The new Sunapsis mobile app, released Feb. 11 for Android and iOS devices, allows international students to upload documents for entry into the U.S. and admission to IU.
The app was created by the Office of International Services to make the IU Atlas online features more easily accessible.
Tim Climis, director of development for the Sunapsis system, said the app helps international students trying to enter the country to study at IU. He said the app compiles the necessary documents allowing these students to come into the country, like bank statements and passports, which students upload in the app.
“The mobile app specifically we’ve been working on for, it’s almost got to be four years,” Climis said.
Paul Butler, OIS executive director for auxiliary and administrative services, led the team who designed the app.
“The goal of Atlas is to help make that process of maintaining legal status in the U.S. as painless as possible for our international students,” Butler said.
He said the Atlas portal serves all international students across IU campuses and is usually used by around 5,000-6,000 students.
Butler said the development team has future plans to improve the app, including adding a resource section, self check-ins for office meetings and Zooms and expanding notification functionality for OIS events.
“We’re also eager to see what feedback we might get from users to help see what other things we can do with an app that we couldn’t do with the website that we can start building and make this the most valuable resource we can,” he said.
Butler said other universities can license the software to create a system for their university with their desired features and brand the software with a different name within the Sunapsis app. IU’s chosen name is Atlas.
“A really good comparison or example would be like Canvas, except if each university named their Canvas version different,” Santiago Salmeron, the mobile app developer, said.
Salmeron said the app makes what was previously available on the web in a more mobile friendly experience. He said the app also allows students to take pictures from their mobile device and upload them directly through the app, something you couldn’t do with a web portal.
Students can also receive push notifications from OIS within the app to stay up-to-date, according to the OIS website.
IU freshman and international student Hayeon Byun is from Seoul, South Korea, and said she hasn’t been to IU yet due to COVID-19. She said she still has to fill out her forms through Atlas to come to the U.S.
When she opened the app on her phone, she said it is easier to see everything she needs to complete before she comes into the U.S.
“This is actually way more convenient,” Byun said.