What is Holistic Review in College Admissions?
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Monique Hunter in a CollegeVine Livestream. You can watch the full Livestream for more info.
What is Holistic Review?
Holistic review boils down to how well a candidate aligns with the school’s goals for the incoming class. Usually schools look at the pool of students that they already have and the pool of applicants that they have. Then, before they even read applications, the admissions committee sets goals to make their class as balanced as possible.
If the school needs more females or more males or more students from certain regions, these students may be accepted at higher rates. This is how schools meet their goals for the incoming class. It’s how they round out their freshman class in terms of academic interest, backgrounds, and other factors.
For example, if the admissions committee realizes that a class is light on music majors, they might accept a talented piano player whose GPA falls slightly outside the desired range.
What is a Yield Rate?
Another factor schools consider in the holistic process is their projected yield of accepted students who will actually accept. A high yield rate means that almost all students who are accepted will enroll. Therefore, when making acceptance decisions, colleges consider the likelihood a student will actually attend.
Remember, if you happen to get rejected from a school and you feel like your application was the best that you can give, but you were still rejected, please, don’t take it personally at all! Most likely you did not meet the goals of what the school’s looking for, or you were even overqualified and the school didn’t think you would accept an offer.
What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?
While a college’s acceptance rate might be incredibly low, your personal chances of acceptance may actually be higher or lower. If your academic profile is weak, that school may not look at the rest of your application at all. On the flip side, if your grades and test scores are strong, and you have outstanding extracurriculars, you may have a better shot of getting in.
To better understand your chances of admissions, we recommend using our free admissions calculator. Using your grades, test scores, and extracurriculars, we’ll estimate your odds of acceptance, and give you tips on improving your profile.
You can also search for best-fit schools based on your chances, and on other factors like size, location, majors and more. This tool will make it a lot easier to create a strategy for your college application process.