Parents may submit an inquiry before applying to your school, or they may jump straight to the application without ever inquiring first. In either case, the process for starting an application and submitting it with payment will be the same. In this article, we'll introduce you to what the parent sees when completing an application form in the Parent Portal.
The currently published version of your Application Form will always be shown to parents. If you make edits to your Application on the admin side and publish it while parents are in the process of completing it, they will be prompted with a message: "Additional requirements have been added to this form since you began filling it out. Please review your answers to make sure they are up to date."
Best Practices for Application Forms
When crafting the application form, you want to make sure it's clear what information you're trying to gather. Below are some best practices that we recommend:
Be streamlined about the questions you're asking on each page and organize it accordingly. It helps to use section and subsection headers in order to break up the questions (e.g. 'Student Information', 'Previous School History').
Avoid any "to-do" items on the form, such as medical history, that would take the parent away from the form to gather the information you're requesting. These items should be included as part of the checklist because if the parent leaves the form, they may not finish filling it out until they complete other steps that you asked of them. For example, if you ask about medical history and you want the parent/guardian to send in forms, make this a checklist item with a file upload.
Make sure all required fields are set.
If a parent cannot complete the form in one sitting, they can always click on "Save and Finish Later" near the bottom to save where they left off.
Just like the Inquiry Form, the Application Form is dynamic. The fields are rule-based to populate targeted questions using show/hide fields. For questions such as are there any siblings or is there a second household, you can use show/hide fields for these questions.
The Review Page asks you to identify who's filling out the form from a drop-down menu. Please note this field is hard-coded and cannot be removed from the parent Application Form. However, you will not see this field from the Admin side if you fill out an application form from the Quick Action menu.
The Payment Page captures an Application Fee.
If you have a payment processor integrated with your SchoolAdmin instance, parents can choose to pay through a credit card or electronic check. When they do so, the Application Fee checklist item will automatically be marked as complete.
If you have a paper check option, the payment page includes instructions on where the check can be mailed to. You as the admin will need to confirm that you've received the check and mark that item as complete for the parent from your side of the checklist. These instructions should be included in the checklist item on the parent side so that the parent knows how the checklist item will be marked off. If you don't use one of these payment gateways, you can still integrate with other systems. The only difference is that you would need to set it up the same way you do for a check and mark the item as complete from the admin side for the parent.
Thank You Page
The Thank You Page is what parents see after they complete the Application Form. It's important that you make the instructions here short and clear. A Best Practice for this page is to direct parents back to the checklist so they know that once the application form is filled out, they still have steps to take in order to complete the application process (see screenshot below for sample tex). This can also be stated on the Parent Portal homepage before the parent starts a new application. To edit the text for this page, go to Settings-->Portal-->Parent Portal Content-->Application Thank You. See below for an example:
Application Thank You Email
Upon submission of the Application Form, parents/guardians will automatically receive an application thank you email that can be customized within Settings-->Communication-->Email Templates-->Application Thank You Email. See below for an example.