Our New Digital Forms Update: Making Dreams Come True

Innovate is our middle name.

If something can be done more efficiently, then we’re going to do whatever we can to make it happen.

We realized the need for the most up-to-date forms solution in student affairs, and we’re proud to announce we’ve built just that.

How many days do you head into work realizing that more than half your time is spent dedicated to administrative work? Those are hours you could be interacting with students and building an amazing campus community. That’s expensive lost productivity.

Without streamlined digital processes, time is wasted toward the never-ending e-mail inbox, going to meetings that could have been handled another way, and dealing with miscellaneous interruptions. According to Fast Company, we spend on average 13 hours on e-mail each week. Imagine all that could be done with 13 extra hours!

More importantly, we are now interacting with Generation Z — those born from 1995- 2010 — which means we need to change our mindset and processes from that of previous generations. They may have similar characteristics to that of Millennials, but Gen Z students are arriving with higher expectations for streamlined processes at institutions worldwide. Generation Z Goes to College outlines that we must prepare to chance, “our structures, processes, structures, curriculum, environments, processes, and pedagogies” to match this generations’ modern needs.

As we conceptualize how our students will interact with administrators on campuses, we must analyze how we’ve built processes to serve our students and ourselves.

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Not sure where to start streamlining your current paper or online forms?

That’s why we’re here!

I’ll bring you through all of the benefits of using online forms, and why you should start the transition today.

Digital forms streamline communication and workflows

Every process can be replaced.

Say it again for the people in the back: every paper and online process can be replaced with our digital forms.

You can replace all of the Google forms you’ve created (and tried to track) with our digital drag and drop forms. Customize your layout and digitize any form in one central location.

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You no longer have to wait for a form to be delivered by campus mail, you can immediately have forms be approved or rejected digitally in a matter of seconds. Students no longer have to wait outside of your door. Unique and embeddable form URLs mean you can communicate efficiently and effectively with students, without worry.

Paper forms can be transferred to electronic forms, making every process eco-friendly. Professionals get rid of unnecessary filing cabinets and utilize space for what it’s meant for: engaging students in developmental dialogues.

Commence Hall and Oates song to your last spring cleaning ever.

Example of common form solutions include, but aren’t limited to:

  • New Student Organization Processes Event Registration
  • Forms Trip Sign-Up Form
  • Volunteer Hours
  • Hosting Campus Elections (for any student organization)
  • Organization Equipment Check-Out
  • Greek Organizations, Sorority & Fraternity Life
  • Advertising Forms (i.e. chalking)
  • Campus Recreation
  • Space Reservations
  • Student Government
  • Forms Request For Proposal (RFP)
  • Catering from the Campus Dining Hall
  • Financial requests from student organizations – expenditure forms
  • Facilities Request Form Waivers (hold Harmless, risk management)

Whoa, that’s a whole lot!

The best news? Students don’t have to sign-in to Presence software to fill out a form. We do our best to keep interactions as accessible and user-friendly as possible, for all humans.

Digital forms is the foundation of our student engagement software which ensures our end-user can create the forms they’ve always dreamed of.

Custom Approval Workflows

Custom approval workflows combines our form drag-and-drop form builder with enhanced automation, giving administrators a way to manage processes. Multiple people can approve a single form while allowing each person to track the approval progress.

With forms you can manage and view each response and see what stage each response is in, who has approved it, what stages come next, and manage completed responses.

“Custom approval workflows came out of listening to our campus partner needs and going beyond that,” explains Reuben Pressman CEO of Presence. “Students can fill out a form and the data or answers are pushed to the right destination in a matter of seconds. In student affairs, it’s clear that many people are often involved in one or many processes, often across departments. We’ve now made it possible for digitized workflows and saving people the ultimate currency: time.”

What makes our approval workflow custom?

Our conditional logic and notifications allow professionals to add questions whose answers will notify all of the right people — if and only if it’s relevant to you. So you’re not getting e-mails that you don’t need to, and you’re getting critical information in real-time.

For example:

Have you ever filled out three separate forms for one event? Now you can fill out one form and have multiple departments or people notified. Audio Visual (AV) needs, financial requests, even contacting on-campus security or campus police if a large amount of attendees are expected at an event.

Custom approval workflows are the ultimate game-changer for how student affairs processes are conducted.

Customer approval workflows allow for:

  • Multiple professionals and students to review and complete a form
  • Automation that reduces time spent on repetitive tasks that need approval
  • Lessen errors during the workflow process and identify where communication can be streamlined
  • Resources to be distributed more effectively, and keeps to-do items on track among various sized teams

Conditional Logic

It’s time to lean in and learn more about how conditional logic can streamline your forms even further.

Show or hide specific fields on a form based on conditions such as who is filling out a form, which item they’ve selected from a list, or a value they’ve entered in a field.

Why is conditional logic important?

More students or users are more likely to fill out a form because it’s smart. There won’t be field they have to skip over and won’t have questions about what they need to fill out.

Forms are meant to be succinct, and only include what you need or what your unique user/student needs. That happens when you hide fields that aren’t necessary for everyone to fill out.

Conditional logic makes each and every form personalized, so your experience is engaging from start to finish.

For example:

Conditional logic can help you gain feedback on student experiences. If you have a question, perhaps measured using a Likert scale, you can ask students to give feedback with their perspective. If the rating falls below a specific rating, conditional logic would create the ability to ask for additional qualitative feedback in the form of a comment box.

Personalization also allows you to provide automated responses, beyond “Thank you for filling out this form,” which can provide more details about what students should be thinking about next.

Another example would be if you’re giving out a quiz or assessment to Resident Assistants at the conclusion of your Residence Life and Housing training. Students would have the ability to see their scores immediately, and based on their score, could retake the quiz, or have it re-direct them to policies they may need to brush up on.

The only limit on conditional logic is your imagination! We’re so excited for our campus partners and Happiness Team to work together to create amazing conditional logic structures.

Precise Access Control & Security

I used to work in an office that saved every paper form, including those forms with critical student emergency information… via carbon copies.

I always had that thought and potential worry, “What if we had a fire? What if we somehow lost one of these papers? What would happen?”

Our digital forms are backed by the Presence platform, which means you aren’t restricted to staying on campus. You can approve items while working for home or while on-the-go during student affairs conference travel.

With precise access control, only the people who need to see relevant information are given permission.

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For example:

A student leader or organization advisor is running campus elections for Student Government. The administrator running campus elections can limit voters to submitting a campus form once and provide anonymous results at the same time. This means student leaders won’t know who voted for a specific person in an election, and provides security for students who choose to vote.

Revolutionize Campus Forms with Presence

The new Forms solution has laid the foundation for even more features and processes to be built and customized within Presence, which our developers are working hard to continually iterate.

We’re pumped for the possibilities!

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We’d love to hear from you. Looking for a improved forms solution for your campus? Contact an Engagement Specialist to schedule a free demo of Presence today.

Are you a current campus partner? Schedule a comprehensive forms training with a Happiness Expert to review everything that forms has to offer. Send them a quick note at support@presence.io.

Kayley Robsham

About the author: Kayley Robsham is the former Community Engagement Manager at Presence, the complete student engagement platform. Learn how we can help get your students involved.

Check I'm Here is now Presence. Learn more about this change in our blog post here.