When you design an application, you'll be adding and organizing different elements so you can collect information from applicants in a methodical, orderly way. There are three kinds of elements: headings, text blocks, and fields. Headings and text blocks let you organize and explain the different sections of your application. Fields let you collect information from your applicants. There are several field answer types (text, integer, yes/no, etc.) that let you ask different kinds of questions as appropriate. You can also set up application fields that link directly to information fields elsewhere in Populi.
You can change or update your application forms at any time. Keep in mind that changes made to application forms will not affect any applications that have already been started. Also, don't forget to check out the application settings, which determine how you'll be able to use a particular application.
Adding and modifying elements
To add a new element, click one of the action links at the bottom. You can add new fields, text blocks, headings, or import a field from another application.
- Click to add a new element between two others.
- Click and drag to reorder the application's elements.
- Click to edit the element; you can't change a field's type, but you can change everything else...
- Click to delete an element. There's no undo when you delete an element!
- As you design the application, click Preview(at the top) to see what the application will look like to applicants.
Adding headings and text
Simple, really: click to add a heading or text block, enter your text, and save.
Click Add field to create a new application field. Fill in the components and options and Save.
Fields include the following components and options:
- Field name: A very brief summary or description of the information you seek to collect through this field (e.g. "Transcript", "Home address", "Work reference", etc.).
- Field description: Instructions for completing the field, or a detailed explanation of the information you're seeking from the applicant.
- Link to an existing field: Check Yes to use the applicant's answer to update a field on their profile when you accept the field. Check No to collect other information about them. See below for more details.
- Answer type: The format of the information you're seeking from the applicant—text, yes/no, address, etc. See below for details about each of the different answer types and how to use them. Important: Answer type is not editable! When you choose the type for a field, you cannot change it later!
- Required: Applicants can't complete an application without submitting all of the required fields. If a field is not required, then it will be optional for the applicant to answer.
Here's how to link your application field to an existing field in Populi.
- Check Yes next to Link to existing field?
- Choose the field you wish this field to link to from the drop-down next to Answer updates.
- The drop-down includes standard and custom profile fields, as well as custom lead, admissions, and student fields.
- The applicant's input options for these fields will be identical to that of the existing field. For example, if you link to an address field, the applicant will see a standard address-entry field.
- Fill in the remaining field details and Save.
Here's how these fields work:
- The applicant submits an answer for this field.
- When processing the application, when you set the field to Accepted, the applicant's answer will automatically transfer over to the linked field on his profile.
The different answer types let you collect information from the applicant in a variety of ways.
- Text: You have two options:
- Short answer: Creates a 255-character text-entry field that accepts letters, numbers, and punctuation.
- Essay: Gives applicants a large text-entry area in which to compose or copy-paste an essay-length answer.
- Number: Number fields restrict the applicant's answer to a numerical value; check the box to allow decimals.
- Choose from a list: Applicants choose one option from a list. You have multiple options with this answer type:
- Custom: Create your own options for the applicant to choose from
- Degree/Specialization: These options let the applicant choose from your Degrees and Specializations. When you accept the application you'll have the option to Import course of study, which uses the applicant's selections to update their academic information on Profile > Student.
- Race/Ethnicity: Creates a field that lets you collect accurate race/ethnicity information according to IPEDS requirements. When you accept this field, it will update the applicant's Profile > Info view with this information.
- State/Country: Lets applicants choose from official lists of U.S. States or Countries.
- Multiple answer: These fields let applicants choose one or more options from a list. For example, you could ask the applicant to check off three desired extracurricular activities from a list of eight. Enter how many answers the applicant may select (he can select up to this amount), and then enter as many option names as you need.
- Date: Lets applicants enter a date using Populi's standard date/time field.
- Yes/No: Gives applicants two options for an answer. I will let you guess what they are. If you really get stuck, feel free to email Populi support.
- Address / Phone number / Email address: Gives applicants forms to fill out for the requested contact info, complete with certain country-specific options (Canadians get to select Province instead of State, for example).
- File upload: Lets applicants upload a file (say, a photo or a document).
- Online reference: Lets the applicant send any person a link to an online reference form.
Sometimes it's a good idea to import fields from other applications—especially fields that ask for standard kinds of information (e.g. degree, contact info, etc.).
Just click Import a field, and then search for any field from any other existing application. Select from the results and Save.