Friday, March 2, 2012

Creating a Chapter Scholarship: Part 4

Welcome back for Part 4 of "Creating a Chapter Scholarship". After deciding to start a scholarship, creating an application and distributing that application it is now time to figure out what to do with all those applications once they are turned in.

The generic answer would be to interview the candidates one on one either in person or over the phone. But the goal of the scholarship is to recruit these elite students. How can you leverage the scholarship into signed bids? What I'm about to suggest is a little out there, and requires a fair amount of effort to pull off:

What if you had a day long "interview" that incorporated multiple aspects of fraternity life while at the same time provides an opportunity to create positive relationships with all of your candidates?

This event would need to be planned far in advance, noted on the application and requires the time commitment of chapter members. To me the day would be split into three basic areas: Philanthropy, Leadership and Athletics

At some point in your day long interview take current members and the applicants to preform some act of Community Service. Find something relatively close. In my original brainstorm for this I thought of building a house for Habitat for Humanity. You can use this time to observe how applicants interact in a group setting and take advantage of the opportunity to build personal relationships.

This is the most formal part of the day and it can be broken down into two separate parts. The first is an individual interview. This would involve standard interview questions to get to know the applicant on a deeper level. The individual connection created through this interview is important when it comes to recruiting them. The interviewer is going to know that person better than most and will be in a better position to make a recruitment pitch when the time comes.

The second aspect of the leadership section could be one of two possible activities:

1) Have each applicant create a presentation in advance about a topic of their choice and present it to the applicants and members. This activity shows the applicants interests as well as presentation skills and public speaking.

2) Hold a Group Interview. There are multiple team exercises out there created to force a team to work together towards a common goal. A personal favorite of mine is to give each group a random objects to "invent" some new productive and present a sales pitch to the group. This activity allows for members to observe how applicants work in a team setting and what their strengths are.

The last portion of the interview day can be devoted to athletics. Choose large team games that allow for adequate relationship building and also make sure that there is a mix of members and applicants. It doesn't have to be anything super competitive but rather an opportunity to run around and encourage applicants to start viewing members as part of a "team". Instead of telling applicants about what a strong brotherhood you have, this is your opportunity to show it.

Sample Schedule
8 AM – Meet in Union/Breakfast
8:30-11:30 – Community Service Project
12-1 – Lunch
1-5 - Individual Interviews/Group Interview/Presentations
5-6:30 – Dinner
7-9 – Athletics
9-9:30 – Debrief/Snacks/Hand out Recruitment Materials

From a recruitment standpoint, the goal is for members to make personal connections with the applicants. They should individually follow up with those people and continue to build that friendship. If this event occurs over the summer before the applicants get on campus, make plans to do something with them in the first couple days after the arrive. Chances are they're going to need someone to show them around town.

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