Holistic Review in Graduate Admissions: What We Need to Know


The pathway to becoming a scientist leads through graduate school, and graduate admissions committees are the gatekeepers. How they choose to evaluate applicants to their programs impacts the development of the future research workforce. Holistic review is a university admissions strategy that assesses an applicant’s unique experiences alongside traditional measures of academic achievement such as grades and test scores. Robust evidence supports the use of holistic review in undergraduate admissions and in the health professions, but the extent to which graduate programs are using the practice – and how they are using it – is less well-known.

This webinar, co-hosted by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU), and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), is part of a series intended to stimulate discussion and engage university leaders around topics from the recent report Increasing Diversity in the Biomedical Research Workforce: Actions for Improving Evidence, supported by the NIH. The webinar will explore existing evidence for the promising practice of holistic review and critical gaps in evidence that need to be addressed. Speakers will discuss the challenges associated with holistic review in graduate admissions, with a particular focus on STEM and the biomedical sciences where scholars from diverse backgrounds are underrepresented. The webinar will close with information about a proposed action item to pilot holistic review in STEM and biomedical science graduate programs.

Speakers include:  

Who should attend this webinar? Anyone interested in exploring holistic review as an evidence-based strategy to diversify the STEM and biomedical science workforce including, but not limited to, university leaders and administrators, deans, chairs of admissions committees, faculty, and diversity professionals.

Watch the video recording: