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This article applies to Admission Portal 2. We recommend that all Admission Portal 2 schools convert their Google recommendation forms to the Veracross versions. Click here for Admission Portal 3.
Gathering recommendations for candidates is an important step in many schools' admission process. Previously, Veracross did not offer an in-house solution for recommendation forms and users were reliant on using third-party services (such as Google) to integrate with Veracross. Veracross is happy to announce that we now offer recommendation forms to use during the admission process. Read about the technical documentation of this new functionality below, as well as workflows commonly used in this process and details about converting from Google Forms to Veracross recommendation forms.
To access Veracross recommendation forms:
- Begin from the System homepage.
- Click on the Admission Portal Config link at the bottom of the Configuration > Admissions section.
- Click on the Recommendation Forms tab.
Security for Veracross recommendation forms is managed through the use of tokenized URLs that can be granted/revoked. These tokenized URLs are emailed when recommenders receive recommendation requests and expire after four hours.
Should we convert our recommendation forms now?
Because of sustained stability issues with the Google Forms integration, we are strongly recommending that all schools using Admission Portal 2 convert their recommendation forms over to the new Veracross recommendation forms functionality for their next admission cycle. Existing recommendations built on Google Forms will continue to function throughout summer 2020 but we strongly advise against using them for your next admission cycle. All new recommendation forms must be configured using this new functionality.
After reviewing the documentation below, please see the "Conversion Guide" section for information on how to adjust your existing checklist items to use Veracross recommendation forms.
Configuring Recommendation Forms
Veracross recommendation forms are based on the same structure as web forms in AP3 — you can read more about web forms in AP3 here. In this section, we'll talk about the various tabs on the recommendation form record and what functionality exists on each of them.
|Field||Considerations and Notes|
|Form Type||Because these are recommendation forms, this will always be "Recommendation".|
|Description||The title of the form. This appears in the header of the form and is visible to people filling the form out.|
|Status||Used for reporting purposes only — notably, setting it to "Archived" will move the form from the "Recommendation Forms" tab to the "Archived Forms" tab on the registration season type record.|
|Access Name||The "slug" that appears in the URL for this particular form. If an access name is not specified, an access name is automatically generated by the system based off of the Description field. Note: This is defined at form creation and cannot be updated after creation.|
|Portals Form URL||Form preview link. The tokenized form link shows the candidate's name in the form title and does not render the portals navigation bar.|
|Submission Strategy||Functions in the same way as the "Submission Strategy" field on AP3 Web Forms. Learn more about this here.|
The Section/Element tabs on the General tab of the record control how questions appear on the recommendation form.
- The Section area determines which web form elements appear in which section. New sections and elements can be configured through the "Add Record" button and links to the different sections and elements.
- The Elements area is a query that shows all assigned sections and elements assigned to them.
The Labels tab allows you to adjust the button text that displays on the Veracross recommendation form. To adjust this, change the content of the Value column to be what you wish and click Update.
Success Page Tab
The Success Page tab allows you to determine the text that displays on the confirmation page after a recommendation form has been filled out. The Title field displays the header, and the Content field displays text underneath the header.
The Notifications tab determines which emails are automatically sent out when certain events happen and to who the emails are sent to. There are two different events that can trigger a notification and are selectable in the "Event Type" column.
- Request Created: the person has submitted their name and email and requested a recommendation.
- Web Form Submitted: the recommendation has been reviewed and completed.
There are six new email templates that can be selected in the Email Template column and adjusted through their individual records in the System Email Templates query on the System homepage (read more about configuring system email templates here). These new templates are:
|Intended for a recommender that does not have access to the Axiom or Portals platforms when the recommendation request is submitted.|
|Intended for a recommender that does not have access to the Axiom or Portals platforms when they've completed the recommendation request.|
|Intended for an internal staff member that has access to the Axiom or Portals platforms when the recommendation request is submitted.|
|Intended for an internal staff member that has access to the Axiom or Portals platforms when they've completed the recommendation request.|
|Intended for the requestor when their recommendation request has been submitted.|
|Intended for the requestor when their recommendation request has been completed by the recommender.|
The Recipient Type column determines who will actually receive the email. This column must always be set, or else the system won't know who to actually send the email to. There are three different options to select:
- The Requester is the person who is requesting a recommendation through this form.
- The Form Submitter is the person who would give their recommendation to the requester.
- A Specific Person is used when you want a specific person to receive an email for all submissions through the form. An example for this would be all recommendation requests completed through a department-specific recommendation form generate an email to the relevant department head. When using this option, populate the Recipient Person column with the person who should receive the email.
When you are ready for each job to be turned on and begin sending emails, check the Enabled box for the row and click Update.
NOTE: In order to enable a recommendation form for use, a notification record configured to send the External_Recommendation_Notification to the Form Submitter must be enabled.
The Requests tabs show all requests for recommendations and where they are in the pipeline for that process.
|Tab||What appears in this query? Requests where...|
|Pending||...the requester has indicated the person that should be submitting the request, but this person has not done so yet.|
|Complete||...the person the requester has indicated has submitted the request. This process is similar to the other web forms adjacent to AP3 — review documentation here for more information.|
|Canceled||...a pending request has been marked with a "Canceled" status by an administrator through Axiom. The workflow for cancelling a request is discussed in the workflows section below.|
|All Requests||All requests for recommendation associated with this particular form, regardless of status, appear here.|
Managing the submission pipeline is the same as managing submissions for other web forms in the Admission Portal 3 context. You can read more about managing submissions here.
Configuring Notifications for Recommendation Forms
- Familiarize yourself with how each of the system email templates involved with Veracross recommendation forms are actually used by reviewing the documentation above.
- Go through each of these email templates and adjust/configure them to your liking. Access these specific templates using this query. To learn more about configuring system emails, please read our documentation here.
- Navigate to the Notifications tab of the relevant recommendation form record. (System homepage > Admission Portal Config link > Recommendation Forms tab > Description link of the relevant form > Notifications tab)
- Add notifications using the Add Record... button. For information on what each of these options in the various fields mean, review our documentation on the Notification tab above. Ensure that the Enabled box is not checked and click Update.
- Review the new notifications added and make sure that everything is set up properly.
- When you are ready for these notification emails to be sent, click the Enabled box and click Update.
Cancelling/Resending a Request
Sometimes, a request is generated in error, using incorrect information, or was not received by the recommender. In these cases, the pending request should be cancelled. Cancelling a request resets the associated checklist item and the portal interface, allowing prospective families to resubmit the information for their recommender.
Note: Cancelling/Resending a recommendation request is managed in Axiom and is not exposed to prospective families within the portal.
Once cancelled, a request cannot be reinstated; therefore, we recommend being very sure before you cancel any requests!
- Start from the Pending tab in the Requests section of the recommendation form record.
- Locate the request that should be cancelled and adjust the value in the Request Status column to be "Cancelled".
- Click Update.
Manually Entering a Request
Schools can manually add recommendations for students through Axiom through the candidate checklist item record.
- Starting from the prospect's person record, click on the Admission History tab and click View Detail for the relevant school year.
- Click on the Checklist tab, find the item that pertains to the recommendation form, and click the "View Record" button on the far right.
- Click on the Recommendations tab and then click the "Add Record..." button.
- Enter the relevant information on the new line that you've created and, when everything is entered as it should be, click Update. Note: The parent of the candidate must be selected for the "Requester" field to ensure they receive the associated email notifications.
It is worth noting that a person can't have more than one recommendation request record set to Pending per checklist item. Additionally, once the information on this line is entered, it cannot be updated.
Converting your existing checklist items over to new Veracross recommendation forms can be done after the new forms have been created and configured.
Are my Existing Google Recommendation Forms Retained?
- Google recommendation forms already submitted are retained.
- Pending recommendation requests retain the checklist item status but reset the portal interface for that checklist item, allowing prospective families to resend the request with the new Veracross recommendation form.
- This could result in recommenders receiving both the Google form and the Veracross form and cause confusion, so we advise you to complete the conversion when pending recommendation requests are at a minimum.
- Configure new Veracross recommendation forms & associated notifications (see the documentation above about form & notification configuration)
- Confirm that pending recommendation requests are at a minimum
- Change existing checklist items from referencing a Google Form to referencing a Recommendation Form (Admissions homepage > Admission Checklist (under Other > Configuration) > Application Checklist item detail > Admission Portal tab > Recommendations section)
- Test. All aspects of the new recommendation form(s) should be tested:
- Are portal users able to submit a request and indicate their recommender(s)?
- Are email notifications issued correctly?
- Is the recommender able to complete and submit the recommendation form?
- Do completed forms come into the system as expected and are they associated with the correct prospects/checklist items?
|Where are the old Google recommendation forms?! Did you get rid of them?||Don't worry — they're still there! On the Registration Season Type record, there is a new tab called "Google Recommendation Forms" that houses the functionality associated with Google forms. It is worth noting that, while the forms are saved, all new forms should be handled through Veracross recommendation forms.|
|Why would I cancel a request and not just delete it?||To maintain historical data. If something is deleted from the database, it is gone forever — however, if it is marked as "Canceled", a record of the request remains that can be queried.|
|Can I access a recommendation form on a person record?||Yes you can! To see the contents of a recommendation form directly from the person record, start from the Admission History tab and click into the Admission Detail. From there:|
|How can I view a query of all recommendation requests?||There are two queries on the Admission homepage that show you recommendation requests.|