SmarterSelect Reviews

SmarterSelect

Online applicant & application management solution

4.5/5 (148 reviews)
Katrina P.

Great software. Great support. Great value.

Used Weekly for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2017/11/28
Review Source: Capterra

It's easy to make custom applications and export the data from those applications, which saves time doing boring data entry work. The custom options help me offer tools to our review committees, which makes their partnerships with us more meaningful. It also has turned our application process nearly paperless, which saves us printing and paper costs, and makes looking up historical information easy.

Pros

Smarter Select is an easy-to-use platform that meets many needs for our organization. We can easily and quickly create custom applications for our variety of grant and scholarship programs. We find it very valuable to have online evaluator access, which allows our committees to get a jump start on the review process, oftentimes allowing them to reduce their number of in-person meetings, which is a big plus for busy schedules. Because application data can be easily exported into a csv/spreadsheet file, it is easy to upload to our database management system, which saves me countless hours of data entry. When I have had issues in the past, their support staff have been amazingly responsive -- my issues are often addressed and fixed the same day. I also appreciate their focus on education. Their free webinars have made it easy for me to understand the software's capabilities and new features and upgrades. All around, I'm a big fan of Smarter Select and would not be able to do my job as efficiently or easy without it!

Cons

Honestly, I have very few negative comments concerning Smarter Select. There are a few quirks to the system that you have to get used to, but once you do, it's very reliable and easy to use. Honestly, I'm hard pressed to come up with an actual con. If I can offer an improvement, it would be that once users log in, they could see any applications they have yet to complete, instead of just past applications. I would also like a way to better sort disabled past applications -- we have a lot of different apps and it gets a little crowded looking through our history. Other than that, it really is a great product.

Response from SmarterSelect

Hi Katrina,
Many thanks for your review! Our support team will contact you shortly with info on how applicants can view apps they need to complete.
Regards,
Robert

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

10.0/10
Debbie S.

SmarterSelect for Grants and Scholarships

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2016/08/29
Review Source: Capterra

We have been a SmarterSelect "Bells & Whistles" subscriber since 2012. A a county-wide community foundation we utilize the program for our annual community grant cycle, multiple teacher grant programs, and over 40 scholarship programs. Each of these programs including a application, grant acceptance, and final report component. We evaluated multiple software programs before selecting SmarterSelect and continue to review programs recommended by our field. We have not found another program that offers the flexibility, features, and functionality of SmarterSelect. The SmarterSelect development team is receptive to ideas for new/enhanced features and is very responsive to issues.

Pros

The program continues to evolve in response to user input. Technical support and online tutorials make program creation and editing simple. The ability to copy & edit programs makes preparation for annual grant & scholarship cycles quick and easy. The creation of 40+ scholarship programs, some requiring unique applications and some utilizing a common application was initially a daunting task, but once the initial time investment was made, each year requires less and less time. The program itself is not difficult to use. The more complex and diverse your needs, the more complex the process becomes; however, an information technology or programming specialist is not required.

Cons

Latency. The time it takes to move between applications can cause frustration for system administrators and evaluators.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

10.0/10
Jackie L.

Robust yet simple to use, and at an excellent price point

Used Weekly for 1+ year
Reviewed on 2016/09/15
Review Source: Capterra

I am the SmarterSelect power-user at my organization and my experience with the tool and customer support have been overwhelmingly positive on the whole, but not without the occasional hiccup. I like how easy it is to get the hang of using the tool, and how responsive support is when something breaks (and this rarely happens). Our applicants and reviewers alike find our app better than most, which is great. However, there are features available that seem more beta/not fully thought out than ready, and issues which required weeks of back and forth, but none that are dealbreakers. Compared to the competition, I like how this tool has a good blend of customization and ready-out-of-the-box feel, with good mass communication features; most of the other platforms out there only do well on two of those.

Pros

Easy for even not tech-savvy people to pick up, but with a respectable amount of customization. The look is modern for both the front- and back-end and I appreciate how much thought went into making features on both ends appear and feel as such. Customer support is responsive and have gone through great lengths to identify issues and stress-test solutions, which is again greatly appreciated.

Cons

This has only happened once to my knowledge but when some back-end autoscore stuff broke, the process to identify the problem and fix it took longer than we had hoped, and it really dragged down our evaluator experience. So I would say perhaps the stress-testing is not rigorous enough.

Response from SmarterSelect

Hi Jackie, Many thanks for your review! FYI, earlier this year, we added a dedicated software Quality Assurance person because "even rarely breaks" is not good enough for us. Also, we have some Single Sign-On CRM integrations and are planning for more.

Rating breakdown

Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

9.0/10
Alex R.

Great Value & Top Notch Support

Used Other for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2018/11/13
Review Source: Capterra

Exceptional!!! Bottom line this software is excellent​! And the customer service is by far first rate.

Pros

SmarterSelect is very easy to use and the customer support is exceptional. Our organization has been using SmarterSelect for several years and the software continues to get better. I like that they continue to improve the software. I also like they make it a point to train their customers on their new features and upgrades.

Cons

There is not much that I do not like about the software. There are some back-end reporting things that I find cumbersome such as when a parent/guardian creates an application for their son or daughter that person's name appears on the reports first not the actual applicant's​ name. This poses a challenge when you are looking up applications by the applicant's name. Another issue with this is the recommender receives an email that does not say the actual applicant's name. The recommender does not see the name of the actual applicant until he​ or she opens the email.

For example, if I create an account and start an application for my son Anthony, the recommender would receive an email that says Alex Rivera has requested that you submit a recommendation for the Achieve Scholarship. It is not until the email is opened that the recommender sees that Anthony is the actual person applying for the scholarship. This is often confusing for the recommenders.

Response from SmarterSelect

Hi Alex,
Many thanks for your review! Regarding the parent situation, just have the applicant/parent click My Account to change the First and Last Name to the student's name.
Thanks again!
Robert

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

10.0/10
Mike K.

Smarter Select Provides Value, Function, and Efficiency

Used Weekly for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2018/11/09
Review Source: Capterra

It's been a very beneficial experience. We've seen an increase in our grant and scholarship applications after moving to an online system. The Smarter Select team is always quickly available to help if we have an issue or question. And simply having an online application system makes us appear to be an advanced organization that meets our community's technological needs.

Pros

Our staff loves how fast and easy it is to create custom applications with a host of unique and useful functions. Our review committees enjoy being able to have online access to applications -- it makes their job a whole lot easier! And our applicants enjoy the ease and efficiency of being able to apply online. All in all, Smarter Select positively enhances our grant and scholarship application process while positioning us as a leader in our community.

Cons

If I could offer any improvement, it would be to add some additional options that could help to brand the system so that applicants can visually recognize which organization the are applying for support to. Another foundation in our region just purchased and implemented Smarter Select and this created some confusion for the non-profits in our region. We do include our logo at the top of the program for our applications, but it would be nice if there were ways to add it other places or on the log-in screen.

Response from SmarterSelect

Hi Mike, Many thanks for your feedback and comments! We appreciate the opportunity to serve you and your team.
Regards,
Robert

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

10.0/10
Susan L.

Works well for scholarships - not quite as adaptable for grants.

Used Weekly for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2016/08/29
Review Source: Capterra

This program was designed to work with scholarships, and it does very well for that purpose. We also use it with our grant process and with a teacher recognition program where the nominator is not the person eligible for the award. There are definitely limitations and drawbacks for these processes.

Pros

The scholarship program is relatively easy to use, and the support staff is usually quite responsive and helpful.

Cons

For grant applications, there are limitations because the grants show up under the name of the person who completed the application rather than by the name of the organization. Smarter Select has developed a couple of work arounds to help ease this problem, but it does present quite a bit more work on the backside.
Also, for our teacher recognition program, the nominator is the one who shows up, rather than the nominee. This is an ongoing problem that we haven't really been able to solve. Our program is pretty unique, so a solution is probably not on the horizon and may not be worth Smarter Select's efforts to fix it.

Response from SmarterSelect

Hi Susan, Thanks for your review! Stay tuned for some improvements to customize your Apps table view.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

7.0/10
Nancy W.

Online scholarships made easy

Used Weekly for 1+ year
Reviewed on 2016/08/29
Review Source: Capterra

SmarterSelect started hosting our online scholarship last year. I admit that I was apprehensive. I had been with our previous host for nearly 12 years (they changed their business model so I was left looking for a new site at the last minute). SmarterSelect's staff guided me through set up and learning their new system. Customer service is very good. I always get a quick response, and it is easy to set up a phone or web conference with the staff. And they are very good about helping you think through the logic of your questions and the question formats that will get you the information you want. I'm very impressed and very glad our program signed on with SmarterSelect.

Pros

Very easy to use. Once you understand the logic of the software, it is very easy to set up your own application. I found the evaluation process easy to understand and use as well.

Cons

I wish there were a guide to explain the hierarchy of the application design. I stumble around creating and deleting pages, until I can figure out what I want to do. If there were a prompt you could click on that explained this easily, I would appreciate it. I don't create a new scholarship application so frequently that I can keep this memorized.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

10.0/10
Maria M.

Great Price to Quality

Used Weekly for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2016/08/30
Review Source: Capterra

I've used this for 5 years and the experience has been excellent. Unlike other programs, the price is terrific for the quality of the program and ease of use. They have only expanded their features. While lacking a bit in the matching side, they have so much that can be implemented behind the scenes.

Pros

Easy to Use, Great price to quality for the program.
Unlike others, they don't raise prices dramatically every year and have kept the prices down, which is great for smaller budgets.
Also While keeping prices down they've added more and more features.
All problems I've ever had have been user error and not with their program.
With the mid-level package there's SO MUCH you can do behind the scene to evaluate and rank (although matching still remains elusive).
Any service to the site they've given plenty of notice so we can let students know the site will be down. Site stability and speed has been great.

Cons

No number to call right when you're having a problem-you have to send an email.
To be fair, this is responded to promptly, but still...
Once you know how to use the program it's very easy but there's no manual. Videos/support site and the topics are ok and expanding. Webinars help but can sometimes lose focus.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

9.0/10
Paige J.

The platform is easy to navigate and very helpful. I do have issues with getting responses from CS.

Used Daily for 1+ year
Reviewed on 2017/11/16
Review Source: Capterra

This has helped our program streamline our application process. It also makes it possible to contact applicants and receive documentation more efficiently. Thank to this program we are able to track metrics and properly evaluate our recruitment and program.

Pros

I love the new features and how easy it is to contact/update applicants. Creating our own blast emails and having the capability to edit pre-formatted ones also helps us with our unique application process.

Cons

Whenever I have an issue with the platform, or unsure about the limitations of a feature I find it difficult to contact customer service or a specialist. The "Submit form" process is not personable and difficult to explain the issues I experience. I would prefer to have an account manager to discuss how to maximize the efficiency of the platform rather than the videos, which are not helpful in our unique process. Also, I would like to have the capability to split the application into phases, and not sure if that is possible with this platform.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

10.0/10
Jessica S.

From scholarship application to chapter evaluation

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2018/11/02
Review Source: Capterra

As our chapter success plan process relies heavily on administrator access, multi-end user access, and evaluator access, SmarterSelect has been a perfect solution for use for this project.

Pros

We have used the system for years as part of our scholarship and fellowship application process. This past year, we introduced a new chapter planning and evaluation tool for our organization. We decided to put this tool in SmarterSelect because of the ease of use by both the administrator and the end-user. The ability to have the end-user save work and come back has been invaluable. Since this is an evaluation tool, the ability to give multiple individuals evaluator access was a key factor in our decision to put this process in SmarterSelect.

Cons

The form builder fuction can be confusing at times.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

10.0/10
Laura M.

Switched from emailed applications to SmarterSelect - saved us a ton of time!

Used Other for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2017/11/16
Review Source: Capterra

Pros

Soooo streamlined! I love that I can customize the application to meet my needs. Students say it's a much better process on their end, and I get better results because the parameters of the app require them to upload certain file types, require answers to some questions, and flag if they miss any questions. A huge time saver on the administrative time for me - and there are reports I can pull throughout the application period to keep my finger on the pulse of things. Plus, my evaluators can quickly review the apps and rank them without needing to open and download lots of files - and again, easy to pull reports. Huge timesaver and brings us into the 21st century!

Cons

The learning curve is there - it takes a while to get the knack of things. And setting up the application and revising it to be exactly what you want can be cumbersome. There's not a great way to test the application other than creating "fake" applications to ensure everything works smoothly. That said - it works very well for our needs and allows me to process more apps in less time with much less frustration for both me and our candidates!

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

8.0/10
Sharon S.

The best for the job!

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2016/08/31
Review Source: Capterra

Our school district worked with a Word document application for years and really needed to advance to an online application process. Our tech department suggested rather than create something that may not work, that we search for a product reasonably priced that included a good support system. The tech department was shocked how reasonably priced and how advanced SmarterSelect's product was!

Pros

SmarterSelect listens to their customers and are constantly looking for ways to further improve. Their tech support is the best. They address every question quickly and with thought to answering in such a way that I understand the solution. I never am led to feel my question was too small.

Cons

n/a

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

10.0/10
Olivia C.

Beyond excellent, especially for a beginner!

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2017/11/16
Review Source: Capterra

Pros

SmarterSelect is so easy to use. If I can't figure something out by simply trying different things, I can quickly and easily find helpful tutorials in the library. If something is so hard that I still can't figure it out-- which I don't recall ever happening-- customer support is super fast and responsive when i put a ticket it.

Cons

I wish I could archive deleted programs so that I don't have to sort through them, without losing the applications completely. I would just like to move the ones I know I will probably never need again out of the "disabled" section and only keep the ones from the past year or two in that section.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

10.0/10
Joanne O.

Get Bang for Your Buck

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2016/08/31
Review Source: Capterra

We were looking for a cost effective online software package that would be easy for our users (students applying), evaluators and administrators. This software provides what we were looking for. Once the product was introduced, we have been tweeking it to fit our needs and make it a better user experience for both those applying and those reviewing the applications. SmarterSelect has been very responsive to our needs and worked with us to find solutions to most of our requests for assistance.

Pros

Ease of use and fantastic customer support.

Cons

Some places not flexible enough to provide what we need; and the fact that you cannot get aggregate reporting.

Response from SmarterSelect

Hi Joanne, Thanks for your feedback! Stay tuned for aggregate reporting coming soon.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

9.0/10
Victoria R.

Smarter Select is generally easy to use. The few glitches have not been an obstacle.

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2017/11/16
Review Source: Capterra

Pros

It is easy to load the essay to the student's profile for the English essay readers. I like the ability to download an excel chart with the student's scores.

Cons

Students may have applied for scholarships using this program. When they log in to do our English essay , the student receives a message they already have an account. I can't determine whether it is for scholarship or financial aid. We have to use a different e-mail account for the student so they can log in to do the English Essay. If the student forgets the password or changes it, we have a hard time to retrieve it.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Stephanie F.

Easy to use and edit our numerous programs!

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2017/11/16
Review Source: Capterra

Easy use, helped us streamline our almost 80 individual scholarship applications into one common application with different sections.

Pros

Easy to create programs and personalize them to the desires of the scholarship donors wishes. Recommendations are easy to set up and capture.
Being able to create a common application has helped us immensely as we are collecting roughly 500-700 individual applicants per cycle.

Cons

Have had issues with individuals being able to create accounts other than applicant accounts.
Have experienced issues with matching information not functioning.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

9.0/10
Nancy M.

SmarterSelect for ease of handling scholarship applications

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2016/08/30
Review Source: Capterra

I had no experience with a platform such as this but the support made it easy to learn and we have totally utilized it to the max. It will make your life easy if you let it.

Pros

App Rules and external recommendations are pretty easy to navigate. The scoring system is complex but worth it! Will save soooooo much time moving forward.

Cons

If you use the internal messaging function (including texting) there is no record to look back on. Huge flaw IMO.

Response from SmarterSelect

Hi Nancy, Thanks for your review! Stay tuned for a log of messages in the near future.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

10.0/10
Elton L.

Our experience with SmarterSelect has been fantastic! It is an amazing tool for our applications.

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2017/11/28
Review Source: Capterra

Pros

What I most like about the software are the features like the "App Rules", "Calculation" and "Autoscore". When we design and update our applications, these features make evaluation and selection process much easier to verify and lightens our overall workload.

Cons

What I least like about the software is how the form looks rather simplistic compared to other online applications. This is a very minor issue overall as the look and layout of the form is actually very helpful for mobile users.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

10.0/10

Smarter Select and Competition Submissions

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2018/11/02
Review Source: Capterra

Smarter Select saves time for me in my work day. I like how I can easily pull a report and add evaluators. I love your "Support" tab on Smarter Select.

Pros

I really love how user friendly this is for Evaluators

Cons

There are a bunch of tabs on the side of the program that I don't know how to use. For Example... it takes me a ton of time to try and find how I change the abstract

Response from SmarterSelect

Hi,
Many thanks for your review! Please reach out to our Support team and they will be happy to schedule a training session for the tabs on the side of the program.
Regards,
Robert

Rating breakdown

Ease of Use

Likelihood to recommend

9.0/10
Nancy P.

Proctor

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2018/11/09
Review Source: Capterra

Pros

Easy for proctors and student to be able to create an accounts have an understanding how to use the program.

Cons

I do not like that every time we are searching for an applicant it takes awhile. An example if you have 300 or more it could take 2 or more minutes to find the the applicant.

Response from SmarterSelect

Hi Nancy, Thanks for your review! Please use the Search box on the Applicants page to quickly find the applicant. Also, you can use a Report. In 2019, we'll be updating the tables for even faster responses. Stay tuned for updates!
Regards,
Robert

Rating breakdown

Ease of Use

Likelihood to recommend

8.0/10
Alison L.

We use SmarterSelect for the scholarships our honor society provides, both applications & judging.

Used Other for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2017/11/29
Review Source: Capterra

Previously, scholarships were handled on paper (!!!). You can imagine the savings in time, energy, and resources by going to an electronic system.

Pros

It's great to have everything available in one place! I can also easily "clone" last year's applications to set up this year's applications. Judges have a single sign-in to get to the applications for their review, and it is usually easy for recommenders to follow the link sent and upload their letter of recommentation.

Cons

After awhile, the number of accounts in the system gets overwhelming. I wish there was some way to "archive" non-active users in regard to our account. Recommenders seem to often miss the emails sent to them; it might be helpful to remind applicants to let their recommenders know to expect an email (and to check their spam folder). There are certain aspects of the system that are a bit clunky, non-intuitive, and/or repetitive.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

8.0/10
Sue S.

5 Years with Smarter Select

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2018/11/13
Review Source: Capterra

I feel that the tasks of managing the applicant files and the voting process have become much more streamlined since we started using SmarterSelect.

Pros

Before we found SmarterSelect we were mailing out paper applications and keeping hard copy files of all applicants. SmarterSelect made the whole application process so much easier.

Cons

There are times when it would be nice to actually call for technical help but for the most part they are very good about responding quickly.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

5.0/10
Stephanie S.

SmarterSelect Review

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2018/11/02
Review Source: Capterra

Pros

Our staff loves how much paper and file space we save with using SmarterSelect. Our scholarship and grant applicants love the ease and availability of submitting applications online. The support we receive from the support staff when encountering a problem is done in a timely manner. The training webinars and libraries are helpful and informative.

Cons

It doesn't intergrate with our current grants management software.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

9.0/10
Kimberly E.

It is a good product and meets our needs.

Used Weekly for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2017/11/28
Review Source: Capterra

It allows us to keep our applications (scholarship & grants) uniform and easy to share electronically.

Pros

I like that it can be customizable. It can have as many questions you want. It is versatile enough that we can use it for both our scholarship and our grant applications. It is easy to have the option for attachments.

Cons

I don't like that you cannot pick up a phone and call someone. A phone call has to be scheduled via email. Any issues have to be dealt with via email/chat. Sometimes it is a lot quicker/easier to explain a problem by talking rather than writing.
I wish there could be a way to create a chart for applicants to complete on questions such as activities or work history over the years. Right now you have to ask a the same question for each time frame. It gets a bit redundant.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

8.0/10
Mary P.

DCF to SS

Used Daily for 2+ years
Reviewed on 2018/11/02
Review Source: Capterra

Very Very good

Pros

The ease in use and understanding the software. The cost was very affordable. There is good value for the cost.

Cons

The support is only available via email. You cannot always explain the nuances or a complicated problem via email, but you try. And then the answers come back not always on point. There is sometimes a loss in translation. To be able to talk to someone would be helpful sometimes.

Rating breakdown

Value for Money
Ease of Use
Customer Support

Likelihood to recommend

10.0/10