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.
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 on the On-demand Courses page. This course reviews the benefits of joining a CAS and an applicant's journey through the CAS application.
As a high-level overview, applicants typically follow this process:
- Create an account in the Applicant Portal.
- Select program(s) of interest. Applicants can add and remove programs throughout the application cycle.
- If required, submit official transcripts to the CAS or upload unofficial transcripts in the application.
- 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.
- 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.
- If required, applicants may undergo a verification process for entered coursework.
Reapplicants 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 2020-2021 cycle into the 2021-2022 cycle, or
- Skip a cycle and pull their application from the 2019-2020 cycle into the 2021-2022 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 2018-2019 cycle into the 2021-2022 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
- 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. Review the Reapplication Process guide for more information.
Reapplicant Fields in WebAdMIT
You can identify which applicants reapplied from a previous cycle in WebAdMIT. There are two fields to track this information and both populate as Yes or No; CASs can choose to activate one or both fields.
Note that neither of these fields appears in the Applicant Details page nor the full application PDF. They are available in the List Manager and Export Manager.
- Applicant Previously Applied to CAS: this field identifies applicants who carried forward an application from a previous cycle. Only applicants who submitted their application to at least one program in the CAS are included in this field. This field is listed under the Applicant field grouping in lists and exports. It is also available in the Applicant Header.
- Applicant Previously Applied to Organization: this field identifies if the applicant carried forward an application and submitted it to at least one of your programs at your organization in a previous cycle. This field is listed under the Designation field grouping in lists and exports.
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 are used.
- If the fee waiver form is not located in the application, then Manual fee waivers are 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:
- Active AmeriCorps Volunteer or Alumni
- Active or Veteran Military Service Member
- Bonner Program
- City Year Volunteer or Alumni
- Gates Millennium Scholar
- Leadership Alliance
- McNair Scholar
- Peace Corps Volunteer or Alumni
- Teach for America Fellow or Alumni
- Vietnam Education Foundation
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 Client Success 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 applicant is eligible for a fee waiver, but the fee waiver fund is depleted (for select CASs).
- The awarded fee waiver is revoked, if applicable.
Letters of Evaluation (i.e., Reference, Recommendation)
Applicants request letters of evaluation (i.e., letters of reference, letters of recommendation) in the application by listing their evaluator's contact information. Evaluators then received an email request, where they can access Letters by Liaison, our Recommender Portal.
Evaluators can review all requests in Letters by Liaison, and then accept, complete, or deny them. Evaluations must be completed by the evaluators themselves; they cannot be completed or submitted by the applicant or another party on behalf of the evaluator. Liaison is not responsible for verifying evaluators' identities. If a discrepancy is found, Liaison reserves the right to contact the appropriate individuals to investigate and to share the discrepancy with all programs.
Review the Evaluations section on the Reviewing the Applicant Details Page for more information.
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.
The Applicant PTE Process
Our Professional Transcript Entry (PTE) guide for applicants details how an applicant applies for and approves PTE. As a brief summary, applicants who elect to use this service must:
- Enter any coursework that is ineligible for PTE, including planned or in-progress courses and courses taken at not-listed US schools.
- 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.
- Sign up and pay for PTE. This option is found on the bottom of the Transcript Entry page in the application.
- 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 a 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.
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.
Applicant PTE Communications
Liaison communicates with applicants via email and in the application throughout the PTE process, including after:
- The applicant submits their PTE request and payment.
- Liaison's PTE specialists finish entering the applicant's coursework and it's ready to be reviewed and approved by the applicant.
- The applicant approves the PTE coursework.
PTE Fields in WebAdMIT
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.
If your CAS allows you to view an applicant's PTE status, you'll see this information in the Applicant Header. The PTE statuses include:
- TE-Awaiting Transcripts: the applicant has not submitted all required, official transcripts to the CAS.
- TE-Ready for Work: the applicant is in queue to have their coursework entered by a PTE specialist.
- TE-Pending Approval: the applicant must approve the entered coursework before their application is given a Complete date and placed in line for verification. Note that the applicant may have to meet additional CAS requirements, such as a minimum number of evaluations completed, before being given a Complete date.
- TE-Approved: the applicant has approved the entered coursework.
Best Practices in Identifying PTE Applicants
The PTE Status field is available in the List Manager and Export Manager under the Applicant field grouping.
Transcripts and Foreign Evaluations
When official transcripts and foreign evaluations 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 and evaluations to the applicant's application. If necessary, personal information such as social security numbers is redacted. Once the transcript or evaluation is posted to the applicant's application, a Received Date is given. Note that it can take up to five business days for a transcript or evaluation to post to an application from the date we receive it.
Review the Documents section on the Reviewing the Applicant Details Page for more information.
Liaison partners with Credentials Solutions, National Student Clearinghouse, and Parchment to accept electronic domestic (i.e., US and English Canadian) 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.
Electronic Foreign Evaluations
Liaison partners with World Education Services (WES), Inc. and Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. to accept electronic foreign evaluations. Applicants request an electronic evaluation and specify which CAS to send the evaluation to. Once WES or ECE completes their evaluation, it is sent to Liaison, and the Processing team sorts and posts the official evaluation to the applicant's application.
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 mistakes are found, our Verification staff will note the changes in the Verified Credits and Verified Grade columns in the Electronic Transcript panel and any GPAs calculated will use these values. 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).
Review the Electronic Transcript section on the Reviewing the Applicant Details Page for more information.
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 enters 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.
If your CAS offers verification, then your CAS-calculated GPAs only include verified coursework and are automatically updated when new coursework is verified, such as during Academic Update.
If you believe a GPA was calculated incorrectly:
- Note that all courses are listed with semester credits; if a course was originally listed as unit or quarter credits, it will be converted to semester credits. The standard conversion ratio is 1 quarter credit equals 0.667 semester credits.
- Identify the area you believe is causing the incorrect calculation (e.g., Post-Baccalaureate Science GPA) and calculate the GPA yourself using the GPA calculator. If, after calculating the GPA, you still believe there is an error, email the Client Support Specialist team with the problematic area and your calculations, and they can review your request.
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 must 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.
For official test scores to appear in an applicant's file, the applicant must 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.
Review the Standardized Tests section on the Reviewing the Applicant Details Page for more information on unofficial and official tests. Additionally, if you're interested in receiving official GRE scores, review Requesting Official GRE CAS Codes.
Final Processing Dates
As a CAS approaches the end of a cycle, applicants must submit their materials or complete tasks by certain dates in order for the changes to appear in their application. Below is a comprehensive list of final processing dates.
Note that your CAS's final processing dates and requirements are listed in the CAS Applicant Help Center and your program user guide.
What it means
The last date applicants can submit their application.
Each CAS has a final date for program deadlines. If you chose this final date, this will be the last date an applicant can apply to your program. If you chose an earlier deadline date, then applicants must submit their applications to you by your chosen deadline.
The last date applicants can request evaluations.
Applicants request evaluations (i.e., letters of recommendation, letters of reference) within the application. This is the last date they can enter an evaluation request.
The last date applicants can order Professional Transcript Entry (PTE).
Applicants request PTE within the application. This is the last date they can order the PTE service.
The last date applicants can submit their updated coursework for the Academic Update (AU) period.
Applicants must submit new coursework updates within the application. This is the last date they can submit those changes.
The last date transcripts and official test scores are matched to an applicant's application.
Transcripts and official test scores must be requested in advance so they are received by this final date.
If an applicant submitted updated coursework during the Academic Update (AU) period, they must also send updated transcripts by this date.
The last date evaluators can submit their evaluations.
Evaluators (i.e, recommenders, references) review and complete their evaluations in Letters by Liaison. While applicants can list a suggested "due date" in their evaluation request, evaluators can complete the evaluation at any time. This is the last date evaluators can submit their evaluations.
The last date an applicant can approve their Professional Transcript Entry (PTE).
After an applicant pays for PTE and their coursework is entered, they must review the coursework and approve it in the application before they can be verified. This is the last date they can approve it.
The last date an Undelivered applicant can resubmit their application.
Occasionally applicants are placed in the Undelivered application status if they need to fix something (e.g., unreported college attended, etc.). If an applicant is undelivered, this is the final date they can resubmit their application.
All application processing ends.
This is the final date any changes can be made to the application in that cycle.