Scholarships and funding are sometimes one of the most vital considerations for students who are planning to pursue higher education. Schools all over the world provide scholarships to deserving students. Usually, schools promote their scholarship awards via their website, social media, or external media. They only accept applications within a specific time frame and students must complete and submit applications within this period id they would like to be considered.
That’s everything from students’ end. Once a scholarship application is submitted, the school’s designated staff takes over to review the applications and finally provide the student with a final result.
The whole process may sound easy, but it involves a plethora of tasks and back-and-forth communication. Therefore, when a school reviews and manages scholarship applications’ statuses manually, there is a high risk of miscommunication or mistakes. For example, if a school accepts scholarship applications via email, then a staff member has to download all documents one at a time, copy all the information into a central database manually, and then, review the application manually! There is no room for a collaborative review process. Also, in the process of copying-pasting, information may be lost. On top of that, if there is an influx of scholarship applications, the manual process can be easily overloaded, leading to chaos!
Saying this, in a manual process staff can hardly notify students about their scholarship application processing statuses. I mean, there are steps in the each school’s application review process and it’s better to inform student about the progression of their application. But in a manual way, that’s quite difficult. If someone tries to execute that, it also may lead to a chaotic situation!
Nobody wants that! So, there are two ways to mitigate these issues:
- Allocate more staff and give them more time (not feasible in most cases).
- Automate the entire solution to efficiently organize and review applications (now we are talking!).
Let’s learn a little bit about automating the scholarship application status management process!
Automation in Action: Scholarship Application Status Management
Simply put, in an automated scholarship application status management process, most of the manual tasks are being delegated to a digital platform so the school’s staff does not have to spend time and resources on these repetitive tasks.
To achieve this, you will need a solid strategy. A strategy will outline the entire process, the steps in the process, and the tasks associated with each of the steps. Then, you will need digital tools and streamline those tools so all the tasks are executed perfectly in a synchronized manner.
In this blog, we are discussing the overall strategy and four easy steps to set up an automated scholarship application status management solution.
Step 1: Accepting Applications Online
The whole process starts with accepting applications from students. This step should be user-friendly so students feel comfortable while filling out applications. In most cases, they may have to download a form, fill it out, and submit it via email. That can be a difficult process. Instead, schools can set up a detailed scholarship application form using a digital form builder tool. That form can be embedded onto a school’s website or a landing page. Students can provide their information, upload any necessary documents, and easily submit the form.
This form is connected to a CRM system where all applications will be stored.
Also, as soon as someone submits the application form online, they will receive a confirmation message, acknowledging the application submission.
Step 2: Notifying Staff
Once an application is submitted, staff will receive a personalized message that notifies them about the newly received application. Also, for each application, a personalized task will be created in the central dashboard in the CRM. Once the staff reviews all applications and ensure that they meet minimum requirements, they can complete the task, which will put the application in the first step of the review process.
At the same time, students will get a confirmation message that their application meets the minimum criteria and is actively being reviewed by the school. Similarly, applications that do not meet the minimum criteria will be rejected automatically and the students will receive notifications.
Step 3: Reviewing Applications
In this step, all applications that meet the minimum requirements are put into a scholarship application processing pipeline. Depending on each school’s system and policies, this process can vary in terms of the number of steps. As applications are reviewed in collaboration among the staff members, they can be placed in different stages of the process. For instance, University ABC’s scholarship application process has three steps: Initial Review, Final Review, and Final Result. So, when an application is moved to the Final Review stage from the Initial Review stage, the student who submitted the application will get a personalized notification.
This pipeline or stage system to review applications is quite an effective strategy. It not only gives you a quick overview of how the overall process is going but also makes it easy to track applications. You can also delegate individual staff members to review applications within a specific step so the whole process is perfectly synchronized.
Step 4: Final Decision
Once the review is complete, applications can be moved to the final decision stage. Here, depending on the policies of schools, applications can be moved to different final decision stages. These can be full scholarships, partial scholarships, and unsuccessful applications. Depending on the stage where an application is placed, those who submitted those applications will get personalized notifications.
For instance, if a student is awarded with full scholarship, then their application can be moved to the “Accepted- Full" stage and that student will receive a personalized notification. Similarly, a student whose application is not accepted will be placed in the unsuccessful stage and they will receive a different personalized notification.
Staff can now make a separate list of successful scholarship applications and send personalized letters to them. This should be an easy job now!
So, these are the four steps to build an automated scholarship application status management solution. Using this solution, schools can easily manage thousands of scholarship applications without allocating additional resources and time.
The big question is: what do you need to build the solution?
Well, as discussed earlier, you will need a variety of digital tools to build the solution. From a digital form builder and a CRM, to email, SMS, and fax marketing software, a lot of tools are needed. On top of that, these tools should be interconnected so the transition from one task to another is smooth and flawless.
Indeed, it takes time and effort to build such a solution – despite the fact the solution sounds intriguing! Fortunately, SimplyCast has anticipated the growing need for an automated scholarship application status management solution and has developed a fully ready-to-use solution.
Our automated scholarship application management solution is built by using our in-house resources and it is powered by our digital automation technology. We can customize the solution based on your school’s requirements and also can help you to put a custom strategy together so all your needs are met.
SimplyCast is an ISO 27001:2013-certified company. Our platform is hyper-scalable and we deploy military grade security to protect our clients’ data. So, if you want to process thousands of scholarship applications at once and ensure that your data is perfectly safe, we can do that for you!
Request a one-on-one demo with our experts today.