PsychNology Journal, Volume 11, Number 1, 67 – 90

A Study of Admissions Software for Achieving Diversity

Juan E. Gilbert, Andrea E. Johnson
Human-Centered Computing Division Clemson University, Clemson, SC


In the face of legal and social challenges to affirmative action, many schools and programs are withdrawing from their efforts to create or support initiatives that allow racial/ethnic consideration to be given to applicants. This shift may allay fears of bias against majority groups but it also has the potential to disenfranchise some students and programs and leave them without the programs that help create opportunities and diversity at institutions of higher learning. This study examines the use of a software package, Applications Quest, as a possible alternative to aid admissions committees in providing clear, equitable, and reproducible policies in admissions processes. Rather than focus exclusively on race, Applications Quest creates a measure of “holistic diversity” that allows equal weight to many factors that contribute to a more diverse student population. A major research university in the South, Experiment University (EU) was enlisted to see if Applications Quest could produce a pool of applicants with the same academic achievement levels as the EU admissions selection committee while increasing holistic diversity using the requirements set forth by the committee. The results of the study show that Applications Quest was able to recommend a more diverse applicant pool than the EU admissions selection committee while meeting the same academic achievement levels in a fraction of the time using the same academic criteria.

KEYWORDS: admissions software, diversity, holistic review, affirmative action, preferences

Gilbert J. E., Johnson A. E. (2013). A Study of Admissions Software for Achieving Diversity. PsychNology Journal, 11(1), 67 - 90. Retrieved [month] [day], [year], from

Download Full Text (.pdf)
Return to
PsychNology Journal Volume 11, Number 1