Community College Selection Process-What A Joke! - page 5

I am one of those middle-aged students who just applied for the Nursing Program at my local college. I was very careful to pick a college that based their selection process on merit. However, the... Read More

  1. by   Sheri257
    Quote from Tim1957
    Lizz

    Does Your school have a lottery? Because in a true lottery, standing out does not matter.
    Yeah, it's a lottery but, I was trying to stand out anyway. I figured I had nothing to lose and it was better if they knew who I was than not.

    What's the old saying ... it's not what you know but who you know. Maybe it helped, maybe it didn't but, I did beat the waiting list.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 9, '06
  2. by   Tim1957
    Lizz,

    It sounds like you do not trust the integrity of the lottery system. A professional corp. in our area is also concerned about the integrity of the system. They want to see a selection process that is open to the eyes of the public. They petitioned our local school to release the surnames of all the qualified applicants and the surnames of those selected. The school would not release this info. sighting confidentiality requirements. Now I have made my case very clear in that I want the best qualified applicant to get the place in nursing school. But if it is to be a lottery against my preference of merit, then I want to see all qualified applicants put in a room together, have each of us put our name into a hat ourselves, and witness firsthand the drawing of the names. A system without public oversight is a system that can be manipulated and corrupted. I realize that I sound distrustful, but I do live in Calif. afterall.
    Last edit by Tim1957 on Dec 10, '06
  3. by   ZASHAGALKA
    You have to understand that, for the programs, a body is a body.

    While it might be highly personal for those individual candidates, on the main, it's merely demographics.

    And, since the programs are full, the schools already get maximum tuition, regardless.

    From the school's perspective, it matters little who gets in.

    The only real caveat is that schools have to be mindful, due to federal law, of their diversity mixes. I would argue that THIS requirement alone, makes a lottery system not subject to complete chance. And once you allow any behind the scenes tinkering, you allow enough subjectivity to get in those that merit favor with those making the decisions. The only catch is that the actual 'lottery' process must remain secret, or risk legal remediation.

    I would think though, that a completely random lottery is NOT at issue with most programs. I would almost bet that a certain percentage of applicants are accepted by 'off the book' standards. So, I think Lizz is on to something.

    You can't even argue that the programs are concerned about their passing rates with entry standards. It's not who they let in that effect such scores, but who are allowed to graduate. Since attrition doesn't affect tuition, how many they drop is of no relevance.

    I think, if schools were graded on BOTH pass rates AND attrition rates, you'd see a far different selection system. And due to the "shortage", while it might not be of interest to the programs how many they drop, it is of vital interest to society, more then meriting that programs be evaluated by that standard, as well.

    And this in fact, is what I argue as a preceptor. I have told my boss on multiple occasions NOT to pair me up with somebody if the exercise is to be about ME determining if they should be allowed to continue. I will not. I have told my bosses that I make an automatic ASSUMPTION that, by being allowed to precept into our program, some determination was already made about the viability of this new nurse, in advance. That being the case, my job as a preceptor is HOW to get a nurse into the mix, not IF they are allowed to do so. IF they shouldn't be allowed to continue, that is my boss's job to determine; not mine. I won't be the mechanism to set somebody up to fail. That means that I put it on my boss to develop some criteria for evaluating the viability of candidates, in advance.

    Unfortunately, schools have absolutely no incentive to do this. We've been talking about what criteria could lead to a higher level of success. In reality, for the programs, such criteria matters little, if at all.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Dec 10, '06
  4. by   Sheri257
    Quote from Tim1957
    Lizz,

    It sounds like you do not trust the integrity of the lottery system. A professional corp. in our area is also concerned about the integrity of the system. They want to see a selection process that is open to the eyes of the public. They petitioned our local school to release the surnames of all the qualified applicants and the surnames of those selected. The school would not release this info. sighting confidentiality requirements. Now I have made my case very clear in that I want the best qualified applicant to get the place in nursing school. But if it is to be a lottery against my preference of merit, then I want to see all qualified applicants put in a room together, have each of us put our name into a hat ourselves, and witness firsthand the drawing of the names. A system without public oversight is a system that can be manipulated and corrupted. I realize that I sound distrustful, but I do live in Calif. afterall.
    Can't argue with you there. For me it wasn't a matter of trust or distrust. I'm just a pragmatist. If my grades weren't going to count, I was going to do as much as I could to make them count by bringing it to their attention.

    And I won't lie ... I was trying to subtly grease the wheels of the system in my favor. Did it work? I have no idea.

    I was kinda hoping that since I did have a 4.0 GPA and they were, at least, trying to go to a grade based system (even though they failed in that endeavor) that they might look upon my application favorably anyway.

    But, IMHO, they still needed to know who I was instead of being some name in a stack of papers. And, I did tell the director several times (albeit politely) I thought it was unfair that my grades meant nothing.

    Again, I have no idea if it helped me or not. They certainly never said anything, nor did I even get a hint as to whether it was going to make any difference.

    Nevertheless, I just couldn't sit around and wait for some lottery to determine my fate. Trying to stand out did make me feel better ... if nothing else ... because I at least felt like I was doing something about it.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 10, '06
  5. by   Tim1957
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    You have to understand that, for the programs, a body is a body.

    While it might be highly personal for those individual candidates, on the main, it's merely demographics.

    And, since the programs are full, the schools already get maximum tuition, regardless.

    From the school's perspective, it matters little who gets in.

    The only real caveat is that schools have to be mindful, due to federal law, of their diversity mixes. I would argue that THIS requirement alone, makes a lottery system not subject to complete chance. And once you allow any behind the scenes tinkering, you allow enough subjectivity to get in those that merit favor with those making the decisions. The only catch is that the actual 'lottery' process must remain secret, or risk legal remediation.

    I would think though, that a completely random lottery is NOT at issue with most programs. I would almost bet that a certain percentage of applicants are accepted by 'off the book' standards. So, I think Lizz is on to something.

    You can't even argue that the programs are concerned about their passing rates with entry standards. It's not who they let in that effect such scores, but who are allowed to graduate. Since attrition doesn't affect tuition, how many they drop is of no relevance.

    I think, if schools were graded on BOTH pass rates AND attrition rates, you'd see a far different selection system. And due to the "shortage", while it might not be of interest to the programs how many they drop, it is of vital interest to society, more then meriting that programs be evaluated by that standard, as well.

    And this in fact, is what I argue as a preceptor. I have told my boss on multiple occasions NOT to pair me up with somebody if the exercise is to be about ME determining if they should be allowed to continue. I will not. I have told my bosses that I make an automatic ASSUMPTION that, by being allowed to precept into our program, some determination was already made about the viability of this new nurse, in advance. That being the case, my job as a preceptor is HOW to get a nurse into the mix, not IF they are allowed to do so. IF they shouldn't be allowed to continue, that is my boss's job to determine; not mine. I won't be the mechanism to set somebody up to fail. That means that I put it on my boss to develop some criteria for evaluating the viability of candidates, in advance.

    Unfortunately, schools have absolutely no incentive to do this. We've been talking about what criteria could lead to a higher level of success. In reality, for the programs, such criteria matters little, if at all.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    In a very real sense then, you prove my point that it is not a true lottery at all. You mentioned federal law requiring a certain mix based on ethnic identification and then you mention that Lizz might be on to something.

    So let's sum up. We have for the most part put those of merit on an equal basis with those who are just passing. Then we call it a lottery, but we tinker with it to come into compliance with various federal laws regarding diversity. And lastly we allow futher tinkering of the system to allow SOME of merit(not all) to subvert this so-called lottery by the methods that Lizz used.(Note- Lizz should have been there regardless based on her acheivement.) This again proves my point that this is an immoral and corrupt selection process and it needs to be changed.
    Last edit by Tim1957 on Dec 10, '06
  6. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Quote from Tim1957
    In a very real sense then, you prove my point that it is not a true lottery at all. You mentioned federal law requiring a certain mix based on ethnic identification and then you mention that Lizz might be on to something.

    So let's sum up. We have for the most part put those of merit on an equal basis with those who are just passing. Then we call it a lottery, but we tinker with it to come into compliance with various federal laws regarding diversity. And lastly we allow futher tinkering of the system to allow SOME of merit(not all) to subvert this so-called lottery by the methods that Lizz used.(Note- Lizz should have been there regardless based on her acheivement.) This again proves my point that this is an immoral and corrupt selection process and it needs to be changed.
    Morality is extemely relative. While YOU consider it immoral because of how it affects YOU personally, to other candidates that would NOT get in based upon academic merit, THEY view it immoral that grades alone could merit so much credibility, often in favor of dismissing other criteria that could be of equal value in measuring a candidate's right to be considered.

    In fact, I would argue that decreasing attrition should be a prime consideration, and while that incidentally supports your position, it is not a direct correlation in support of your position. This is especially true in that, as I said, attrition is not an ultimate factor in admission. It doesn't affect the financial interests of the programs AND it isn't an official measure of the success of such programs.

    In addition, I would think that instructors that spend so much time debating professionalism in the first week of programs should also be interested on paths that improve professionalism: better candidates equal better pay.

    In short, I agree with you. However, there is no objective measure in play that supports your position in respect to the programs and the choices they make.

    That being the case, and it is, the morality of how they determine entry, vis a vi individual candidates, is not just highly personal, but personal in competing ways - to the point of balancing out such concerns, making them not a large factor.

    The solution then, is to make attrition a measured factor in the success of nursing programs. That is a more objective 'morality'. It just also happens to be one that supports your viewpoint.

    Bottom line: I'm with you, but for other, equally valid reasons.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Dec 10, '06
  7. by   Sheri257
    Quote from Tim1957
    So let's sum up. We have for the most part put those of merit on an equal basis with those who are just passing. Then we call it a lottery, but we tinker with it to come into compliance with various federal laws regarding diversity. And lastly we allow futher tinkering of the system to allow SOME of merit(not all) to subvert this so-called lottery by the methods that Lizz used.(Note- Lizz should have been there regardless based on her acheivement.) This again proves my point that this is am immoral and corrupt selection process and it needs to be changed.
    You could very well be right. Although it's very important to remember that there is absolutely no proof whether it helped me or not.

    It's all speculation at this point. If I knew for sure whether or not it helped, I would tell you. But the truth is ... I have absolutely no idea.

    For all I know ... it could have just as easily been luck of the draw. In the two years I've been in the program, nobody has ever said anything or even hinted that it helped.

    Look: I was just offering suggestions for people who are struggling with this process. Maybe it helps, maybe it doesn't but ... I do think it's at least worth a try.

    Afterall ... what have you got to lose?

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 10, '06
  8. by   Tim1957
    Quote from lizz
    Can't argue with you there. For me it wasn't a matter of trust or distrust. I'm just a pragmatist. If my grades weren't going to count, I was going to do as much as I could to make them count by bringing it to their attention.

    And I won't lie ... I was trying to subtly grease the wheels of the system in my favor. Did it work? I have no idea.

    I was kinda hoping that since I did have a 4.0 GPA and they were, at least, trying to go to a grade based system (even though they failed in that endeavor) that they might look upon my application favorably anyway.

    But, IMHO, they still needed to know who I was instead of being some name in a stack of papers. And, I did tell the director several times (albeit politely) I thought it was unfair that my grades meant nothing.

    Again, I have no idea if it helped me or not. They certainly never said anything, nor did I even get a hint as to whether it was going to make any difference.

    Nevertheless, I just couldn't sit around and wait for some lottery to determine my fate. Trying to stand out did make me feel better ... if nothing else ... because I at least felt like I was doing something about it.

    :typing
    I am proud person Lizz. And in a very real sense I am from the old school. An insructor of mine said to many of us one time "I do not grade on a curve, because in real life your are in competition with your peers". I believe that this is the way it should be. I do see some value to taking the steps you have mentioned, however I feel that at least for myself that I would being sacrificing a measure of my own pride to do so.
  9. by   Tim1957
    Zash

    I am curious. Some of those who are just passing concern me. That is more than some are In my humble opinion could be a danger to the pt's. Now I also realize that some who have achieved a high level of academic excellance can also be a danger. I have very mixed feelings on this subject. Can you tell me your thoughts on this subject?
  10. by   Sheri257
    Quote from Tim1957
    I am proud person Lizz. And in a very real sense I am from the old school. An insructor of mine said to many of us one time "I do not grade on a curve, because in real life your are in competition with your peers". I believe that this is the way it should be. I do see some value to taking the steps you have mentioned, however I feel that at least for myself that I would being sacrificing a measure of my own pride to do so.
    Why would you be sacrificing pride? To me, at least, it was a matter of pride to fight the system and try to make my grades count for something, whether it ultimately made any difference or not. I didn't work for that 4.0 GPA for nothing and, I let them know that.

    :typing
  11. by   Tim1957
    Quote from lizz
    Why would you be sacrificing pride? To me, at least, it was a matter of pride to fight the system and try to make my grades count for something, whether it ultimately made any difference or not. I didn't work for that 4.0 GPA for nothing and, I let them know that.

    :typing
    You know Lizz, you are 100% right. It really is a matter of principle. And our grades should count for something. I need to re-think my thought process from time to time.

    LIZZ

    I am curious to hear your views on the question I asked Zash. How do you feel working side by side with those in Nursing school who are just passing? Do you feel that they will make a good nurse, ect. ?
  12. by   Sheri257
    Quote from Tim1957
    I am curious to hear your views on the question I asked Zash. How do you feel working side by side with those in Nursing school who are just passing? Do you feel that they will make a good nurse, ect. ?
    Generally, I'd probably have to say no but there are all kinds of exceptions to that statement. There are cases where top students don't do that well clinically. And, even though I'm a pretty good student, I've done some really stupid things.

    There can be a big difference between what you know from a book and how you apply it on the floor. That's why I started externing in addition to clinicals, so I could try to learn how to connect the two better with experience.

    On the other hand, book knowledge also comes in really handy. Not too long ago a veteran nurse told me to ignore a patient's left sided chest pain because the heart is located on the right side. I don't know how well she did in school but, you would think she'd know where the heart is ... which is pretty basic.

    I also seen really poor students step up to the challenge and make better grades. And other students have a lot more burdens than I do: kids, jobs, etc. So, who am I to judge? But, there's no escaping the fact that there's other people who barely pass who just don't put in any extra effort.

    And, there are other students who are doing well but they still scare the hell out of you ... mostly because they're so arrogant and are convinced they know everything. We have a student who's like that and I'd be willing to bet she'll be the first to lose her license, even though she makes good grades ... because she is so arrogant it's scary.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 12, '06
  13. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Quote from Tim1957
    Zash

    I am curious. Some of those who are just passing concern me. That is more than some are In my humble opinion could be a danger to the pt's. Now I also realize that some who have achieved a high level of academic excellance can also be a danger. I have very mixed feelings on this subject. Can you tell me your thoughts on this subject?
    Generally speaking, the programs are difficult and the NCLEX a bear. IF you get past both, then you probably have the tools to learn to be a nurse. And nursing IS OJT training. Schools only arm you with the tools to learn to be a nurse, they don't make you one outright. That's supposedly is why there are skill mixes on most units, even though those mixes seem to be moving younger and younger.

    But, instead of a doc residency, nurses have an OJT residency.

    This goes back to my assertion that entry requirements for programs are basically irrelevant to how good a nurse you could be because the programs can drop anybody at will without cost to the programs.

    UNTIL evaluating for a better candidate is a criteria for program success, that will likely not change.

    From a professional point of view, better candidates equal a better cadre of nurses, generally. I'm not sure I would put all my eggs in a purely academic evaluation of who is a better candidate.

    But, I trust THAT criteria much more then a lottery.

    The thing is, what makes a 'better nurse' is a very individual qualification. I directly fault the Ivory Tower for this. There is so very little clear direction and teaching on evidenced based critical thinking that those that DO put it all together come from a variety of backgrounds. For some, the intelligence that comes from book learning directly translates; for other 'book learners', the lack of structure involved w/ critical thinking is their undoing. Likewise, the 'horse sense' of some students can pull them through, but for others that vest their learning in common sense, the lack of structure from a solid educational foundation sets THEM up to fail.

    If that makes sense.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.

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