Thursday, March 22, 2012

User Conference or Bust!

Great news, guys – only three more months until our 4th Annual Rapid Insight User Conference! Here’s what you need to know about this  inspiring, informative, and FREE event:

The user conference will take place here in Conway, New Hampshire, on the campus of Granite State College. It will kick off at 8:45am on Thursday, June 21st, and wrap up around noon on Friday, June 22nd. The conference is free; we’ll be providing continental breakfasts, a lunch, and an evening reception to all registrants. We encourage all attendees to consider extending your stay for a family-friendly long weekend getaway. The Mount Washington Valley area (where the conference site is located) boasts a wide variety of outdoor activities many of which will be made available to attendees at special discounted rates.

In addition to sessions presented by both customers and Rapid Insight staff, there will be “BYOD” (Bring Your Own Data) hands-on lab time where staff members will be available to help you build predictive models using your own data, as well as office hours after the conference where staff will be on-hand to answer questions and consult on projects for the remainder of the afternoon.

Although this is a free event, we do ask that you register in advance here. As the conference gets closer, be sure to check our User Conference page with more information about specific sessions and activities. Looking forward to seeing you all!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Creating Variables: Days Between Application Date and Term Start

Hello everybody! This post will be a continuation of the Creating Variables series. Today we’ll be discussing how and why to create a “days between application date and term start” variable.

At first glance, this variable seems a little long-winded, but I can assure you, it’s worth its weight in characters. As you all know, for any institution that accepts applications on a non-rolling basis, there exists a window of time during which applications must be filed to be considered for acceptance. The amount of time between when an application is submitted and when the relevant admission term begins can be an indication of a student’s interest in a particular institution. For example, a student may turn in an application to his first-choice college during the first week that applications are accepted, but this same student might wait until the day or week before the deadline to turn in applications to his safety or back-up schools. In this way, the amount of time between the day that a student turns in an application and the term start date can be seen as an indicator of that student’s interest. Let’s go ahead and calculate this:

The first step is to hook applicant data into a transform node:

Next, after opening the transform node, we’ll need to select the “Days Between” formula from the drop-down menu:

In the “Enter a Formula” window, we’ll want to enter:

…Where ‘[A]’ corresponds to the variable in your dataset that represents the date each application was submitted, ‘09/01/2012’ represents the start date for the term you’re admitting for, and “date” is actually the date function from the formula drop-down menu:

Before naming and saving this new variable, be sure to switch the “Result Type” to “integer”:

And, voila! Now you have a “days between application date and term start variable” to add to your predictive variable arsenal.

-Caitlin Garrett, Statistical Analyst at Rapid Insight