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Configuration Portal Best Practices

Configuring your programs, branding, and custom content can be challenging. Here we offer suggestions on how you can advertise your program effectively and request additional information from applicants without overwhelming them.

Recommendations for Program Details

Consistent, correct data is essential in creating your program and ensuring applicants can find your program in the application. Review this checklist when setting up your program metadata.

Program Name

  • Does your program name match how you advertise your program on your institution's website?
  • Are your program naming conventions consistent with each other? For example, do you name one program "Masters in Athletic Training" and another "PhD in AT"? Keep the same convention so applicants can more easily read and identify your programs.
  • Is everything spelled accurately? Use a browser spell check app to ensure accuracy.

Start Term and Year

  • Does your program start term and year match the information you provided a member of your account team when onboarding?
  • If you select Rolling for start term, did you create a question for applicants to indicate their preferred start term?

Default Deadline and Display Deadline

  • Is your program deadline set in the future and within the CAS's cycle dates?
  • If you select Rolling for Display Deadline as, do you provide additional program deadline information in your program instructions?


  • List the total amount (Liaison CAS fee + your program application fee), if applicable.


  • Is your program delivery (e.g., on campus, online, etc.) correctly indicated here?

Recommendations for Branding

The most effective branding images include an eye-catching image and your institution's branding. Ineffective branding images can be distracting, contain repetitive information (e.g., program name repeated with the already included program name and deadline), or have important parts of the image overlaid with the program name and deadline banner.

Review this checklist when selecting your branding:

  • Are your images sized correctly (e.g., exact height and width, high resolution, etc.)?
  • Is your program name displayed clearly?

Poor Branding Image (information duplicated; text hard to read):


Good Branding Image (colorful, eye-catching image; clear institution and program name):


Recommendations for Instructions

Effective instructions are clear and concise. We also recommend including:

  • A brief overview of the institution, department, or program,
  • Clear, specific, numbered or bulleted instructions for applicants, including how to submit required items (e.g., GRE codes or international evaluations, where applicable), and
  • A brief profile of what successful applicants to this program from previous years look like.

Limit the content you provide to what's relevant to the application process. Including too much information may cause applicants to miss important details. Also, limit the number of hyperlinks you include. These take applicants away from the application. Instead, where possible, summarize the information you wish to convey on the homepage.

Review this checklist when entering your program instructions:

  • Do your program instructions match how you advertise your program on your institution's website and any additional CAS or association websites?
  • Do all your URLs work?
  • If you have different requirements for certain groups of applicants (e.g., domestic versus international applicants), have you clearly stated these requirements here and on your program website? These can include differences in fees, deadlines, documents, questions, evaluations, transcripts, tests, etc.
  • If you require test scores, have you listed this requirement here and on your program website? Have you also listed how to send them (to the CAS or to your program directly) and the applicable code? You can add a question or document upload, if applicable, to ensure applicants submit their test scores.

Poor Introductory Text (lengthy paragraph; too many hyperlinks):


Good Introductory Text (mission statement clear; bulleted points for applicant requirements):


Recommendations for Questions

When it comes to the number of questions you ask applicants, balance is important. Some programs have found that adding many questions may lead to a decrease in applications, as it requires more effort from applicants. Review your program questions and determine their importance in relation to your admissions process. Remove unnecessary questions that increase applicant effort to submit to your program.

Remember to update questions as necessary each cycle. If you ask any year-specific questions, make sure that your question and answer options are up-to-date.

If your program requires items that are optional on the core application, you can use the Questions area to prompt applicants to complete those items. For example, if your program requires three evaluations while the core application only requires two, you might ask, "We require a third evaluation. Have you submitted all three?"

Finally, if you have a required question that may not apply to all applicants, include an answer choice of “Not Applicable."

Review this checklist when creating your program questions:

All Question Types

  • Have you duplicated any questions from the application? If so, be sure to remove the duplicates from your program questions.
  • Have you requested applicants to enter confidential data (e.g., Social Security Numbers, etc.) that require encryption? If so, be sure to remove these questions and collect applicant responses in an alternate, secured platform.
  • Are your required and optional questions appropriately marked?

Organization-level Questions

  • Are these questions applicable to all your programs? If not, have you noted the discrepancies in your question?
  • If you choose to allow applicants to edit their responses to these questions after they submit their applications, have you consulted with a member of your account team to understand all effects? Have you communicated this applicant and question behavior with all your programs?

Program-level Questions

  • If you choose to not ask program-level questions, have you unchecked the Questions option in the Program Editor page?
  • Have you duplicated organization-level and program-level questions? If so, be sure to remove the duplicates from either grouping.

Question Rules

  • Does the conditional logic for your questions work correctly?
  • If you built Question Rules that incorporate Extended Profile questions with your program questions, be sure to test that your questions work appropriately. Contact a member of your account team so they can help you test the question behavior.

Poor Questions (duplicated questions from core application):


Good Questions (program-specific requirements):


Recommendations for Documents

When adding instructions to this page, only include instructions that deal with completing the Documents portion of the Program Materials section. Including requirements or information regarding documents collected in other areas of the application (e.g., the letters of reference collected in the core application) may confuse applicants. Broader instructions like these can be added to your branding page. Also, ensure that your instructions are clear and specific.

Applicants cannot submit their application until all of their required documents have been uploaded, so be selective of which documents you decide to make required. Requiring documents that may take greater effort to obtain (e.g., background check documents) can cause delays.

Review this checklist when setting up your program document requirements:

  • Have you selected document types and set the submission guidelines to match your program requirements? For example, if you collect one CV and three cover letters, do you have both document types activated and the maximum submissions allowed correctly established for each type?
  • Have you provided overall and document type-specific instructions, to alert applicants to your requirements?
  • Are your required and optional documents appropriately marked?

Poor Document Instructions (repetitive instructions; no directions for applicants):


Good Document Instructions (clear instructions on upload requirements for each Document type):


Recommendations for Prerequisites

There isn't an audit process that ensures the applicants have matched courses in the way you've asked them to, so provide as much guidance as needed to help avoid incorrect selections. Moreover, if your CAS uses verification, these applicant-matched prerequisites are not reviewed.

Don’t be overly specific with course numbers. For example, ANT 210 (for Anthropology) may not directly translate to a course the applicants have taken. Instead, use language like "Introduction to Anthropology."

If you want applicants to report laboratory courses, we recommend that you combine the class and laboratory as one prerequisite. For example, instead of requesting:

  • Introduction to Biology and
  • Introduction to Biology Laboratory,

You should request "Introduction to Biology with Lab." Applicants can select multiple courses for each prerequisite. This is also helpful if an applicant's transcript reports these as one course (i.e., Introduction to Biology with Lab), as the applicant won't either reselect the same course for both Introduction to Biology and Introduction to Biology Lab or leave one prerequisite blank.

Double-check that you've included all your desired prerequisites.

Review this checklist when setting up your prerequisites:

  • Be sure that your prerequisites are listed accurately and match your program's requirements.
  • If you configure your program's transcript and coursework requirements, ensure that you select Prerequisite Only or Full Coursework so applicants can match their coursework to your prerequisites.

Poor Prerequisites (course prefixes used instead of generic course titles; separate prerequisites for labs):


Good Prerequisites (clear, generic course titles; labs combined with lecture courses):


Recommendations for Evaluations

When setting up your program's evaluation requirements, remember to clearly state your preferred evaluators (e.g., clinical instructor, faculty member, non-academic individual, etc.). Additionally, because applicants can request an evaluation specifically for your program, you can include any requirements for tailoring the evaluation to your program.

Review this checklist when establishing your evaluation requirements:

  • Do your evaluation requirements match what is listed on your program instructions and website?
  • Have you selected the correct minimum and maximum number of evaluations, according to your program requirements?

Recommendations for College Transcripts and Coursework

Be sure to review all effects of college transcript and coursework selection. For example, if you want to create custom GPA calculations in WebAdMIT, you must have applicants enter their coursework in the application, as this is the only way coursework information will appear in WebAdMIT.

Review this checklist when selecting your college transcript and coursework requirements:

  • Do your college transcript and coursework requirements match what is listed on your program instructions and website?
  • If you have different college transcript and coursework requirements for certain groups of applicants (e.g., domestic versus international applicants), have you clearly stated these requirements in your program instructions and website?
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