Evaluations

Hello everyone,

This isn't a technical question per sae, but I was wondering how other organizations evaluate or score qualitative responses.

Having just completed our very first bursary cycle I was struck by how emotional the committees members evaluations were. We all found it incredibly difficult to be scoring one student's financial situation over any of the others and all six of us came to the table with a different top pick.

Our applicants were pretty equal in all other criteria, so it really came down to these stories of financial need. We were able to come to a consensus, but I'm wondering how we can minimize that emotional response and rely on something more concrete.

KaraAdams

Comments

  • LynsieLaughlinLynsieLaughlin
    Referral Rockstar Scholarship Lifecycle Manager (SLM) 25 Likes First Answer
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    edited June 2020

    Hi Michelle! Looking forward to hearing from others, but thought I'd throw in my two cents. Before joining the Foundant team, I was a grants and scholarship manager at The Dallas Foundation. I had one particular scholarship committee that wanted to make sure they were looking at objective criteria objectively, so we had a separate evaluation form that staff filled out. I believe that form only looked at two questions, GPA and financial need. We built a point scale, and simply assigned appropriate points for the students responses. (For example, a 4.0 GPA would receive 10 out of 10 points.) The financial need aspect was a bit more complex, but we took into consideration their EFC, the parents AGI, other dependents who were also currently college students, etc., and built a similar scale. Once those objective questions were answered by staff, the committee would evaluate more of the subjective side of things. I built a report in SLM to pull in the evaluators responses, the staff responses, and add together/aggregate some of that data. It took a while to build out correctly, but once we had it running, it was a HUGE help to kick off our decision meetings.

    I think it's tricky when using an evaluation form, to make sure you're not taking the human element out of it. So at those committee meetings there were certainly still times when on paper, the points were suggesting a different winner than the student we ultimately selected, and that's ok!

    Hope to hear how other foundations are battling this. I'm always interested to hear how you weigh the objective vs subjective side of competitive applications.

    KaraAdams
  • DanielleFleerDanielleFleer
    Groundbreaker 5 Likes First Anniversary
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    edited July 2020

    Hi @MichelleCollins ,

    I know it's been a while since you posted, but maybe this will still help.

    Our scholarships are merit based, but financial situations are a factor of how much a student is awarded.

    Similar to what was described above, for us, it has worked out best that the student financial situation is not part of the evaluations for the committee. Instead, we use a students EFC from their FAFSA or California Dream Act application (since we're in CA) to determine financial need. The student needs to submit a copy of their Student Aid Report to be considered. Then, as staff, we could mark the applications who have demonstrated financial need and award them the higher dollar amount if selected.

    I realize this may not work if your scholarship is need based, but having this uniform way of looking at the application I think might help. Some students have a way with words while others may have more need but aren't as good at pulling in the emotional side.

    Good luck!

    AndrewBlessingKaraAdamsLynsieLaughlinAshleyHarper
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