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Holistic Review

Read more to find out how BYU admission decisions are made.

All that we do at BYU is centered on the Mission and Aims of a BYU Education (see Mission and Aims of BYU and What We Look For). Our holistic review is an attempt to identify students who have demonstrated alignment with our mission. So, how does BYU make an admission decision? Read below to find out more.

After you submit your application, at least two reviewers will read and evaluate your application. They will read all of the essays and activity summaries, your recommendations, and your educational history information. Reviewers go through extensive training to make sure that they evaluate your application fairly and we monitor and mentor reviewers throughout the admission selection process.

At BYU, a holistic review looks at the following items (listed alphabetically):

Academic Preparation

  • We evaluate your academic record to ensure you are prepared for the academic rigor of BYU. Note that we use an unweighted GPA. 
  • You should take the most academically rigorous schedule available, where you can succeed. This could include AP, IB, concurrent or dual enrollment, or honors classes.

Essays and Activities

  • We carefully review your admission essays and activity summaries. Please remember that we can’t consider information that you don’t include in your application since we can’t evaluate something we don’t know about. Be sure to tell us what you want us to know.
  • Read the prompts provided and make sure you are answering the questions. We limit responses to a character count limit. Make sure your responses are long enough to let us know who you are, but remember that you may need to be concise in order to comply with the limits. Creative responses are rarely as successful at answering the question as you might hope.


  • We take the recommendations seriously, so spend some time thinking about who knows you well enough to evaluate you and provide comments to us. We recommend that you give your recommenders plenty of time to submit their recommendations since they have to be received before you can submit your application.
  • We don’t accept letters of recommendation outside of the application. You should let your recommenders know this so that they don’t spend time preparing a separate letter. We will have them fill out an evaluation form that is emailed to them through our system.

Seminary and Institute

  • A BYU Education is spiritually strengthening, so we look for applicants who have demonstrated a desire to participate in Seminary and Institute. 
  • If you were unable to participate or if your participation was limited, we provide a section in the application where you may comment on your seminary or institute attendance.