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Row of students on laptops filling out registration forms

Creating Forms that Students will Actually Fill Out

Digital forms are essential to the university system, allowing students to enroll and schools to collect crucial information. Making enrollment, tour requests and all  other registration forms as user-friendly as possible is an important tool in combating attrition among prospective students. This is more important than ever, as the rate of college enrollment “declined 2.5 percent in fall 2020, nearly twice the rate of enrollment decline reported in fall 2019” according to the National Student Clearinghouse.

Use these tips to help prospective students convert and garner more form fills:


Simplicity is key

Let’s face it, when a form is too daunting participation falls off. According to HubSpot, “A shorter form usually means more people will be willing to fill it out, so you’ll generate more leads.” So, instead of long, multi-question fields try to pare down what you’re asking to the essentials. The shorter, and more to the point you can make the form, the better it will be for completion.


Ask the right questions

Most students are willing to share their information if they know it will be used to improve their experience at your institution. For this reason, it’s important to explain how you’ll be using the information provided and add value to the student who will be participating. Whether you’re collecting health history to make their trips to the school doctor easier or asking questions regarding professor performance, communication is key.

Before writing out your questions, take the time to do some preliminary research. This may also become a game of trial and error, but figuring out what questions students are willing to answer can greatly improve form fills.


Make what’s needed from students obvious

If your form is confusing for students, they likely won’t spend the time trying to decipher it. Instead, make sure the questions you’re asking are concise and straightforward, and that all fields are clearly labeled. As a standard best practicum you should also look to make any crucial fields required to ensure nothing gets missed.


Use the right tone

Have you ever heard the phrase “you catch more bees with honey”? Well, this also applies to students filling out your digital forms. It’s important to remember your audience, which are likely those aged 18-21. Young adults tend to enjoy more informal language, so it’s best to take a personable approach to your writing. Students already know you’re looking for their information, and using a more conversational tone with them gives you a better chance of getting responses.


Meet students where they already are

Most teens and college students spend a majority of their time in front of a computer, so delivering forms to them digitally gives you the best chance of completion. Typically, sending a link via an email or through a social media channel is the best way to reach students, instead of directing them to go to a certain page on your site or hunt for the form that’s needed. Don’t be afraid to link out to the page your form lives on at twitter or facebook in addition to email.


Fight Back Against Student Attrition

By creating a pleasant online presence for your university, you can give prospective students a better first impression and encourage the chance of conversion. When creating your digital forms, remember to write to your audience and make filling and submitting as simple as possible.

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