Importer: Updating Graduating Students to Alumni

Liz Gehret -

When handling the transition from Senior to Alumni, a lot can vary based on your school’s procedures for handling student access and data updates.  See below for the most common workflows used by other schools.


Handling Graduated Students That Retain Their .edu Email

1.) Update their data through a student sync.  The most important fields are:

  • school_year_name to change to Alumni
  • primary_education:end_date should be updated to the correct graduation date, if it’s not     already.
  • Remember that this student should drop from your sync over time, since they will have no further information to update.
    • This will not disable their account.

2.)  If the student returns later, they can return to the sync with their new information (school year, majors, education dates, etc.):

  • If an alumni returns, their new primary_education:end_date and start_date must be provided in your upload file or manually updated on their profile.  Otherwise, this will error during future uploads.
    • This import error typically shows as {"primary_education.end_date":["must be a date on or after primary_education:start_date"]}} 
    • If you are providing an updated start_date in your import, but not end_date, you should pass **CLEAR** in the end_date field to wipe out the old date and prevent errors. Leaving the end_date field blank in imports will not clear the old end_date value.
  • If they were disabled previously, you will need to either:
    • Manually unarchive the user from their student profile OR
    • Manually upload a file, including the disabled field and set it to FALSE OR
    • Automatic syncs: Add the disabled field to your upload and set it to FALSE

Handling Graduated Students That DO NOT Retain Their .edu Email

1.) Update their data through a student sync.  The most important fields are:

  • school_year_name to change to Alumni
  • primary_education:end_date should be updated to the correct graduation date, if it’s not     already.
  • email_address:
    • You cannot update a student email to an address that is associated with another institution/.edu, as those institutions would create separate accounts for these users.
    • You can change these email addresses to personal accounts, such as @gmail, etc.
    • If they keep their .edu email from your institution active for an extended period (1 year+), you will not need to change this address yet.

Note: If you need to disable students after graduation, please see the “Disabling Graduated Students” section below.


Disabling Graduated Students (Not Recommended)

If you wish to disable Alumni Handshake accounts after X number of months, you can include the disabled column in your student sync, and set this to TRUE for anyone no longer needing access. Please see this article for detailed information on bulk-archiving users.

*This is not recommended unless user-requested or required.  The reason for this is, if an alumni needs access to their profile or resume down the road or wants to continue their job search, we want them to be able to access Handshake as they have been.  That being said, if they reach out to us and ask us to inactivate their profile, we will certainly do so.

*If the student returns at a later point, you can just do the opposite of the above to unarchive/re-enable the user: Include the disabled column in your sync and set this to FALSE.


Alternative Option - Manual Import to Update Alumni Information

*If you do not use automatic syncs to manage students, or Alumni are removed from your sync right after graduation, you can use the following steps to manually import an Alumni Update file.

  1. Generate a new CSV file with these users and the following fields (or use an existing import file but ensure at least the following headers are included):
    1. username - Current Handshake Username
    2. email_address - Existing Handshake E-mail, or new email if updating
    3. school_year_name - Set to Alumni
    4. primary_education:end_date - Set to recent graduation date if not already updated
    5. disabled - (optional) Include if you need to archive Alumni.  See Disabling Graduated Students above for details.


SSO Access for Alumni

Alumni can continue to use SSO if the following are true:

  1. The student’s account in Handshake is not disabled/archived after graduation.
  2. You continue to allow access to SSO at the school for this user (SSO access is managed by your institution locally).  Please check with your IT team if you are unsure about this.

If Alumni do lose access to SSO, we recommend sending out an email to let students know that they'll need to set a new Handshake-specific password to access the system.  Alumni can always login with email_address and Handshake password if they lose SSO access.


What About Students That Go On to Other Institutions After Graduation?

Many students may go on to other institutions for Graduate programs. In this case, those institutions will create a new, separate account for the student with their new school-issued email.  You should still maintain their local account with your institution, and update their Alumni status and other information based on the steps above.



How do existing Alumni connect to my school? Read more here! 



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