The Secrets to Keeping Reviewers on Task

Managing the personalities, busy schedules, and complexities of human reviewers can be challenging, even if your scholarship management software has streamlined much of the review process. Through the years, we’ve identified a few simple, strategic organizational tactics that will keep reviewers focused and on task, easing frustrations for everybody. Read on for a collection of strategies you can employ before and during reviews to make this year’s review process seamless and stress-free!

Before Your Review Process Begins

- Pre-deny your least qualified applicants to reduce the number of applications that need to be reviewed. For example, if you have a scholarship with a 2.5 GPA requirement and you have many applicants with much higher GPAs, you can pre-deny applicants on the lower end of the GPA threshold. To take this a step further, we recommend observing your qualifications, applicants, and awarded students over a couple of years to see if you can tighten up qualifications well before the application period even starts.

- Determine your assignment methodology. Decide how many reviewers you need and how many reviews each application should have. We recommend giving each application two initial reviews, with the option for a third review if there’s high variation between the first two scores.

- Create a simple, easy-to-use rubric. Use as few scorecards as possible (3-5 is ideal) and keep possible scores between 1-10 points. Managing the complexity of your scoring rubric will make it easier for each reviewer to evaluate applications accurately, uniformly, and quickly.

- Suppress unnecessary information from reviewers. There’s no need to bog down your reviewers with any application questions that aren’t directly related to your scorecards. In AwardSpring, you can suppress as many questions as needed so that reviewers can focus only on those responses that need to be scored.

During Your Review Process

- Communicate a clear deadline to your reviewers, even if it’s not truly critical. An unambiguous timeline will give you cover to check in with reviewers periodically, which may be all it takes to get everything done on time.

- Host a group kickoff to communicate expectations, answer questions, and troubleshoot. It may be challenging or even impossible to regularly gather all reviewers at the same time, but a single meeting can give your reviewers the confidence to work independently afterward. (And that’s one of the perks of using AwardSpring - your reviewers can work from anywhere, on any device they choose!)

- Send reminder emails. Send messages to the entire review team or just to individual reviewers to keep them on track. We recommend setting up consistent communications throughout the review period to ensure that important tasks remain top of mind for everybody involved.