Offering online forms for K-12 registration is a no-brainer for most school districts. They eliminate paper, they save administrative time, and families prefer them.
But if you’re considering online registration forms for your K-12 schools, you might be wondering if you can get away with using a free tool like Google Forms. The answer is, you probably can, but is it the better option?
The Google suite of free, cloud-based tools are easy to use and come with plenty of storage. Google Docs and Sheets enhance efficiencies by allowing multiple users to work on one document at the same time, and Google Forms enables users to easily collect information using a survey format.
But there’s another route you should consider: Adopting online registration software that’s specifically built for K-12 registration and offers its own forms tool.
Here are five reasons your school district should consider going with online registration software over Google Forms.
There’s no question that online registration forms are convenient. Families can fill out and submit them whenever they want and anywhere there’s an internet connection. Your staff doesn’t have to deal with a mountain of paperwork to process. And all the information is easily accessible in the cloud.
But there’s a big difference between how Google forms and registration software process that information. The latter has the capability of saving you a lot more time.
With Google Forms, the data is imported into a spreadsheet once a parent completes a registration. You then have to manually import that large file into your student information system (SIS). This action is time-consuming and can lead to data-entry errors.
K-12 registration software, on the other hand, automatically syncs registration data with your SIS with each form that’s submitted. You save staff time and reduce the potential for errors.
Google Forms makes it easy to send a quick survey or plan an event. It has an easy-to-use interface allowing you to create custom fields and store the collected data in a cloud-based spreadsheet.
But is it robust enough? The ability for field customization is limited. And for an intensive process like K-12 registration —that requires large amounts of data (hundreds or thousands of submissions) you probably will need more out of your tool.
Online registration software, however, comes packed with features ready to tackle the job. Here are some of them:
Payment Collection: Gather payments within registration, streamlining the process and improving your collection rate.
Data Analytics: Dynamically create custom reports on submission data in real-time.
Custom Fields: Create registration fields customized for your K-12 school without limits on length.
Language Options: Offer registration forms in multiple languages.
SIS Data Integration: Integrate registration forms with your SIS so data is automatically uploaded.
In this FREE report, we highlight some of the key industry trends K-12 school administrators need to know this year.
Notifications: Automatically notify returning students and families when it’s time for them to register.
Automated Workflows: Workflow management systems help you streamline workflows, allowing you to process registrations more easily and quickly.
E-Signatures: Allowing registrants to sign up with electronic signatures save huge amounts of time compared to systems that require “wet” on-paper signatures.
Drag-and-Drop Form Builder: There are huge advantages to going with a drag-and-drop form builder. There’s no coding required, so just about any employee can design forms.
Everyone loves free stuff, and it can be difficult to justify spending a portion of your budget on something that could accomplish needed tasks at no cost.
But here’s what you need to ask when it comes to your bottom line: How does the cost of K-12 registration software compare to potentially weeks of administrative pay for employees who are manually entering data? What savings can you reap by automating your system using registration software? One that is built to handle all kinds of processes?
When you conduct this apples-to-apples comparison, many organizations discover that the overall cost savings is greater with a registration software solution.
Security is of the utmost importance for any school district. This is especially true with cyber attacks on K-12 schools more than doubling year over year. You can’t afford to have data become vulnerable at any stage of the registration process.
When student data and payment information are collected, it should be treated the same way as when it’s in your SIS. The data should be accessible only via single, permission-based logins and nestled safely behind firewall protection.
Online forms mitigate your security risk, assuring that all sensitive information is automatically delivered to your SIS.
We never want to think about a scenario where technology goes terribly wrong, but it happens. When it does, it’s critical for organizations to have an account manager or customer support team to call on who can quickly remedy problems.
Online registration software providers like LINQ have a team of people who guide clients through product onboarding and then stand ready to offer support when issues arise. This kind of dependable support is only available for enterprises that invest in certain software technologies.
Google Forms is a useful tool for gathering basic information such as names, email addresses and phone numbers. The forms are super simple to create and use, and they make collaboration easy, eliminating the need for paper forms.
Online registration form tools like LINQ come with a robust set of features specifically built to manage registration for K-12 schools, taking into account their need for high efficiency and top-level security.
Plus, you gain other benefits, too, such as an improved user experience, getting paid faster, streamlining administrative tasks in a centralized platform, and gaining insights from data in real-time.
K-12 registration has a lot of moving parts. It includes sensitive student information and has the potential to be really time-consuming. Selecting a registration software solution that reduces administrative time and includes high-quality support could make this your year for seamless and stress-free K-12 registration.
Want to learn more? We'd love to hear from you. Send us your information, and we'll reach out to you as soon as possible.