Undergraduate Admissions Process
Holistic Review Definition
The goal of undergraduate admissions is to facilitate the enrollment, retention and graduation of a qualified, diverse student body. To help achieve this goal, the admissions process should include consideration of a wide range of both quantitative and qualitative factors. These factors should be considered as part of a holistic review of the applicants that is consistent with Board of Regent policy as well as federal and state law.
Recent Supreme Court cases define a holistic review, in the context of a race-conscious admissions program, as an individualized, non-mechanical review of the applicant. To do that effectively, the admission decision should include an evaluation of the applicant as an entire person. The decision-making process should consider a broad range of factors that reflect the student's readiness for college, potential for success, and contributions he/she can make to the student body. Such factors might include:
- Academic factors
- Demographic factors
- Socioeconomic factors
- Work experience
- Leadership and extracurricular factors
- Personal qualities
- Skills and abilities
- Other factors determined by the institution
Since diversity is an integral part of any strong educational mission, the decision-making process should be "flexible enough to consider all dimensions of diversity in light of the particular qualifications of each applicant, and to place them on the same footing for consideration, although not necessarily according them the same weight," (Grutter v Bollinger, 123 S. Ct. at 2342-43, 2003). Diversity in this context includes, but is broader than, racial and ethnic diversity.
In brief, the undergraduate admissions process should include:
- an individual, holistic review of the applicant
- a review of academic and non-academic factors
- a consideration of the student's potential for success
- a consideration of the student's ability to contribute to the educational environment
The decision-making process may include, but should not be solely based on formulas, minimum grade-point averages, or test score cutoffs. No one factor should determine whether or not a student is admitted or denied. Reasonable and appropriate targets or ranges may be expressed in an effort to reach the goal of obtaining a "critical mass" of underrepresented students of color, but the use of quotas is prohibited.
An institution's race-conscious admissions policy should result in a process that is clear to those reviewing the applications and making the admissions decisions, as well as to those applying to the institution. The process of designing the policy, as well as the procedures for implementing it, should be well documented.