Importing student data is a vital step in implementing Handshake. It's the fastest and most uniform way ensure you're populating accurate student data into Handshake. This in turn empowers your filtering and reporting.
Use this article to understand what the different fields are that you can upload into Handshake, and how those entries must be formatted.
Download the Student CSV Example.csv - this provides an example of the formatting and fields available to import. Each field has it's own column, and the headers must match exactly. Copy and paste from the example file to ensure your headers are correctly formatted.
Outline your workflow requirements. Work as a team (both Career Services and IT) to outline the necessary list of accurate, relevant fields that will support the Career Services team's workflows (including filtering, reporting, communications, and employer view). For any edge-cases and formatting examples, reference this list of student data file FAQs
Access to the Importer - Anyone who uploads data into Handshake will need access to the Importer. If you don't have access yet, review the brief training and email your University Success Manager so they can add you to the tool
Format the Required Fields:
Every student file you upload must have these eight fields:
email_address: This is the basic identifier for each user in Handshake. This must be unique for each user - meaning that the same email cannot be tied to two student accounts. As a security measure, the .edu domain must belong to your institution. If your students do not use .edu emails, you can use a generic (.gmail.com, etc) address.
username: This MUST be unique and should never change for each student. This serves as the “anchor” in imports so that other sensitive fields (such as email) can be updated around this value. Most schools will use a student’s school ID number. This should NOT match any part of a student’s email_address, or their cardID, as both fields are subject to change (due to last name changes, lost ID cards, etc.).
auth_identifier: Required if using SSO. This will be used to check against the returned attribute from SSO systems to authenticate students. Students will not enter this value on login, this is a background identifier attribute. This value CAN match their email_address value, or part of it, if necessary.
first_name: Student's first name.
school_year_name: This field is where you can enter the exact school year that a student is currently in. Here are the different values you can include in this field. Please note the capitalization and spelling - they have to match exactly! (newly required as of 6/11)
Freshman Sophomore Junior Senior Masters Doctorate Postdoctoral Studies Alumni
primary_education:cumulative_gpa: This is the student's cumulative GPA at your school. This has to be a value between 0 and 4 with no more than 2 hundredths (example: 2.75). (newly required as of 6/11)
primary_education:major_names: This is the name of the major(s) that this student has declared, and will populate the "majors" field on a student's profile (note: there is a limit of 255 characters per major). You can upload more than one major for a student by separating the majors with semicolons. Here is an example of a History and Biology double-major: History;Biology . NOTE: This is the only field that can be used to populate majors in Handshake via import. (newly required as of 6/11)
primary_education:education_level_name: This field tells you the overall level of a student. It appears on student profiles to tell people what level of education they are currently pursuing. Here are the different values you can include in this field. Please note the capitalization and spelling - they have to match exactly! (newly required as of 6/11)
*If you are having trouble importing a newly required field, please reach out to your Handshake partnership manager.
Select the Recommended Fields:
These fields are recommended, but not necessary. Collaborate with your team to determine which fields are most relevant to your workflows.
last_name: Student's last name.
middle_name: Student's middle name.
preferred_name: Student's preferred name. Any value added in this field will show up first on the student's profile. If this field is left blank, we will display the student's First Name.
primary_education:department_gpa: This is the student's departmental GPA at your school (i.e. what a student has earned in their main field of study). This also has to be a value between 0 and 4 with no more than 2 hundredths (example: 3.47).
primary_education:primary_major_name: This field will not show up on a student's profile, and is primarily used for internal reporting and FDS. This is the student's primary major. Only 1 major can be supported in this field. The major name must already be added to the primary_education:major_names field in order for the primary major to be backfilled into Handshake.
primary_education:minor_names: This is the name of the minor that this student has declared in Handshake (note: there is a limit of 255 characters per minor). You can upload more than one minor for a student by separating the minor with semicolons. Here is an example of a student with minors in Chemistry and Computer Science: Chemistry;Computer Science
primary_education:college_name: This is the college that the student belongs to (i.e. the 'Ross School of Business' at the University of Michigan). Only 1 college can be supported in this field.
primary_education:start_date: This is the date when a student started at your school. Please note that it has to be included in the format yyyy-mm-dd! This is incredibly useful when it comes to searching students, qualifications for jobs, and knowing when to shift students to be alumni. There is now an option on the importer to use a mm/dd/yyyy format. If you choose this option for formatting, please make sure you check the box next to "use mm/dd/yyyy format' when loading your file to the importer.
primary_education:end_date: This is the date when a student is expected to graduate. Please note that it has to be included in the format yyyy-mm-dd! This is incredibly useful when it comes to searching students, qualifications for jobs, and knowing when to shift students to be alumni. There is now an option on the importer to use a mm/dd/yyyy format. If you choose this option for formatting, please make sure you check the box next to "use mm/dd/yyyy format' when loading your file to the importer.
primary_education:currently_attending: This is a field that simply denotes whether the student is currently enrolled or has graduated. It is used for reporting to differentiate students who are currently active on campus and those who might be on some sort of official absence from school. By assigning TRUE, this will set the user to attending, while FALSE will set them to not attending. This is a boolean field, so it can only include these values (note the all-uppercase):
card_id: This string must be contained in a card swipe output. This field is where you can include student's ID numbers. If you want to use a card swipe to check students into events, career fairs, or other kiosks, make sure you include this field!
campus_name: This field is only used for schools that have multiple campuses as part of their Handshake setup (i.e. 'Main'). If you have multiple campuses on your Handshake system, you can use these here.
ethnicity: The ethnicity of the student. This is a custom field that can include any text you wish to upload. This field is only visible to Career Services staff members and the individual student- used for reporting purposes. Employers will never see this information. For best reporting results we suggest using one of the US Census designations outlined below
Native American/Alaskan Native Black or African American Asian/Asian American Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Latino(a) White/Caucasian Middle Eastern
gender: This field indicates the gender of the students. The field is custom where you can include any text that you wish to upload.
work_study_eligible: This field is used to determine if a student will see jobs that are posted as work study. By assigning TRUE, this will set the user to eligible, while FALSE will remove their eligibility. This is a boolean field, and only students with TRUE will be able to see work study jobs. This field can include these values (note the all-uppercase):
opt_cpt_eligible: This is a field that simply denotes whether the student is eligible for OPT (Optional Practical Training) and CPT (Curricular Practical Training). By assigning TRUE, this will set the user to eligible, while FALSE will remove their eligibility. This is a boolean field, so it can only include these values (note the all-uppercase):
disabled: This is a field that simply denotes whether or not a student's account is archived/ active. By assigning TRUE, this will archive the user, while FALSE will unarchive the user. This is a boolean field, so it can only include these values (case sensitive):
system_label_names: This section can be used to import any outside information that you would like to sync from your SIS that might provide more nuanced information about your students in a semi-colon separated list of label names. Some example values that we see imported here are things like First Generation or Student Athlete. Basically this could be any type of additional information that you might want to use to organize, categorize, or parse out your students. IMPORTANT: Leaving this field blank in your import will clear all system labels in Handshake for that respective student. System labels are added or removed in every student sync that includes this column, based on exactly what you have in this field. If you need to remove a system label completely from Handshake so that it can be used as a normal label, please reference this article.
mobile_number: Student's mobile number. This should be a valid domestic phone number (10 digits) with no spaces, dashes, or other special characters (but can include an optional '+' at the beginning).
assigned_to_email_address: Email address of the staff member that the student is assigned to.
hometown_location_attributes:name: The address or location of a student's hometown. Ex: "San Francisco, California, USA" or "Phoenix, Arizona" . (Additional formatting can be found by searching address HERE).
athlete: Is the student an athlete? (TRUE/FALSE)
first_generation: Is this a first generation college student? (TRUE/FALSE)
veteran: was this student a veteran? (TRUE/FALSE)
eu_gdpr_subject: Passing TRUE indicates this student is a GDPR Subject (TRUE/FALSE). This field is required if you want to be GDPR compliant (Please see THIS ARTICLE for more information)
Upload Your Student File:
- Once your file is prepared, delete any instructions so that the header fields are in the top row.
- Click File > Save As > CSV.
- Use the Importer to upload your file- review this article for an overview of the Importer
- You will want to use Job Type = students.
- The identifier column should be username
If you're unsure how to format data for a particular group of students (certificate program, dual degree, etc), check out our Student Data File FAQs - you can also our tech docs for example formatting on each field.
Check out these links to learn more about the student data import:
- FAQs About the Student Data File
- Importer Overview: Upload Data into Handshake
- Common Importer Errors
- How to Re-Upload Failed Rows
- What Are Sensitive Fields and How Do I Update?
- CSV File Requirements and Formatting
- Troubleshooting: Leading 0's Missing from your Import (typically in the card_id field)
- Troubleshooting: Importer Date Formatting
- Importer Help Center