Designing online reference forms

Online reference forms are application fields that let you collect detailed information about your applicants from a third party reference. Here's an overview of how they work...

  1. You design the reference form (covered in this article).
  2. You include it as a field in one or more of your applications.
  3. On the application, applicants submit an email address for their reference person.
  4. The reference person receives an email with a link to your form.
  5. Once the reference person submits the form, it appears on the student's application for your review.

This article describes how to use online reference forms, including how to process responses from reference people.

Adding and designing a form

To set up an online reference form, you need to have the Admissions Admin role.

  1. Go to Admissions > Settings > Online Reference Forms.
  2. Click Add an Online Reference Form.
  3. Give the form a name.
  4. Click Save.

When you save the form, you'll go straight to the design view:

The basic reference form includes three fields: first name, last name, and phone number. You could leave the form as-is (that nets you enough information to make a phone call, anyway), but more than likely you'll want to design a customized reference form.

  • Like applications, online references 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 reference form.
  • Fields let you collect information from the reference. 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 reference forms at any time. Keep in mind that changes made to reference forms will not affect any reference forms on applications that have already been started.

Form settings

Click the setting name to change it:

  • Published: Published forms can be attached to applications and sent to referrers. Non-published forms... can't!
  • Invitation email: This is the email that goes to the referrer when the applicant fills out the reference field on his application. You can use the default or customize it:
    • Use the WYSIWYG editor to customize the message. Each referrer will get the same message.
    • The three variables are highlighted. At minimum, your email must contain the Reference Form URL variable; otherwise, there won't be any way for the referrer to reach the form. You can add variables by clicking in the WYSIWYG options.

Design basics

  • Click Preview to see how the form will appear to those who'll be filling it out.
  • Click the links at the bottom to add a new field, import a field from another reference form, add a heading, or add a text block.
  • Insert an element between two others by clicking .
  • Click and drag an element to re-order the form.
  • Click Edit to change your field (you can't change the field type).
  • Click to delete the field.

To add a heading or text block, just enter your text and click Save.

Adding new fields

To add a field:

  1. Click add field.
  2. Give the field a name and description. The description will provide instructions for what information to provide about the applicant.
  3. Select the answer type...
    • Text: Text fields let you choose from Essay or Short Answer responses.
    • Multiple choice/Dropdown: Referrers must choose one option from a list; the difference between these two is the user interface.
    • Checkboxes: These fields let referrers choose one or more options from a list. Enter how many answers may be selected (select up to this amount), and then enter as many option names as you need.
    • Yes/No: There are two answer options for this one. I will let you guess what they are. If you really get stuck, feel free to email Populi support, but we cannot guarantee that we will take your question seriously.
    • Put in order: Referrers put a jumbled list in order.
    • Likert: Lets referrers evaluate a number of individual items or statements on some sort of sliding scale. To set up this type of field:
      1. Select a number of labels (in the example, the options along the top).
      2. Enter the names of the labels (Good, Poor, etc.).
      3. Statements are the items you want the referrer to evaluate (the left column in the example). Enter as many statements as you like.
    • Date: Lets referrers enter a date using Populi's standard date/time field.
    • Number/Decimals: Number/decimal fields restrict the referrer's answer to a numerical value.
    • Country/State/Province: Referrers choose countries or state/provinces from a dropdown list.
    • File upload: Lets referrers upload a file (say, a photo or a document). You can also specify a maximum number of files that can be uploaded to this field.
    • Signature: Referrers can type or draw their signature in the field.
  4. Check whether to make this field required. The referrer cannot submit the form without filling in all of the required fields.

Importing fields lets you incorporate fields from other reference forms. This comes in handy for commonly-asked questions.

  1. Click import field.
  2. Start typing the name of the field you'd like to import.
  3. Select the correct field from the results.
  4. When you're done, click Save.
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