available to consumers, clubs, schools, or nonprofits.
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Parchment believes credentials matter in the lifelong journey of a learner. We deliver innovation and exceptional customer service through the most comprehensive digital credential management solution on the market. Connecting K12, higher education, and organizations on a single platform, we provide efficient, easy-to-use products to securely exchange and engage with credentials. The Parchment platform has helped millions of learners exchange more than 100 million credentials globally. We help turn credentials into opportunities.
Amy von Kaenel