Diversity: Holistic Review

The UC Academic Health Center, through College of Nursing Dean Greer Glazer, PhD, is leading a national Urban Universities for HEALTH study on universities’ use of holistic review in the admissions process for health professions. The study will also measure the effectiveness of this review process.

Holistic review is the practice of assessing applicants in a more flexible and individualized way. Admissions teams use holistic review to predict how applicants will fare both as students and as future professionals, using information about the applicant’s life experience and personal qualities in addition to traditional academic measures.

UC’s College of Nursing already practices holistic review for both undergraduate and graduate admissions, but, according to a 2011 survey by the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU), holistic review practices have been adopted by only 43 percent of USU nursing schools.

In the same USU study, medical schools showed a higher rate of adoption (92 percent). UC’s College of Medicine uses a holistic review process in selecting medical school applicants. 

Study leaders are hopeful that by improving evidence around holistic review they will increase universities’ capacity to move the dial on training a future health workforce that meets community needs.