You must configure periods and rounds to collect application data in Slate, whether you plan on using a Slate-hosted application or importing applications. Periods and rounds work in conjunction; each round must be associated with a period. Although periods and rounds each enable you to establish functions related to the application creation process, the primary purpose of the period and round configuration is to provide applicants the ability to create an appropriate application as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- Periods are an administrative tool. Applications can only be created by selecting or importing data to a round associated with an active period. Completed applications can be moved to a round associated with an inactive (archive) period. You can think of periods like an On/Off switch for applications.
- Rounds are used to make applications available by type. While one round is necessary for the active period, establishing multiple rounds by application type will reduce conditional logic on application pages. If applicants might need clarification about which round to select on the /apply page, use fewer rounds (or just one) and manage application types at the field level. Please note: manage application term values in an application-scoped field, not in the round.
When starting an application in Slate, applicants are directed to the default application landing page (yourinstitution.edu/apply). Here, applicants select the application period and round.
Many institutions find success configuring just one active application period and one associated application round. By reducing choice at this stage, this configuration allows applicants to begin their application quickly and easily.
Sometimes, a process calls for more than a single period and round. Some examples include:
|Undergraduate & Graduate - A single database can contain both undergraduate and graduate programs or have decentralized admissions processes. This example shows the different rounds to be activated and inactivated on different timelines.|
|Undergraduate - A database that includes only undergraduate admissions might establish early decision, early action, regular decision, and transfer rounds.|
|Graduate - Graduate institutions with a well-established school structure can create separate rounds for the School of Business, School of Arts and Sciences, Schools of Nursing, etc.|
Configuring multiple rounds by application type reduces conditional logic in the application; however, distinct rounds work best when it is clear to applicants which round they should, or wish to, select. If applicants are unsure which round they should choose, application types should be made available using a field and prompt. It makes for a better application experience to use custom fields on a custom application page-scoped form rather than forcing applicants to change an application type at the round level.
Be aware that only active rounds associated with an active period will appear on the /apply public application landing page. Applications can be created by setting an inactive round on import, by selecting an inactive round on an Application Creation Form, or by selecting the inactive round using a Direct Round URL - as long as the inactive round is associated with an active period.
For each round in your active period, you should establish an inactive round in your inactive (archive) period.
An application field for the term can be used for reporting purposes, so it is optional to segment past applications into individual periods so long as the active period is routinely managed only to contain what's active now. All others can be batch managed from the active period/round into a corresponding inactive period/round. This structure looks like this:
Before building in your production database, diagram the desired structure on paper or in a test environment. Establishing a precise period and round structure will ensure efficiency and sustainability throughout other areas of Slate, such as queries, importing and exporting data, etc.
Did you know? Slate.org can be used to share information regarding applicant data between undergraduate admission offices and high school counselors, independent counselors, and community-based organizations.