Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Atlanta Panhellenic Opens Scholarship Competition Online

The Atlanta Alumnae Panhellenic Association has opened its annual scholarship competition to women in high school, college, or graduate programs.  For the first time, applications will be accepted online.

The following scholarships will be awarded at the Scholarship Luncheon on May 13, 2017:

Six (6) High School Senior Scholarships at $1,500 each

Three (3) Collegiate Member Scholarships at $2,000 each

One (1) Alumnae Scholarship at $2,000

Learn more and access the secured applications at http://www.atlantapanhellenic.org/scholarships/

That's the official announcement from AAPA, a 10-year client of SDOC.

Now here's the rest of the story....

For years the Scholarship Committee requested that the application forms in the competition be formatted as fillable PDFs - the kind you can download, fill in on your computer, print and then mail.  The members at the time thought it would be easier.  For them it probably was.  This year the Scholarship chair wanted AAPA to organize a procedure that mirrored other online applications.  The PDFs were put out to pasture and yours truly was tasked with creating a system of online applications.

There is no "plugin" or "extension" for scholarship applications for your CMS and you don't need one.  I created the system for AAPA using Contact Form 7 for WordPress.  (You can do the same thing with other content management systems - the original Dunwoody Chamber online application was made with the Webform plugin.)

The key is in the details.  First, make a very clear list of what information you need to collect from your visitors.  Then you decide how you want to collect that info - entering text into a box, selecting from a drop-down menu, uploading a file, etc.  Finally you divide up the info into forms for each group you want to reach and sequence them so that your visitor has a logical workflow that leads them from one step to the next.

Complex information collection doesn't require fancy add-ons.  But it does require close attention to detail and a visitor-centered POV.

On a final note, the Atlanta Panhellenic has called Dunwoody home for at least 15 years.   From the meeting room near the Library, they have been reaching out to Atlanta-area counties with information about modern NPC sorority life and educational opportunities.  AAPA has been providing scholarships to area young women since 1932 and the total granted to date is approximately $100,000.  The total planned to be presented this year is $17,000.  If you hang your hat in and around Atlanta, please visit and investigate this opportunity for scholarship funds.