How to Build a Student CRM With Airtable

October 27, 2021

After finishing your course curriculum, you’re probably switching gears to set up your student application and onboarding process. With only a few weeks until your big launch, you don’t necessarily have the time (or interest) to learn how to code. Well, friends, this is where utilizing no-code tools comes in handy! In this blog post, you’ll learn step-by-step how to build a student CRM (customer relationship management) and automate your application process with no-code tools like Airtable and Zapier. But first, here are the four tools you’ll need to get started.


Airtable is a flexible cloud-based part-spreadsheet, part-database that helps users track, organize and manage anything -- projects, customers, ideas, and data.

When building a student CRM with Airtable, use Zapier to automatically send information from Airtable whenever someone completes an application.  


Zapier is an automation platform that moves information from one web application to another. Zapier is often used to automate repetitive tasks like logging information, sending emails, or sending notifications. Use Zapier to tag and send a welcome email to accepted applicants.

Email Service Provider

With plenty of options to choose from, like Convertkit, MailerLite, and Flodesk, an email service provider sends email broadcasts and campaigns to subscribers.


Designed for live online group learning programs like cohort-based courses, accelerators, and bootcamps, Virtually connects with existing tools like Airtable, Zoom, and Zapier. As a result, course creators and instructors spend less time managing event logistics (which is time-consuming) and more time hosting events and interacting with students.

Get early access to our newly released Zapier integration for Virtually here.

Read More: Your Checklist For Hosting Live Events

Now that you're familiar with these tools, let's review how to create a student CRM with Airtable. For a visual walk-through, watch this video and subscribe to our founder's YouTube channel, Ish Baid.  

Step 1: Create a form on Airtable

Create an application form with Airtable, including all the data points you’d like to capture in your student CRM like full name, email address, and why they want to join your program.

Once an applicant completes the form, the information is added to the associated Airtable grid view that tracks your entire student database.

Step 2: Add additional fields to the database

Add additional fields to your Airtable database like status (accepted or rejected) and other metadata that you may want to refer back to later. In Step 3, we will set up a Zapier integration that will check this field. If “accepted”, Zapier will add the student to an onboarding sequence where they receive an automated email welcoming them into the program.

Airtable comes with a built-in “last modified field.” Enable this feature and set it specifically for the “accepted” status field. More on this later.

Step 3: Connect Airtable to Email Service Provider

Next, create a Zapier workflow that connects new applications from Airtable to your email services provider like Convertkit or MailerLite.

That means as soon as someone completes the application, not only will a new record populate in the Airtable database, but their information will automatically be added to your email service provider too.

  1. [Airtable] Trigger event: Select “new record”
  2. [Airtable]  Choose your Airtable account
  3. [Airtable] Set up triggers with your application, select the specific table, and test
  4. [Email provider] Choose your email provider account
  5. [Email provider] Select what information you’d like transferred over to your email provider, including email address, name, and pick a specific tag you’d like to put them in, like “interested in the community.”

Step 4: Create Workflow For Accepted Students

Now it’s time to create another Zapier workflow, but this time you want the trigger event to update an existing record.

  1. [Airtable] Trigger event: Select “new or updated record”
  2. [Airtable] Choose your Airtable account
  3. [Airtable] Set up triggers with your application and select the specific table
  4. [Airtable] Which timestamp field should this Zap use to check for updates?
  5. Select “last modified” and test
  6. Create additional zaps as needed to onboard accepted students to various communities or learning management systems like Circle and Virtually
  7. Lastly, add them to your email service provider with a tag like “accepted into the community,” and from there, set up an automated welcome email sequence from within your email service provider that shares how to join your program.

Step 5: Share the application link

Now share the link to the application with your audience. Either use the Airtable link or embed the form onto your website.  

What other automated workflows have you set up for your online school? Tweet us your response at @tryvirtually.

Read next: Commons Mistakes When Building Cohort-based Courses

Danielle Desir

Danielle Desir is an author, freelance writer and the host of The Thought Card, an affordable-travel and personal finance podcast. ( Follow on Twitter: @thethoughtcard