Update: Force Interaction with Dropdown-Based Elements

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Module: Admissions > Admission Portal 3
Effective: November 16, 2020
Action Required: Review new functionality
Action Recommended: Review configuration of existing elements


Elements rendered as dropdown menus are now more configurable than ever before! It is now possible to force users to interact with dropdown-based elements using the new non-value placeholder functionality. You can even designate the placeholder text using a label.

You may ask yourself, "How is this different from setting the element to required?" This new functionality is an extension of the existing requirement functionality, allowing you to not only require that a valid response option is passed through but also require that the parent opens the dropdown menu and intentionally makes a selection. Read more in the "Background" section below.

The Details


AP3 elements represented as dropdown menus use value lists to define what options are shown in the menu. For elements using system value lists, the initial value selection is the first value in the value list and it was not previously possible to include a selection option not tied to a real system value in the dropdown menu, making it impossible to force form completers to interact with the element in order to submit the form. This former limitation made it possible for form completers to essentially skip over required elements while unintentionally inserting incorrect values. 

New Placeholder Functionality

The placeholder fields on the Current Grade element configuration.

An inquiry form with elements configured to use placeholders.

This update is based on two new fields that are displayed on the element detail screen of dropdown-based elements under the "Placeholder" heading:

  • Include? - This flag toggles the use of a non-value placeholder label as the default selection for the element dropdown. When set to “Yes” for a required element, users completing the form will be forced to interact with the element and make a selection in order to submit the form. When set to “Yes” for an optional element, only values explicitly selected by the form completer will be passed on to the form submission/written to the database.
  • Label - The non-value placeholder text displayed as the default selection for the element dropdown when Include? = Yes.
    • Example: --Select One--

We've set "Include?" to "Yes" and provided a default label (--Select One--) for your single-field dropdown elements to help ensure that parents are not accidentally providing you with inaccurate responses.  

NOTE: This functionality is currently limited to single-field dropdown elements. Dropdowns that are part of multi-field elements (Title/Suffix, Country, Candidate Parent Relationship, etc) cannot currently use this functionality.