How to Increase Qualified Scholarship Applicants

Promoting your scholarships far and wide is the first step to increasing applicants, but there are two more effective tactics you can employ to ensure those applicants are well qualified:

Tactic #1: Encourage donors to make scholarship stipulations more inclusive

Many donors feel that they should include as many requirements and qualifications as possible to find the perfect scholarship candidate. The truth is, the more requirements a student must meet, the greater the likelihood that none of your applicants will qualify. Encourage donors to reduce their requirements to the most basic level - and to share any preferred qualities above and beyond the minimum, which can help tip the balance when making award decisions. 

Tactic #2: Make it easier for students to complete their application

The easier the application process is for students, the more completed applications you’ll receive. An easy place to start is by reevaluating the questions you ask applicants. How many of those questions yield data that you actually use in awarding decisions? Ask your reviewers what questions and information are most important to them and consider dropping the rest. (Students and reviewers alike will appreciate shorter applications!) Also consider how many recommendation letters are really necessary. Many scholarship applications require three letters of recommendation, but 50% of students’ requests for these letters go unanswered. Would a single letter of recommendation suffice? As for application essays, help students focus by providing clear, specific prompts rather than open-ended, general questions. You can also set essay length limits, which will help students present stronger, well-edited work. 


While these two tactics are sure to expand your pool of qualified applicants no matter how you manage your scholarships, using the AwardSpring system can help even more. Automatic matching, for example, applies students to all opportunities for which they qualify - even those the student may not have known about. To learn more about how AwardSpring can help you increase qualified applicants, contact us for a platform walkthrough.