Award letters are such an expected part of the financial aid process that it’s easy to overlook their potential value. For many schools, the award letter is simply a black and white document that notifies the student of his or her financial aid package. But for a few higher ed institutions, the award letter has become their financial aid departments’ calling card, as well as an opportunity to
- Engage and empower students
- Improve students’ financial literacy
- Reflect how technologically savvy the school is and
- Set a standard for other departments to live up to.
Can an Award Letter Do All That?
The answer is yes.
In this three-part series, we will give you three suggestions for how to transform your award letter from a required piece of paper to a tool that boosts enrollment, lowers unnecessary borrowing and improves the student experience.
Tip #1: Make it Attractive
Imagine you are choosing the hotel for your family’s upcoming vacation. You request information from two resorts. Resort A sends you a letter with black font and no graphics explaining why you should visit their resort in a couple paragraphs and with a list of their amenities.
Resort B sends you an email. You click the link in the email, and you’re transported to a virtual walk-through of the resort. As you move through the resort, the video explains its unique characteristics in HD detail, and you can practically smell the beautiful flowers on the screen.
Both resorts might be equally idyllic, but Resort B gave you a real feel for what it would be like to stay there. Not only did you get a list of the amenities, you got to witness the time and effort the resort staff put into creating the video and see for yourself if it’s the right place for your family to spend a week.
Almost everyone would choose the resort that sent the beautiful video over the plain piece of paper.
Subconsciously we will all make the comparison – if Resort B spent that much more time and money on their marketing, they’re going to put that much more effort into their customer service and ensuring I have a great time during my stay.
Similarly, a beautiful award letter shows, rather than tells, your students how much time and attention you put into student materials, leaving students to assume you will put as much time and attention into helping them throughout their academic career. A stunning award letter leaves students feeling safe and trusting, rather than concerned.
Your Students are Visually Spoiled
The modern student is being marketed to everywhere he or she goes online, from flashy banner ads to beautiful websites that companies spend thousands of dollars to A/B test to get a perfect design. Thanks to emojis, they don’t even have to text each other in boring black font. Most of their posts on social media are pictures or video content. Students today have a short attention span, and it requires something eye-catching and unique to capture their attention.
I think we can all agree that you’d like to have students’ attention focused on your award letter, as it may be a major determining factor in where the student attends college. More and more financial aid directors are being held accountable for their role in an institution’s enrollment goals. As a high percentage of students receive more than one award letter, you must make sure yours convinces them to choose your school. An aesthetically appealing design is the first step in that.
Your school should stand out. Your award letter should have a visually engaging design. But rather than creating and printing some colorful – yet expensive – brochure, why not put it online where you can invest in the resource once and direct all students there?
But then, that’s related to Tip #2.
If you want help creating an award letter than increases enrollment, helps students borrow more responsibly and improves the student experience, contact CampusLogic today at 602-643-1300 to learn about AwardLetter.