Which Forms Should Schools Put Online First?
If you’re old enough to remember when the beginning of the school year coincided with a stack of paper forms that had to be completed for every child, you probably also remember the sense of dread that went along with filling them in. Families with two, three, or more students in the same school system had to go through the entire pack of forms for each child, even though much of the information on the forms was identical.
Fortunately, more school systems and institutions of higher education are putting forms online and making the enrollment and registration process faster, easier, and more accurate. In fact, schools can put an almost unlimited variety of forms online, including field trip forms, grade reports, and discipline reports. Here’s why form creation software is such a smart investment for K-12 school systems, community colleges, and four-year colleges and universities, and which forms should go online first.
K-12 School Systems Can Save Tremendous Resources
Having just one school-age child can be exhausting. Yet some parents have multiple children enrolled in the same school system. Parents quickly become frustrated when having to complete the same dozen pages of forms two or three times by hand. When schools put forms online, however, even if they don’t allow address, phone, and other data to populate forms for multiple children at once, copying and pasting is an option, and the whole thing is easier than paper forms. Furthermore, parents whose children remain within the same school system for several years like the option to reuse last year’s information, making updates only as needed.
The time and resource savings to schools can be significant. The Visalia Unified School District in California managed to save $10,000 per year by taking a single, heavily used form from paper to electronic. School systems that are just starting to put forms online can begin with the basics: registration and enrollment forms. As new workflows for handling electronic forms become established, it’s easy to add more online form options, like submission of lunch funds, field trip permission, and discipline reports.
Making Community Colleges More Efficient
Community colleges represent a great value in higher education, costing significantly less than four-year institutions. Unfortunately, many community colleges have coped with budget cuts that often make it necessary to raise tuition and other fees. Eliminating paper forms and putting as many forms online as possible is one-way community colleges can make the smartest use of their resources. Students of all ages are quite computer literate, and though they probably will only be completing forms for one person, they appreciate the time savings and ease of online forms. Processing these forms is also much faster when they’re online instead of on paper.
Higher Education Benefits Most by Putting These Forms Online
As with other educational systems, colleges and universities have the ability to put nearly all their forms online. And with the right form creation software, they don’t have to rely on overworked IT teams to create electronic forms for them. The University of Portland has put more than 100 forms online over the past several years, making things easier on students and administrators, and freeing IT resources for other priorities.
During college application season, admissions offices can be overwhelmed, and placing admission forms online can take up much of the slack. eCampusNews.com suggests putting the following forms online first when making the transition away from paper:
1. Scholarship application forms
2. Application admission forms
3. Recommendation forms
4. Candidate interview evaluation forms
5. Campus visit scheduling forms
Form Creation Software That’s Up to the Challenge
PerfectForms is a form creator software made for non-technical users. It has been successfully used by K-12 systems, community colleges, and four-year colleges and universities, as well as a wide range of businesses in many industries. The intuitive drag-and-drop interface lets your team get busy creating online forms right away, and creating online workflows is just as easy.
With PerfectForms, schools can save parents and students massive amounts of time, spend far less on paper, ink, and the costs of handling all that paper, and can count on more accurate forms that are easier to access and update. We encourage you to look through the case studies referenced above, or watch the PerfectForms demo for inspiration about forms and processes you can put online for the benefit of all parties involved.