“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” the great Aristotle once observed.
The term holistic refers to the fact that something or someone is a whole entity rather than just made up of individual parts. The concept of holistic admissions is much the same. At one time, school admissions focused heavily on a GPA or standardized test score such as the GRE® test or the GMAT™ exam to determine a candidate’s acceptance potential. However, the current climate in higher education is to take a more holistic approach and look at each candidate’s attributes in all aspects of their life.
Looking at the big picture
Criteria such as character, community service, letters of recommendation, personal statements, statements of purpose, research and work experience are weighed substantially along with academic performance in undergrad and standardized test scores from the GRE test, GMAT exam, LSAT®, MCAT® exam and others.
As an applicant, it’s imperative that you present a full picture of who you are as a person and as a potential student in the program you’re applying to. You don’t want to paint a partial picture of yourself, so show all your colors! This will give admissions officials the ability to make an acceptance decision based on the whole person, not just what you can do in a classroom or on a standardized test.
Crafting a holistic application
In order to provide the best holistic version of yourself, make sure each piece of the application puzzle fits together to form the picture you want admissions committees to see of you.
So, what are those pieces?
Getting into grad school is a very competitive landscape and providing the admissions committees with the most well-rounded information about who you are as a whole person will give you the best chances of getting that acceptance letter.