Direct Admission Pilot Program: “Shhh…”
Admission into nursing programs is highly competitive, and SPU’s School of Health Sciences is no exception. For many years, SHS received more than 200 applications for 50 spots. Even though SHS increased enrollment to 64 students this year, applications still far exceed capacity. Other nursing programs in the region (e.g., Pacific Lutheran University, Gonzaga University, and Seattle University) offer direct admission for freshmen into the nursing major. For freshman students who are committed to nursing, direct admission alleviates the stress of competing for a coveted spot in the program. Understandably, parents appreciate the direct admit option as well.
In 2011, SHS began a pilot program offering a select group of students direct admission into the prelicensure nursing program. Fifteen freshmen students with excellent academic records were offered admission directly into the nursing program as juniors, provided they kept the minimum required GPA in all nursing prerequisite courses. Of the 15 students offered direct admission, four accepted and began at SPU in Autumn Quarter 2011. The process was repeated in 2012 and 2013. Four accepted and were admitted in 2012 and five in 2013.
The pilot program was not advertised. In fact, the program was kept so quiet that the direct admit students did not even know about each other! So quiet that the direct admit students began to wonder if it was even true…
In 2012-13, when the second group was admitted, we gathered the students together for tea. The students shared stories of sleuthing around campus trying to determine if anyone else in their classes was a direct admit. Two students had been friends for a while before discovering the secret: Both were direct admits. There were two other students who met for the first time at the tea. All the students reported relief to finally meet each other and have the “secret” out in the open.
All 13 of the students have done extremely well at SPU, and the program has been a great success. In the autumn of 2013, the first group of four direct admit students began the nursing program. We are pleased to report that the students are flourishing! We have quarterly teas for the direct admit students, and they are doing a great job supporting one another. The program is so successful that we are offering more spots to freshmen this year, and we aren’t keeping it a secret any longer. Feel free to shout it out — “SPU’s School of Health Sciences offers direct admission to nursing!”