• Feature Spotlight: Conditional Questions

    AwardSpring’s customizable application allows you to structure your questions however you like, including using conditional questions. We highly recommend incorporating conditional questions to collect applicants’ background information and make your application simpler and easier to use; in fact, your implementation expert will likely use them when initially configuring your site.

    Conditional questions use “if/then” logic to personalize the questions you ask students based on their answers to previous questions. That way, you can ensure that students only answer questions that are relevant to them.

    Here are some examples of common conditional questions:

    - Asking a student to choose his state from a list that appears only when he selects “United States” as his country of residence.

    - A multiple-choice “Which branch of the military have you served in?” question that appears only if a student answers “Yes” to a question about prior military service.

    - An essay question that pops up for a student to write about her volunteer work once she indicates that she has extensive volunteer experience to share.

    Conditional questions are most useful for collecting background information in an efficient, customized manner, because you can nest conditional questions to dive deeper and deeper into a specific topic without making your basic application any longer. Using conditional questions will give students a better, simpler application experience - which can increase your total applicants.

    If you need help implementing conditional questions, contact us at support@awardspring.com.

  • Optimizing Your Scholarship Application

    Is your scholarship application as easy to fill out as it could be? When was the last time you reviewed it in detail? We recommend revisiting your application every year to simplify, streamline, and clarify your application questions as much as possible. Increase applications and improve your review process with our application optimization tips and tricks!

    Debrief with your reviewers.

    Ask your review committee for feedback about last year’s application. What information was most crucial? What information did they not use at all? And what questions were missing that would have helped them make decisions faster? Your reviewers’ responses will help you make changes to your application that will improve the reviewing experience.

    Imitate successful applications.

    Here at AwardSpring, we’ve noticed a few trends among applications that have a high percentage of completion. These applications typically have:

    - Fewer than five sections 

    - No more than three essays  

    - Only one transcript requirement - the most recent one  

    - Only one required letter of recommendation  Very specific essay prompts (rather than a generic “Why should you receive this scholarship?”)

    In general, the most successful applications have limited requirements, specific requests, and user-friendly formats that provide students with flexibility in their answers. Adjust your own application to meet these standards and you’ll gain more applicants, more efficient review processes, and a better experience for all.

  • Award Cycle Preparation Best Practices

    Here at AwardSpring, we’ve seen many award cycles come and go - and we’ve noticed some important preparations that can help an award cycle run like a well-oiled machine. Read on for the steps you can take right now to make your next award cycle your best yet!

    Determine when your important milestones will be.

    When is your application deadline going to be? When should scholarship money be distributed? Once these dates are settled, it’s much easier to work backward to determine when the application window should open, award decisions should be made, and other important scholarship activities should take place.

    Set goals for the year.

    Figuring out your biggest priorities up front will help you use your time wisely throughout the award cycle. This year, is it more important to recruit new students or retain existing students? Do you plan to give away an entire endowment, or reserve some portion of it for next year? 

    Revisit students’ previous questions and problems.

    We suggest taking a look back at last year’s biggest problems or most frequent questions to guide you towards impactful changes to make this year. Review correspondence with students, notes you took, or memories you have about any aspect of the application process that proved troublesome. 

    Confirm all scholarship details.

    Review all of your scholarship listings for needed updates before the new award cycle begins. In particular, double check whether the award values and qualifications have changed. If you had a hard time attracting qualified applicants to a particular scholarship in years past, stay tuned for an upcoming article on increasing qualified applicants for specific actions you can take this year.

    Engage donors.

    Engaging donors throughout the award cycle can ensure a strong future for your scholarship program. Before a new award cycle starts, consider reaching out to donors to discuss any changes to scholarship requirements, to thank them for their support, and to report their impact on student recipients. 

    Review and update your application.

    The final step before starting a new award cycle is to make updates to your application. AwardSpring users may wish to review our previously published blog post about updating your AwardSpring site. For a complete primer specifically focused on applications, look for an upcoming guide to optimizing your application.

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