An applicant parameter is an attribute of an applicant that is the same for that individual regardless of how many applications they might have in your site. Using applicant parameters allows an office the ability to classify applicants with standardized information fields. Many institutions integrate their Terra Dotta site with the institutional Student Information System (SIS) to automatically pull applicant information (such as major, GPA, and home address) from the institution's database. In many cases, the office needs to collect other data fields in addition to the SIS information. Applicant parameters in Terra Dotta store this type of data about the applicants, whether pulled from the SIS or collected only within the Terra Dotta site.
This article discusses the following topics related to applicant parameters:
- Access and Permissions
- Applicant Parameter Types
- Creating an Applicant Parameter
- Editing & Deleting Applicant Parameters
- Program Type Specific Applicant Parameters
- Required Applicant Parameters
- Frequently Asked Questions
- The applicant parameter type of "Field: Validation" is not supported in the Applicant Experience. For an option to restrict application access, consider using the advising program. It appears in Global Settings when editing an applicant parameter for the purpose of classic compatibility only.
- The applicant parameter glossary is not supported in the Applicant Experience. It appears in Global Settings when editing an applicant parameter for the purpose of classic compatibility only.
- Address types appear in their own card within Global Settings and are not included with applicant parameters.
- Applicant parameters that will be pulling information from the SIS should not be created under Settings > Global Settings > Applicant Parameters until the SIS integration project and mappings are complete. Applicant addresses that will be pulling information from the SIS must be created under Settings > Global Settings > Applicant Parameters prior to the SIS integration project. This is explained in the integration documentation, and the person leading the integration project should read the documentation and build the parameters accordingly.
- Parameters that are not integrated with the SIS can be created at any time.
To access Applicant Parameters, navigate to the Admin Console > Settings > Global Settings > Applicant Parameters.
Any admin user is able to access the Admin Console. However, only users with the following permissions will be able to create and edit applicant parameters:
- System Settings: Applicant Parameters (View) (Add/Edit) (Delete)
Clicking on the Applicant Parameters card opens a full listing of any applicant parameters on your site.
The main "Search by Parameter Name" field appears at the top of the listing. Click on the "Filter Results" icon to access a set of filters which can be applied in order to more narrow down your search results:
Information is listed from left to right in the following columns:
- Order: Parameters are listed in the order in which they were created. They can be re-arranged by using your mouse to drag and drop a parameter into the desired position in the listing.
- Parameter Name
- Applies To: Indicates if the parameter applies to internal applicants (those at your institution), external applicants (those outside of your institution), or both.
- Type: Indicates the type of applicant parameter.
- SIS: A checkmark indicates that the applicant parameter is integrated with your SIS.
- Applicant View: A checkmark indicates that the applicant is able to view the current value for the parameter in their profile.
- Applicant Edit: A checkmark indicates that the applicant is able to modify the current value of the parameter in their profile.
- Actions: Choose to edit or delete an applicant parameter.
At the bottom of the page, paginated search results give the admin the option to increase or limit the number of items which appear per page. Only 10 items per results page are listed by default, drastically reducing the return time it might typically take to load all results at once. The results listing can be increased to view a maximum of 250 items per page.
The plus "+" icon sits below the "Actions" column and is used to create a new applicant parameter.
There are several different types of applicant parameters that can be used in your Terra Dotta site:
This parameter type is used when your database requires a code or abbreviation, but you want the applicant to see option values expressed in full. For example, a drop-down list might display "Argentina", but the corresponding value stored in the database would be "AR". Codes and abbreviations are often required in SIS exports. To create or import lookup values for your site, go to Settings > Lookup Tables (see Value Lookup Tables for details).
When creating an applicant parameter of the type data lookup, you will be prompted to select a lookup table to use.
After making your selection, it is possible to view the lookup table to see both the key (i.e. the stored value) and the value (i.e. the value displayed to applicants):
Data Lookup w/Search
This parameter type functions like the Data Lookup with the addition of a keyword search box. The keyword search eliminates the need to scroll through extremely long drop-down lists. As the applicant starts entering the keyword, the drop-down list is populated with values that match the keyword. The applicant then selects a response from those results. As with the Data Lookup, the applicant will see option values expressed in full, but the corresponding code or abbreviation is stored in the database.
This parameter type provides an open blank text box for the applicants to fill in. Their data is not controlled for the sake of consistency. An example of this would be "First Name". As the admin, you won't need to take any additional steps when configuring a field parameter type.
This parameter type functions in a similar way to the "Field" type. However, the word entered by the applicant must match the value set by the administrator in order to move past that page. This type of parameter can be used as a gate-keeping device to restrict online application access. An example of this would be if a particular program requires pre-approval from a faculty member, then only students who were pre-approved and given the pass-phrase would know what value to enter for this parameter so they could access the application.
Important Note: The applicant parameter type of "Field: Validation" is not supported in the Applicant Experience. It appears for classic compatibility purposes only. For an option to restrict application access, consider using the advising program.
This parameter type provides a calendar widget from which applicants can select a date. An example of this is date of birth. As the admin, you won't need to take any additional steps when configuring a date parameter type.
This parameter type will permit an applicant to upload a file from their local drive to the system. As the admin, you won't need to take any additional steps when configuring a file parameter type.
This parameter type enables you to include multiple, pre-defined options. The applicant can select multiple values from a list of options for this parameter. If you select this parameter type, a "Parameter Options section" is displayed at the bottom of the page where you can enter the individual values. It is also possible to click on "Add Options" to add a list of pipe character-separated values ( | ). An example of a multiple selection parameter would be "Allergies", and the applicant could possibly be allergic to peanuts, ants, strawberries, or bees.
This parameter type will permit an applicant to enter a numeric value. Admins will be prompted to populate date for three fields:
- The number of decimal places allowed.
- The highest value permitted.
- The lowest value permitted.
This parameter type is similar to the Multiple Selection type, except that the applicant can select only one value option. An example of a single selection parameter would be "Class". The applicant is either a First Year, Sophomore, Junior, or Senior and would be able to select one option from a pre-defined list. If you select this parameter type, a "Parameter Options section" is displayed at the bottom of the page where you can enter the individual values. It is also possible to click on "Add Options" to add a list of pipe character-separated values ( | ).
This parameter type does not require additional information. An applicant can select either of the two options for the parameter. An example of a Yes/No parameter would be "Financial Aid student" with a value of either "Yes" or "No".
Important Note: Parameter glossary text is not supported in the Applicant Experience. It appears for the purpose of classic compatibility only.
To create a new applicant parameter, follow these steps:
1. Click the plus "+" icon to add a new applicant parameter. This action will route you to the "Applicant Parameter Detail" page.
2. Enter a parameter name. This step is required before you can access the parameter type menu.
3. Select a parameter type. Depending on the type selected, the page may prompt you to take additional steps. These steps are noted for each respective applicant parameter type under the "Applicant Parameter Types" section of this article.
4. Set your configurations from the panel which appears on the right-side of the page.
These options include:
- Internal: The parameter applies to applicants at your institution. This generally means integrated users.
- External: The parameter applies to applicants outside of your institution. This generally means non-integrated users.
- Applicant can view: The applicant can see the current value assigned for the parameter in their profile.
- Applicant can edit: The applicant can modify the current value assigned for the parameter in their profile.
- Note that enabling this setting for a SIS-mapped parameter will not allow integrated users to modify the value. The parameter will only be editable for non-integrated users. See the article on SIS-mapped parameters for full details.
- Applies to profile: The parameter should apply to all applicants regardless of the presence of applications assigned to them.
- Required for profile: The parameter must be provided as part of the applicant's profile.
- Required before granting application access: The parameter must be provided before the application is accessible.
- Enable in simple search and Application Finder filters: The parameter will be included in the simple search and in Application Finder filters.
- Display in unexpanded profile and Application Finder quick view: The parameter appears in the "Quick View" section of the Application Finder, regardless of whether or not a value has been assigned to the parameter. If a value has been assigned, then it will display in an admin's classic view of an application after clicking on the "Expand Profile Information" link.
- Note that the "Quick View" section in Application Finder only displays the first eight applicant parameters that have a configuration of "Enabled" for this setting. These parameters are based on the parameter ordinals (e.g. the order in which they are listed).
- Track history: Enable this option to keep a record of how the parameter value changes over time. This setting tracks the change history for both SIS and non-SIS mapped parameters.
- Example: An applicant's major of GPA could change from the time they originally begin the application to when they return from their program. Using the track history option means that any changes to the parameter will be retained over time.
- It's not necessary to use this feature for all applicant parameters. For example, "Ethnicity" will likely not change over time, so there would not be a need to track the history for this parameter.
- Application Cycle Data Imprints: For SIS-mapped parameters and integrated applicants only: The option also exists to take imprints at specific times during the application process for integrated applicants. At the designated times, the system will make note of the parameter value regardless of whether or not the value has changed. These application cycle data imprint times are: Start of Advising, Deadline Date, Decision Date, Program Start Date, Return Date + the number of months determined in Settings > System Features > Applicants > SIS-mapped Parameter Date Refresh.
- This option is only available for use with SIS-mapped parameters when the applicant is integrated and the SIS Data Refresh task is configured to run. If you aren't sure if this task is configured on your site, open a Support case for assistance.
5. Click "Save" to preserve your changes. The newly created applicant parameter will now appear on your main listing of applicant parameters.
To make changes to an existing applicant parameter:
1. From the main listing of applicant parameters, click on the edit pencil under the "Actions" column for the relevant parameter.
2. From the Applicant Parameter Details page, make your desired changes.
3. Click "Save" to preserve your changes.
To delete an applicant parameter:
1. From the main listing of applicant parameters, click on the delete icon under the "Actions" column for the relevant parameter.
2. A warning modal will appear alerting you to this permanent change. To proceed, click on the "Delete Applicant Parameter" button.
Important Note: It is not possible to delete a SIS-mapped parameter. This is why the delete icon will be inaccessible for these parameters.
An applicant parameter can be designated as program type specific with these steps:
1. Ensure that the settings for "Applies to Profile" and "Required for Profile" for that parameter are disabled.
2. Navigate to Global Settings > Program Types and select the edit pencil next to the program type that you wish to modify.
3. From the Program Type Edit page, search and select your desired applicant parameter from the "Applicant Parameters" menu.
4. Click "Save" to preserve your changes.
If an applicant parameter is required, then the applicant will have to enter the information for that parameter before they can proceed to their application page the first time that they log into their site - or they will be prompted to enter the information the next time they log in and land on the applicant home page. This setting is most useful if your site is not integrated with your SIS (and is therefore not pulling needed information automatically).
Important Note: Required applicant parameters are linked to the applicant and not the application. Therefore, regardless of the number of applications that an applicant might have, they will only be required to provide the required information one time. After the information has been provided, the applicant will never be asked for the required parameter information again.
To configure a parameter to be required, follow these steps:
1. Navigate to Global Settings > Applicant Parameters.
2. When creating a new parameter or editing an existing one, you will want to enable the setting next to "Required before granting application access". You can also enable the setting for "Required for profile" which would required that applicants complete the information the next time they land on the applicant home page, which may be after they have started an application.
3. Click "Save" to preserve your changes.
In the example below, the applicant parameter of "Allergies" is set to be required for profile. When the applicant logs back in, they are prompted to enter information for that application parameter on the applicant home page.