Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs

Committee Chairperson

Jeffrey McLaughlin, Ph.D

Committee Member

James Tweedy, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Matthew Kruger-Ross, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jacqueline Hodes, Ed.D.


In this thesis, I will explore how higher education institutions can provide greater access to, and support for, students who do not meet traditional admissions requirements such as standardized test scores. This topic is important because traditional admissions requirements are inequitable for various groups of students, and they are also not accurate predictors of success in higher education for all students. My interest in this topic originates from my own personal experiences applying to and attending higher education, as well as my belief that higher education should be accessible to all who wish to pursue it. Therefore, barriers such as various admissions requirements should not be in place for students to access higher education. Within this thesis, I will note key core concepts from higher education and student affairs that intersect with the thematic concern. Then, I will propose an intervention designed to address the thematic concern. The intervention I propose centers around the creation and implementation of a holistic review method in the higher education admissions process for applicants who do not initially meet admission to an institution based on their standardized test scores. I will conclude the thesis by proposing a method for assessing the proposed intervention, which primarily involves randomly identifying a cohort of students admitted to the higher education institution using the holistic review method and following them throughout their time in higher education to review their progress and successes.