CMS and EMS forms: A guided approach for schools using both Finalsite products

Using Finalsite’s Content Management System (CMS) together with Finalsite’s Enrollment Management System (EMS) provides the optimal experience for parents and school administrators alike. This combination gives you the tools to streamline communications and nurture leads in a more dynamic way. In this article, you'll learn the benefits and important points to consider when managing communications across both the CMS and EMS platforms.

Terms used in this article

You will see the following terms used to refer to Finalsite’s two systems:

  • CMS (Content Management System) refers to Finalsite’s website, marketing, and communication tools (which includes Forms, Composer, Messages, and Automated Email Workflows).

  • EMS (Enrollment Management System) refers to Finalsite’s admissions and enrollment platform, Finalsite Enrollment (formerly SchoolAdmin).

Best practices

  • Use forms in CMS to collect contact information from prospects to add the contact to a workflow and market to prospective families, encouraging them to inquire or apply. For example, a shorter form on an advertising landing page.

  • Use forms in your EMS for admissions- and enrollment-related items.

  • The EMS inquiry form should be embedded on your CMS site for easy access and to create an Inquiry record in your EMS system.

  • Place a link to your EMS application form on your CMS site with a call to action.

Questions to consider

  • Do you need to collect a fee upon form submission? Fee collection is not available in your EMS until after the applicant phase. All fee collection prior to the student becoming an applicant will need to take place in your CMS site.

  • Does the collected information tie to a contract fee, or trigger an Admissions/Enrollment Checklist item or internal reminder? If so, this form should be hosted in your EMS.

  • Who needs access to the collected data? Are they an admin, user, or reviewer in the intended platform? Each platform has a unique set of users. While all admissions and enrollment forms should be collected in EMS and visible to all of your admissions and enrollment staff, you may need other information collected for a different audience. For example, a coach or teacher may like to collect T-shirt orders with a sporting event form. The coach is likely not an EMS user, and this is not related to admissions or enrollment. In that case, the form should be hosted in your CMS.

  • What stage in the admissions cycle will the parent/student be presented with this form? Prospects do not have access to complete forms outside of the inquiry form itself in the EMS platform.

  • Will you import data collected on a CMS form into your EMS? If you're planning to use contact information collected with a form from the Finalsite CMS within the EMS, it’s important to note that the EMS requires certain pieces of information to create a new prospect.

    To successfully import the data into EMS, make sure that you collect the following on your CMS form:

    • prospect_entry_grade
    • prospect_entry_year

    Note: Student email (on the Prospect Import Template as is only required if you do not have parent contact information on the import file. You must have one or the other to import the prospects into the Finalsite Enrollment EMS.

Key features and benefits of CMS and EMS


Feature CMS EMS Notes
Prospect form(s) YES   Forms in your EMS are only available from Inquiry >  Enrollment.
Embeddable forms YES YES
(Inquiry Form only)
Custom appointment forms YES YES  
Inquiry, Application and Enrollment contract/forms   YES  
Ad-hoc admissions and enrollment forms   YES  
Event registration hosted on forms YES YES EMS forms are intended for admissions and enrollment events only. CMS forms should be used for community events (if needed).
Teacher recommendation forms   YES
(Applicant stage)
Document request forms   YES
(Applicant > Enrollment only)
Internal-facing forms   YES For example, Interview Notes Form


Setup and customization

Feature CMS EMS Notes
Customizable field display YES YES CMS refers to this as conditional fields, while EMS refers to this feature as dynamic forms
Collect fees YES YES
(Applicant > Enrollment only)
Signature fields YES YES  
Default field values YES YES Single, Multiple Choice, and Dropdown fields
Required fields YES YES  


Additional features

Feature CMS EMS
Prefill fields YES
(Name, Email, and Short Answer fields. Only with portal login.)
(Applicant > Enrollment)
Add file attachments to CMS YES  
Conditional notifications/Automated Communication Plans YES YES


Related help articles and training videos

CMS content

EMS content

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