How FSU College of Motion Picture Arts Streamlined Admissions with Formstack

Written by Laura Thrasher on April 2, 2014

Posted in Case Studies, Education

Tarek Chams is the IT Coordinator for the College of Motion Picture Arts at Florida State University, which is one of the most prestigious and selective film schools in the country. Because the college needed an efficient online application system, he investigated options that included everything from a $40,000 custom admissions solution to our online form builder.

The Problem

“Our admissions process has special requirements,” Chams explained. “We have more questions than the university’s application, so we had an in-house Drupal form for our admissions. However, it was hard to maintain.”  Chams began researching products that might fit his situation. As he looked into the many options online—including software that was specifically designed for art school admissions—he chose Formstack.

Why Formstack?

According to Chams, Formstack has several characteristics that he loves. Above all, he says, “Formstack is an intelligent, easy form builder.” Formstack makes it simple to create smart, dynamic forms: certain fields can appear or disappear based on applicants’ selections. Most importantly to his situation, Formstack has an API which gave Chams the opportunity to create two forms that work together, giving him exactly the outcome he was looking for.

“I have two forms: one for applications, one for recommendations. Through an API, I made these two forms talk to each other,” Chams explained. “I was able to create a solution with my API knowledge and some time.” By leveraging Formstack’s capabilities, Chams created a customized system that fit the college’s needs.

Once Chams had the forms in place, he didn’t have to worry about it. For an IT coordinator, that confidence is priceless. “We were able to make easy and understandable forms, the service was always up and available, and I didn’t have to worry about backing up databases and fixing bugs,” he explained. “And the cost is cheap.”

Saving IT and Faculty Time (and Money)

By using Formstack, the admissions committee was able to collaborate with IT to create an application that was more effective. As a result, the college screened applicants more thoroughly, saving time by only interviewing candidates who were good fits for the program. With their improved application, Chams said, “we were able to reflect the true candidate and not waste our time” interviewing candidates who only looked good on paper. Chams estimates that Formstack has saved them 1/3 of the time they were spending on the admissions process.

In addition, Formstack is much more affordable than other admissions solutions. “I saved the college a whole bunch of money,” Chams admits. But choosing Formstack wasn’t driven by budget-consciousness: it was the product that gave his college what it needed, Chams said: “Formstack is the only product that fit my business needs in terms of API and communication.”

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