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8 Scholarship Application Template Mistakes to Avoid

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

8 Scholarship Application Template Mistakes to Avoid

When designing an application for your scholarship program, you may be using templates to help you accomplish the task much faster. That said, there are some scholarship application template mistakes you will want to avoid if you hope to create one that will meet your needs. 

Below we’re sharing eight of them in the hopes of setting you up for the best possible chances of success.

1. Not Using a Template at all

We see far too many scholarship program managers trying to create forms on their own without utilizing the scholarship application template resources available to them. They tirelessly exhaust themselves trying to think of everything they should or could include in their forms, only to inevitably forget something. Don’t reinvent the wheel. There are people who have done this before you, and you can borrow their good ideas!

2. Copying/Using a Random Application off the Internet

You can pull a scholarship application template off of random websites that have forms available for download. However, it’s better to use templates that are provided with application management software designed for scholarship programs. This way you can ensure you are using better questions and qualifiers to find the best possible candidates for your programs.


3. Using the Wrong Application Management Software

It goes without saying that not all software is the same. While SmarterSelect is not the only application management system on the market, we give program managers the best value for their money. Read about who we are and what we’ve done here.

4. Forgetting to Include Qualification Factors

Adding qualifiers to your chosen scholarship application template will help you ensure that only the people you want to consider for receiving a scholarship even apply. Ask yourself things like:

  • Can graduate or undergraduate college students both apply, or is this limited to high school students?
  • Is this scholarship for one field of study?
  • Are there any geographic, socioeconomic or even gender specific criteria you want to use?
  • What about GPA? Does this factor into who qualifies?

5. Not Asking the Right Questions

While you should include a number of qualifiers to thin out your application pool, you also need to make sure you’re asking the right questions in the right way. This is where our scholarship application template options come in handy! You can view real applications and see the questions that other program managers have asked, and the prompts they have offered to help applicants fill out the form correctly. 

For example, you can avoid a lot of troubleshooting and customer service by:

  • Setting the expectations for essay length
  • Putting character or word limits on responses
  • Making your instructions clear to receive reasonable answers to each question
  • Breaking prompts down into multiple questions for easier reading to assess applications faster

6. Making Your Application Too Complicated

Using a scholarship application template with our software doesn’t mean you won’t overcomplicate things. It’s easy to go overboard with too many essays or too many questions that are difficult to score. What you need is a user-friendly layout. For example, divide the application into different sections and pages. This makes it easier for candidates to process and respond to questions. And, avoid asking for more information than necessary. 

Remember, you and your team will likely have hundreds if not thousands of applications to go through. Therefore, it’s best to only collect the relevant information that will qualify or eliminate candidates from your application pool.


7. Neglecting to Include Field Validation

Some applicants may write the date as month, date, and year (i.e. April 22, 2021). Others might utilize numbers, hyphens, or backslashes (i.e. 10-21-21 or 10/21/21). People write phone numbers differently as well. Some using hyphens and others using parentheses. This is where field validation comes in handy. 

We also allow you to put a cap on things like GPA and income - for example, your GPA number may not exceed 4.0 and income can’t exceed $24,000 per year respectively. Our software makes it easy to calculate numbers and using score rubrics to filter out unqualified candidates much faster as well.

8. Trying to Go It Alone

One of the most important reasons to use SmarterSelect for your scholarship program is our community forum. While we have several scholarship application templates, we also understand that sometimes it helps to talk to other program managers to get feedback and kick around ideas. If that wasn’t enough, we also have tutorials and training designed to help you with every aspect of program management. 

Learn more about what SmarterSelect can do for you for free. To create your free account we’ll just need a little information, and you can get started in a few minutes. Click here to start your free trial now!

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