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Association of American Medical Colleges Tomorrow's Doctors, Tomorrow's Cures®

Holistic Review

What is holistic review?

Holistic review is a flexible, individualized way of assessing an applicant’s capabilities by which balanced consideration is given to experiences, attributes, and academic metrics and, when considered in combination, how the individual might contribute value as a medical student and physician.

Holistic Review Project Purpose

The Holistic Review Project’s purpose has evolved to focus on the constellation of issues associated with admitting and enhancing the education of a diverse student body. These issues include process elements (e.g., pipeline, recruitment, admissions, and financial aid/scholarships) and the institutional policies and practices that sustain inclusive and collaborative learning and working environments that lead to high quality, equitable health care. This also means exploring complementary changes in residency selection and training.

We encourage you to read the Holistic Review Project Brochure  to learn more.


The Holistic Review Project, established in 2007, was originally designed to develop mission-centered, admissions-related tools and resources that medical schools can use to create and sustain diversity. Guided by a constituent advisory committee and in close collaboration with many others in the field, the project has evolved into a catalyst for thinking about and conducting admissions differently. It is clear, however, that attaining the full educational and workforce promise of holistic admissions requires expanding the project’s focus and aligning its admissions work with key points along the medical education (undergraduate medical education and graduate medical education) and career development continuums.

Though situated primarily in admissions, the Holistic Review Project is fundamentally about institutional change. Taking a systems perspective enables constituents and the AAMC to

  • assess the alignment between an institution’s mission and goals, the criteria used to evaluate and select applicants, and the attributes, attitudes, and skills fostered and rewarded in students, faculty, and staff, and
  • identify potential leverage points for enacting change, including healthcare and biomedical research workforce needs, institutional mission and goals, and stakeholder communities.

Understanding that the expertise lies in the field, the only way we can hope to accomplish that goal is by deepening and expanding our collaboration with constituents.

Holistic Review in Admissions Workshop

Are your school's diversity and admissions efforts aligned with its mission?

Applications are now being accepted for the 2014 Workshop cycle.

Roadmap to Excellence: Key Concepts for Evaluating the Impact of Medical School Holistic Admissions

Interested in frameworks, resources, and key questions for assessing the impact of holistic admissions on your short-, mid-, and long-term outcomes?

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