Marketing, Managing, & Adjudicating Your Scholarship:

The Opterus Success Story

When it comes to creating a scholarship, there are many components that need to be properly managed to make it a success. You want to ensure your application form is optimized, that you’re marketing it to the right students, and you have a streamlined adjudication process. 

We’ve worked with Opterus for over four years to help with their scholarship program, from developing the application form all the way down to selecting the finalists.

The SchoolFinder Group has been instrumental in helping us design, market and manage our scholarships. Working with them has allowed us to find an incredible group of young women who are all scholarship worthy.

Janet Hawkins

CEO and Founder, Opterus

Specifically, there are three distinct areas we helped Opterus with their scholarship program:


    Step I: Application Form

    For the Opterus scholarships, we created a custom application form based on their needs. Using user-defined fields of varying lengths, we put together a multi-page application form to gather info and confirm eligibility for each applicant. All forms are session-based, meaning students can start and come back at any time.

    Broadly, the application works in 5 stages:

    1. Scholarship Application: 

    Confirming the program stream and applicant eligibility, providing terms & conditions and waiver forms

    2. Basic Information:

    Applicant contact info and confirmation of terms and conditions

    3. Education Information:

    School and program data for the applicant

    4. Document Upload:

    Applicant answers to the four application questions requested by Opterus

    5. Ongoing Support:

    Answering any applicant questions and sending automated reminders

    Step II: Scholarship Marketing

    A targeted email campaign combined with a featured scholarship listing is a proven method for marketing your scholarship. 

    In the Opterus case, they offer 2 scholarships — one for women interested in the Arts, and another for women interested in STEM

    We then featured their 2 scholarships for a combined total of 6 months, as well as sent 2 targeted email campaigns to eligible students.

    Featured Scholarship

    A Featured Scholarship Listing means your award will display on the main page of

    In this case, Opterus featured their two scholarships for 3 months each leading up to the deadline, from April to June. 

    Featured Scholarship: Helen Rose STEM Award

    total views in 2022

    total clicks in 2022

    Featured Scholarship: Valerie Ann Arts Award

    total views in 2022

    total clicks in 2022

    Email Campaign


    To generate applications for both scholarship programs for Fall 2022. 

    Target Audience

    Female students aged 18-26, living in Canada, interested in studying either Arts or STEM.


    We sent the first email one week before the deadline, with the second follow up reminder email three days before the deadline. 

    Subject Line

    Monica, there’s only ONE WEEK left to apply for a $10,000 scholarship!


    Make sure to apply before June 18th! We want to help support you, as a young woman, pursue your post-secondary education.

    Opterus Email Template

    students reached in 2022


    unique open rate in 2022

    students engaged in 2022

    This email, followed by a reminder blast, provided the necessary details with a clear call-to-action to increase awareness and drive application clicks.

    Step III: Adjudication

    We designed and managed the scoring rubric and adjudication for the program, which occurred over three waves

    Wave I

    A team of in-house adjudicators read and scored the first two question responses to determine if a given applicant was a good fit. Only applicants above a particular score threshold proceeded to the second round. Scoring was done according to a rubric developed in-house in conversation with the client.

    Wave II

    Top applicants were re-assigned to different adjudicators. In this wave, all question responses were scored. Once completed, the top applicants moved on to Wave III.

    Wave III

    For the final round, the Opterus team met and discussed each remaining applicant until a consensus was reached for the winner of each scholarship. 


    After Opterus notified the winners, our team sent a thank you email to all applicants.

    We also published an article featuring the selected winners. This helps future applicants and helps build brand awareness for Opterus.

    Finally, a summary report was made available.

    The Results

    Year over year, we’ve seen steady growth with the scholarship program. In 2019, Opterus received a total of 957 applications, and in 2022, we generated 1,905 — almost double over the four year span! 

    As of Fall 2022

    total students have applied since the scholarship program started in 2019

    Next Steps

    If you have any questions about starting your own scholarship program or would like to discuss managing, marketing or adjudicating your existing scholarship program, contact us at:

    The SchoolFinder Group Team

    Further reading:

    » How to Develop Your Own Scholarship Program

    » The Most Effective Scholarship Marketing Strategies

    » ScholarshipsCanada Content Calendar 2023

    » The SchoolFinder Group Email Query Fields

    If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to reach out!

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