Student Sync: Uploading Your First Student File

John Dill -

Step 1: Review the CSV File Format

Handshake accepts comma separated value files for upload. You can review the expected format here: [Student CSV]

Explore these additional references:


Step 2: Make Key Decisions


Chose the Right Attribute for your Student's "username"

A student's primary unique identifier is their username

While students have other identifying attributes that must be unique in Handshake, such as email_address or card_id, the username is expected to never change, to never be recycled, to always belong to that user.

Choosing this identifier carefully will help ensure that the utmost quality data is maintained, and it prevents assigning a new student to an account that already exists, violating a student's privacy.

The username should be decided on before your initial student upload.


Choose the Right Attribute for your Student's "auth_identifier"

auth_identifier is the value on the student record that ties your SSO integration to the uploaded student record. This value should be the same as the sso identifier you put into Handshake.


Choose the Right Attribute for your Student's "card_id"

card_id is only needed if you plan to use the Handshake Checkin Kiosk for events. If you do not use this, there is no need to include.

If you are using the kiosk, the card_id is the value that Handshake uses to tie the student's card back to their student record when they swipe their card to check in for events, fairs, or appointments. This value must be unique and not change per student. Please ensure that you are only sending us the unique portion of the card. The value must be contained within the output of the card swipe.


Step 3: Take the Importer Training Module for Access

Take the importer training course here. Our support team will then verify access with your Account Manager before sending you an invite email.

See here for how to login after you have an invite.


Step 4: Extract and Transform your SIS Data to CSV

Using the format specifications here, extract and transform your student registrar data from your Student Information System to CSV.


Step 5: Upload your File to the Importer

  1. Login to the Importer

  2. Set the Importer job type to users

  3. Add a description to your job

  4. Click Save Job

For common problems with the upload see here


Step 6: Review and Iterate on your Feedback

The importer should give you detailed feedback on the formatting of your file. You can make sure the file is ready to be upload by:

  • Ensuring your file type is valid
  • Ensuring you have all the right data
  • Making sure your headers match. It's important to note that we will notify you if we find data that we weren't mapping for import.
  • Evaluate if any of the values or data formats in your file are not registering, which means they will fail to import
  • Conducting sanity checks on the data you are importing, such as evaluating how many students you're disabling or checking the email domains included
  • Analyzing how many student records this will create or update
  • Finding out what majors, minors, colleges, and/or campuses were found and will be created

Step 7: Submit file for Import

When your file is ready to import, you can click Submit and Request Run and our support team will be notified to open a request with you to get your data reviewed and imported.


More Questions?

See our Frequently Asked Questions or reach out to our support.

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