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Creating + Managing Applications
Creating + Managing Applications

Learn about Steps, Sections, Fields, Deposits, and Payments in an Application and how to create and manage Applications.

Michael Stephenson avatar
Written by Michael Stephenson
Updated this week


Element451 makes it easy to build Applications that are branded and customizable and offer an easy-to-navigate experience for students, underpinned by powerful features such as SnapApp and the ability to submit early once required fields are complete.

Applications are hosted within a dedicated Application Site, ensuring students have 24/7 access to check their status, upload documents, and review their checklist, making the application process as straightforward as possible.

This guide will walk you through building an application that leverages advanced functionalities.

Understanding Steps, Sections, and Fields

Steps: Think of Steps as distinct pages within the application process, each designed to collect specific information. For instance, Steps might include titles such as 'About You,' 'Education History,' 'Academic Plans,' and 'Emergency Contact Info.' They organize the application flow and help applicants progress logically.

Sections: Within each Step, you'll create Sections to group related Fields. This not only enhances the applicant's experience by categorizing information (e.g., Personal Information, Contact Details, Residency) but also aids in keeping the application organized and easy to navigate.

Fields: Fields are the individual questions or data points you want to collect from the applicants. They are the building blocks of your application, allowing you to gather all necessary information efficiently.

Step 1 - Initial Application Creation

  1. Navigate to Applications > Applications > All Applications.

  2. Click the (+ New Application) in the top right corner of the header.

  3. Configure the settings:


  • Application Name: Enter a descriptive name for your application. As shown in the screenshot below, this name will be visible to students when they choose which application to submit, making it a crucial element for identification.

  • Description: Describe the Application. This field is intended for internal use, providing your staff with context.

  • Enable SnapApp: Toggle this option to offer a condensed version of the application, SnapApp. SnapApp displays only the required fields to the applicant, simplifying the application process. Enabling this feature includes an option for applicants to toggle SnapApp on or off based on their preference, as shown in the screenshot below:

  • Default Application: If you enable SnapApp, select the default version of the application that applicants see upon initially accessing it. This setting configures the toggle to either FullApp or SnapApp by default.

  • Alert When Required Fields Are Complete: Activate this option to present a popup notification to the applicant once they complete all required fields. The popup will give them the choice to either submit the application immediately or continue filling in any optional information, as shown in the screenshot below:

  • Should Applicants be able to Withdraw Application: Permit applicants to withdraw their application directly from their Application Dashboard. This feature empowers applicants by giving them control over their application status.

  • Show Application Status: Opt to show the current status of the application on the Application Dashboard. This transparency helps applicants track their progress and understand their application's standing.

  • Hide Blank Fields on Generated PDFs: This option ensures that any fields left blank by the applicant are not included when generating PDF versions of applications, resulting in cleaner and more relevant documents.

    Note: If enabled, field headings will still appear to provide context about each application section. Keeping field headings visible in PDFs, even if the fields are empty, ensures you always keep track of what information was requested. This is especially handy for reviewing applications comprehensively.

  • Show Documents Section: Decide whether to display the documents section within the application's sidebar. This section can be used to request specific documents from applicants.

  • Submitted Status Sidebar Text: This setting allows you to display custom text in the sidebar once an application is submitted. You can use this space to provide helpful information, next steps, or essential notifications to applicants post-submission.


Choose an icon for your application to display next to its name on the Application Site.

Payment Info

The payment info section allows you to enable payments and collect an application fee if required to submit an application.

  1. Active: Use the Active toggle to enable application fee collection.

  2. Discounts: Turning this toggle on permits discount codes to be used on this payment. Discount codes are configured in General Settings. To learn more about configuring discount codes, visit our Discount Codes article.

  3. Personal Check: Turning this toggle on permits applicants to select a 'Mail a Personal Check' method instead of using a credit card. Note that Applications is the only module that allows credit card payments. If selected, you will also need to provide the following information:

    • Paid to: To whom should the check be made out?

    • Address: Provide the address where the check should be mailed.

  4. Payment Description: Describes the product or service purchased only for internal use.

  5. Credit Card Provider: If you have multiple credit card providers, you will be prompted to select one.

  6. Account: Input an account number or name for internal tracking.

  7. Payment Type: There are four payment types to choose from: fixed, conditional, calculated, and user-defined.

    • Additional fields will appear to configure the specific settings depending on the Payment Type chosen. You can explore our article, Payment Types, to gain further insight into each type and how to configure them.

    • If you wish to use payment rules, you will need to select the Conditional payment type.

  8. Mandatory Payment for Submission: If payment is a prerequisite for application submission, toggle Required to Submit to Yes. This ensures that the application can only be submitted after payment.

  9. Payment Dialog Title: Add help text that appears on the modal/dialog box under the "Application Fee" title. This space supports adding links, which is great for including your payment/refund policies and more. See the screenshot below:


If you wish to collect a deposit on this Application:

  1. To apply an existing Deposit, select one from the dropdown menu.

  2. To create a new Deposit, click Add Deposit.

  3. Configure the Deposit Settings. For help creating deposits, review the Application Settings article.

After configuring the Application settings, click Add in the top right corner to Save your Application. The Application editor will open, allowing you to begin customization.

Step 2 - Add Steps + Sections

Now that you've successfully created your application, it's time to tailor it to your needs.

Applications in Element451 are organized into Steps and Sections. This structure streamlines navigation and organization for applicants.

  • Step: Acts as separate pages in the application process, guiding applicants through different phases of information submission.

  • Section: The area within each Step where data fields are placed to gather information from the applicant. Sections are especially useful for grouping related topics or information. They can be expanded or collapsed to streamline the user experience within each Step.

For instance, Steps could be titled About You, Education History, Academic Plans, and Emergency Contact Info. Within the About You Step, Sections could include Personal Information, Contact Details, and Residency, allowing for a structured and user-friendly application experience.

Editing, Deleting, + Reordering Steps

When you create an Application, the first step is created for you automatically.

  • To edit a Step, click the Step name.

  • To rename or delete a Step, click the three horizontal dots next to the Step name.

  • To reorder your Steps, click and drag the Step to the desired place using the up and down arrow icon.

Adding Steps + Sections with Fields

Adding a Step

  1. To add a new Step, click + Add Step from the lefthand menu.

  2. Enter a name for your Step. Keep in mind that this name is visible to applicants, as shown in the screenshot below:

  3. Click Add in the top right corner to save your new Step.

Adding a Section

  1. Click + Add Section.

  2. Give the Section a name. To let applicants enter multiple items (e.g., every high school they attended), toggle the Repeatable Section to Yes. If enabled, you will be prompted to select whether entering an item is required and whether you want to limit the number of items.

  3. After configuring your Section, click Add in the top right corner. The Section will be added to the Section list.

Adding Fields

Fields are the individual pieces of information you request from applicants. For efficiency, you can add fields individually or in groups.

  1. Click the Section name to edit.

  2. Click + Add Field. The Add Field sidesheet will open. You can choose from individual fields or field groupings for standard data collection. For example, add a field grouping for Name, Home Phone, and Cell Phone, followed by individual fields for Date of Birth and Email.

  3. Customize the field to control how it appears and behaves in the Application:

    • Label: The name of the field as seen by the applicant.

    • Description: An internal note about the field, useful for administrative purposes.

    • Required: Toggle whether the field must be filled out to submit the application.

    • Hidden: Hide a field from the application form without deleting it; it is helpful for temporary adjustments.

    • Help Text: Guide what the applicant should enter in the field. Using examples can be very helpful.

    • Field Size: Adjust how much space the field occupies on the line.

  4. Repeat steps 2-3 as needed.

Custom Sidebar

Each Step in the Application offers the ability to enable a Custom Sidebar. Activating this feature allows you to tailor the information in the sidebar when an applicant selects the 'Tips and Info' button.

Customizing the sidebar content for each Step provides a versatile tool to offer step-specific instructions or helpful tips, enhancing the applicant's experience and guidance throughout the application process.

  • To activate the Sidebar, toggle Activate Custom Sidebar to Yes.

  • To edit the Sidebar Title, click the pencil icon.

  • To add a Paragraph, click + Add Paragraph. Then, use the editor to add a Paragraph Title and Body Text. If you choose, you can add multiple paragraphs.

When building your Steps, use the Show Preview toggle to preview how the fields will display to the applicant.

Step 3 - Configure Application Content

The Content section of the lefthand menu allows you to configure the following application components. Click on a heading to expand the details.


The Dashboard is the application start screen or the first step in the application process. Applicants will see the Dashboard immediately after starting an application and completing the Registration Form.

  • Greeting Messages: Greeting messages are displayed in the Dashboard header and are customized based on status. For example, admitted students can receive a personalized greeting congratulating them, while in-review students can receive a greeting letting them know their application is being processed.

    • Each greeting has a default title and description provided by Element451, but you can click the pencil to edit the greeting.

    • Tokens can be used to personalize the greeting.

    • Admitted and conditional offer greetings have an added feature that allows you to show a package button. This feature is used in conjunction with Decision Packages and Microsites. Read more on Linking the Admitted Student Dashboard to the Microsite.

  • Information Cards: Element451 allows you to enhance your Application Dashboard with various Information Cards, including Documents, Text, Deadlines, and Checklists. Additionally, you can apply conditional logic to control visibility for different users.

    1. Checklist Card: This card displays checklist items tied to the application, which can be managed under Applications > Decision > Decision Settings > Checklist. It is vital for tracking application requirements. Read more on the Decision Checklist.

    2. Text Card: This card displays essential information or guidance related to the application or the application process. This card remains visible until a decision is released.

    3. Documents Card: This card showcases the applicant's uploaded documents after submitting the application. It becomes visible after the application has been submitted.

    4. Deadline Card: This card features a customizable deadline, which is ideal for highlighting application or scholarship due dates. Visibility continues until a decision is released or the specified deadline is reached, whichever happens first.

  • Sidebar and Paragraphs: In the top right corner of the dashboard header, students will see a Tips and Info button. When clicked, a sidebar appears. The sidebar has a main header (Sidebar Title), and then there can be Paragraphs with separate headings under it. This section can be used for various things but was designed to provide quick access to helpful information the applicant may be looking for.

    • To edit the Sidebar Title, click the pencil icon.

    • To add a Paragraph, click + Add Paragraph. Then, use the editor to add a Paragraph Title and Body Text. If you choose, you can add multiple paragraphs.

    Here is an example of the Tips and Info sidebar:

Registration Form

The Registration Form allows students to quickly create an account to start or continue their application, upload necessary documents, and check their application status—all in one place.

This form is customizable and tailored to meet your institution's needs. Element451 automatically adds the following fields to streamline the process: email, password, first name, last name, date of birth, term, campus, and intended program of study.

The email, password, first name, and last name fields must remain on the registration form.

  • To add additional fields to the registration form, click + Add Field.

  • To preview how the fields display to the applicant, use the show preview toggle.

Request Information

The Request Information feature within Applications allows students to easily request documents or information from third parties within an application (e.g., transcripts, fee waivers, test scores, letters of reference). You can add an Information Request to your application(s) with just a few clicks. The request automatically emails the third party/recipient upon application submission.

Submission Form

The Submission Form is designed to gather essential information from applicants before finalizing their applications. It’s strategically positioned to ask sensitive but necessary questions such as "Have you ever been expelled or academically dismissed from school?" or "Have you ever been convicted of a felony?"—queries that institutions may need for legal compliance or internal criteria.

Additionally, this form offers the flexibility to add fields that require the applicant's consent or agreement. Leveraging conditional logic, these fields can be dynamically tailored, ensuring that applicants only see questions relevant to their specific circumstances, thus enhancing the submission process.

The process for adding fields to the Submission Form is the same as Steps and other Forms.

The responses to the submission form questions will appear on the application preview and PDF.

Supplemental Forms

Supplemental application forms are helpful for institutions that need to collect additional information from applicants after submitting a primary application. These can be used for several use cases, such as residency verifications, enrollment agreements, etc.

Submission Prevention Rules

With the application submission prevention feature, you can prevent users from submitting applications using custom criteria. While users are already prevented from submitting applications if they do not fill out the required fields or have already submitted an application for the same term and major combination, this feature allows further customization of these rules.

Step 4 - Settings: Autoresponder Messages

The Settings section of the lefthand menu allows you to modify the default autoresponder messages sent to applicants as they work through their applications. Click on the heading to expand the details.

Autoresponder Messages

The default autoresponder messages are managed in Application Settings. However, here, you can customize or tailor an autoresponder to meet the needs of a specific application. However, it is important to note that If you modify an autoresponder for a particular application, any subsequent changes you make in Application Settings to that same message will not apply to that specific application. You can tell if an application's autoresponder message has been edited by looking for the word 'edited' appended to the autoresponder title, indicating that it differs from the original settings.

You can modify nine autoresponder types at the application level, tailoring each to meet your institution's specific needs. The other three autoresponders related to applications are for Information Requests, which can be customized or fine-tuned by Request Type.

  • Application Preview

  • Application Submitted

  • CC Payment Successfully

  • Deposit CC Payment Successful

  • Password Reset Request Secondary Email Notification

  • User Password Changed

  • User Password Reset Request

  • User Profile Changed

  • User Registered to Application.

According to your preference, these messages can be personalized and delivered through email, SMS, or both.

You can also enable or disable these messages at any time. For added convenience, a feature allows you to send a preview to yourself. This lets you see exactly what the applicant will receive, ensuring that every communication is perfectly crafted.

  • To activate/deactivate an autoresponder, use the Active toggle.

  • To edit an autoresponder, click the three vertical dots, then Edit Message.

  • To send a preview, click the three vertical dots, then Send Preview Message.

Managing Applications

From the All Applications page (Applications > Applications > All Applications), you can edit, duplicate, delete, and reorder your list of Applications.

  • To edit an Application, click the three vertical dots, then Edit.

  • To duplicate an Application, click the three vertical dots, then Duplicate.

  • To delete an Application, click the three horizontal dots, then Delete. You'll be asked to confirm your action.

  • To reorder your Applications, click and drag the Application to the desired place using the up and down arrow icon. If you have multiple applications available to a student, the other here is how it will appear to the student on the Application Site.

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