Cornell University Tackles Complex Application Processes with Advanced Web Forms

The Form Advocate

Denise Ruben

Salesforce Administrator, Cornell University Johnson College of Business

Case Study Snapshot

At Cornell University, a talented team of Salesforce administrators oversees the day-to-day CRM operations for the SC Johnson College of Business, which includes the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, the School of Hotel Administration, and the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management. To better manage application processes for each of these academic areas, and to relieve the burden from the Salesforce Developer team, the Salesforce Administrator team employs FormAssembly to streamline projects ranging from complex to simple.


  • The Cornell SC Johnson College of Business encompasses three top-ranked business programs: Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, the School of Hotel Administration, and the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management. 
  • Each program prioritizes diversity and inclusion while instructing in leadership.
  • In 2018, college enrollment was at 3,191 (both graduate and undergraduate) students and over 43,000 alumni.

The Numbers


Salesforce administrators on the team


web forms currently in use


application responses collected in 5 months

The Problem

No Real-Time Data for Higher Education Business Processes

Denise Ruben, Salesforce Administrator, explained how FormAssembly is used to manage the application process for two separate programs for Executive Education. Within each individual program, there are two forms: a single application form and a group enrollment form. Previous pain points revolved around the need to update data to multiple objects and to mitigate the workload of establishing these forms on the backend. 

Cornell was able to work with FormAssembly’s Implementation Services team to tackle the personalized needs of the program process and to troubleshoot as needed.

The Solution

A Viable Fix for Backlogged Projects

FormAssembly provides a path for the Salesforce team at Cornell to create, manage, and streamline online forms for higher education. This creates an opportunity to relieve extra work and tasks from the Salesforce Developer team.

“What [we] were really able to do with this is to take stuff off the plates of Salesforce Developers who are extremely backlogged,” Ruben shared.

The team at Cornell has benefited from a few key FormAssembly features, in particular. These include:

Prefill Connector

The Prefill Connector allows the team to minimize the amount of repeat data they request from respondents. Staff wanted to be able to save time and energy and eliminate the need for respondents to type in contact information in multiple places.

Validation Rules

FormAssembly’s validation rules can help ensure that all the rules in a form are followed correctly. This extra layer of protection ensures that submitted data is clean, free of errors, and will flow into Salesforce correctly.

Repeatable Fields

The team at Cornell also makes use of repeatable fields and sections on different forms. According to Ruben, this “does a good job of creating data in Salesforce and creating the right records.” FormAssembly’s repeatable fields can be used to merge data in Salesforce or to create separate, individual records.

What [we] were really able to do with this is to take stuff off the plates of Salesforce Developers who are extremely backlogged.”

Use Cases

A broad group of forms allows one individual to register multiple colleagues for education programs

The complex Group Planner form is the main use case that the Salesforce team at Cornell has worked to establish. This form is designed so that one individual (usually a manager or supervisor) can register several team members or colleagues for an Executive Education program at Cornell. This form incorporates the Prefill and Post-Submit Connectors to verify repeat data such as contact and billing information for each person.

“This [form] is saving someone from having to go into about 8 different objects. You can just imagine the process someone would have to go through to do this manually. This is hours of work and the chance of mistakes is extremely high,” Ruben said.

Group Application Form for the Professional Development Program (click image to enlarge)

Smaller form projects assist with event registration and feedback

The team at Cornell has also implemented intuitive forms to tackle less labor-intensive projects. These forms include:

  • Pre-academic year events
  • On-campus event registration
  • Miscellaneous membership forms
  • Admissions yield events

The Immersion Selection form allows graduate students to select a specialization

Through the SC Johnson College of Business, students have the option of selecting an immersion or specialization during their academic program. This option offers a hands-on and intense semester of concentrated fieldwork. FormAssembly powers an Immersion Selection Tool that helps students easily select the course they wish to take.

What’s Next?

As an institution of higher education, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business has a governance process by which they approve and prioritize new process changes. FormAssembly remains a viable option for new data processes and workflows. Additionally, as the need for outside corporate training programs arises, the college can meet those application needs head-on with intuitive FormAssembly forms.

To see what else FormAssembly can do for your higher ed business processes, reach out about a demo today!

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