Student Data Formatting FAQs

Shelby Marter -

We’ve sourced a variety of FAQs from across the Handshake network to help you consider your student data formatting. Use this to navigate a few edge cases and specific workflows.  A few things to keep in mind:

  • Keep this additional article handy for the exact specs, example CSV download and contextual descriptions on each of headers/fields for the student data import
  • Leverage our Handshake Community for additional insights from over 600+ university partners
  • It's ok to have a different formatting approach - just test, test, test your functionality to ensure you’re comfortable with any workflow tradeoffs.

Importer Functionality FAQs:

Q: If I import user data, will it automatically send an invite or notification?  Will they have to confirm their accounts? 

No, the importer will never send a notification to any students or contacts imported in the data file. Accounts will already be marked as confirmed (so they will not receive a confirmation email).

Keep in mind, when students do log in they will be prompted to "activate" their profiles by agreeing to the ToS and Privacy Policy. Learn more about that process in this article about student onboarding and and this article about student privacy

 

Q: If I import a blank field, will it clear out the data?

The importer will not override or clear out data if you leave that blank. You have to explicitly enter **CLEAR** in any non-True/False fields to clear out what's been entered into Handshake. Leaving the information blank on each sync will just skip that field for that row/user as it is unchanged.

Q: There are duplicate students in my file - will they import successfully?

No, the importer will skip any rows with duplicates in any of the sensitive fields (email, username, card_id, and auth_id). We recommend removing all duplicate records, and ensuring that you are only importing the most accurate student record.

Q: How can I learn more about the using the Importer?

Explore these resources if you’re just getting started:

 

Student Data Formatting FAQs:

Q: If a student completed their undergrad at our school, and is now also pursuing a graduate or advanced degree, how should we format their import record?

 You’ll only import one education record for each student-  choose the most recent or most relevant degree/program. Students will always be able to add in the additional education history for employers to review on their profile, but you’ll want the qualifications that you’re importing to reflect their current program. These imported details are what will connect to employer job, interview, and event qualifications.

Q: Our GPA is not on a 4.0 scale - can we import a different value?

This must be a value between 0 and 4 with no more than 2 hundredths (example: 3.75). Employers can use GPA as a qualification on job postings - so this must be a value that translates to student profiles across the entire network.

Q: How do we format students with dual majors?

In Handshake, you can import multiple options for primary_education:major_names: as long as they are separated by a semicolon. All will be  displayed on the student profile and tied to qualifications on for job postings.

Note: The field for primary_major_name (singular) is different - this is only used for Analytics and the First Destination Survey to show primary program of study. This field is not displayed on the student profile

Q: We have a specialty certificate program - how should we create the student records?

 This will greatly depend on how you aim to organize and report on this student data. Additionally, you should consider if - and how - this information should display to employers who review student applications and public profiles

Outline your functionality requirements (in addition to the core student data fields), and use this table to determine your formatting.

 

Fields to consider:

Example content:

Why:

primary_education:education_level_name

“Certificate”

Employers use education level, major groups, and school year as qualification fields on job postings. Standardizing this helps ensure your students are qualified for relevant positions

school_year_name

Leave this field blank OR

select a standard year such as “Junior” or “Senior”

primary_education:primary_major_name

“Certificate Program Name”

This displays directly on the profile- and helps increase the visibility of the student’s program of study

system_label_names:

“certificate-program-name”

This will not display externally, but can be help for tracking, filtering, and reporting by the Career Services team

 

Q: Our institution majors won’t directly map to Handshake major groups, can we add options to your major groups? Or customize the industry list pick list?

No, these major groups and pick lists that are standardized across the platform. Major groups represent broader fields of study and enable employers to easily evaluate and identify student qualifications across the entire Handshake network.

The major names that you import should reflect the full title of the students degree at your institution. After the student file is imported, this will populate your majors in Handshake and  you will map these major names to major groups to ensure students are qualified for postings.

However, Employers (and the individual student) will always see your custom (imported) major name on the students profile when reviewing their application or profile details - which is why the major full name (not a code) is important. Learn more about major mapping here

If a student has a profile at another school, can we import that email or connect to that existing account in Handshake?

You cannot import or update students with .edu email domains that are not associated with your school. We only enable 1 student account for every 1 email address.

This is because e-mail address is currently the only identifying value that must be unique in Handshake. If a student were to transfer or will attend a grad program at another institution or transfer, we need to ensure they have a separate, accurate record at that school.

Additionally, if students have an active account (typically as an alumni) at another school, they are not able to connect that existing account to the account created at your school. To access the different school instances, they would need to log in with the two separate sets of credentials. (2 different emails and passwords)

Explore this article to learn more about the import restrictions for other .edu emails

 

Q: Can we format a custom gender for students who do not identify with the binary male/female options in the file specifications?

Yes - any custom values will be imported as they appear in your file. Some schools will leave this field blank in the data file and allow the student to self-identify their custom gender on their profile:

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