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Holistic Review in Graduate Admissions Toolkit

National momentum around holistic review in admissions has prompted conversations about alternative predictors of success and implementation of holistic application review practices. Holistic review considers both quantitative data and qualitative indicators to obtain a full picture of each applicant’s attributes and potential to thrive as graduate students.

This practice increases access to higher education of underrepresented and non-traditional students and facilitates the admission of a diverse student body that reflects a wide range of experiences, backgrounds, and perspectives. For more information, see the Council of Graduate Schools report Holistic Review in Graduate Admissions.

The University of Illinois strives to cultivate students and future alumni to be responsible citizens and leaders who value knowledge, creativity, global awareness, and social and cultural understanding. Our vision, as part of the university’s strategic priorities, is to create “an institution committed to excellence in discovery, teaching, and research, and a climate where all can achieve their highest aspirations in a safe and welcoming environment.” 

To support programs as they admit the graduate students that make up our vibrant educational community, the Graduate College has developed a holistic admissions review toolkit.

What You’ll Find in the Toolkit

The toolkit offers key questions to ask and actions to consider at each stage of the admissions process, with links to resources to support your work: 

  • Self Assessment: What are the goals of your graduate program, and how well does your admissions process align with them?
  • Application Design: Is the information you collect in your application what you need to make informed, holistic decisions about applicants?
  • Application Review: What kinds of review processes can ensure consistency and prioritize key criteria?
  • Selection: How can attention to non-cognitive attributes and applicant context help admit students who will thrive in your programs?
  • Offers & Funding: How do the timing of offers and the content of funding packages affect the composition of your incoming classes?
  • Support & Evaluation: What kinds of support and community do students need to succeed in your program?

How to Access the Toolkit

The full toolkit is available through the Slate admissions portal. If you currently have access to Slate, you can find the toolkit here. If you do not currently have Slate access and would like to view the toolkit, please fill out this form.