Balancing diversity and academic achievement in program acceptance

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    As the nursing profession is constantly growing and evolving I understand the importance of diversity among its workers. My school strives to recruit a diverse group of students into its nursing program.

    Today I was speaking with a few friends reminiscing on the stresses of freshman year and competing to make it into the program. The male student in the conversation said, "You all are going to hate me when I say this, but I got accepted into the program with a 2.5 GPA." We were flabbergasted.

    I understand the importance of recruiting a diverse group of nursing students, but is this fair? This means a girl who paid good money to attend this school and busted her butt for a year who may have earned a 3.5 GPA as opposed to his 2.5 didn't make it in simply because she was female and he was male.

    Same goes for race. My advisor was surprisingly clear when he explained they would always choose a non-white over a white student and a male over a female student.

    What are your thoughts?
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    It isn't "always", but schools that get federal money do have to prove diversity in their programs. So some few will be chosen on other than academics. We did this exercise in one of my MSN Ed classes; given a pool of "applicants", with race, GPA, gender, experiences; and told to choose 20 of 50 "students". There were five groups of us that did it, and not one of our lists came up even vaguely the same. Each group weighted things differently (by accident, not instructions

    My school has a points system, goes by TEAS, GPA, and 1 point for being instate. No other consideration made, so no race/gender/age preferences make it into the decision. Unfortunately, we sometimes get people who shouldn't really be there, but don't find that out until they've been in the program a while; usually they withdraw on their own.
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    Believe me I can completely relate to this topic. It's called reverse discrimination and its what caused me to not get accepted into a program. Applied with a 4.0, year of volunteering at a hospital, amongst other things and was told they look for a diverse student population after questioning why I wasn't accepted. A male I was taking pre-reqs with applied to the same program with a 2.8 and no volunteering and he was accepted. I personally feel that gender and race shouldn't be considered, it should be what the applicant has done and achieved. I'm long over that experience as I graduate in a couple of weeks from a different program that only looks at grades for acceptances.
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    There is a growing body of case law related to 'reverse discrimination' in higher education. As a result, many schools have adopted a completely objective (data driven) admissions process that does not consider race, ethnicity or gender. It would seem that the OPs school did not do this.

    As an educator, I don't see how such dramatically lowered standards are beneficial. These non-qualified students are at a distinct disadvantage and will undoubtedly perform more poorly than the more qualified students. This will only perpetuate negative stereotype of 'all ___________s (fill in the group) are just not as smart'. Better results will be achieved by only admitting qualified candidates rather than blind adherence to affirmative action quotas.

    Affirmative action has no place in the education of health care professionals because the bar cannot be lowered without affecting patient care.
    Griffin123 and KJM-RN like this.
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    We have a good, diverse group here. I think they are very competitive, but also allow a little wiggle room. They add up points based on GPA, Kaplan score, residency etc. Then they interview the top 75 or so. Once chosen for an interview, they judge you on you, your excitement/reasons for choosing nursing, etc. My program has about 14-15% guys.
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    Our school circumvents this by having a points-based admissions standard. That way, now one can claim favoritism, racism, gender bias, etc. I think it makes things fair and levels the playing field. I personally don't care if you're black, white, or purple with green polka dots, male female or "other". Are you a good student? Can you think on your feet? Are you trustworthy? Can you work well with others? That's what I want in a classmate
    Last edit by SopranoKris on Apr 23, '13 : Reason: corrected typos
    KJM-RN likes this.
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    My school is the same way. They do it because it looked like they used to only accept white female students. When in reality they were the only ones passing the classes and such. But now more and more men, African Americans, Puerto Ricans, and even older aged people are applying and passing courses. But my school was also looking at your medical background when deciding if you were a good fit. Like CNA, MA, EMT. They wanted to add people who could help and expand their knowledge to people who may not have any. I have a 2.97 GPA and I was accepted for fall 2013 nursing program. It is also points based. They gave so many points for each course, so many points for CNA, so many points if you only completed pre reqs at their school, so many points for how many years you have been at the school.
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    How many men are in your class? The fact that creating diversity means accreting someone with such a low GPA is kind of scary. If that's the best of the choices, choices must be few!

    My program operates on a point system. Doesn't matter how old you are, what race, what gender --whoever has the most points, wins. The downside is it doesn't leave room for many second chances for those who struggled, and it doesn't weed out people who are academically ok, but complete tools.
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    Quote from kjm84
    Believe me I can completely relate to this topic. It's called reverse discrimination and its what caused me to not get accepted into a program. Applied with a 4.0, year of volunteering at a hospital, amongst other things and was told they look for a diverse student population after questioning why I wasn't accepted. A male I was taking pre-reqs with applied to the same program with a 2.8 and no volunteering and he was accepted. I personally feel that gender and race shouldn't be considered, it should be what the applicant has done and achieved. I'm long over that experience as I graduate in a couple of weeks from a different program that only looks at grades for acceptances.
    The school I am referring to in this post is a state funded school and therefore has affirmative action quotas that they must adhere to, unfortunately for me.

    In the end, I knew I did everything I could to be a competitive applicant, but the reasons for rejection were nothing I could change so I was angry, not sad, and moved on. I soon graduate and have maintained a 4.0 throughout nursing school.


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