How BYU Admissions uses the holistic review in their final decisions


Editor’s note: A previous version of this story included a graphic that had inaccurate information. It has since been removed.

BYU admission decisions rolled in on Feb. 18, and new Cougars expressed their excitement all over social media with the hashtag, #byubound

According to the BYU admissions website, thousands of freshman applicants apply to BYU each year with a general acceptance rate of 59%.

Haley Miyamoto, a high school senior from Hawaii, said she was elated when she received her acceptance letter last Friday. 

“A lot of members of my family have gone to BYU and it’s just a school I’ve planned on going to my whole life,” Miyamoto said. 

As exciting as applying to BYU is for many high school seniors, it can be stressful to ensure the admissions board sees the full potential of each student through just their application, according to Kaylee Waldorf, a high school senior from Georgia and rising Cougar.

“It took months to work on my essays,” Waldorf said. “There is a lot of pressure to show off who you are in such a small and limited amount of words.”

The BYU admissions board conducts a holistic review of all applications where each component of the application is given equal and thorough review. Applications are evaluated by two trained and monitored individuals to ensure a fair acceptance process.

“BYU is constantly revising and updating its admission process, and the university uses a holistic review process that focuses on the Aims of a BYU Education: spiritually strengthening, intellectually enlarging, character building and lifelong learning,” BYU spokesperson Natalie Ipson said.

Ipson said the holistic review process is extremely helpful for the BYU admissions board when making tough decisions between highly qualified applicants.

“If BYU were looking at only GPA and a standardized test score, it would be impossible to differentiate,” Ipson said. “It is helpful to have essays about the students’ experiences and to read their recommendations.”

According to Ipson, BYU looks for diverse individuals to add to the student body each year. There is no specific quota to admit any specific demographic, but the holistic review process aids admission board members in admitting individuals with a variety of talents, skills and perspectives.

“BYU is currently expanding its enrollment by about 1.5% each year through 2025,” Ipson said. “This is part of a long-term goal to enhance the number of students who can benefit from a BYU education and part of our inspiring learning initiative, as well as our student success and inclusion efforts.”

The main change in the application process because of COVID-19 is students are no longer required to submit standardized test scores. However, if the student feels it strengthens their application they can choose to submit their scores. This change began spring 2021 and will end in winter 2024. More information about ACT and SAT score consideration as well as any other COVID-19 related admission details can be found on the admissions website.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email