Designing applications

Applications are made up of three components: 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 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.

Design basics


Add elements

Click the links at the bottom to add a new field, import a field from another application, add a heading, or add a text block. Or insert an element between two others by clicking +.

Make a mistake?

Click and drag any element using the arrows to re-arrange the application. Click Edit to change your field (you can't change the field type!) or the trash can to delete it.

Keep or discard changes

Click Save to keep your new element or save changes; click Cancel to discard the new element or any changes you've made.


Preview your application

Want to see how the application will appear to your Leads? Just click the Preview tab. This will not reflect any Custom CSS you added in the application's settings.


Headings and text

Simple, really: click to add a heading or text block, enter your text, and save.


New fields

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. "Performance history", "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.
  • 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, it is optional.

Link to existing field = Yes

When you check Yes to link this application field to an existing field, you'll see an option for Answer updates. Select a field from the drop-down. The drop-down includes standard profile fields (e.g. SSN, addresses, standardized tests, etc.), custom admissions fields, Lead info fields, and custom student fields.

The input options for these fields will be the same as those for the existing field. For example, if you link to a text-entry custom field, the applicant will see a short answer field; if you link to an address field, the applicant will see a standard address-entry field.

Link to existing field = No

If you're not linking to an existing field, you can create an all-new application field.

Answer types

The different answer types let you collect information from the applicant in a variety of ways.


There are three types of Text answers:

  • Essay: Gives applicants a large text-entry area in which to compose or copy-paste an essay-length answer. 
  • Short answer: Creates a 255-character text-entry field that accepts letters, numbers, and punctuation.
  • Online reference: Lets the applicant send any person a link to an online reference form that plugs right into the application.


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 the Profile > Student tab.
  • 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 tab 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.

First, 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.


Lets applicants enter a date using Populi's standard date/time field.


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).

Check Yes to use the applicant's answer to add this contact info to their Profile > Info tab.

File upload

Lets applicants upload a file (say, a photo or a document) up to 34 MB in size.

Importing fields

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


Check out this video to get a visual...

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