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How To Close a Scholarship Cycle - 4 Things To Keep In Mind

Better application management of scholarships, grants, awards, and more.

How To Close a Scholarship Cycle - 4 Things To Keep In Mind

When running a scholarship program, there’s a lot of excitement for each chapter. The lead up of searching for and acquiring the money. Then, putting the word out to the community and asking folks to apply for the scholarship. At some point though, you’ll need to know how to close a scholarship cycle. What happens at the end of the period? What needs to be done?

There are four critical things to keep in mind when closing a scholarship cycle. In this post, we’ll explore how to close scholarships successfully, and in a way that will set you up for an even better next cycle.

1. Set a deadline when the scholarship is set to close


Closing scholarship awards chapters requires having an end date in mind at the beginning of your program period. Everyone needs to know what the deadlines are for:

  • submitting their applications and relevant forms
  • expected deadline of your evaluation team to choose a recipient or group of recipients
  • estimated date of when you will notify the chosen recipient(s).

Having all of this information in writing will do two things. First, it will tell potential candidates when they need to get their materials ready. Second, it will keep you and your team accountable. Knowing that you have people expecting certain milestones to be met by specific dates will help you stay on track and get things done.

Pro tip: It’s a good idea to keep your donors and committee informed a year ahead.

The more notice everyone involved has, the easier it will be to do the following:

  • secure donations
  • get the word out about the scholarship program
  • find volunteers to help with the acquisition and  evaluation of applications
  • set up your systems and processes for outreach, marketing, communication, etc…

Having all of this information on a website will be helpful for donors, potential applicants, and evaluation team members as well. A website makes for a great platform to share case studies, testimonials, and donor shoutouts too.

2. Review applications against the set scholarship criteria

The scholarship criteria that you established in the beginning of your program is a critical element in how to close a scholarship cycle. Everyone who applied should have been made aware of what it takes to be chosen as a recipient, and now you must filter out the unqualified candidates until only the most deserving are left.


Use scholarship management software to make this process easier on yourself and your evaluation team. Good software will allow you to create scoring rubrics that will automatically remove lesser qualified candidates from your pool.

3. Send emails to winners with a personal touch

Create a template that you can use multiple times to inform recipients that they have been selected for the scholarship. However, don’t send it out without adding personal touches such as their name and some details about them. For example, an email that simply states they won would be exciting, but a more exciting notification would look like this:

Dear Caroline,

The Scholarships for Women Fund would like to inform you have been selected as one of the recipients of the 2022 Summer Semester Scholarship. Congratulations! We hope that your award of $10,000 will help you in your goals of completing a biology degree with Awesome State University. We know your ultimate goal is to attend Amazing Medical School, and look forward to watching your career unfold.

There will be a formal ceremony in March. We’ll be sending details on that soon.

Congratulations again, and we’ll be in touch very soon.

All the best,
The Scholarships for Women Fund Team

4. Disburse the funds and monitor using a tool like SmarterSelect

We shared in a recent post (link to Article 7), that one of the most important components related to how to close a scholarship cycle is ensuring the money goes to the intended students. That’s where scholarship management software like SmarterSelect comes in handy. Not only does it help you automate your evaluation process and communication with recipients, but it also helps you to monitor the disbursement of the scholarship funds and create reports related to your scholarship.

These four elements are critical to closing scholarship cycles effectively and efficiently. Want to learn more about what SmarterSelect can do for your scholarship program? You can try our software for free. Get started here today!


How-to Guide on Starting and Managing Scholarship Funds


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