Period and Round Structure

 

Configuring a period and round structure is the first step in collecting application data in Slate, whether a Slate-hosted application or importing application. 

  • Periods are purely a functional administrative tool. They designate which applications are active and which are inactive. Think of Periods like an On/Off switch for applications.
  • Rounds are used to manage application types. Periods and Rounds are broad grouping mechanisms for the applications your school receives. They work in conjunction with each other to control back-end processes and determine the application selection options available to applicants.

Structure Examples

To start an application in Slate, applicants are directed to the default application landing page (yourinstitution.edu/apply). 

Here, applicants select the application type that best suits them.

Many institutions find success configuring just one application period and one application round per application cycle, as is the general best practice.

select the application type

However, there may be times when a process calls for more than a single period and round. Some examples include:

Undergraduate & Graduate - A single database may contain both undergraduate and graduate programs or have decentralized admissions processes. This example would allow for the different rounds to be activated and inactivated on different timelines.

undergraduate and graduate

Undergraduate - A database that includes only undergraduate admissions might establish early decision, early action, regular decision, and transfer rounds. 

undergraduate

Graduate - Graduate institutions with a well-established school structure may create separate rounds for the School of Business, School of Arts and Sciences, Schools of Nursing, etc.

graduate

Considerations

You will configure separate rounds when it makes for a more straightforward and efficient application creation process for applicants. However, creating multiple rounds by application type works best when it is clear to the applicants which round it is that they should or wish to apply to. If applicants are unsure what applicant type they should choose, it makes for a better application experience to use custom fields on a custom application page-scoped form rather than forcing applicants to decide the round level. For instance, you might be inclined to include entry terms at the round level. However, entry term is better suited as a custom field within the application.

With whichever round structure your institution decides, best practice is for each active round to have a corresponding inactive round. The active rounds would exist in the single active period and the inactive rounds would exist within the inactive period. Only active rounds within active periods appear on the application landing page so the inactive ones will not be selectable for students. This approach ensures that Direct Round URLs in use do not have to change annually and that the only applications being manipulated are the inactive ones.

An application field for the term can be used for reporting purposes, so it isn't necessary 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:

Application Rounds

Before building in your production database, diagram the desired structure on paper or in a test environment. Establishing a clear period and round structure will ensure efficiency and sustainability throughout other areas of Slate such as queries, importing and exporting data, etc.

 Tip

Did you know? Slate.org may be used to share information regarding applicant data between undergraduate admission offices and high school counselors, independent counselors, and community-based organizations.

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