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Liaison International

Applicant Processing Reference Guide

As a CAS user, you may have questions about how candidates apply to your programs, and how Liaison processes applicant files. This guide explains these and provides more insight into the back-end processes. If you have any questions about the topics below, contact your Account Manager.

Applicant Experience

You can review the applicant experience by creating a test application in the Applicant Portal. When accessing your CAS's application, create a new account and add "test" to your name (e.g., TestJohn TestDoe). For assistance or questions, contact your Account Manager.

You can also review the Centralized Application Service: Your Admissions Management Solution course, available in the On-demand Courses page. This course reviews the benefits to joining a CAS and an applicant's journey though the CAS application.

As a high-level overview, applicants typically follow this process:

  1. Create an account in the Applicant Portal.
  2. Select program(s) of interest. Applicants can add and remove programs throughout the application cycle.
  3. If required, submit official transcripts to the CAS or upload unofficial transcripts in the application.
  4. Complete all four quadrants of the application, including the Personal Information, Academic History, Supporting Information, and Program Materials sections.
    • The Personal Information, Academic History, and Supporting Information sections compose the core application and only need to be completed once per cycle.
    • The Program Materials section is specific to each program and contains the additional materials they may request from applicants.
  5. Submit the application to the program(s) of interest. Other materials such as transcripts, letters of evaluation, and official test scores can be received after submission.
  6. If required, applicants may undergo a verification process for entered coursework.

Re-applicant Process

Re-applicants are applicants who have started or submitted an application in a previous cycle and want to pull their application materials forward into a new cycle. Applicants must have been in the In Progress, Received, Complete, or Verified application statuses in the previous cycle in order to use this feature.

Applicants can reuse data from one cycle to another. For example, an applicant can:

  • Pull forward their application from the 2017-2018 cycle into the 2018-2019 cycle, or
  • Skip a cycle and pull their application from the 2016-2017 cycle into the 2018-2019 cycle.

Applicants can skip several cycles between applications. However, application data is unavailable to applicants after 3 cycles of inactivity (i.e., applicants cannot pull their application from the 2017-2018 cycle into the 2020-2021 cycle).

High school and college transcripts can be carried forward within the same CAS for 3 calendar years from the most recent Verification or Academic Update Verification date. If an applicant reapplies after more than 3 calendar years from their verification date, the transcripts will not be available in the reapplication.

Materials that cannot be copied into a new application include:

  • Letters of evaluation
  • Essays
  • Payments
  • Program-specific information from the Program Materials section (which you configure in the Configuration Portal)

Note that this is for applicants in the CAS 3.X applications only.

Fee Waivers

A fee waiver is a form of application financial assistance funded by a CAS. This is an optional service; contact your Account Manager to learn if your CAS offers fee waivers.

Each application cycle, a CAS provides funds that are awarded to applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. CASs may or may not require applicants to meet certain eligibility criteria in order to be awarded a fee waiver.

There are three types of fee waivers:

  • Income, where the applicant's eligibility is based upon their adjusted gross income for a specific tax year,
  • Service, where the applicant's eligibility is determined by their participation in a CAS-approved service organization, and
  • Manual, where a CAS or programs within a CAS select the applicants.

Each CAS may offer a combination of these fee waiver types. Note that Manual fee waivers can't be combined with Income or Service fee waivers.

Before the start of the cycle, the CAS must determine:

  • Fee waiver fund total: the total dollar amount of the fee waiver funds provided by the CAS.
  • Reserve amount: the dollar amount set aside for when the fee waiver fund starts running low.
  • Redemption time frame: the number of calendar days in which the applicant can redeem an awarded fee waiver.
  • Location of fee waiver form:
    • If the fee waiver form is located in the application, then Income and/or Service fee waivers will be used.
    • If the fee waiver form is not located in the application, then Manual fee waivers will be used.

If a CAS uses Income fee waivers, then they must decide which tax year the applicant needs to submit a 1040 form for and how many programs (application fees) a fee waiver will cover (e.g., the initial application fee only, or the initial application fee plus 2 additional application fees).

If a CAS uses Service fee waivers, then they must decide which service organizations they will accept fee waivers for. Examples include:

  • Americorps
  • Gates Millenium Scholar
  • McNair Scholar
  • Peace Corps In-Country Volunteer
  • Teach for America

The CAS must also decide how many programs (application fees) a Service fee waiver will cover (e.g., the initial application fee only, or the initial application fee plus 2 additional application fees).

While the fee waiver parameters are determined by the CAS, the fee waivers are managed by the Customer Solutions Manager in partnership with the Account Manager.

Once an applicant is awarded a fee waiver, they must submit their application within the redemption time frame in order to have the fee waiver amount deducted from their application fees during the checkout process.

Applicants are notified when:

  • The applicant submits a fee waiver request.
  • The fee waiver request is reopened, if applicable.
  • The fee waiver request is awarded or denied.
  • The redemption date is approaching.
  • The fee waiver expires, if applicable.
  • The awarded fee waiver is revoked, if applicable.

Transcripts

When official transcripts are received by Liaison, they are posted to the applicant's application. The Processing team sorts, opens, scans, digitizes, authenticates, and posts the official transcripts to the applicant's application. If necessary, personal information such as social security numbers is redacted. Once the transcript is posted to the applicant's application, a Received Date is given. Note that it can take 7-10 business days for a transcript to post to an application from the date we receive it.

Electronic Transcripts

Liaison partners with Credentials Solutions, National Student Clearinghouse, and Parchment to accept electronic transcripts. After an applicant places a transcript order, they receive an order confirmation email. The electronic transcript is sent to Liaison, and the Processing team sorts and posts the official transcripts to the applicant's application. Note that using this service does not expedite the processing of transcripts.

Verification

Verification is the process used to ensure all of an applicant's coursework was entered correctly and consistently. This is an optional service; contact your Account Manager to learn if your CAS uses verification.

Since credit values, grade values, and course subjects vary widely from school to school, programs need some type of standardization so they can accurately compare applicants. This standardization is achieved by using the applicant's coursework to create a standard set of GPAs, ensuring they are compared to other applicants fairly and equally. 

Several things happen during Verification:

  • All components of coursework, including terms, term type (i.e., quarter or semester-based system), course prefixes, titles, subjects, attempted credits, grades, and classifications (i.e., repeated courses, test scores, honors level, etc.), are compared to the official transcripts received.
  • Each course entered in the Transcript Entry section is placed under a specific course subject category.
  • Each grade entered in the Transcript Entry section is converted to a CAS grade value.
  • GPAs are calculated using the converted grade values.
  • Degrees are authenticated.

Once verification is completed, the applicant's application status will move from Complete to Verified. If significant mistakes are found in the applicant's coursework during the Verification process, their application will be undelivered (i.e., returned to them for corrections).

Professional Transcript Entry (PTE)

Professional Transcript Entry (PTE) allows applicants to pay an additional fee to have Liaison's PTE specialists enter their coursework. This is an optional service; contact your Account Manager to learn if your CAS offers PTE.

This service is only available for completed coursework from accredited schools. Coursework from not-listed US schools, foreign coursework, and planned/in-progress courses are not eligible for PTE and must be entered by the applicant.

If an applicant elects to use this service, they will follow the following process:

  1. Enter any coursework that is ineligible for PTE, including planned or in-progress courses and courses taken at not-listed US schools.
  2. Send all CAS-required transcripts. If an applicant chooses to use PTE for completed coursework at college A, but not for completed coursework at college B, the applicant must still submit transcripts for college A and B before PTE is started.
  3. Sign up and pay for PTE. This option is found on the bottom of the Transcript Entry page in the application.
  4. Submit the application. Applicants can't add more colleges for PTE after they submit their application.

Once the application is submitted and required transcripts received, our PTE specialists will begin entering the applicant's coursework. Once PTE is completed, the applicant will receive a notification that the coursework has been entered. The applicant must review and approve the coursework first before they are moved into the Complete application status and are in queue for verification. Note that some CASs also require applicants to have a minimum number of letters of evaluation completed first before moving into the Complete application status.

Applicants who paid for PTE remain in the Received application status in WebAdMIT until their transcripts are received, coursework is entered and approved, and if applicable, other application requirements (e.g., a minimum number of letters of evaluation submitted) are completed.

Our PTE specialists only enter the coursework listed on the transcripts; they do not correct errors for coursework the applicant may have already entered. If the applicant entered coursework and made a mistake or did not report an institution, these errors will be communicated to them during the verification process, at which point it is their responsibility to correct the errors.

As this is an optional service, fee waivers are not available for PTE.

GPA Calculations

Each CAS determines if they will calculate GPAs, and if so, which GPAs they would like to have calculated automatically within WebAdMIT based on their transcript entry requirements. This is an optional service; contact your Account Manager to learn if your CAS offers GPA calculations.

GPAs you may see include:

  • Academic Year*: GPAs calculated based on the academic year an applicant completed coursework (e.g., senior year, undergraduate, overall).
  • Official ECE/WES: GPAs calculated for foreign transcript evaluations by Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. and World Education Services (WES), Inc.
  • School*: GPAs calculated based on coursework completed at each school entered in Colleges Attended.
  • Subject*: GPAs calculated based on the course subjects assigned to an applicant's coursework (e.g., science, mathematics, English).
  • Transcript: This GPA calculation is typically used for CASs that do not collect coursework. Instead, the Verification team will enter the applicant's GPA based upon the official transcripts received.

*If the CAS does not require any transcript entry, then this GPA is not available.

CAS-calculated GPAs only include verified coursework and are automatically updated when new coursework is verified, such as during Academic Update.

Academic Update

Academic Update gives applicants the opportunity to update in-progress coursework grades and add new coursework after submitting their application. This is an optional service; contact your Account Manager to learn if your CAS offers Academic Update.

If your CAS offers Academic Update, they will decide when it will be available during the cycle. Each CAS also determines if applicants will have their Academic Update coursework verified. If the updated coursework is verified, then applicants will move into an Academic Update application status in WebAdMIT, and will need to submit updated, official transcripts to the CAS. CAS-calculated GPAs will be updated once an applicant is in the Academic Update Verified status.

Academic Update statuses include:

  • AU In Progress: the applicant has updated in-progress coursework or added new coursework in their application.
  • AU Received: the applicant has submitted updated coursework through the Applicant Portal.
  • AU Complete: updated, official transcripts have been received by the CAS and posted to the applicant's account. You can retrieve these updated transcripts in the Documents panel.
  • AU Verified: the applicant's updated coursework has been verified against their updated transcripts, and CAS-calculated GPAs have been updated.

Official Test Scores

Each CAS determines which official test scores it accepts for applicants. This is an optional service; contact your Account Manager to learn if your CAS collects official test scores.

In order for official test scores to appear in an applicant's file, the applicant needs to request that the scores be shared with the CAS; directions on how to do this are outlined in each CAS Applicant Help Center. Liaison routinely receives electronic files from each testing body and automatically matches scores to applicants' files based on the applicant's name and date of birth; occasionally a test ID is also needed, such as DENTPIN for the DAT or AAMC ID for the MCAT. Applicants can contact customer service to have test scores manually matched if there is a discrepancy.

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