May 2012 Update

Application Evaluation System (OASIS)  - Update #4

The prototype of the new adjudication component was presented to faculty and staff at all three campuses during the month of April.  Response has been very positive to the demo.  Many questions were asked and some suggestions were made.

As a result, we have posted some of the most frequently asked questions below.  If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact Marilyn Dueckman or Nancy Petersen.

Technical development is underway and implementation remains targeted for November 1, 2012.



  • An applicant enters the admission application online and may save it and return to complete it later.  The applicant indicates completion by clicking the SUBMIT button, effectively signing the application and allowing SFU to act upon it.
  • A referee enters a reference online and may save it and return to complete it later.  The referee indicates completion of the reference by clicking the SUBMIT button, effectively signing the reference and allowing SFU to act upon it.
  • A faculty reviewer enters a review/comments in the adjudication system and may save it and return to complete it later.  The reviewer indicates that his/her review is complete by clicking the SUBMIT button.
  • A person may think that they have completed their application / reference / review, but if they have not clicked the SUBMIT button, the system does not consider it to be received, even though the person may have saved it.
  • When the SUBMIT button is clicked, the status of the item being submitted is updated in the system.


Jump to: General questions | Adjudication questions | Data/Documents | Referee questions


Will we be able to sort the data by column headers?  What about multiple columns?

Yes, you will be able to sort the data in multiple ways.

Will departments get notification of new applications?   Will they be notified again when the app fee is paid?

The current notification system will still be in place (application fee paid). No additional notifications are planned.

Will the system work on all browsers,  e.g. Safari, Opera?

The following browsers will be tested and supported:  Internet Explorer, FireFox, Chrome, Safari and Opera.  Minimum versions are yet to be determined.

Will suspicious IP addresses be flagged?

A file may be flagged with an alert for a number of reasons.  Some examples are:  an IP address shared among the applicant and referees, references submitted within an hour of each other, referees have free email addresses, etc.  Although we will define the alerts, departments will be able to configure which ones they want to use.

How easy will it be for departments to modify/configure the statistics – as to what stats to report?

DGS will make decisions on what stats will be provided.  Requests for additional/different statistics would have to be submitted to DGS for consideration.

If the system goes down and is recovered, will the custom views stay configured? Will the reviewer comments be backed up?

Yes, there is adequate provision for backup of all the data, including configuration files.

When will a ‘play’ environment be available?

TBD – hopefully by late summer.

Can a department change the use of a ‘user defined’ field in a subsequent term?

Yes, the configuration will be tied to the term, so a user-defined field may be used for something different in a subsequent term.

Is there any way to let applicants upload their documents before they pay their app fee?

No, the application fee must be paid (or waived) before the document upload will be permitted.  The application fee may be paid on the applicant’s behalf if the program wishes to do so.

Will there be information on how to pay the app fee and a note to applicants that the application will not be reviewed until payment is received?

An applicant will be unable to upload any documents until the application fee is paid.  This will be presented clearly, along with a link to the payment page.

Can there be a ‘pop-up’ window on the application that displays the departmental requirements?

This information is already on the online application and this will not change.  Checklist items will appear in OASIS when applicants access the document upload system, so applicants can review outstanding items.

Can different deadlines for the acceptance of offers be set up in SIMS?

Yes, departments will be able to specify the number as ‘x’ number of days; 21 days will be used when the department has not defined a value


Can a reviewer see another reviewer’s comments?

Access to another reviewer’s comments is controlled at the departmental level, and may be toggled on or off at various times as desired.

Where does a reviewer enter notes, comments and recommendation?

There is a review page where a reviewer enters comments and recommendations. Departments will be able to define the content of this page.  In addition there are ‘sticky notes’ where a reviewer may pin a note that others can see.

Can all the documents be downloaded as a PDF?  Can the PDF be saved?

Yes to both questions.

Can the chair assign specific faculty to review files and send the reviewers an e-mail notification?

Yes, reviewer assignments may be made for one or more applicants, to one or more reviewers, along with optional email notification.

If one faculty member wants another faculty member to look at an application, can the first one assign the second and send them an e-mail?


If an applicant has indicated a specific reviewer, can the system automatically assign that faculty member as a reviewer?

The overwhelming response from the academic areas during the consultation process was to refrain from doing any automated assignment of reviewers.  For this reason we have not automated any reviewer assignment.  We will, however, identify the requested supervisor when one has been selected by the applicant on the research page of the application, to help facilitate reviewer assignment.

On the adjudication summary, could there be a field to indicate the reason that a particular applicant was ranked a certain way (e.g. highly or poorly)?

You would be able to add a user-defined field to the view for this purpose.  Also tags, such as stars, stickies could be used to highlight this kind of information with comments.

Can there be a reviewer comments column that appears on the adjudication spreadsheet view?

Some reviewer fields will be provided in the default view. Departments will be able to identify additional fields if desired.

How can faculty be sure that the application is final – i.e. that the applicant is not going to upload a replacement document after faculty review has begun?

The applicant will have to click a button to indicate that they have no more documents to upload.  The upload option would then no longer be available to the applicant.

Can the department set the application complete flag themselves?  (e.g. 2 of 3 references received and they want to be able to start reviewing the file)

Departments can set the application to a status that would indicate it is ok to be reviewed.  There is nothing that prevents an incomplete file from being viewed or reviewed; however, one should consider the implications of formally reviewing a file early, when documents may still come in after the review is done.


Can applicants see comments made by reviewers?  Can they see their reference letters?

Applicants will not be able to see any portion of the adjudication process (including reviews, reference letters, comments etc).  They will be able to view the checklist in the upload component to see whether references have been received, but not the content of the references.  Currently applicants can see the status of their application online via the applicant portal, which will be one of “in review”,  “admitted”, “denied” or “waitlisted”.  This will not change.

Can video files be uploaded and viewed?

Yes, this is configurable at the department level, including the format and file size, within pre-defined limits.

How will this system work vis a vis unofficial versus official transcripts?

Any transcripts uploaded by the applicant are considered unofficial.  Official transcripts are still required and should be sent to SFU directly from the academic institution in a sealed envelope, as they are now.

Will the ‘minimum English requirement met’ column be automatically populated based on the test score results?

Yes, based on OFFICIAL test results only.

How will I be able to tell if the test scores are self-reported or official?

We will no longer accept self-reported IELTS and TOEFL scores.  Other test scores will be identified as self-reported or official.

How difficult could it be for international students to obtain unofficial transcripts to be uploaded?

We believe that most international students will not have a problem obtaining unofficial or advising transcripts for upload.  Exceptions will be dealt with by the departments, as they arise.

What happens to the data if a student is denied admission – is it deleted?

We will be purging data according to a schedule that is yet to be determined.  The schedule will conform to required document retention regulations and SFU policies.


Will referees be required to complete their reference online?

While it is preferred that the reference is received online (either entered or uploaded) it is not possible to prevent a referee from mailing or e-mailing a reference, and these will be accepted at the discretion of the program.

Can referees submit reference letters before the applicant's online application has been submitted and be linked by the applicant’s GA number?  

The 'submit' button on the applicant's online application acts as a digital signature.  It would be inappropriate for SFU to act on any of the data (e.g. send a referee an email) before it is submitted.  In addition, applicants can, and often do, change their referees prior to finally submitting the application.   

Could the referee system be completely independent of payment of the application fee?

The referee system will not depend on payment of the application fee.  The email to referees will go out when the applicant submits the application online.   Reference letters may be received by mail or e-mail at any time, even before the applicant has submitted their online application.  The graduate program assistant will be responsible for uploading any references received by mail or e-mail.

Does the referee have to complete the reference all at one time, or can they save it and come back later to finish it?

A referee will be able to save a partially completed reference and complete it later.  There will also be provision for a reminder email to referees under certain conditions.

Is the deadline for references the same as the application deadline?  What can be done to allow referees the maximum time to complete their references?

Departments can control how long after the application deadline they will allow referees to submit references.  If the application is submitted within one week of the deadline, departments will be able to define a number of days’ extension as the reference deadline. This will also be the date specified in the referee email.

The timing of the referee system is awkward – because of the deadline for applications versus the entrance scholarship deadline.

Departmental web sites should make it clear that for applicants who wish to be considered for entrance scholarships, the application deadline is earlier than for other applicants.

If you have additional questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Marilyn Dueckman or Nancy Petersen.