Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

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A couple of weeks ago my boss came up with a new project. You see, all the CSU campuses use one particular third-party web site to accept online applications.

It's lame in a number of ways, the worst of which may be that it will not accept applications for programs that start in the summer. Not all that many campuses have such programs, but we do, and that means we have had to back-date or fore-date applications to the previous spring or following fall just because of a system limitation.

In addition to this limitation, it's terribly slow, its interface leaves rather a lot to be desired, and no matter which program you might be applying for, you are presented with many irrelevant fields to complete, and it gets rather confusing. If we lost students because of it, I would not be surprised.

Further (yes, there's more), that system's applications go to the central university office, where the applicant is (or not) admitted to the university before our programs ever even see the application. Thus, a person may get a response that they've been accepted to the university, but then we have to tell them that they haven't gotten into the program (when that's the case). That's not a good way to run things.

Plus, none of our program directors could learn of or track any applicants for their programs.


The boss wants a new online application system to address all these shortcomings. Our college tech manager thought we might be able to have one before August (she didn't know I was leaving for 5 weeks)!

And so it began...

In a bid to make a good impression, I decided to have it done before I left. And it is. Launched it today.

It gathers all relevant data for a given program using several databases for each section to determine which questions are to be shown for each program, and whether required or optional.

It sends email messages to our program directors and other relevant parties, and lets them log in to review applications, contact the student, etc. Thus, we can now make the decision about accepting a student before the possibly irrelevant university does.

It's fast. It uses Ajax. It's simple. It's easy to use. It slices, it dices.

Now, let's hope it holds up while I'm away!

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