5 Features You Need for Better Online Registration Forms

A great online class registration form is the foundation of a positive student experience.

by CourseStorm

Online class registration forms can do more than gather information. They’re often your first direct communication with a student. You can use this opportunity to share details about the class, better understand student needs, and tap into their insight. In short, well-designed class registration forms set the foundation for a positive student experience. 

The trick is keeping your forms focused and relevant. Too many questions or too much information all at once might discourage students from registering. This post will show you how to use class-specific questions and customizable forms to both gather and provide valuable information. The best registration forms do these five things:

1. Gather information about the student

The first function of a registration form is to gather all of the information you need to know about a student. This may include their name, date of birth, and their email address or phone number. Depending on the type of class, you might also need to gather information about the student’s gender, allergies, or disabilities that might need special accommodation.

Be thoughtful about which information you really need to give the student the best experience. Gender, allergies, and even date of birth might not be relevant in all cases. Show students that you respect their privacy by only asking for essential information.

2. Share details about class requirements or expectations

Your website might feature a beautifully written class description that outlines everything students need to know about the course. But that doesn’t mean students have actually read it. If there’s something students must know, include it on your registration form. Then add a box they can check to indicate that they’ve read and understood each item. 

Make the text easy to read by breaking it up into discrete pieces of information. For example, the following paragraph packs in a lot of information: 

“Family Float is a kayaking class for families. That means, children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times. This is an immersive class, so you will get wet! Each participant should wear a swimsuit and bring a towel. Goggles and swim caps are optional. For your safety, you must wear your instructor-provided life jacket at all times while in the marked boating area.” 

While this might be a great class description, it probably isn’t the best choice for your registration form. The friendly tone buries some of the details and students could easily miss important information if they’re reading quickly. They are more likely to come prepared if you list each requirement or expectation individually. Like this:

  • I understand that an adult guardian must accompany my child at all times during this class. 
  • Both my child and their adult will bring a swimsuit and towel to every class. 
  • I agree that both myself and my child will wear our instructor-provided life jacket at all times while in the marked boating area

Sample CourseStorm custom form with questions checked in boxes.

It’s easy to go overboard here. Although you want to cover the essentials, you don’t have to include every detail of your course. For example, the part about goggles and swim caps probably isn’t vital to providing a safe and positive student experience. 

If you do have supplementary information you want to share, you might want to include it as a linked PDF. Just keep in mind that students may not take the time to review everything. For the form itself, think about what information students will need to know in order to feel prepared for your course. Instructors can cover anything else during the class. 

3. Include pricing information and ways to pay

Make sure that the cost and method of payment are clearly stated on your registration form. Link any price-adjusting options to the total so it automatically updates. 

For example: Let’s say you’re hosting an Intro to Photoshop course. You’re offering a discounted license for Photoshop, but some students already have a copy. In that case, you could include two pricing options: One for the class plus software and one for just the class. 

If you’re operating as a non-profit or providing free classes, you may also want to ask for a donation. Use language that explains how the donation might be used. Wherever possible, include a suggested donation amount. 

Here are some ways to put this into practice: 

  • Your $3 donation helps cover administration costs for this class
  • Foster a child’s creativity by donating $35 to meet the cost of class enrollment for one student.
  • $10 pays for your class materials, helping us offer this class to more students.

Specific requests help people visualize how their donation will be used, making them more likely to chip in. 

4. Record consent for legal information or terms of use

If you need any waivers, legal releases, or consent forms, ask for them on your registration form. That way instructors won’t have to spend valuable class time handling the legalities. Decide whether you need any or all of the following: 

  • Refund policy
  • Photo release or recording permission
  • Guardian consent for students under 18
  • Statements about potential allergens or hazards
  • COVID or other health policy statements
  • Guidelines for using equipment or facilities

Even if you ask students to sign these when they arrive in class, including them with the registration form allows students to review them and ask questions ahead of time.

5. Offer opportunities to provide feedback

This might be the most underutilized function of an online registration form. You might think you can only ask for feedback after the student has completed the class, but that’s just not true. Opening a line of communication now shows students that you value their insight and are ready to listen. 

Try adding questions like: 

  • How did you hear about this class?
  • On a scale of 1 to 5, how easy was it to register for this course (5 being not easy at all, and 1 being super easy)
  • What other classes would you like us to offer?

Don’t go overboard here. Too many questions can make your form seem cluttered and overwhelming. Stick to one or two questions that the student can answer quickly. Remember, this is just the beginning of the conversation.

Make your registration forms easy to use

Most importantly, you want your online registration forms to be accessible and easy to use. Keep in mind that students may sign up for your class using a mobile device, so making your form mobile-friendly is essential. 

Although every online class registration form should include the elements listed above, you can customize forms for individual classes to avoid overwhelming students. Only ask questions and share details that are relevant to the class the student is signing up for.

When you design forms that are relevant, easy to read, and full of useful information, you make online class registration easier for students. And that’s the beginning of a positive student experience.

 


 

If you’re a CourseStorm customer looking for guidance on how to use customized forms to communicate with your students, check out the Advanced Use of Customized Forms webinar. Or reach out to our friendly customer success team any time!