Nursing Admissions in the New Normal Called Test Optional
Regardless of the size of the college, nursing admissions are going to be the most competitive. Undergraduate nursing programs need to often specialized coursework and smaller laboratory classes. They also need to be able to provide clinical opportunities to every student.
But until now, most nursing admissions have been test mandatory. That’s been the case, even when a college has test optional admissions. Within New Jersey alone even the community college programs have required standardized test results.
Why have nursing programs required standardized test scores in the past?
Nursing programs have the most competitive admissions at colleges of any size, public or private. The competition for seats in the freshman class was the best reason to require test results. Test scores served as one way to separate applicants who had similar academic records, especially if they attended the same high school.
Nursing students must pass the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX) prior to employment in a professional position. Given their concerns about pass rates for the NCLEX, nursing faculty wanted to know how prospective students fared on the ACT or SAT. This is understandable. The ACT and SAT ask test takers to read and answer questions from science passages. Nursing is very much about science. And Nursing is also about math, especially precision measurements and percentages. But the ACT and SAT are not professional examinations. They are broader college admissions tests. The NCLEX is a professional examination. Nursing students are asked about nursing practices and procedures.
I asked three senior admissions professionals to talk with me about test optional nursing admissions.
- Steve Quinn, Vice President for Enrollment Management at a Caldwell University, a small private Catholic college in New Jersey.
- Jackie Hass, Director of Admissions at Salem State University, a mid sized public university in Massachusetts.
- Michael Usino, Assistant Dean for Admissions, Enrollment Management and Recruitment at Temple University’s School of Public Health. Temple is a large state-related university.
Please listen to this talk if you are interested in nursing. I doubt that you will find anything like this on another college admissions site.
You will learn:
- Academic expectations for high school students who are interested in Nursing
- Why these schools went test optional
- What these schools may need to do if nursing admissions become more competitive
- Why you should apply early if you are interested in Nursing
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