Graduate Admissions Committee Member Toolkit

The primary responsibilities of a member of the Graduate Admissions Committee should include the following:

  1. Ability to provide an objective review of applicants’ qualifications and interests without prejudice [Tell me more]
  2. Understand how to use standardized test scores to best discern the particular characteristics of individual applicants and not rely on only test scores when making determinations. [Tell me more]
  3. Participate in periodic meetings with Graduate Directors and staff in order to present and review materials and ideas for improving the program recruitment process. [Tell me more]
  4. Participate in communication efforts with prospective students.  [Tell me more]
  5. Whenever possible, graduate faculty should attend graduate fairs and conferences, especially those targeting minorities and women, to assist in the recruitment process.  [Tell me more]
  6. Some basic characteristics that admissions committees may want to consider [Tell me more]:

Resource Links

 

  1. Ability to provide an objective review of applicants’ qualifications and interests without prejudice

    Faculty may need to be reminded that general admissions criteria should be based upon positive factors found in many of their current and previous student’s qualifications. Extrapolating a few negative experiences to the admissions criteria is inappropriate and unfair, especially if those criteria are based upon characteristics such as ethnic or racial group, gender, country of origin, social class, or type of undergraduate college.

  2. Understand how to use standardized test scores to best discern the particular characteristics of individual applicants and not rely on only test scores when making determinations

    When using standardized tests for choosing incoming graduate students for your program be sure to adhere to the Educational Testing Service’s (ETS) guidelines [ETS Guideline for the Use of GRE Scores], which advocates using multiple criteria in the selection process. Using multiple criteria helps to mitigate the limitations of using any single measure of knowledge, skills, or abilities. No single characteristic or score should be considered the only predictor of a student’s potential for academic success.

  3. Participate in periodic meetings with Graduate Directors and staff in order to present and review materials and ideas for improving the program recruitment process

    Regular planning meetings should be scheduled and attended by all committee and staff members involved in the recruitment and admissions process for all programs.

  4. Participate in communication efforts with prospective students

    By participating in early communications with prospective graduate students Faculty can establish a relationship as a way of assuring that students who are admitted are indeed appropriate for the faculty and research being done in this program. In addition, early faculty communications can help assure the student is more likely to accept an offer of admission.

  5. Whenever possible, graduate faculty should attend graduate fairs and conferences, especially those targeting minorities and women, to assist in the recruitment process

    Participating in these events can assist faculty to focus the aspects of their programs and specific research interests that may be of interest to incoming students. Faculty may also find the additional demonstration of the large numbers of underrepresented students interested in their disciplines to be encouraging and provide opportunities to connect with potential candidates.

    Additional Resource Links for graduate recruitment, especially with regard to students underrepresented in the field:

  6. Some basic characteristics that admissions committees may want to consider
    • Undergraduate (or most recent college level coursework) GPA, especially the past 2 years
    • Standardized test scores
    • Letters of recommendation that speak specifically to the applicants anticipated success in graduate school or address issues of persistence and motivation
    • Personal statement that provides indicators of anticipated success in the program discipline
    • CV or listing of prior research/professional experience consistent with objectives of the program discipline
Last updated 17 Mar 2015