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Monday, October 25, 2021

Regents aim to implement holistic review

As UC campuses continue to face budget cuts, the application process is becoming increasingly selective.

“The moment is fast approaching when the university will no longer be able to guarantee admission to all California applicants who meet the eligibility criteria,” said UC President Mark Yudof during Wednesday’s meeting at UC San Diego.

This new process of holistic review aims to provide a more thorough and fair application process by replacing machines with human readers.

“Human reading of the application will allow the kind of context that maybe wouldn’t be possible if that application wasn’t read by a reader,” said Ricardo Vazquez from the UC Office of the President Strategic Communications Office.

The funding for these human readers will come from the application fee, which will not increase with the implementation of holistic review, Vazquez said. The application itself will also remain unchanged.

Apart from providing context, this method allows the application to be scored as a whole instead of different segments receiving individual scores to be tallied. Holistic review will only be used for incoming first-year students, not graduate or transfer students who require different applications.

While UC Berkeley and UCLA have been using this approach for several years, UC Irvine and UC San Diego will implement it starting with the incoming first-year students in fall.

Vazquez said it is difficult to predict how much holistic review will cost, as implementing it will be a long process. The current application fees should be able to cover it on a UC systemwide level. The hiring of additional application readers and their training costs will be determined at each campus.

Lora Jo Bossio, associate vice chancellor of Student Affairs, could not be reached for comment on when UC Davis would implement holistic review.

Jussa Singh Sidhu, a junior cell biology major, said holistic review is a fairer process for UC.

“Some people start out on top but others start really poorly and finish strongly. [Those people] are probably better applicants and a machine can’t tell the difference,” he said.

The new approach relies on personal circumstances and performance relative to peers who have experienced similar opportunities or challenges. Yudof said he considers this a step forward in the admissions process.

“[It’s] designed to give a broader range of Californians a better shot at attending one of our campuses,” he said.

AKSHAYA RAMANUJAM can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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