What Specific Practices are Associated with Holistic Review?

There is no single “right way” to do holistic review. Nursing schools may need to implement a variety of practices that work in combination to meet the school’s mission and goals for admissions.  We have identified a set of common holistic review practices in use by many health profession schools that are grounded in the existing literature and evidence. These practices include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Mission statement for admissions that includes diversity
  • Admissions committees receive training related to the school’s mission
  • Admissions committees receive training on diversity and/or unconscious bias
  • Broadening the composition of the admissions committee (e.g., including members of the community, diversity staff)
  • Non-academic criteria considered alongside metrics in the initial screening process
  • Applicants required to submit an essay/personal statement
  • A subset of applicants are interviewed (in person or over the phone)
  • Applicants are drawn from the waitlist according to criteria that contribute diversity to the school
  • Specific criteria related to school mission and goals are evaluated (e.g., global health mission)


The Nuts and Bolts of Holistic Review [PPT]

Back to Tool Kit