You’ve likely encountered application forms in your everyday life. Application forms are used to collect relevant information from someone applying for something. They are used for employment, membership, rental, credit, volunteering, education, and more.
If you’re in a position where individuals are submitting information to you, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your applications are clear, concise, and easy to complete. Online forms make the application process simple for applicants to complete, but they also make it easy for you to collect information in an easy-to-use digital format. Online applications are also easy to share and get to the right people.
While the basic creation of an online application form isn’t overly complicated, keep these best practices in mind to maximize the benefits of use.
Because online applications are used for such a wide variety of reasons, the information you deem necessary will vary greatly. Regardless of use, you’ll likely require:
Beyond that, you’ll need to consider what the person using the form is applying for and what information you need to process the application. For example, an application for employment will ask for employment history, while an application for a rental will ask for previous landlord information.
Whatever information is necessary should be included in your application to save the time and effort of reaching out for it later.
With that in mind, don’t over-ask. It’s tempting to ask for more than you need—just in case. This is not advisable. Applicants may doubt your integrity if you ask for information that seems irrelevant to the application. This can also negatively affect your completion rates.
Imagine you’re in the middle of a relatively long application and are called away or need to collect information to finish the form. Allow applicants to save the progress they’ve made so they can return and finish where they left off rather than starting over.
SurveyMonkey offers this feature, which will decrease frustration and increase completion rates.
Oftentimes, applications require supplementary documentation. The option to upload documents or images directly within an application streamlines the process for applicants and helps keep you organized. SurveyMonkey allows easy uploads from within applications.
Before you ask someone to upload a vital piece of documentation, make sure to inform them of what you will do with the documents, why you need them, and what type of data security you have in place.
There’s nothing more frustrating than spending the time to complete an application, submitting it, and not feeling confident that it was received. Include a “thank you” page upon submission to confirm that the form has been submitted properly. Follow this up with an email confirmation with expectations and the next steps in the application process.
Your applicants will appreciate the confirmation and information, and you’ll be assured that you’re keeping the lines of communication open.
There are literally countless ways to use application forms. People submit applications for care providers, camp attendance, financial assistance, credit cards, internships, volunteering, and more. Below, we outline just a small sampling of use cases for online application forms.
A rental application form is used by landlords to evaluate potential tenants. They usually include fields for:
Landlords can also ask for a small payment to cover a background check on a prospective tenant. SurveyMonkey has several payment integrations to use with applications.
Job applications are used to gather information from individuals who are applying for employment. Some of the most common application forms ask for:
Employers may also require background checks but typically don’t pass that expense on to applicants. Employers may also ask for links to online work, email addresses of professional references, and uploads of relevant certifications.
If your institution or organization is accepting applications for a grant, your form must include questions that align with your expectations and requirements. Whether on the first page of your application or linked to your website, applicants must be able to review application start and stop dates, who is involved, the name of the grant manager, a description of the award, and when you expect to choose a recipient.
Examples of questions for grant applications include:
These questions will help you get started on your grant application form. For more information, check out SurveyMonkey Apply, a tool dedicated to streamlining your grant application process.
Is your organization offering scholarships to students? Once you’ve decided on the amount of your contribution and how many recipients you will choose, you’ll need to define the scholarship criteria. This may include excellence in academics, sports, music, or the arts. Your chosen criteria will affect what you include on your application form.
Common scholarship example questions include:
SurveyMonkey has a scholarship solution that can assist you with the entire scholarship process—including thank-you letters and videos!
Make your application form interesting and easy to use with embedded forms and application enhancements.
Your online application form will be easiest to find if it’s embedded in your website. It’s the first place applicants will look, so make sure it’s there. Before or after completing your application, applicants will already be on your site and can be prompted to view relevant web pages.
SurveyMonkey has several apps you can integrate into your application to make your forms more efficient and useful. Our app directory has a full list, including Stripe for payments and fees, Google Drive, Mailchimp, Salesforce, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Constant Contact, and hundreds more. In fact, many CMS systems can be used to put user information directly into a database.
Browse our app integrations and see what will make your application most effective.
We’ve given you information that we hope is helpful in writing your application, but we still have one more thing that will make the process easy: Templates. Our templates reduce the time you need to spend coming up with questions and formatting them. Just choose a template and get started.
Every SurveyMonkey template is fully customizable. You can add your logo, graphics, images, and colors to align with your branding or personal taste. We’ve provided a few questions in this article, but there are thousands of questions available in our Question Bank—categorized by industry—for your convenience.
Start with our job application form template or another of our handy templates to get started. Remember, you can edit the existing questions, add and delete questions, duplicate questions, and use skip logic to streamline the application process. Online applications are easy to create when you start with a template.
If you’re in need of an online application form for any purpose, start with the useful tips in this article. Grab a template, create your online form, and send it out into the world. We’ll collect responses, and you can sort and filter data in your custom dashboard. Download the information into a spreadsheet to compare applicants side-by-side. You’ll be amazed at how much easier these things are with online applications with SurveyMonkey.