• Feature Spotlight: Auto-Apply

    AwardSpring’s Auto-Apply feature makes life easier for student applicants and administrators alike. For administrators, Auto-Apply eliminates tedious work, enhances award decisions, and increases long-term student retention. Meanwhile, student applicants save time with one universal application and appreciate the opportunity to be considered for all qualified scholarships.

    Here’s how it works. Let’s say that John, a prospective student, just completed a simple scholarship application for your college. AwardSpring will scan all of your other scholarships to see if John qualifies for any of them. If so, John’s application will be automatically submitted for each qualified scholarship.

    “The AwardSpring Auto-Apply feature is amazing.” -Cassie Fleming, Grants Manager, Community Foundation of Grant County Indiana

    With Auto-Apply, you have a larger applicant pool to choose from for each of your scholarships. You’ll be able to use more of your scholarship funds, and you’ll have a better chance of finding the student who best matches your donor’s goals. That will keep your donors both happy and engaged!

    “Our first year, we had a one-third increase in the number of completed student applications over all previous years.” -Sonja Hix-Cortina, Director of Member Services, Civica Management, Colorado Nurses Foundation

    Students love Auto-Apply, too. It eliminates any confusion about eligibility and saves students time in the application process. Students instantly become eligible for more scholarship funds, making your institution more attractive.

    AwardSpring’s Auto-Apply feature is turned on by default, but you can always turn it off if you’d like. If you do turn it off, just keep in mind that you’ll miss out on 5-10% of your qualified applicants.

    Other scholarship management software solutions may offer similar qualified matching, but they typically still require several additional steps and may not capture all qualified students. AwardSpring auto-applies students based on robust matching criteria that you customize. During implementation, our incredible staff will take care of setting up all of your scholarships - including your matching criteria. Then, you can sit back and enjoy watching all of those qualified applications roll in!

    To learn more about AwardSpring, request a walk-through of our platform and its benefits.

  • AwardSpring Implementation: What to Expect

    Traditional software implementations come with a negative stigma. Doesn’t it seem like software companies habitually overpromise and underdeliver? None of that is true with our system. In fact, empirical evidence and feedback from our customers shows that implementing AwardSpring is usually described as “no big deal”. So, what’s our secret?

    Here at AwardSpring, we have a long tradition of making incremental improvements to our implementation process based on our customers’ feedback. We’ve made it our mission to make implementation as smooth and seamless for our customers as possible. Here’s how:

    --Dedicated implementation support. At the very beginning, we assign you your very own implementation manager who is dedicated to your institution throughout your entire first cycle, from the day your contract is signed through the last award that’s handed out. He or she will become an extension of your team, learning as much about your scholarship administration as your best employee.

    --Optimized training path. We’ve developed a very specific order of operations for all of our implementation milestones that maximizes your understanding of the process while minimizing your time commitment. We’ll train you using your real data, not a simulation, so you truly understand every aspect of your new scholarship management system.

    --Streamlined data entry. Many of our competitors force their customers to do all the data entry work required to set up scholarships in their system. Not us! Just give us your data in any format - spreadsheets, PDFs, web pages, etc. - and we will build a simple, clean version of your scholarship application, with check-ins along the way to make sure you’re happy with our work.

    --Highly responsive customer service. Have a question? We’re here for you throughout the life of our partnership. In fact, we’ll respond to your inquiry within 30 minutes during our normal support hours. 98.8% of respondents rate their AwardSpring support experience as “good” after their issue is resolved.

    "The ease of setup benefited both administrators and students…They assisted us from start to finish with custom designing the system to meet our needs." -James Trimboli, Director of Financial Aid, Niagara County Community College

    If you’re currently using a manual process to manage your scholarships, implementation should take 8-12 weeks. It can take even less time if you’re switching from another scholarship management software to AwardSpring. Find out more about implementation through a one-on-one conversation with us.

  • Why Usability Matters

    When evaluating scholarship management solutions, ease of use might be the most important factor to consider. The three main populations of people using the software - administrators, reviewers, and students - are quite diverse in age and technological savvy. An intuitive, well-designed user interface is essential to serving all users well and minimizing mistakes and frustrations.

    AwardSpring was specifically designed to address ease-of-use concerns that we heard from our first customers. Here’s how the application is specially designed for each of our main user groups:

    Administrators

    We know that administrators come and go, so it’s essential that even brand-new users feel comfortable and confident using AwardSpring. Intuitive drag-and-drop functionality makes it simple to add or modify questions and add conditional logic for applicants. And since AwardSpring is designed for mobile, administrators can seamlessly switch between working on a desktop, laptop, and iPad.

    Reviewers

    Some reviewers are very tech-savvy; others, not so much. The reviewer’s AwardSpring experience was designed specifically for those who may be less comfortable with technology to make it as user-friendly as possible. There’s just one button to click on each page, so it’s impossible for a reviewer to get lost. Once an application is scored, scores are automatically saved and the next application is just a single click away, saving time and effort. And everything can be done on the reviewer’s preferred device.

    "The usability of the program has helped empower our team and translates to serving our students well. It's efficient on multiple fronts. Even reviewers with no technology experience picked up on the process quickly due to how neat the system is." -Darren Echols, Director of Admissions, Lee University

    Students

    These days, students are generally very comfortable with devices and technology, but the scholarship application process may be a new experience. AwardSpring guides students through their applications step by step and automatically saves students’ progress after every answered question. Once a student completes an application, he or is is automatically applied to any other scholarships for which he or she is qualified. And of course, these tech-savvy students are able to use AwardSpring on any device they want!

    "It is very user-friendly. And the web-based system allows me to access it from anywhere and help people on the go." -Rachel Debigare, Executive Director, The Education Foundation of Alachua County

    How We Create Outstanding User Experiences

    To ensure that the user experience is always top of mind, we ask ourselves two important questions before we design anything new: Where are there opportunities for mistakes or misunderstandings? What would the consequences of a mistake be for our end users? The answers to these questions drive our design decisions.

    We use three techniques to make our application easy to use:

    --Clear, simple language. We scrutinize all of the text in AwardSpring to ensure it is accurate, clear, and easy to understand.

    --Additional explanatory text. In areas where there is a potential for confusion, we’ve included explanations that clarify the action about to be taken. Just click or tap on the question mark icon to reveal the explanatory text.

    --Confirming important changes. When a user is about to make a disruptive or irreversible change, a pop-up confirmation box details the results of the action and asks the user to confirm that he or she wants to continue. This way, we reduce the risk of accidentally making a permanent change.

    Creating an excellent user experience doesn’t happen by accident. It requires thousands of little decisions that seem individually inconsequential but result in a simple, understandable experience in the end. Every time we add a new feature, we have to consider how it fits into the administrator’s, reviewer’s, and student’s workflow. There is a significant development cost to building for usability first, but we wouldn’t do it any other way.

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