What is the best way to store student information in salesforce and track prospective and registered students

If you work currently in the marketing, enrollments and registration departments of an university and have just started using salesforce or thinking through , one of the challenges which we face is to decide what would be the best way to store student information and track prospective and registered students better.Here are some options which would help you to decide on the best way to store students.

1. Decision on where to  Store Student data in salesforce

Salesforce is a great solution for B2B businesses and does not work very well if you are storing individuals like students from an out of the box capability. So if you have students and alumni who work for an organization, you have 3 choices to store students.

1. Using Accounts and contacts.

2. Use person accounts

3. Use Non profit starter pack

Using Accounts and contacts out of the box

If you use Accounts and contacts to store students, then you can use  student name as the account name for individual student and all the contact information goes to contacts or use the bucket model where you would group all the individual students into one account and have all the contact information under that account.


1. This works good to  store registered students from organizations or alumni who work for a company using accounts for their company and contacts.


1. There is significant amount of time spent in customizing accounts to work for individual students who do not have an organization and an account name has to be created with a student name manually or using custom code.

2. Can become a night mare if you are doing mass conversion of students or have a lot of duplicates in your student data which would mean that you have to clean up accounts and contacts separately.

Using one account and multiple contacts( Bucket model)

1. Great solution to store individual students if you have limited number of students less than 50,000


1. You would have to create separate reports for each category of students for your marketing campaigns if your students exceed more than 50,000.

2. Does not scale well if you have more than 50,000 students.

3. Waste of time in managing accounts for individuals

Person Account Option


a. Person accounts are a great solution to store individual accounts and contacts and can leverage out of the box features well.

b. Flexibility to create separate business process for individual students and alumni or corporate students.


a. It would consume more space compared to the regular accounts and contacts which would mean that you should be ready to spend 1200$ per year for every 40,000 students approximately.

b. Most of the apps may not work with person accounts and need to be considered when you install apps from the app exchange.

Non profit starter pack 1-1 model.

The non profit starter pack with a 1to1 account model setting would be an ideal solution to capture individual and registered students. If you install the non profit starter pack and choose the 1 to 1 model as house hold setting, it helps to store individuals and registered students easily and still differentiate them.


1. It removes the required rules on account name being required when you enter an individual student and still creates an account with the student name thus reducing your time on customizing the account feature.

2. It also helps to track your alumni job history by using the affiliation feature which can track past employments by relating the contact to multiple accounts and keeping the current account as active.

3. It easily differentiates between an individual and an organization by keeping separate record types and business process for each.

4. Relationship viewer feature can help universities to market to households which have multiple alumni to the same university and increase donations.


a. If you use existing accounts or contacts, there is some time involved to convert them to the non profit model.

Tracking prospective and registered students

Once you decide on which option to use for storing students, using record types or separate fields, registered students and prospective students can be tracked . Using the unique id from your student information system like banner or ancor, you can automatically set a field on the contact to identify prospective and registered student easily.

So using the above  options, you can easily store the students . I would appreciate if you could respond back with your comments or feel free to email me at buyan@eigenx.com for further questions.

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Author: buyan47

Hi there! My name is Buyan Thyagarajan. I am a Salesforce consultant specializing in Higher Education, Manufacturing and Marketing Automation. My blogs will help you to maximize your Salesforce CRM investments, prevent problems beforehand and make the right decisions. If you need to talk to me right away, you can email me at buyan47@gmail.com or call me at 302-438-4097

2 thoughts on “What is the best way to store student information in salesforce and track prospective and registered students

  1. In case of k-8th, we deal with parents and students, with scenarios of one parent-multiple students,
    then what would you recommend, Student as account or contacts?

    1. Hi Poojee,
      I apologize for my delay in my response. If you are dealing with parents and students, here are your options.
      1. If you are using the non profit starter pack which is a free package, parents and students become contacts and they are linked with an household object which would link them up. So this package would do the job for you.
      2. If you use person accounts, students and parents can be individual person account/contact and you can link them up using a custom object like a junction object.
      3. If you are using accounts and contacts, this model is a bit tricky which i will not recommend as you will face limitations on reports. You can create an account called household and link the student and parent as contacts in it but this would be hard to maintain. Non profit starter pack and person accounts are your best bet..
      Let me know your contact information and i can explain this further..

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