Engaging Best Practices in Holistic Graduate Amissions

An effective process for holistic admissions depends on fair and systematic candidate evaluation, periodic reflection on your methods, and attending to prospective and current student needs.  Expand the menus below to learn more.


A scoring template, or rubric, ensures clear, consistent, and equitable evaluation across a committee. Rubrics are a key element of holistic review, but for one to be successful, colleagues must collaborate on selecting criteria and determining scoring methods. We know this can be a long, difficult process, for which the resources below might be useful.

Further Reflection

Holistic admissions are iterative processes that depend on annual reflection and reassessment at the end of each cycle. We recommend the following to department leadership

  • Create a written record of your graduate admissions process that can be shared with incoming admissions chairs and committee members
  • Set aside time for an annual discussion of…
    • the ease of your department’s admissions process
    • its effectiveness
    • changes that might support greater equity and inclusion
    • the number and diversity of people involved in the process
    • the training and preparation of your admissions committee
  • Review your admissions data annually. Applications, admissions, and yield are easy for all faculty and staff to access in Go.Grad
Outreach, Mentorship, and Retention

We know that holistic admissions are just one part of a multi-pronged effort to recruit, retain, and prepare the humanities thought leaders of tomorrow. In addition to more equitable admissions practices, we encourage departments to consider their outreach strategies to potential applicants and to reduce attrition with effective and equitable mentoring. The Division of Humanities along with Graduate Division can be strategic partners here. Along with the following resources, please let us know, mklopez@ucla.edu how else we can support your efforts.