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Holistic Admission Review Resources for Graduate Programs
Holistic review is characterized by careful and inclusive consideration of multiple factors of an applicant’s file to predict the likelihood of success in graduate education. The recommendations and resources, below, will help begin your program’s conversation about holistic admission review or to further develop existing practices.
- Form a faculty admissions committee. Review anti-bias training materials from WISELI. Review all applications using the suggestions and best practices in the resources below.
- Articulate your program’s goals and develop a holistic admission strategy that aligns with those goals. Determine which components of the application are most important to your program and indicative of potential for success in graduate education. Ensure that your recruitment strategy aims to include prospective students of diverse backgrounds and experiences.
- Develop a rubric, make sure that all of your reviewers know how to implement it as part of your strategy, and use the rubric consistently. Use of a rubric leads to a fair application review process. Tailor this tool to the unique values and needs of your program, as well as what you know to be indicators of success in graduate applicants for your discipline.
- Take into consideration multiple components of the student application. Include qualitative factors like research experience, letters of recommendation, and individual background, as well as quantitative data like undergraduate grade point average and test scores, if applicable.
- Do not use cut-offs on any single metric and review all applications. Factors like GPA and standardized test scores may not predict success in graduate school. For programs that require GRE scores, follow ETS’s recommendations (linked below) and use multiple criteria in addition to the test scores.
Review in Graduate Admissions: A Report from the Council of Graduate Schools
- October 2022 Resources Email to Graduate Admissions and Recruitment Committees
- Navigating Holistic Admissions for a Stronger Graduate Program
- Equitable Practices for Writing, Reading, and Soliciting Letters of Recommendation
- Inside Graduate Admissions: Merit, Diversity, and Faculty Gatekeeping by Julie R. Posselt
- Assessing the Landscape for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts in U.S. STEM Graduate Education: A Systematic Literature Review
- University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School: Holistic Review of Applications for Admission to Graduate Degree Programs
- University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Graduate College: Holistic Review in Graduate Admissions Toolkit