Holistic Approach Overrated in College Admission

17 04 2009

Chronicle of Higher Education News Blog
April 16, 2009
by Eric Hoover

Winston-Salem, N.C. — Many admissions officials insist on the importance of evaluating the “whole student.” That is, considering the talents and potential that grades and standardized-test scores do not reveal.

The trick is that holistic assessment is often unreliable, Scott
Highhouse said here this morning at Wake Forest University’s “Rethinking Admissions” conference. Mr. Highhouse, a professor of
industrial-organizational psychology at Bowling Green State University, cautioned admissions professionals about the limits of holistic evaluations, such as the personal interviews that Wake Forest built into its application process this year.

To make his point, Mr. Highhouse cited several studies that undermine the notion that employers can reliably predict the success of workers they hire.

“People just aren’t very predictable,” he said.

So why do many people believe that an “intuitive approach” is Read the rest of this entry »