5 Scholarship Management Pitfalls And How To Avoid Them


Scholarship administration issues are frustrating for both students and administrators. It would be an understatement to say that administering scholarship programs can be time-consuming and unpleasant, not just for program administrators but also for candidates. 

Every step of the road presents a variety of problems when it comes to matching the appropriate applicants with the appropriate awards according to their academic merit, expertise, and interests.

In this blog post, we list the five common pitfalls that get in the way of streamlined scholarship management and how to avoid them.

Wasted Precious Administration Hours 

The manual procedure of matching candidates with available grants wastes far too much time. Cross-referencing people’s eligibility is the most bureaucratically demanding process. Manually gathering lists of all students in the department and entering them into spreadsheets to look through them for their eligibility can take hours and hours in order to match the correct application with the proper scholarship opportunity.

How To Avoid Wasting Administration Hours?

The best way to avoid getting stuck in the lengthy and time-wasting procedure is to use the tool available online to help you. 

Administrators may quickly and effectively identify the most qualified applicants for an award using the Award Matching function in the comprehensive Scholarship Management system from software like SmarterSelect, Submittable, etc. The team can filter the applicant pool based on their award criteria and identify the most suitable candidates thanks to these tools. 

This procedure retrieves highly individualized and pertinent outcomes by comparing applicants’ criteria-based profiles against the reward repository.

Unclear Scholarship Project Plan

In addition to an ill-defined scholarship project scope, a poorly prepared scholarship plan is another frequent scholarship management problem.

A scholarship plan is what scholarship managers execute to create a scholarship outline. It outlines the project’s objectives, tasks, and goals. but should also specify how they will achieve the funds and resources required, and a deadline.

The project plan should outline every aspect of the project and specify who is responsible for what.

How To Avoid Unclear Project Planning In Scholarship Management?

Create a thorough project strategy in advance of beginning any project.

A complete strategy should include answers to the how, why, what, who, when, and other related questions.

Additionally, when creating the plan, communicate with your teammates and project supporters to ensure that it is an accurate and realistic representation of what needs to be done and how it will be done.

Once a plan has been created, be sure to review it with your team, clients, and other stakeholders to make sure that everyone is on the same page. This will aid in preventing scope creep, as was previously mentioned.

Poor Communications Between Teams & Stakeholders

The disaster occurs when there is a gulf between both the group members and the project stakeholders due to poor interaction.

Although every component of managing scholarships is crucial, there is little prospect of success without strong communication. In fact, poor communication between teams and leadership is a contributing factor in 30% of project failures.

How To Avoid Poor Communication In Scholarship Management?

Effective communication between the team, stakeholders, and the team is therefore crucial. On the other hand, it offers several benefits, including aiding in your ability to comprehend your team members’ highs and lows so that you can give them the appropriate training and upskilling.

It is the responsibility of project managers to develop open lines of communication with the client, the team, and stakeholders. You will be able to manage the situation more effectively and come up with better ideas. 

Keeping applicants updated on important steps is also crucial for a smooth process. It helps applicants reduce stress from wondering when they need to complete their application or be notified if they win. Email can be a great channel for communication here as it’s used by everyone and allows you to automate messages. 

Not Using the Proper Tools to Simplify and Improve the Scholarship Campaign’s Effectiveness

When you try to handle a scholarship campaign alone, start pushing yourself too hard, or encourage your team to do the same, it is always risky and even difficult. That will make things more challenging rather than simpler.

Your scholarship drive must be a success with the least amount of money and the greatest available resources. What if your strategy is flawless, but your operational procedures are unattractive? The project might be a failure.

What To Do Instead?

Make a list of the tools you’ll require or that will enable you to finish the project effectively. Your task won’t become any easier as a result, but the project’s effectiveness will increase.

Utilize them to divide your scholarship drive into various quick stages. And you may make the procedure less complicated by adding them to your team along with the appropriate equipment, supplies, and funding. Train your team members to master resource planning tools if they are having trouble utilizing them.

You can use scholarship management software tools like Submittable, Reviewr, SmarterSelect, and Evalato to help you streamline your scholarship management and increase the campaign’s effectiveness. 

Don’t Create Your Application in a Hasty Manner

The biggest mistake scholarship management can do is to create the application form randomly and not target the right audience. Many scholarship organizations fail in their campaigns just because their application forms are not up to the mark and are not optimized to gather the right information from the applicant. 

How To Avoid This Application Pitfall?

Your application should have a flow to it. For instance, avoid placing unrelated inquiries in the same section or adjacent pages, and avoid compiling all of your queries into a single lengthy form. Instead, make several pages and sections.

Make the application process simple and stress-free for your applicants. Create logical parts and pages for the application, or as we like to say, “bite-sized portions.”

Putting personal information first, academic information second, essays third, recommendations fourth, etc. This aids the applicant in concentrating on the key elements of each section of the application.

The less your team has to field frantic emails and phone calls from applicants, the more information you can provide so they can resolve their own problems and answer their own questions.

Include brief explanations in all of your application questions, as well as a section with the solutions to your most often asked questions, so that candidates can aid themselves. We also advise including a request for recommendation letters earlier in your application. Send candidates who have not sent recommendations or who have outstanding recommendations regular reminders to finish this process.

Bottom Line 

People leave their managers, not their projects, for obvious reasons. When that happens, individuals either can’t see their campaigns progressing or they stop experiencing the best things. These are the top five mistakes that turn a scholarship campaign into a failure, but as mentioned above, using the advice above will help you avoid making additional errors and successfully complete your project.

Scholarship administration is made simpler by SmarterSelect. They make setting up and managing a successful scholarship program simpler than ever. They have assisted other program administrators in efficiently handling their own scholarships, and can assist you as well.


Author bio:

Mr. Robert Davis is the Founder and President of SmarterSelect, a Dallas, TX based SaaS company that provides online application management services to scholarship, grant, and award providers such as foundations, universities, corporations, and associations. Prior to that he has served as President and CEO of network management firms Tavve Software and Oculan. He has served as a VP and General Manager at IBM/Tivoli Systems. Mr. Davis held several executive roles and was one of the first employees with The Tigon Corporation, a $250M telecom startup acquired by Lucent/Avaya. He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a MBA from Southern Methodist University.




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