Decisions: Criteria

Discover how to customize your review metrics in Decisions, enhancing the precision of applicant assessments with criteria settings.

Michael Stephenson avatar
Written by Michael Stephenson
Updated over a week ago


The Criteria feature within the Decisions Module allows you to build and customize the evaluation metrics for applicants, such as class rank, GPA, essays, and more. This functionality is particularly beneficial for programs with limited access or seating, requiring a robust system to rank students accurately. Each criterion you configure appears during the application review process, enabling reviewers to input their scores directly into the decision interface.

Accessing Criteria

  1. Navigate to Applications > Decisions > Decision Settings.

  2. Click on the Criteria tab.

Criteria Configurations


  • Global: Applies one score per application, regardless of the number of reviewers.

  • Per Reviewer: Enables multiple scores per application, which is useful when different individuals are evaluating the same application.


  • Sets the relative importance of each criterion on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being least important and ten being most important. The default setting is 5.

Aggregate Score Type

  • Choose how to aggregate scores from each criteria item (only applies to Per Reviewer criteria type):

    • Average: Calculates the mean score.

    • Sum: Adds up all the scores.

    • Max: Uses the highest score given.

    • Min: Uses the lowest score given.

Score Types

  • Categorical: Establishes a ranking system with a defined number of levels from low to high. For example, categories might be labeled Very Low, Low, Average, and High.

  • Numerical: This option assigns scores as simple numerical values. You can set a maximum score, such as 10, and reviewers can select any number from 1 to 10.

  • Boolean: Offers a binary scoring option, typically labeled Yes or No. Labels are customizable, provided one equates to true and the other to false.

Understanding Weighted Scoring in Applicant Evaluation

To provide a clear understanding of how weighted scoring impacts applicant evaluations, let’s explore an example scenario with four criteria: Class Rank, GPA, Essay, and Letters of Recommendation.


An applicant has the following scores for each criterion:

  • Class Rank: 2 out of a maximum of 4

  • GPA: 1 out of a maximum of 4

  • Essay: 3 out of a maximum of 4

  • Letters of Recommendation: 1 out of a maximum of 1

Criteria Weights:

The importance of each criterion in the overall evaluation process is defined by its weight:

  • Class Rank: Weight = 5

  • GPA: Weight = 8

  • Essay: Weight = 4

  • Letters of Recommendation: Weight = 2

Weights indicate the relative importance of each criterion in the final score, allowing evaluators to prioritize certain aspects of an applicant's application.

Calculation Method:

  1. Proportionate Score Calculation: Each score is first converted into a proportion of the maximum possible score for that criterion:

    • Class Rank: 2/4 = 0.5

    • GPA: 1/4 ​= 0.25

    • Essay: 3/4 = 0.75

    • Letters of Recommendation: 1/1 = 1.0

    These proportions are then multiplied by their respective weights to reflect their importance:

    • Class Rank: 0.5 × 5 = 2.5

    • GPA: 0.25 × 8 = 2.0

    • Essay: 0.75 × 4 = 3.0

    • Letters of Recommendation: 1.0 × 2 = 2.0

  2. Weighted Sum and Normalization: The weighted scores are summed:

    • Total Weighted Score: 2.5 + 2.0 + 3.0 + 2.0 = 9.5

    To ensure the final score fits within the standardized maximum of 10, we normalize this sum based on the total of the weights:

    • Sum of Weights: 5 + 8 + 4 +2 = 19

    • Normalized Score: 9.5 ÷ 19 × 10 = 5.0


The final score is 5 out of 10.

This score indicates how well the applicant performed across all weighted criteria, scaled to a maximum score of 10. This method ensures that each criterion's influence on the overall score is proportional to its assigned weight, providing a fair and balanced assessment of the applicant’s qualifications.

Adding Criteria

  1. Navigate to Applications > Decisions > Decision Settings.

  2. Click on the Criteria tab.

  3. Click + Add Criteria from the lefthand panel.

  4. Provide a name, a short name (this will be visible if the full name is too long to display), and a brief description.

  5. Click Create. Your criteria item will be added to the criteria list and open for you to configure.

  6. Configure the settings of the criteria item. Refer to the Criteria Configuration section above for a comprehensive explanation of each setting.

Editing, Reordering, + Deleting Criteria

  1. Navigate to Applications > Decisions > Decision Settings.

  2. Click on either the Criteria tab.

  3. In the lefthand menu, locate the criteria item you wish to edit, reorder, or delete.

  4. Click on the criteria item name.

  5. Follow the instructions below:


  • Name, Short Name, or Description:

    1. Click on the three vertical dots next to the criteria item.

    2. Click Edit and make your changes.

    3. Click Update when you have finished.

  • Criteria Settings (Type, Weight, etc.):

    1. Confirm you have clicked on the criteria item name from the lefthand menu.

    2. Make your changes. Changes are saved automatically.


  • To reorder criteria items, find the item in the lefthand panel. Using the double-sided arrow to the left of the criteria name, drag and drop the item to the desired location.


  • Click on the three vertical dots next to the criteria item and select Delete. You will be prompted to confirm your action.

Utilizing Criteria for Application Reviews

The criteria you set up in Decision Settings are visible in each application decision, allowing you to score each item and include relevant notes. For further details, check out our article on Reviewing and Processing Application Decisions.

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