There has been a significant increase in the number of educational institutions, scholarships, and grants in the last decade. Consequently, this has led to a thriving applicant-driven economy. Given the numerous opportunities available, most applicants have grown incredibly selective and would not hesitate to drop frustrating applications to seek other more convenient opportunities.
According to Admitsee, many students are not only frustrated by the high tuition fees but also the tedious process of applying for admissions and financial aid. No wonder several applications go uncompleted. Unfortunately, this leads to a limited pool of applicants. How can you keep your applicants happy and engaged during your entire application process?
1. Introduce an eligibility quiz
Whether for admission or scholarship, the application process is a journey, and not everyone can participate. The eligibility quiz aims to assess whether each potential applicant is qualified to go on the application journey. While application requirements technically inform students whether they are eligible to apply to a programme or not, several unqualified applicants still do anyway and later wonder why their applications were unsuccessful.
Including an eligibility quiz at the start of your applications ensures that only qualified students can apply, weeding out the ineligible ones to save their time and yours. The best way to make your eligibility quiz effective is to keep it short and make sure that all questions directly tie back to specified application requirements.
2. Keep your requirements simple
While you want to get the right-fitting applicants, you also don’t want to be limited to just a handful of candidates. Instead of a laundry list of application requirements that are unattainable to most of your would-be applicants, opt for practical and flexible requirements that are inclusive. You should not have to pass on highly qualified candidates because they did not “check all the boxes.” Asides from your requirements, the application itself should be just as clear and straightforward.
According to CareerBuilder, 60 percent of job seekers abandon filling out job applications due to their length or complexity. Of course, a thorough application is crucial to the evaluation process. Still, there is a difference between asking a few relevant questions and numerous redundant questions requiring in-depth answers. To ensure that your potential candidates actually complete their applications without getting frustrated and giving up, endeavor to make the applications as concise as possible. They should not take too long to complete. Also, make sure your application page or portal is easy to navigate.
3. Only request information once
It is interesting how several applications up until this moment still require variants of the same information countless times, leading to lengthy applications. For instance, if you allowed your applicants to upload their CVs and share their LinkedIn profiles on the application page, why should they need to manually input personal information, educational background, work experience, and other related information again later in the application?
By requesting information only once, you speed up the application process significantly. This helps applicants focus on the essential questions, avoiding the frustration of repeatedly filling out the same information. The best way to eliminate the repetition of related questions is to use an admission or scholarship management system. The system requests and stores information only once, applying it to all subsequent sections.
4. Allow applicants to save their progress
A common complaint among applicants is that they sometimes lose everything they had worked on, probably because the application page mistakenly got refreshed, the save feature did not actually work, or there was no save progress feature, to begin with. In such cases, they might get frustrated and give up altogether.
Meanwhile, the inability to save progress means the applicants need to complete their applications and submit them instantly or risk having to start afresh. In the process, they might make mistakes or skip sections with no opportunity to undo them. By providing the auto-save feature, you enable your applicants to work on their application segment by segment and at their pace without having to start over.
5. Communicate with your applicants effectively
Effective communication is crucial throughout the application process. From the moment candidates submit their applications, another aspect of the journey begins. They should get a confirmation of receipt of their application; an automated message would work great. After application submission, you should also keep an open line of communication with them to answer their questions or request additional information if need be. Beyond that, keeping them engaged throughout the submission and waiting time can be important so they are less agitated and frustrated until they receive the final feedback.
For instance, you can regularly share helpful information and engaging content related to your college or scholarship to get them excited and updated about what is to come. Finally, when you select the successful candidates, endeavor to inform the other applicants of your final decision, so they know not to wait anymore. You might not have the time to email every single applicant and give personal feedback, so again, automated messages work. Don’t burn bridges. Remember, they might be a crucial part of your future applicant pool.
The process of admission and scholarship applications can be time-consuming. However, with the tips above, you will be able to simplify your application and retain as many qualified candidates as possible. To make the process even easier, try DreamApply – a platform with multiple solutions that help streamline admission, scholarship, and grant application management processes.