The Applicant Experience is focused on how applicants interact with Terra Dotta and experience the application process. This takes into consideration the moment an applicant logs in through the student portal to how they navigate a program search to how they submit and maintain an application. The result is a user interface and enhanced experience that prioritizes a streamlined application and modern feel so that only the most relevant items are displayed to an applicant at a time.
Sites with the Applicant Experience enabled are able to utilize an array of enhancements, some of which include:
- Deployment Rules
- Cost Sheets
- Course Approvals
- Custom Gender Lookup Table
- Merge Fields: Program parameter option
- Questionnaires: Multi-file upload question items
- Questionnaires: Conditional question items
- Questionnaires: Auto-save functionality
The Applicant Experience refers to the most current experience available to applicants in Terra Dotta Study Abroad. Any references to legacy features are noted as "classic" applicant functionality.
This article covers the following topics:
- Applicant Experience Transition Plan: A step-by-step list of action items to take to prepare your office and site users for the transition from the classic interface to the Applicant Experience.
- Enabling the Applicant Experience: Learn how to turn this feature on/off.
- The Applicant Home Page: See how application-related activities are organized from an applicant's perspective.
- The Application Page: View how requirements appear to applicants - and how admins can customize this layout.
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Video Highlights
- 23.0 Release: The Applicant Experience Upgrade Preview
Applicant Experience Transition Plan
Ready to make the move to the Applicant Experience? It is important for offices to utilize a transition plan so that your site, team, and users can be prepared for this progression forward. The use of the Applicant Experience is not only a change in the "look" of an applicant's interface, but it also presents functionality updates as well.
Though there is not a single formula for success in transitioning from the classic interface to the Applicant Experience, here is a suggested list of action items on how to get started:
1) Review Unsupported Classic Functionality.
This list of classic interface features are currently not supported in the Applicant Experience:
- Program-specific announcements are not supported. Offices are encouraged to leverage the use of application instructions as well as use the public home page announcements feature found in the Site Builder.
- The "Field: Validation" parameter type is not supported.
- The applicant parameter glossary is not supported.
- The application ID does not display to applicants on the application page. Offices can use custom labels to assign text, such as the application ID, to an application for both admins and applicants to see.
Classic Credit Equivalency Requests (CER)
- Instead, clients who have the Applicant Experience enabled have access to the Course Approvals functionality which allows for a fully electronic course approval process. This is a separate system from CER.
Copyable Questionnaire Responses
- An applicant does not have the ability to copy questionnaire responses from their application page.
- An admin is only able to copy questionnaire responses from the classic admin view of an application. After performing this action, the responses are displayed to both the admin and the applicant.
File Uploads: The option to upload a file using Question Item > Question Type > Essay.
- Instead, unique to the Applicant Experience is the ability to use multi-file upload question items.
- This feature is only supported in app cycles which use process maps. However, the OneStep forms will continue to display using the classic interface even after the Applicant Experience is enabled.
- This feature is not supported in app cycles which use Deployment Rules.
- The "Payment" parameter type is not supported within features using modern interfaces, such as Deployment Rules and Reviewer Roles.
Reinstating an Application
- Applicants are unable to reinstate an application from the Applicant Home Page after they have withdrawn the application, even if the application deadline has not yet been reached. Applicants should contact their program administrator for assistance.
2) Review and Convert "Essay" Type Question Items.
Clients will need to convert "essay" question item types to the "file upload" question item type before enabling the Applicant Experience. The use of the "file upload" question item type allows an applicant to upload a single file or multiple files to the same question item.
These video instructions provide steps on how to transition to the supported "file upload" question type in the classic experience.
3) Review and Update Instructions.
In the Applicant Experience, applicants will encounter new sections of an application, such as that for offline requirements, and features, such as the progress wheel and submit button. This means that it may be necessary to add or update your application-level instructions to ensure they make reference to items accordingly.
Instructions should be reviewed and updated as needed in the following places:
Applicant Home Page
- Navigate to Settings > System Features > Interface Settings.
Welcome to your study abroad application portal. Below, you will find any existing applications.
If you accessed this site before [date new UI was enabled], then this may look different. Welcome to our new interface for applicants! If you have any questions, please email us at [email].
Application Phase Instructions
- Updates made from the "Settings" tab of the classic Program Builder can be applied to multiple programs or program groups.
- This task is typically completed right before you enable the Applicant Experience (i.e. on the same day that you make the change).
- Example: This is a suggestion of how your pre-decision application instructions might be modified for use in the Applicant Experience:
Complete all elements of the application listed below. In order to begin each element, click on the title and answer any associated questions. In order to complete each requirement of the application, click “Done” or “Sign” and then move to the next item. If you click "Save", it will save the information that you have entered thus far, but the application item will not be submitted until you click “Done”. Once you have completed the first item, a progress wheel will monitor how many items you have completed and how many are remaining. After all application requirements are complete and the progress wheel is closed, click “Submit” at the top of the page, which will only appear after you have closed your progress wheel. If you cannot complete all application requirements at one time, you can log back in at a later time to continue working.
Process Element Instructions
- Look for references to the classic interface. For example, you may have a learning content that provides instructions for how applicants take action within the software. Such instructions might need amending to remain relevant for use in the Applicant Experience.
- Consider updating or creating a learning content that calls attention to how the Submit Button functions if you have this feature enabled. The applicant will only see the Submit Button appear at the top of the application page after they've completed all requirements of the application. They should click on this button to formally submit their application.
4) Make Optional Updates.
- Navigate to Settings > System Features > Interface Settings and locate "Applicant home page loading messages".
- Messages entered will appear to the applicant while their home page is loading.
- This task can be completed any time before turning on the Applicant Experience.
- Some offices use this feature in a light-hearted manner, sharing quotations of encouragement or institution-specific messaging. Other offices use this feature to provide additional instructions with messages such as "If your page has not loaded in 20 seconds, please refresh your page."
Text Interface Fields
- Text interface fields from the classic interface are not supported in the Applicant Experience.
- Offices should review and update the text interface fields specific to the Applicant Experience before enabling this feature.
- See the Text Interface Fields for the Applicant Experience article for options.
5) Review Documentation.
The Application Page and Applicant Home Page are Knowledgebase must-reads before enabling the Applicant Experience on your site. Make sure that everyone in your office has access to this information - and consider dedicating a staff meeting to having your team present and share out thoughts on features and functionality.
6) Perform an Application Test.
The best to way to anticipate changes with using the Applicant Experience is to run a test on an application of every program type you use. Begin by setting your browser to the Applicant Experience by using the URL "switch" provided under Settings > System Features > Interface Settings. (This is discussed in more detail in the "Enabling the Applicant Experience" section below.)
Next, create a test application for a program type regularly used, and take note of all instructions, the layout of application requirements, the use of recommendations, images, question items, how a submit button appears, etc. Once you've run this test and noted changes to make, move on to a new program type and repeat. This is overall a great way to review what information is being presented to applicants.
7) Communicate to Constituents.
Get your constituents excited about the Applicant Experience! Consider sending email communication out to your respective site user communities (i.e. active applicants and faculty/staff who might need the update) a few days in advance to prepare them for the aesthetic changes and upgraded system features they will be seeing in your site when you enable the Applicant Experience. A popular tip from clients is to include a few basic screenshots for students to give them a visual sneak peek of what is coming their way.
8) Timing: When to Take Action.
When your office has gone through the steps listed above and is ready to make the switch, then feel free to enable the Applicant Experience.
- After you have enabled the Applicant Experience, the new interface will be in effect for all applicants regardless of what application (app) cycle that are in.
- When "Gender" and "Date of Birth" are enabled as core data requirements (Settings > System Features > Applicants), they will appear in the Required Information modal on the Applicant Home Page and Application Page if the Applicant Experience is enabled.
You may find that waiting until the end of an app cycle to enable the Applicant Experience might work best for your office's transition. In this way, if you enable the Applicant Experience and discover anything unexpected, it may be easier to make the necessary updates than if you wait until another time. No matter when you enable the Applicant Experience, someone is going to likely be changing application "looks" mid cycle, so the suggestion here is to minimize this change by choosing strategic timing.
Enabling the Applicant Experience
The Applicant Experience is turned on by an admin in Settings > System Features > Interface Settings. For implementing clients, your production and sandbox sites will be created with this feature enabled.
This page also gives you the option to preview the new experience in your browser without fully enabling it on your site.
Clicking the provided URL will set your browser to use the Applicant Experience. This action allows you to navigate your site and explore the new interface as it would appear to an applicant without enabling it for anyone else.
To disable the Applicant Experience, click the provided URL link again. This action will only affect you and return you to the classic view.
This URL "switch" allows you to explore the new interface as an applicant would as many times as you'd like. Once you've ensured your site is ready to make the change, turn on the Applicant Experience for site users using the "enable" button.
Important Note: Enabling the Applicant Experience impacts both the applicant home and the application pages.
An applicant accesses the Applicant Home Page after applying to a program and logging into their site with a username and password. This page provides a snapshot of the applicant's application-related activities. Read more in the Applicant Home Page KB article.
After an applicant successfully applies to a program, they are able to view requirements and take action from the Application Page. Admin users also have layout tools to assist them in organizing how application requirements appear on this page. Read more in the Application Page KB article.
1. Do I have to convert from using classic budget sheets to cost sheets before I enable the Applicant Experience on my site?
No, you can continue to use your budget sheets after you have enabled the Applicant Experience on your site. However, a transition to Cost Sheets is highly encouraged as it will be the basis from which all future development related to managing program expenses is made. Remember that Budget Sheets and Cost Sheets are two different systems; therefore, any data entered into your classic budget sheets cannot be transferred over to cost sheets.
2. Is there a date on which the classic interface will be retired?
Such a date is not currently available. However, offices should prepare to make a timely transition to the Applicant Experience in order to benefit from all current features and future development in Terra Dotta Study Abroad. Making the transition now will ensure that your office is in the optimal position to take advantage of other updates in the product as they become available.
The Applicant Experience
This 16-minute video provides an overview of the Applicant Experience in Terra Dotta Study Abroad. View how an applicant might search and apply for a program, interact with a cost sheet, complete requirements, and use the submit button.
As part of the Terra Dotta Study Abroad 23.0 Release deployed to production sites on January 14, 2023, the following feature has been added in a preview-only mode in production sites.
The Applicant Experience Upgrade Preview
For offices using the Applicant Experience, a visual upgrade of this features is available for preview in production sites. This preview includes more intuitive navigation and an updated design that aligns with the Site Builder's public site pages.
Got ten minutes? Watch an overview of the Applicant Experience Upgrade and receive instructions on how to enable the preview with the following recording:
Before you get started with using the preview option in production sites, review the following important considerations:
- The Applicant Experience (the setting for which can be found under Settings > System Features > Interface Settings) must be enabled on a site in order to use the Applicant Experience Upgrade Preview.
- In production sites at this time, the Applicant Experience Upgrade is a preview-only feature, which means it cannot be enabled site-wide. When you enable the preview using the URL switch provided, it will only impact your browser's view of the features.
- In sandbox sites, the Applicant Experience Upgrade is enabled and will impact the view of any logged-in applicant. You can turn off the Applicant Experience Upgrade at anytime by navigating to Settings > System Features > Interface Settings. Uncheck the box next to "Applicant Experience Upgrade" and click "Save" to preserve your changes.
- When using the Site Builder, the Applicant Experience Upgrade shares the configurations for the "Institution Logo" and "Header" fields used for the sticky (or "fixed") header that appears on the public site home page. This creates a smooth transition for your applicant when they move from your public page to their logged-in site pages. If you are using any Theme CSS in your Site Builder, this will not apply on the logged-in applicant pages.
- Your feedback is important to us. Share your thoughts on the Applicant Experience Upgrade Preview.
Using the Preview
Take the following steps to preview the Applicant Experience Upgrade on your Terra Dotta site:
1. Navigate to Settings > System Features > Interface Settings.
2. Confirm that the setting for "Applicant Experience" is enabled. It is a requirement in order to use the preview. If the setting is not enabled for "Applicant Experience", then you should discuss transitioning to this feature with your team before taking any further action.
3. After confirming that the setting for "Applicant Experience" is enabled, scroll to the bottom of the page and locate the text for "Applicant Experience Upgrade". A message will appear in the interface that states that the Applicant Experience Upgrade is not currently enabled on your site, and this will be followed by a URL. When you click on this URL, it will function as a switch that sets your browser to display the Applicant Experience Upgrade.
Important Note: This URL link can be copied and shared to others in your office or on your campus. When a user clicks on the shared link, they will be prompted to first log in before proceeding with steps 4 and 5 below.
4. Click on the URL link provided. A new tab will open, and a confirmation message will appear that your browser is using the Applicant Experience Upgrade.
5. In order to preview the upgraded features, you will want to create an application for yourself in Application Finder. Then, locate and click on the "Applicant" menu that appears in your left navigation menu. You will be directed to the upgraded Applicant Home Page.
As long as you remain in the same browser session, you will continue to use the Applicant Experience Preview. This can be disabled by either closing your browser and beginning a new session or going back to Interface Settings and clicking the URL switch again to revert back to using the Applicant Experience.
After you've clicked on the URL switch and confirmed that your browser is using the Applicant Experience Upgrade, navigate to your "Applicant" menu to view the following upgraded features:
The Applicant Home Page
- Menu Navigation: Menu placement at the top of the page so that features remain accessible regardless of where the logged-in applicant navigates.
- Removal of the Message Center: Replaced with the "Notifications" menu.
- Upcoming Appointments: Direct access from the home page.
- Appointment widgets can be removed from the Applicant Home Page by disabling the staff appointments option. Navigate to Settings > System Features > Settings. From the "Features" tab, uncheck the setting for "Enable Staff Appointments" and click on "Save".
- Removal of the Hamburger Menu: Replaced with an account icon where an applicant can access their profile settings.
- Welcome Banner: A customizable field for you to use with up to 250 characters. Navigate to Settings > System Features > Interface Settings and scroll to the bottom of the page to access the field of "Applicant Experience Upgrade Banner Text".
- My Applications: A listing of active applications and their status (including status aliases). The first three active applications will be listed.
- Favorite Programs: A summary of programs that have been "liked" from the Program Discovery page.
The Application Page
- Progress Wheel: Positioned to be in-line with the application name/app cycle banner.