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Northeast: Nursing Applicant/Acceptance Criteria Inflation

koalabkoalab 10 replies3 threads New Member
edited October 2011 in Nursing Major
Hi,

I am new to forum and can use some guidance from others whom I am sure have been, or who are going through, the same thing, helping their daughters/sons find a nursing school for a B.S. in nursing at a college with direct admission in the Northeast. I apologize in advance if question is long-winded.

Background: Earlier this summer my D completed several interviews at smaller Northeast colleges (mostly Div III, colleges listed at end of this post) that offer direct entry nursing and where her credential seemed like a very solid match for the college in general. She'll be a senior in fall.

Her HS GPA unweighted 4.0 and she is on National Honor Society, top 18% of her class in a good school, tons of community service, small part time job (but not medical-related) and has played 2 varsity sports every year in HS. (She is not Div I or II material but would consider club/jv level at college). Her weakness are her SAT's at about 560/560/630, so 1120 for math and reading combined, and I guess they don't look at writing where she did well with 630.

I heard rumors that nursing applicant competition for seats was fierce, but did not know going in how many apply versus how many are accepted until these latest college visits. The ratios are quite scary, and it is difficult to impossible to get the admissions reps to tell her what are the average GPA's and average SAT's that were admitted in the prior year for nursing, and if her credentials will give her a fighting chance for a spot at these schools. Their standard answer is vague, such as "you are doing everything "right," continue working hard first quarter senior year, and apply."

That all was fine until one college finally admitted that for the fall 2011 nursing, there were 90 seats, and over 400 applied, and they "overbooked" sending out 100 acceptances, and to their chagrin, all 100 nursing applicants accepted (so their classes ended up larger this year).

While in the waiting room while D was being interviewed, another parent whose daughter was applying to similar colleges, said that another school north of Boston which we were seeing the next day, got 700 applicants and accepted 39 in 2010.

I'm getting worried. I'm probably preaching to the choir, but it seems like the admissions criteria (GPA and SAT's) for the nursing applicants is WAY HIGHER than what they are for non-nursing applicants. But I don't know, and admissions will not tell me, how much higher. To combat that and to see if she could finally get an encouraging word for her chances for nursing, she finally interviewed at one saftey college south of Boston with much less selective college admittance credentials for non-nursing students (840-1030 sat mids). Their admissions rep said, sure, she should have no problem at all with those credentials since that is well above most of our accepted nursing students.

Finally my question to you all: Does anyone know what average GPA and SAT's it is taking to get into small Div II and Div III colleges for nursing in the Northeast for Fall 2012?

Said another way, are the students who are being rejected, simply applicants with GPA and SAT's lower than the regular college requirements.

The schools she liked that are solid matches for my D based on non-nursing criteria are schools like Saint Anselm, Salve Regina, Endicott, University of Scranton, Misericordia, Elmira, Le Moyne;, and an admitted reach for her even as a non-nursing student, at Quinnipiac in CT.

Thanks a lot for those of you still reading my long plea for some solid information to help my D sleep at night!
edited October 2011
31 replies
Post edited by koalab on
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Replies to: Northeast: Nursing Applicant/Acceptance Criteria Inflation

  • aglagesaglages 2559 replies74 threads Senior Member
    If you haven't already looked you might want to check out each of the college forums (on this site) for the schools you are considering. Once you get to the forum just search that forum for nursing. You should get some idea that way of what the stats were of the people that were applying and got accepted/rejected. I did a search for Quinnipiac and got the following:
    College Confidential - Search Results

    In many colleges you are correct; because of the competition the stats needed for nursing student admission are often higher than most other majors. That is not always the case, for example at Penn the admission requirements (while still very high) are supposedly lower than many other majors.

    My daughter never applied to any of the schools you are considering so I can't give you specific advice on those colleges. I will say that I think you are absolutely doing the right thing in applying early and interviewing wherever possible. Good luck to you and your daughter!
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  • koalabkoalab 10 replies3 threads New Member
    aglages, thanks for the tip on finding the college on the forum first, and then nursing info specifically on that college. I'll give it a try.
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  • charlieschmcharlieschm 4096 replies186 threads Senior Member
    Yes, it typically is much harder to get into a direct entry RN program than the college as a whole. A number of state universities reserve a high percentage of seats for residents of their own state. Therefore, apply to lots of schools and apply early.

    There are a few colleges with extremely high yields. For example, UVa's nursing school last year said they expected all of the students who were offered admission to accept. If true, that would be amazing for any program. However, for most programs that applicants vs. the number of spots can be deceiving. Most students apply to multiple colleges, if for no other reason than to compare financial aid. If is much more useful to know the percentage of RN students who were offered admission than the number of applicants vs. the number of spots.

    I don't know if the situation in your area is unusally competitive, but you might want to look at more colleges in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has a huge number of 4 year RN programs, as well as many 2-2 programs and a few hospital based programs that have an affiliated college. As one initial filter, take a look at the first time pass rate of graduates of various colleges in PA, which is posted on the state website (and which is also posted on websites for some other states but not all of them).

    There are some public colleges in Pennsylvania that typically admit almost everyone that applies, but are moderately selective for nursing. That can be good and bad - it is easier to get into nursing, but your fellow students in other classes may not be the swiftest and the most motivated.
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  • charlieschmcharlieschm 4096 replies186 threads Senior Member
    typo in the above: There are some PRIVATE colleges in Pennsylvania that typically admit almost everyone that applies, but are moderately selective for nursing.
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  • aglagesaglages 2559 replies74 threads Senior Member
    While I normally agree with Charlieschm, I will disagree with one of his/her points.
    As one initial filter, take a look at the first time pass rate of graduates of various colleges in PA..
    I assume s/he is referring to NCLEX pass rates. When comparing those pass rates it is important IMHO to understand whether the schools placed limitations on who can take the test. With many schools if you graduate with a BSN then you can register and take the NCLEX. In others the college requires a certain score on their internal tests before allowing a nursing student to take the NCLEX. Basically limiting those who take the test to those that are most likely to pass....and thus raising that schools NCLEX pass rate. If any of the schools your daughter is considering actually does limit who is able to take the test, you should absolutely require them to tell you what percentage of graduating seniors take the NCLEX. This should give you a good idea of how well that school is preparing it's graduates for this exam. FWIW - I have heard some horror stories of nursing programs allowing less than half their students to take the NCLEX. Just something to consider.
    That can be good and bad - it is easier to get into nursing, but your fellow students in other classes may not be the swiftest and the most motivated.
    Here is something I never actually considered much when my daughter was going through the application process. It seems many (particularly on this site) students apply to a number of different nursing programs (a good idea) but then end of selecting the highest rated (or most selective) college that they can afford. What many students (and their parents) don't usually consider is that the quality of competition within these programs becomes very high the more competitive the program is. For instance, if the average stat of an accepted nursing student is 2000+ SAT, 3.8 GPA (on a 4.0 scale) and graduating in the top 5-10% of your HS class, guess who your taking classes with? Some VERY bright, hard working and successful students. Add in a few students who exceed these stats (and are attending on academic scholarships) and the curve for grading is set quite high. Not necessarily a bad thing but it's going to be a long tough four years. Just something to consider.
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  • koalabkoalab 10 replies3 threads New Member
    aglages and charlieschm,

    Thank you for those thought provoking repsonses. So, it's kind of a catch-22: if a direct nursing applicant applies and is marginally accepted by a higher end college --Advantage: your other non-nursing classmates and dormmates will be generally at your level, but disadvantage: you will be struggling to keep afloat in the nursing classes.

    Or you go the other way, where perhaps your relatively high GPA and SAT's gets you into an honors dorm at the less competitive college.

    So we go back to your basic advice of apply to lots of direct entry nursing colleges (my D has about 7 of them on the radar), and apply early. Then see how it shakes out. If you are fortunate enough to be accepted at several of them, then determine real final cost, distance, facilities, clinicals, NCLEX pass rates (good point you made about a school cleverly filtering out poor students from even taking the NCLEX), and only mix in with all of those factors the academic environment of your nursing peer students versus your non-nursing fellow students.

    It was a lot easier when I went to college, and simply chose my college based on my GPA and SATs which represented the college, not a particular program like Nursing within the college.

    After visiting at least 7 colleges, I just wish the admissions reps who both my D and I spoke with in interviews would just provide some ballpark trend data on SATs and GPA for nursing, just as the college in general does for its non-nursing programs. It could save a lot of time for both those reps themselves and the students visiting colleges which are simply out of reach when it comes to their nursing programs.

    Again, thank you for this information. It helps keep me sane!
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  • aglagesaglages 2559 replies74 threads Senior Member
    ^^^
    You are very welcome. I should say that my daughter absolutely loves Pitt Nursing even though it can be challenging at times. She was accepted at one higher "rated" program and quite a few lower and believes this was the right fit for her. Good luck to you and your daughter!
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  • qdogpaqdogpa 2357 replies60 threads- Senior Member
    Beware of simple pass rates...look at e number of those taking the test..i remember looking at U Penn pass rate and it was below some mediocre school..on a quick examination ,U Penn had 110 students take the test, with a pass rate of 93%+-( don't remember exact stats).. Mediocre U had a significant less take test( maybe as noted by previous posters), but a higher percentage..and there is no way the program at Mediocre U is better then Penn
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  • aglagesaglages 2559 replies74 threads Senior Member
    ^^^Amen. I noticed the same thing last year.
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  • koalabkoalab 10 replies3 threads New Member
    Yes, thanks, qdogpa, I will be sure to ask exactly how MANY students actually took the test, not just what the NCLEX pass rate was. Great tip. ANd I'll ask if there are any college imposed "tests" that frist must be passed before their nursing students are allowed to take the NCLEX.
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  • MwallenmdMwallenmd 1172 replies57 threads Senior Member
    I would agree with all the comments made regarding the NCLEX exam. People should also be aware that in 2010 NCLEX increased the score needed to pass. So comparing 2010 pass rates to previous years may be a little misleading (unless of course the pass rate was better in 2010 compared to previous years). The NCLEX exam itself is a very interesting exam. It is unlike most exams students will take in college. It is given on a computer with primarily multiple choice questions (no essays). Once you have completed the first 75 questions the exam may stop if you have achieved a passing or failing score up to that point. Unfortunately you won't be told then whether you passed or failed. If the exam continues past the first 75 questions you continue to have to answer questions (up to I believe 225 questions) until the computer stops once you have passed or failed the exam. Again you won't be told at the time of the exam whether you have passed or failed. This type of format can be extremely stressful, especially for students who have to continue past the first 75 questions. Imagine having to answer each question with the hope/fear that the exam will end once you answer the question, especially if you are not sure of your answer. Its almost like your whole 4 years of nursing education is hinging on your answer to that one question. I can tell you from experience that it is not pleasant being around a BSN nursing graduate when they are studying for the NCLEX exam. Just some thoughts for the future.
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  • downtoearthdowntoearth 3411 replies19 threads Senior Member
    my daughter is applying this fall. One college said they were looking for a math sat of 600-650. Has your daughter looked at Simmons? It is a great school, and may match your daughters stats too.
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  • BluebirdMadridBluebirdMadrid 28 replies2 threads New Member
    that was very interesting MwallenMD. i did not realize the test was given in this way.
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  • greenwitchgreenwitch 8812 replies41 threads Senior Member
    I've heard they also have added an auditory portion to the test.
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  • koalabkoalab 10 replies3 threads New Member
    She looked into Simmons, but is leaning toward more suburban schools; and although there are many schools near it, she wanted to avoid an all girls school. SOunds like an exciting location, though.
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  • koalabkoalab 10 replies3 threads New Member
    <<Has your daughter looked at Simmons? >>

    She researched it, but prefers a coed college, and is leaning toward a more suburban campus. APpears to otherwise have been a good match, though, thanks!
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  • ShanghaiMomShanghaiMom 460 replies20 threads Member
    Another thing I learned about the NCLEX is that each time you answer a question correctly the next question is harder - if you answer incorrectly the next one is easier. This can cause quite a sinking feeling if you have answered a lot of correct questions in the beginning and then find yourself at a level where every one is a challenge (ie you answer one right then one wrong and back and forth). Your pass is influenced by difficulty level.
    I also thought that so much of the test was ridiculous - nothing a nurse would ever need to know. My d had a question about aromatherapy and which scent was relaxing for a patient (lavendar - she missed it).
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  • charlieschmcharlieschm 4096 replies186 threads Senior Member
    Other people have written that Drexel is very strict on which of their nursing students are allowed to take the test. Therefore, they appear to have the highest pass rate. Does anyone else have knowledge of other colleges that do the same thing? Now's the time to name names.

    Also, note that the pass rates are only for first time taking the test. Many graduates pass the second time, but that doesn't show up on the chart.
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  • downtoearthdowntoearth 3411 replies19 threads Senior Member
    is Quinipiac a reach because of the SATS?
    University of Delaware not sure where it is. UConn. I actually dont know threir specific stats but was just putting them out there.
    The thing about simmons is that there are many colleges around so there would be more men there. She would get to practice in boston Hospitals too. I understand what you are saying as my D found it too small.
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  • MwallenmdMwallenmd 1172 replies57 threads Senior Member
    Koalab:
    A little bit of a more positive perspective. I feel that your D's HS stats/activities are excellent, especially if she has been taking some honors/AP classes. While her SAT scores could be better they really are not that bad, even for admission to many nursing programs. I would be surprised if she was not accepted into many, if not most all, of the programs on her list. While others in this forum might disagree I feel she has underestimated the overall quality of her stats. She might want to consider applying to a few more "reach" schools at a higher "level" if she has an interest in such schools, as long as she understands that her chances of acceptance would be much lower. I could suggest schools such as UMass- Amherst/Boston, UConn, University of Delaware, Catholic University (in DC). All of these schools have excellent nursing programs and she might just get "lucky". Some of these schools (Delaware for example) put a higher emphasis on course rigor/grades/GPA/class rank in HS as compared to SAT scores (but they are not irrelevent) when evaluating applicants for admission. Of course at these schools your D would be highly challenged to do well so she would have to be highly motivated to study very hard at such universities. No matter where she applies your D can also increase her chances of admission if she takes a full (5) course load of major subjects both semesters of her Sr. year of HS including as many honors/AP classes as possible. Nursing programs tend to take a dim view of HS students who decide to "coast" their Sr. year of HS. Best of luck to your D.
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