Common App Updates 2020-21

The Common Application first-year SDS data feeds will begin the week of August 17.

There are some changes to the Common Application that will be reflected in the data feeds for the 2020-21 application year. The changes are not numerous enough to warrant a new source format, but we enumerate the updates in this article so that you can make any changes that you would like prior to activating your imports this year.

If you are using the SDS process through Slate for the first time this year, add the CommonApp source formats from the Slate Template Library.

In preparation for the data feeds that will begin, we have updated all existing CommonApp source formats to inactivate the remap settings and set the Remap As Of Date to 2020-08-10. Until the first file is received, the remap settings will appear blank. Rest assured, any source fields that have not changed from last year will appear with the same mappings once a file is uploaded.  At that time, you will be able to update your remap settings, including making any changes that you feel necessary that are outlined below, and also updating any year-specific items, such as application round, entry term, etc. Once you have updated and confirmed your mappings for this year, you may go into the Source Formats tool to update the Remap Active setting to Active. Once this is done, all files received on  will be imported using those settings. For testing purposes, we recommend making all changes within production, and then refreshing your test environment and activating the source format there. If the applications are created in the way that you expect, you can then activate the source formats in production. Please note: documents will not be imported into the test environment.

Common App ID Mapping

Again this year, accounts are being rolled over, which means that the Common App ID is not unique to an application. The Field Fusion that has been used the past few years has been removed.  

The Common App ID uniquely identifies a person, so in order to make it unique for a specific application, the application cycle year is appended to the Slate Common App ID.  As of August 2020, -2021 is appended to the Slate Common App ID. Each cycle the year will change and the year value will automatically be updated.


Do not edit the Common App ID destination. The mapping of the Common App ID is integral to ensuring that the data and materials are imported to the appropriate record with the necessary timing. As such, it is very important that these fields are not changed from their default mappings, described below. Other pre-mapped destinations may be edited.

CommonAppProspects and CommonAppSuspects: These source formats import only person-scoped data. As such, the Common App ID source field is mapped exclusively to the Slate External ID field, which is a person-scoped field that is used for matching onto person records during the import process. If the same person is included in a file another year with the same rolled over Common App ID, Slate will appropriately identify that person record as the same person using this data point.


CommonApp: This source format will bring in the data file that will create the application. As such, the desired behavior is to match onto an existing record, if one exists, so the Common App ID is mapped to the same Slate External ID field that the CommonAppProspects and CommonAppSuspects source formats have mapped. Since the Common App ID is unique to a person, but subsequent applications from the same person will have the same ID, the Common App ID is not mapped to an application-scoped unique field. 

The Slate Common App ID is mapped to the Common App ID unique application-scoped field and the App: External ID field.

Both of these fields are application-scoped and are used to match onto the appropriate application record during the import process. These mapped fields are what the subsequent data and PDF files from Common Application use to match onto the appropriate application.

CommonAppRecommendations, CommonAppPayment, CommonAppWriting, and CommonAppCourses should not have the Common App ID source field mapped at all.  Those files should only import data to the existing application. These files should never create a new application or match onto a different existing application if the application with the Common App ID does not already exist.

For this same reason, identifying information, including first name, last name, date of birth, email address, etc., should also remain unmapped for Payments, Writing, Recommendations, and Courses, as this data will be imported through the CommonApp data feed.

CommonAppRecommendations, CommonAppWriting, CommonAppPayment, and CommonAppCourses source formats all have the Slate Common App ID mapped to the application-scoped unique fields Common App ID and App: External ID.


2019 Final Reports

Due to the current pandemic situation and school closures, the Common Application is allowing counselors more time to submit the 2019 final reports. Typically, submissions are only allow until the last week of July and once the Common App goes into the new application cycle, all submissions will be for the new cycle. But this year, counselors can submit Final Reports through the end of September.  These reports will be delivered between August 14 and October 1, 2020.  The final reports and associated transcripts will be associated with the 2019-20 Common Application.

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