The notion that students like free money leaves many people believing that running a scholarship program is easy. Well, it’s not a walk in the park; you need strategic marketing techniques, effective communication channels, and a sound scholarship management system to attract many applicants.
However, most scholarship donors face one main challenge beyond getting many applicants—getting more qualified applicants. So, how do you ensure your program attracts more qualified applicants?
Keep reading this guide for tips on how to attract more qualified applicants for your scholarship programs.
Use Alumni and Past Recipients as Recruiters
Using alumni or past recipients to act as recruiters for your scholarship program can go a long way in helping you get more qualified applicants.
Typically, most alumni and past recipients know of qualifying students who may be a good fit for your program. So, through word of mouth, they will urge such students to apply for your scholarship program.
In some cases, they may even guide qualifying students in applying for your program, making the application process more manageable. Besides, the alumni can explain the program’s benefits to the students and help them craft their application to meet your needs.
Alumni and past recipients act as a cost-effective and valuable marketing technique in attracting more qualified scholarship applicants.
So it’s advisable to keep track of your alumni and past recipients. You can maintain connections through social media and send them messages anytime you need their help with your scholarship management service. You can even send out emails to all the alumni and past recipients in your email list.
Use 1 Application for Multiple Scholarship Programs
Scholarship application calls for a sound scholarship management system to make the application process seamless for both the applicant and your workforce.
Therefore, if you’re offering multiple scholarship programs, it’s advisable to use one application to cater to all the programs. Through the single application platform, applicants submit all their general information such as name, location, GPA, class standing, contact details, etc.
Your scholarship management software then uses this general information to match the applicants to their eligible scholarship programs. This means you get more qualified applicants for your scholarship programs making sorting easier and less time-consuming.
With the applicants automatically added to their qualifying programs, any other information required is customized to align with the program. As a result, the applicants won’t spend much time answering questions not relevant to the program they are applying for.
To achieve this, you need to invest in quality scholarship management software and have a tech-savvy workforce.
Broaden the Application Window
With a shorter scholarship application timeline, you’re likely to get many incomplete applications making it hard to get qualified applicants. Therefore, it’s advisable to give your applicants ample time to complete their applications.
With an extended application window, applicants will have enough time to research vital information about your program, what you’re looking for, and how to increase their chances of qualifying, to mention a few. With such vital information at their fingertips, they’ll complete the application to the best of their abilities, increasing your chances of getting more qualified applicants.
It’s important to understand that you’re dealing with students who may be juggling between schoolwork and trying to secure financial aid. So, the longer the application period, the more favorable your scholarship program will be for them.
Typically, you can provide applicants with at least two months to submit their applications.
Besides working in favor of the applicants, a longer application window also helps you point out potential areas or improvements to help get more qualifying applicants. For example, if you’re not satisfied with the applications you’re receiving, you may decide the adjust your eligibility criteria to capture more qualifying applicants. You can also change your marketing techniques to reach a broader target audience.
Market Your Scholarship using New Communication Channels
Gone are the days when scholarship donors relied on brochures and flyers to market their programs. Today, marketing dynamics are changing, with almost every promotional method relying on the internet. And with the current technological advancements, new communication, and marketing channels are emerging at a high rate, so you should be on the lookout for those relevant to students.
To reach a wider student audience and attract more qualified applicants, you can use channels such as:
Through these channels, you can target a specific group of students. For example, with Facebook, you could show your scholarship ad to medical students aged 18-24 living in Atlanta and pursuing a 4-year long medical degree program. The more specific your scholarship ad is, the higher the chances of getting more qualified applicants.
If you’re ready to simplify your scholarship management process, get started with Scholar’s App today.