How to Build a College Application Form in WordPress [Template]

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Do you want to create a college application form in WordPress?

An online college application form can help potential students send all the details and personal information you need to see if they’d be a good fit for your school. And, this can help get more people to apply.

So in this post, we’ll walk you through how to build a college application form from a template for your WordPress site easily.

Create Your College Application Form Now

Tips for a College Application Form in WordPress

Placing a College Application Form on your WordPress website is a must if you’re looking to bring new students into your higher education institution.

These days, students and parents expect colleges and universities to be keeping up with the times, and would expect nothing less than being able to apply online.

So, you probably already know you need a college application form on your website. But you might not know where to start.

Well, here are some good tips to consider when building  your college application form.

  • Keep the application as short as possible — No one expects a college application form to be filled out within just a field or two. But the more brief you can be, the better the chances are people will stick around and fill it out. Try using conditional logic and multi-step forms to help keep your college application form conversion rate high.
  • Accept online payments — When you take your application fee right away through your form, you’re guaranteed to get the funds. It’s a good idea to collect these electronically instead of through the mail with a check.
  • Make it look good — If you’re targeting a younger audience with your college application form, you want to make sure your form looks modern and works well.
  • Use a file upload field — If you’re asking for documents like formatted essays or high school transcripts, make sure to use accept file uploads on your form. You can even combine our 1st tip with this one and require payment on a file upload form.

And up next, we’ll walk you through the tutorial on how to make a college application form in WordPress step-by-step. And, you can apply the tips you just learned to make your form as successful as possible.

How to Make a College Application Form in WordPress (With a Template)

The WPForms plugin makes it super easy to make nearly any type of WordPress form you need. Let’s go ahead and take a look at the what you’ll need to do to make a college application form.

Step 1: Install and Activate the WPForms Plugin

To start, install and activate the WPForms plugin on your website.

If you need help, check out this beginner’s guide to installing a plugin in WordPress.

Next, let’s install the Form Locker addon. We’ll use this to give our college application form a deadline so that it automatically closes after a set date and time that you pick. Pretty cool, right?

Go ahead and click WPForms » Addons.

Accessing the WPForms addons screen

Scroll to the Form Locker Addon and click on the Install Addon button.

Installing the Form Locker addon

Great, you’re all set. Let’s open up the college application form template next.

Step 2: Design Your College Application Form

Creating forms is so easy with WPForms. And because you can use a template, most of the work of designing the form is already done for you!

So let’s use the College Application Form template to speed things up.

From your WordPress dashboard, go to the left-hand panel and click on WPForms » Add New.

Adding a new form in WPForms

The form builder will open up in a fullscreen window. Go ahead and name your form in the Name Your Form area.

The Setup section of the form builder

Next, scroll down to the Select a Template section. WPForms comes with 1,800+ WordPress form templates, all of which you can customize however you like.

Go ahead and search for “college.” Then click on Use Template under the College Application Form template to open it.

Choosing the College Application Form template

You’ve got this! The template will open up in the form builder so you can get to work.

Customizing the College Application Form template

You’ll notice that your college application form has a ton of fields already set up for you to collect personal info from applicants like:

  • Contact Information
  • Emergency Contact
  • Demographics
  • High School Details
  • Extracurricular Activities
  • File Uploads
  • Parent Details
  • Citizenship Status

You can use this template right out of the box if you want to. You can also drag and drop a field to rearrange the order of your college application form, or click on any field to open its options and customize it.

When your form looks the way you want it to, click Save.

Step 3: Configure Your Form Settings

Let’s go ahead and configure your college application form’s settings next.

To start, go to Settings » General.

Accessing a form's general settings

Here you can configure:

  • Form Name: Rename your form here if you want to.
  • Form Description: Give your form a description.
  • Tags: Use form tags to organize your WordPress forms.
  • Submit Button Text: Customize the copy on the submit button. In our example, we’ll change our submit button to something like “Submit College Application Form.”
  • Submit Button Processing Text: Change the text shows while your application form is submitting.

After you’re done with these options, expand the Advanced section to find the following:

  • CSS Classes: Add custom to your form or submit button.
  • Enable Prefill by URL: Automatically fill some fields in your form from another form using a custom URL.
  • Enable AJAX form submission: Enable AJAX settings with no page reload.
  • Disable storing entry information in WordPress: You can disable the storing of entry information and user details, such as IP addresses and user agents, in an effort to comply with GDPR requirements. In addition, check out our step-by-step instructions on how to add a GDPR agreement field to your form.

Next, move down to the Spam Protection and Security settings.

Opening the form spam and security settings

Here, you can:

  • Enable anti-spam protection: Stop contact form spam with the WPForms anti-spam token. This option is automatically turned on for all new forms.
  • Enable Akismet anti-spam protection: If you use the Akismet plugin, you can connect it to this form.
  • Enable country filter: Block entries from certain countries.
  • Enable keyword filter: Prevent submissions that include specified words or phrases.

You can also set up your preferred CAPTCHA. Check out our full spam protection guide for more details.

When you’re done, click Save again.

Step 4: Set Up Applicant Form Notifications

Now let’s set up the notification emails that will be sent when someone fills out your college application form.

To start, click Settings on the left hand side of the form builder. Then click Notifications to open up the email settings.

Accessing a form's notifications settings

By default, WPForms sends notifications to the admin email in WordPress.

If you’d like to type in a different email address for your notification, it’s super simple to change it. Just delete the {admin_email} tag and type in the email address you want to use instead.

Changing the notification Send To Email Address

Next, let’s add another notification. We’re going to send the applicant an email once they apply so they know their college application was received.

To do that, click the blue Add New Notification button.

Adding a new email notification

Let’s give the new notification a distinctive name so we can easily find it later.

Naming an additional notification for a college application form

So now you’ll see 2 notifications on the right-hand panel if you scroll down. Let’s edit the one you just created.

In the Send To Email Address field, we’re going to use the Email Smart Tag. That way, WPForms will automatically send this notification to the applicant’s email address.

Using a Smart Tag to send a notification to the person who filled out the form

You can also customize the text in the subject and email body if you want to.

Customizing the subject and message of a college application email notification

OK, great. Everything’s set up. Let’s click Save.

Now we can set the closing date on the application form.

Step 5: Set Up Your Application Form Closing Date

Since you’re using your college application form to collect applications, it makes sense to close the form before the school year or term starts.

We’re going to use the Form Locker addon since it lets us easily add an expiration date to your form.

So from the Settings panel, click Form Locker. It’s ok if you have more or less options on the left-hand side. This area just shows the available addons you have active.

Accessing the Form Locker settings in the form builder

Now toggle on the Form scheduling option.

Enabling form scheduling

And now let’s set the closing date for the form using End Date and End Time.

Setting start and end dates for your college application form

This field uses the timezone that’s set up in WordPress. If you need to check the time settings, here’s a guide to changing the time and date in WordPress.

On whatever date you set, the form will automatically close, stop taking applications, and disappear. When that happens, a Closed Message will appear in its place.

Underneath the date and time, you can customize the Closed Message. You can also add a link to another page or an external link like a social media page so people can stay updated on when your next enrollment period begins.

Customizing the closed message for a college application form

OK, your form is nearly all set. Now we just need to publish the college application form to your WordPress site.

Step 6: Publish Your Application Form

Now that your college application form is complete, let’s publish it to the web.

Start by clicking the Embed button at the top of the form builder.

Embed form

And then when this notification pops up, go ahead and click Create New Page.

Create new page

Next, WPForms will ask you to name your page. Type the title for the page into the box and click Let’s Go.

Naming a new page to embed your form on

WPForms will open up a new page for your form.

Next, go ahead and click Publish at the top to publish the form on your site.

Publishing your college application form

Great job. Now you can share the link to your form and start gathering applications.

So there you have it! You can now start collecting college applications online and then sort and filter your form entries to see each application, plus reach out and follow-up with candidates (it’s super easy when exporting WordPress form entries to CSV).

Create Your College Application Form Now

Next, Create an Online Event RSVP Form

So that wraps it up. You now know exactly how to build a college application form with a template on your WordPress site. Hopefully, this makes your admission process much easier.

Want to invite your alumni to an event? Check out our post on how to create an RSVP form in WordPress.

So what are you waiting for? Get started with the world’s best form builder today.

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