UCLA Adopts a Holistic Approach to Reviewing Freshman Applications; Change Is Most Sweeping Since Systemwide Revisions Five Years Ago
In a move designed to provide a broader view of applicants, the UCLA Academic Senate has voted to approve what it calls a holistic model for freshman admissions in which, beginning with the fall 2007 freshman class, each application will be read and considered in its entirety, rather than having sections reviewed by different people.
UCLA faculty made the change because they believe that the comprehensive review admissions policy for freshmen can be better achieved through a more individualized and qualitative assessment of each applicant's entire application, according to Adrienne Lavine, outgoing chair of the Academic Senate. Lavine said the Academic Senate is continuing to work on details for implementing the new policy.
Each year, the
faculty Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools
reviews the admissions process and makes some adjustments. However, this change
is the most sweeping reform since the comprehensive review process was adopted
by the University of California Board of Regents five years ago, ending a
practice of allowing a portion of students to be admitted solely on academic
criteria. Under Proposition 209, all UC campuses have been prohibited from
considering race in the admissions process since the fall 1998 class. The voter
initiative banned the consideration of race, ethnicity, color, national
original and gender in all operations of
The faculty admissions committee had been studying the possibility of a change to a holistic approach for more than a year. The recent decline in African American high school students offered admission to UCLA, combined with small numbers of African American students who both have been offered admission to the university and elected to attend the university, were a catalyst for consideration of changes in the admissions process, faculty leaders said.
In commenting on the change, Acting Chancellor Norman Abrams said, "I strongly support the faculty's decision to adopt a process that I believe will give us a more accurate basis for evaluating each student's application."
Abrams and Academic Senate leaders said the purpose of a holistic approach is to give a rigorous, individualized and qualitative assessment of each application in order to ensure that academic reviews are based on a wide range of criteria, including classroom performance, motivation to seek challenges and the rigor of a student's curriculum within the context of high school opportunities. Under a mandate by the UC Regents, academic achievement still will be given the greatest weight. However, added emphasis will be placed within the school context, particularly in regard to the applicant's access to educational opportunities, or lack thereof.
"Holistic review is another philosophical approach to implementing comprehensive review, and it will allow us the opportunity to have applications reviewed in their entirety so that all of a student's achievements — from academic performance to leadership skills and community services — can be looked at in the context of their life experiences," said Jenny Sharpe, chair of the faculty Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools.