An explanation: U-M's 'holistic' review process

By Erica Sanders December 14, 2015

You’ve heard the word, of course. It’s very common. “Holistic.” But you’ve likely identified it more with health care or medicine, rather than admissions.

So when your admissions counselor at the University of Michigan tells you that we have a holistic review process, it’s natural to be a little confused. But in reality, it’s simple. Holistic means the viewing of a person as a whole, not a just a part.

In medicine, that means the doctor isn’t looking just at a patient’s illness or symptom. The doctor is viewing the patient as a whole person to determine the next step toward wellness.

And in academics, it means we’re not seeing you as just as a grade point average or a test score, but as an individual. We see you with the many hats you may wear as a student, friend, sibling, athlete, son or daughter, volunteer or employee.

The University of Michigan typically receives about 50,000 applications for its freshman class; this year will likely be no different. Our freshman enrollment is approximately 6,000 students. Assembling a class of students with diverse interests and experiences is a task we don’t take lightly.

When we look at your application, to learn more about who you are and how the University of Michigan can help you continue your educational journey, we review your test scores, your grades, your extracurricular activities, your teacher and counselor recommendations, and essays. We look at everything – and then we look at it AGAIN.

After we’ve reviewed your application multiple times, if we feel we need more information – like your last semester grades – we might delay your decision until we have the needed information.

Yes, it takes a little more time. We understand you’re waiting on us, and we appreciate your patience. But we feel you’re worth it!

If you applied and submitted all required materials by our Early Action date of 11:59 p.m. EST on November 1, your decision will be released no later than December 24, we promise.

If you submit your application by our Regular Deadline of 11:59 p.m. EST on February 1, you’ll receive a decision no later than early April.

Erica Sanders

is Director of the Office of Undergraduate Admissions