Future in nursing unclear

Jenn Tran

Students concerned with admissions lottery system

by Jenn S. Tran and Ginger York

Admission into a student’s chosen field of study is an important part of academic life, full of hope and tension. Thousands of dollars and many hours have been spent on required core classes necessary to apply for admission into the program of a chosen major.

So, when a program such as the Lydia Green Nursing Program implements changes to the admissions process, students pay attention and want answers to key questions that affect their academic and professional lives.

At SPU, the School of Nursing has decided to begin a process in which students will be selected for admissions and categorized into a new quarterly “cohort” process. Entrance will still be based on the same rigorous criteria regarding academics, a three person interview, and GPA of previous coursework.

However, under the new system, 32 students will be selected to begin studies in the nursing program in the fall quarter and an additional 32 will begin the nursing program in the winter quarter. Eventually, the administration hopes to be able to grow the program and include a third group of 32 for the spring quarter.

“Our goal is that the smaller cohort will enhance the student’s ability to build relationships and to have deep learning,” Lorie Wild, the dean of the school of health sciences, explained.

Wild also stated that the curriculum is “dependent on our clinical partners and clinical placement. It is our determination that the smaller cohort size will allow room for more students in placement with these clinical partners.”

At SPU, the Lydia Green Nursing Program desires to adhere closely to its motto of “Robust Academics, Relationship-Centered Learning, Grounded in Faith and Values.”

It is because of this relationship-centered learning component that the administration has decided to implement this much debated new cohort process.
The process does offer both pros and cons for students. Students will be able to more easily repeat a course if necessary, and those who need to take some time off will have more opportunities to re-enter the program.

At the same time, a major concern is that the winter cohort will not graduate from the program at the same time as the autumn cohort, which could increase costs for some students. The administration advises that students use this quarter for fulfilling coursework such as UCOR and UFDN, or perhaps studying abroad or completing Nursing follows a very prescriptive six-quarter schedule that all students must complete. Therefore, there is very little room for flexibility in choosing which quarter a student completes required courses.

There has also been some concern that the new process will include a lottery style selection process. Wild wanted to make it clear that “there will be no lottery for admissions at SPU … any randomization in the selection process is solely limited to which cohort a student is admitted.”

At the University of Washington, a school which has used a lottery selection process in the past, the critical interview and character assessment of the student was eliminated. The administration at UW thought that taking out the subjective elements of the admissions process would provide an objectively fair process for their deep pool of applicants.

They found, however, that in a career choice such as nursing, knowing the student as a person was a critical component for predicting success, an opinion echoed by the administration at SPU, and therefore have moved away from the lottery type process.

SPU’s nursing program ranks in the top 25 percent in the United States. With the exclusivity of the program comes the highly selective admissions process.

With this said, students A and B, whose names have been omitted on their request out of fear sharing their opinions will affect their admission, both felt as if the process could be better thought out in regards to students as individuals, but still understood the fairness of the program.

“I think the admissions into the nursing program is fair as they are adequate assessments of the applicants’ performance. However, I do not agree with the rolling admission as this can unfairly cause students to pay an extra quarter at SPU,” Student A said.

There is often a lot of mystery regarding the application and admission process into the nursing program. It can be very easy for it to feel daunting and scary, explained Student B.

“I have tried to be as pro-active as possible about understanding the process and what is required of me. I’ve met with current nursing students and am in touch with my faculty adviser regarding any questions, fears or concerns that I have about the process. This has allowed me to feel prepared for the application process and has dispelled many of the fears that I have had,” they added.

Regarding the current work ethic of the prospective students, neither student has allowed the process to negatively impact their hard work in their prerequisites.

“The decision definitely plays a role in my work ethic in class as I realize that there is a certain amount of people who are admitted. The new admissions process doesn’t allow for additional accepted students so the program is still very competitive,” Student A said.

However, if they had prior knowledge of this admission process ahead of time, Student A believes that they might have chosen a different institution to pursue a nursing career.

A viable solution or alternative processes Student A had in mind in regards to this system is to let prospective students know ahead of time, before they make a final decision on the institution so “they can decide before they invest their time and money into the institution to see if they would want to participate in a program with rolling admission.”

“Also, I believe that accepting additional students when rolling admission begins could be beneficial as that is the end goal of rolling admissions,” they added.
On the other hand, even with knowledge of this admission system, Student B holds on to the belief that SPU would have been their number one choice regardless.

“I truly believe that it is an incredible program with amazing people teaching and running it and in it. If I do so desire, I am also perfectly able to apply to other nursing programs as well if I want to keep my options open,” they said.

For Student B, it is not the lottery system itself that plays a role, but the implications of said system.

“I think the one thing that does effect my work ethic is the fact that nursing students who apply this year don’t get the advantage of being able to apply twice in the same year but have the same outcome of having two different cohorts. It’s a little frustrating because we’re being treated as if we got to apply twice when we actually were only able to apply once,” they specified.

Pre-nursing students can always choose to look beyond SPU’s nursing program even though it might be their preference, they continued.

“I think this process affects pre-nursing students this year because not being able to apply twice but being treated as if we were able to is very strange and confusing. It’s also unclear why, if you are going to start winter quarter in the nursing program, you have to be enrolled in classes fall quarter,” explained Student B.


“It tends to come across as if the program is more interested that we spend our money at SPU than they are in us as people. I personally don’t believe this is the case, but I can understand why it might seem this way.”