Holistic admissions refers to a process of considering the capabilities, experiences, and attributes of applicants beyond grade point averages and standardized test scores. Considering criteria beyond academic metrics allows admissions and selections committees to better assess a student's readiness to engage in graduate or professional education. Holistic admissions processes have been widely adopted by many health profession institutions seeking to identify a diverse student body best capable of meeting their institutional mission and objectives and to enhance diversity in the health professions workforce. This course is designed to introduce physical therapy educators to the value of a holistic admissions process and to promote the adoption of the concept, practice, and utilization of a holistic review framework. Germane to this process is a review of the considerations related to institutional readiness to consider alternative admissions processes, the legal foundation for diversity considerations in admissions, impact of unconscious bias, race-neutral alternatives, and activities designed to facilitate program adoption of holistic admissions review. Representatives from the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) will share their association’s experience in facilitating holistic admissions with their respective member institutions. The promotion and implementation of holistic admissions processes has been collectively identified by the American Council on Academic Physical Therapy, American Physical Therapy Association, and the Education Section of the APTA through the Education Leadership Partnership as a strategic priority for physical therapist education.
Methods and/or Description of Project
Course presenters will describe their profession’s experience with developing, implementing, and evaluating holistic admissions processes, including national outcomes to date, during this moderated panel discussion. Course participants will be encouraged to ask questions of the speakers, especially those questions that would inform physical therapy educators as they consider holistic admissions processes in the context of their academic programs.
The professions of dentistry, medicine, and nursing have made significant strides in facilitating an appreciation for the value of holistic admissions review processes. The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) has created a series of workshops to support academic programs and to provide technical assistance with holistic review processes including: ensuring alignment with institutional mission, considering legal issues, appreciating the role of unconscious bias in admissions decisions, and theory and research behind holistic admissions. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has created resources to support adoption and use of holistic review in admissions, including the "AAMC Holistic Review Project: Achieving Improved Learning and Workforce Outcomes through Admissions" and other documents. Similarly, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has created tools to assist programs in appreciating the role and use of holistic admissions, including text, video, and PowerPoint resources. Their work includes facilitating an online discussion within the profession titled, "Overcoming Barriers to Holistic Admission in Nursing".
Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: Through the Looking Glass: Transforming Physical Therapy Education
This course is directly related to the sub theme of this conference, Admissions Perspectives and Challenges—Where are we now? The promotion and implementation of holistic admissions processes has been collectively identified by the American Council on Academic Physical Therapy, American Physical Therapy Association, and the Education Section of the APTA through the Education Leadership Partnership as a strategic priority for physical therapist education. The profession of physical therapy has much to learn from other health professions education groups. As physical therapy educators consider alternative ways of making admissions decisions, considering experiences from dentistry and medicine can facilitate the successful adoption and implementation of holistic admissions processes.
1. Association of American Medical Colleges. (2010). Roadmap to Diversity: Integrating Holistic Review Practices into Medical School Admissions Processes.Accessed at: http://www.cossa.org/diversity/reports/Integrating_Holistic_Review_Practices.pdf on March 3, 2017.
2. American Dental Education Association. (2011). Transforming Admissions: http://www.adea.org/dental_education_pathways/AFASA/transforming/Documents/transformingAdmissions.pdf on March 3, 2017.
3. Glazer, G, Clark, A, Bankston, K, et al. (2016). Holistic admissions in nursing: We can do this. Journal of Professional Nursing, 32(4):306-313.
4. Kent, JD, McCarthy, MT. (2016). Holistic Review in Graduate School Admissions.Council of Graduate Schools: Washington, DC.Accessed at: http://cgsnet.org/ckfinder/userfiles/files/CGS_HolisticReview_final_web.pdf on March 3, 2017.
5. Price, SS, et al. (2011). Evaluating the Impact of the ADEA Admissions Committee Workshops. Journal of Dental Education, 75.5: 696-706. Accessed at http://www.jdentaled.org/content/75/5/696.short on March 17, 2017.
6. Urban Universities for Health. (2014). Holistic Admissions in the Health Professions: Findings from a National Survey. Accessed at: http://urbanuniversitiesforhealth.org/media/documents/Holistic_Admissions_in_the_Health_Professions.pdf on March 3, 2017.
7. Witzburg, RA, Sondheimer, HM. (2013). Holistic review: Shaping the medical profession one applicant at a time.New England Journal of Medicine, 368:1565-1567.Accessed at: http://www3.med.unipmn.it/papers/2013/NEJM/2013-04-25_nejm/nejmp1300411.pdf on March 3, 2017.
1. Understand the importance and benefits of a diverse workforce in the health professions.
2. Describe what constitutes holistic review in admissions, including considerations of non-cognitive variables, implicit bias, and race-neutral alternatives.
3. Identify challenges and opportunities experienced by AAMC, ADEA, and AACN in facilitating a holistic admissions review process.
4. Engage in questions and answers (Q&A) about the benefits of holistic review, and lessons learned.
5. Identify needs of individual programs that seek to adopt and support a holistic admissions review process.
1. Describe the holistic admissions review experiences of three health professions education associations
2. Moderated question and answer period
3. Discussion (large group)
5 min: Introduction and Welcome (Moderator: Chesbro)
20 min: AAMC Speaker (Conrad)
20 min: ADEA Speaker (Booker)
20 min: AACN Speaker (Dewitty)
25 min: Questions and Discussion (Moderator: Chesbro)