Some may even look at the idea of promoting scholarships and say, why is there even a need to do that? Colleges and universities are essentially giving away free money! Why aren’t students scrambling to get a piece of that pie?
Turns out the biggest reasons students miss out on scholarships are – brace yourselves – because they don’t apply for them. Studies show that 1 in 5 students don’t apply for scholarships or financial aid for several reasons ranging from myths leading them to believe scholarships must be paid back, to lack of information on how to apply. So how do we remedy that, from a marketing point of view?
1. Scholarships need to be marketed, believe it or not.
Clearly just having the pots of money available for students isn’t working. Students need to know what they are and how to apply to them, and the easiest way to do that is through platforms that they are already familiar with.
Using Facebook and Instagram advertisements is a good first step. Facebook has over 1.18 billion daily active users and Instagram captures about 800 million per day, and both of these platforms are mostly used by a younger audience. By advertising your scholarship on these platforms, you also get the added benefit of being able to track your own performance. Being able to trace how an ad students saw on a social media platform funneled through to them actually completing an application and submitting it, is important data that your team can then use in the next application cycle.
2. Don’t make it hard to apply.
Flyers and posters can still be just as effective as digital advertisements, but only if they can be made as omnipresent by making sure that the call-to-action is clear. Students will roughly spend about 3 seconds reading a poster on a wall, meaning that bold colors and clear language is going to be crucial. Make sure that the line of sight travels down to one, easy-to-recall call-to-action that’s going to be an application link that’s clear and concise. A good example would be: www. stanford.edu/scholarships-2018
3. Physical events can be immensely helpful.
Events are also a great way to engage students (and parents!), especially because they can walk away with the confidence of having met face-to-face with a scholarship administrator. Hosting a workshop-type event led by a financial aid administrator that can answer questions and guide students through the process of completing a scholarship application can be helpful for any students or parents with lingering questions on eligibility and process. It’s also a good idea to give away free swag that has the scholarship application link on it as well, for maximum outreach!
4. Make things easy by partnering with a Scholarship Management Software.
Close to 10% of students who don’t apply for aid do so because the application process is too difficult. Partnering with a Scholarship Management Software that can make the application process less of a hurdle can bring about immense returns in the long run. Some features that can really help students over the common application stumbling points are:
- Having all scholarship applications in one, standardized platform
- Save-and-return-later feature
- Autofill pre-existing data
- Conditional fields for more concise application forms
5. Always have an Action Plan.
Last but not least. make sure to draw out an action plan so that successful strategies are easy to repeat. What marketing strategies worked and why? Did it work to have multiple plans of attack, such as planning events on top of digitally targeted ads? Having a clearly written out action plan that your team is going to follow during one application cycle is going to help make the next one even better.
Already with OpenWater’s Scholarship Management Software? Have you checked if your organization is OpenWater certified? Hurry! Check out our calendar to find out about upcoming webinars and certification programs.
Did you know that OpenWater has its own Scholarship Program? We as a company believe in giving back to the community and helping foster the next generation of marketers, software developers, and entrepreneurs. Click here to find out more.