• Preparing for Your Next Award Cycle

    No matter how well you prepared your AwardSpring site before your first award cycle, there will likely be adjustments you can make to your site to better streamline your process for your next cycle. Perhaps you didn’t anticipate that certain questions that would trip up your applicants. Maybe you forgot to ask an additional question or essay that could better illuminate students’ qualifications for your reviewers. 

    It's best practice to make these types of changes as you are preparing for your next award cycle. You have the chance to revisit your application and qualifications to smooth any wrinkles that arose during your previous cycle. 

    Here are some suggestions of changes you might want to consider:

    Make workflow corrections Were there particular sections that made the process difficult for applicants? Did you forget to ask an important question? Look back through old emails and tickets from your applicants if you need a refresher on what needs to be adjusted.

    Request custom reports Although you can request custom reports at any point during your award cycle, it is beneficial to ask for them in advance. During your cycle, you might have discovered that the default reports in the AwardSpring system could be tailored a bit more to your process needs. If this is the case, requesting custom reports at the beginning of your cycle will ensure you have your report when you need it. It’ll be right there in the report dropdown!

    Create donor profiles Between cycles is the perfect time to start building out donor profiles, if you haven’t already done so. We built the donor functionality to drive engagement and educate applicants about who is providing the opportunities. Donor profiles can include both internal fields (contact tab) and public-facing information such as profile photos and social media links (profile tab). Profiles can be maintained by either the donors themselves or by you the administrator, depending on how hands-on your donors want to be.

    Acquaint yourself with new features We are regularly adding new features and improving existing ones so we might have removed a constraint you experienced when setting up your previous award cycle. Release notes from the entire year can be found in the Help Center if you would like a full review of the new tools that have been built over the course of the last year. Implementing them might require making larger changes to the application itself so between cycles is the perfect time to do so. Some notable additions from the past year include external requests, custom reports, and impersonating student users.

    Add instructional text Were there places in your application that presented issues for your students? If you found yourself talking through the same questions, you might want to consider adding instructional text to your application to curtail confusion. For example, if you want to clarify for students where they can look up their student ID, you could include a hyperlink in an instructional text box to help them locate that information.

    You can find useful articles about how to make changes to your site in our comprehensive Help Center. And, as always, our support team is always available to talk through any questions you have come across or to help adapt features to fit your process. Don’t hesitate to reach out!

    Cass Montemagni
    Implementation & Training Specialist

  • Introducing External Requests

    We’re excited to introduce a new feature called External Requests. External Requests provide a new, flexible way to collect letters of recommendation, transcripts from counselors, approvals, and really anything you might want from a third party.

    Key parts of the new External Requests feature:

    • Mini-questionnaires - Use any of the standard AwardSpring question types (document upload, essay, single answer, etc.) to create a template form for the external party to complete.
    • Application Integration - Requests are handled similar to questions which means you can use conditional logic, make them required or optional, integrate them with instructional text, and even move them to other sections.

    With External Requests, applicants send emails to third parties to ask them to complete forms you have created. The applicant never sees the response, but is able to see that the request has been completed. This allows you to collect:

    • Structured letters of recommendations so each applicant is on a more level footing when being reviewed
    • Transcripts from counselors or approvals from superiors
    • New types of media like video and audio

    We're excited to see how you use External Requests to move more of your process online.

    Daniel Orofino
    VP, Product Management

  • Scholarship Management, and Why It Matters to Us

    The reality of our careers today, especially for those of us in higher education, is that we have many more responsibilities than defined by our “job description”. Rarely do we spend a majority of our time and energy working on what we had in mind to accomplish at the start of our day.

    We get that. And that pull you feel towards the dozens (or hundreds) of items on your to-do list is why we do what we do. We want to help make scholarship management less of a burden so you can complete your to-do list every day.

    So why scholarship management? What about the process of administering scholarships (and peripherally fellowships, stewardships and grants) is compelling? The answer is simple: we all understand how significant a role scholarships play in connecting students with their goal of advancing their education. Everyone at our company has scratched and clawed our way through finding a way to afford college. Everyone here understands how rewarding higher education can be in our lives and in the lives of those we care about. And every last one of us wants to help you continue to provide a way to make higher education more accessible and more affordable.

    Sounds too simple, but it’s the truth. The goal of AwardSpring and this blog is to share ideas on how to make your job easier. We’ll share stories about what’s happening with scholarships nationwide, changing trends in managing the process, upcoming industry events, and how our platform can help you achieve your goals.

    From each of us at AwardSpring, thank you for what you do. We hope our platform and the information provided in this blog will be a springboard for more efficient processes for you and your team.

    Kurt Reilly
    Co-Founder & CEO

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