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.
- Work in Progress: A Holistic PhD Admissions Rubric–Design & Implementation
- See sample rubrics from UCLA Humanities departments HERE
- Admissions Rubrics Workshop at UCLA Humanities May 2022: https://ucla.box.com/s/suu557of1ih0kbsdac681p0iavh0338n
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, firstname.lastname@example.org how else we can support your efforts.
- Graduate Division runs Competitive Edge for incoming PhD students, which might be useful in your department’s recruitment and retention efforts
- History at UC Davis does an excellent job reaching out to students about how to prepare an effective application.
Bersola, S. H., Stolzenberg, E. B., Love, J., & Fosnacht, K. (2014). Understanding Admitted Doctoral Students’ Institutional Choices: Student Experiences versus Faculty and Staff Perceptions. American Journal of Education, 120(4), 515–543. https://doi.org/10.1086/676923
- Phruksachart, Melissa. “On Mentoring Future Faculty of Color.” Feminist Teacher, vol. 27, no. 2–3, 2017, pp. 117–32.JSTOR, https://doi.org/10.5406/femteacher.27.2-3.0117
- DeAngelo, Linda. Supporting Students of Color on the Pathway to Graduate Education. Council of Graduate Schools, 2016. https://mcnairscholars.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Supporting-Students-of-Color-on-the-Pathway-to-Graduate-Education_PLUS_DeAngelo.pdf