McGill University

Graduate Admissions Portal

We overhauled the online admissions process for a major Canadian university, making it easier for users to apply to grad school.

McGill Admission portal

The Challenge

University admissions are complicated, especially at large institutions where requirements vary based on which program applicants are entering. Applications have to be assessed by a range of administrators and professors, and data has to be collected and stored and used in a secure and standardized way.

McGill University is such a large institution, and they have a complex application process. McGill came to us looking to convert their graduate admissions platform to Drupal and improve some of its functionality. McGill was looking for a more flexible system, where administrators from each department, rather than programmers, could update the application form. They also wanted to move the entire process online, removing the paper-based reference forms and evaluation system in place.

Why Drupal?

McGill is based in Quebec and is in many ways a bilingual institution. The application portal needed to support both English and French. Drupal 7 has improved support for multilingual functionality, making it a great fit to meet this requirement.

The university also wanted to allow administrators as much control as possible over the site. While the application form is  complex, the interface for updating it would have to be relatively simple. Drupal excels in flexibility and the amount of control given to administrators.

Finally, McGill is using Drupal for almost all its web properties. And as more and more universities start using Drupal, it makes sense for an organization like McGill to put resources behind a project like this.

    The Solution

    • Created a user-friendly interface for students to login, see the status of their applications via a dashboard, and start filling out a new application
    • Developed a Drupal 7 version of the McGill theme
    • Designed and implemented the multi-step application form, consistent with McGill's look and feel
    • Created custom fields for special types of data, like 'universities attended'
    • Added custom validation and conditional requirements for many of the fields
    • Created a custom 'program selection widget' for students to choose programs that they're eligible to apply to
    • Tailored the workflow so that the application form changes based on the student's chosen program
    • Created a workflow for referees to fill in reference forms when a student enters their contact info
    • Created a custom admin interface for departmental administrators to edit sections of the application form
    • Developed the 'Simple Field' module to make it easy for admins to update fields for each new application period