FileMaker for college advising?

Hi all - One of my responsibilities at work is to keep track of courses taken by students as they progress toward their degree. The university has a system for doing this, but while that system is great for the staff to use to perform a final degree audit, it’s not very helpful when I sit down with students to help them choose courses.

In the past, I’ve just used a set of Evernote notes with a PDF version of the printed checklist that I annotate with preview. This is cumbersome but somewhat workable.

The challenge is that there are a few different sets of courses students need to take depending on their specific degree path. What I’d like to do is have the ability to choose per student which checklist is associated with them AND also check off the classes as they take them. I think a relational database is what I want, but I’m stuck in how to choose the right curriculum and use that to populate a checklist (a set of yes/no variables) for the student.

Any advice or resources you can point me to?


I think this will depend in part on how easily you can copy/duplicate the data from the existing university system. It can definitely be done in FileMaker but there’s a big overhead and learning curve. I’d recommend seeing if there’s some way you can query the existing university database to extract the data in a more usable form.

(Having said that, if you’re going to be doing a lot of this kind of stuff, FileMaker is well worth learning - I love being able to build exactly the layout I need for iOS devices).

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Thanks for the reply. This would just be for my record keeping for my immediate set of advisees, so I don’t need to query the official database. I just need a way to keep track.

Ok…basically you need 3 main tables: students, courses, checklists

student - courses is many-to-many so you need a linking table - this will also have info on whether a student has completed a course etc.
student - checklists is many-to-one (presumably)
checklists - courses is many-to-many with nothing in the linking table

checklists consist of a list of course IDs

in your student form you’ll have a portal showing fields from related records in courses and the student-courses linking table
and a conditional field which indicates if the course ID is included in the checklist linked to the student

do you have Filemaker already?

I do have FileMaker already.