In many institutions, the scholarship application and management processes are cumbersome for both students and staff. With better tools, the procedures could be greatly improved for all parties, yet scholarship applications tend to lag behind other similar processes when it comes to ease of use.

What scholarships applications could learn from college applications

Scholarships are often vital to student success, but methods for delivering this funding are often a secondary consideration to those that actually get students accepted. This can make it hard for applicants to get the financial assistance they need to complete their education. Similarly, the scholarship period can be difficult for staff members who aren’t given the tools to effectively manage the process. Instead, schools should consider how college applications have been streamlined for tips.

Established in 1975, the Common Application has made it easier for students to complete applications for a wider variety of schools, increasing the likelihood of getting in somewhere. At this point, according to the organization’s website, there are 548 member institutions. Rather than filling out separate forms for each, the Common Application allows students to fill out primary information just once, saving a significant amount of time.

Other schools have created similar innovations to streamline college applications. Goucher College recently announced that interested applicants could eliminate the typical application process entirely, in favor of a simple video submission, the Washington Post reported. Prospective students have two minutes to answer the question, “How do you see yourself at Goucher?” Any form of video will do, from cellphones to handheld digital cameras.

In an interview with the newspaper, President Jose Bowen said that the move will make it easier for students of all backgrounds to enter school.

“I’m convinced we are leaving talent on the table in this country because the process is so complicated and stressful. I want to level the playing field,” he said.

Moving toward process improvement

In the same regard, scholarship applications should be easy enough that students should have no problem handling a handful at one time. On top of that, a better system means college and university staff handling the applications will be able to complete the process more efficiently.

Goucher provides another good example to other universities and colleges in the way it noted the increasing prevalence and accessibility of video technology.

While scholarship applications may not be going that route any time soon, scholarship management procedures should absolutely be taking advantage of other widespread technological improvements, such as cloud-based software. According to a blog from Ellucian, if your school is not already taking advantage of the cloud, you’re already behind the curve.

Cloud-based scholarship management software like CommunityForce’s can make it easier for students and staff by providing a single interface where applicants and reviewers can log in. Moreover, the interface can communicate effectively with student data centers and update certain information immediately, like grade point average.

Scholarship management platforms streamline the process on both ends, enabling students to easily apply for more scholarships and for staff to more effectively perform the review process and deliver funding.