How to create an online reference form for your application

Online reference forms are a kind of application field that let you collect information about an applicant from a third party reference. Here’s how to set them up and use them.

Step 1: Create your reference from

In Admissions > Settings > Online Reference Forms, click Add an Online Reference Form and give your new reference form a name. 

  1. Click Admissions
  2. Click Settings
  3. Click Online Reference Forms
  4. Select Add an Online Reference Form. Give your new reference form a name and click Save.


Step 2: Design your reference from

Every reference form includes fields to collect the reference’s name and phone number. Beyond that, designing a reference form works just like designing an application. Click “Add field” to add questions to your form. You have all the same options available on applications. You can ask the reference to write essays, answer Yes/No questions, select options from a drop down, and more. If you have any trouble creating questions that match your school’s reference form, contact Populi Support and we can recommend the best fields for you to use.

Refer to the article on Designing Applications for details on designing reference forms.



Step 3: Add your reference form to one of your applications

After designing the reference form, you need to include it in one of your applications. Jump over to Application Forms and select one of your applications. Click Add Field, whether in the middle of the application or at the end of it. Select Online Reference for Answer Type, and then select the reference form you’d like to include. Give the field a Name and Description. If you’re seeking a reference from a certain kind of person, mention that here—for example, if you’re looking for a reference from a former teacher. Finally, click Save.  When filling out the application, Applicants will enter an email address for the reference, along with an optional personal note.

  1. Go to Admissions > Settings > Application Forms > click on one of your application forms.
  2. Scroll to the bottom and select "Add field."
  3. Choose Answer Type = Online Reference and select the specific reference form you want to include.
  4. Choose whether the reference is required or not and click Save.


Step 4: Test your reference form out

When they submit their application, Populi will email the reference with a link to access your form. When they submit the reference form, it will show up on the person’s application. New online reference answers show up on the Admissions Dashboard.  As with applications, we recommend you try filling out the reference form yourself. Check out this article on how online references work and then test your reference out yourself.

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