Secondary programs expect no changes to admissions requirements

While secondary admissions programs at Grand Valley State University have seen fluctuating enrollment numbers over the past few years, there are few plans to change admissions requirements to attract—or exclude—more applicants.

One school that has secondary admissions is the Kirkhof College of Nursing. According to the GVSU Institutional Analysis, the college has seen a decrease in enrollment of about 32 percent since 2009.

Elaine Van Doren, associate dean for undergraduate programs, said this fact may be misleading. Van Doren explained that in 2012, the nursing program shifted to a new curriculum that eliminated the spring/summer semester. The enrollment trend reflects this shift, Van Doren said, because that semester is a time with fewer nursing students. She said the numbers will go back up after the spring/summer semester.

“Nationally, the need for nurses will remain stable or increase,” Van Doren said. “There is a continuous need for nurses with bachelor’s degrees.”

She added that only 80 students each fall and winter semester get accepted into the traditional program. Forty students are accepted to the second degree program in the spring/summer semester, and 20 to 30 are accepted into the RN/BSN program.

The nursing program remains competitive due to the large number of students who apply each semester. Van Doren added that for students to be admitted, they need to have a high score in four areas: GPA, prerequisites, interview and a Laker score, which is based on the number of credits taken at GVSU prior to applying for the program.

“It depends on what the pool of students looks like that semester,” Van Doren said. “Advisers work with students to help them determine where they might fall in the admission process.”

Anna Berglund is a pre-nursing student at GVSU. Although she is only a sophomore, Berglund said she is finishing her prerequisite courses and just applied to the program in September.

“It’s the most competitive major pretty much anywhere,” Berglund said. “You can, in theory, apply as many times as you want, but you want to have a back-up plan in case it takes a while to get in.”

Berglund said a good back-up plan is to add another major or minor. If she does not get in this semester, she plans to take Allied Health Sciences classes until she can re-apply for the college next semester.

Another popular secondary admission program at GVSU is the College of Education. According to the GVSU Institutional Analysis website, the COE has seen an increase in enrollment of more than 287 percent in the last four years.

Thomas Owens, director of the Student Information and Services Center, said the program is not competitive because it accepts all students who meet the admissions criteria. He said about 95 percent of students who apply to the COE each semester are admitted.

“We have a surplus of teachers candidates in the field for the lower number of job openings,” Owens said. “However, we work closely with all of our education major students long before they are admitted into the College of Education to ensure that they are retained in our program.”

Owens said that after a student declares an education major, there are some steps they must take before they can apply to the COE, which include academic achievement, prerequisite courses, volunteer experience and recommendation letters. Also, students must pass both the Michigan Professional Readiness Test and a background check.

Owens said the COE isn’t looking to change their requirements any time soon because education is regulated by state guidelines, and the state of Michigan provides the teacher certification for students who graduate from the COE. So, GVSU cannot change its requirements until the state changes its standards.

One student who knows how complicated the secondary application process might seem is Elizabeth Schmieding, a senior at GVSU. Schmieding is studying English/Language Arts for elementary education. She said completing all of her prerequisites and other requirements before applying to the COE, which she did last winter semester, was a long process that was ultimately worth the work.

“They expect a lot out of you and you don’t get to know if you are accepted for at least two to three weeks,” Schmieding said. “I chose education to make a difference in the world. The COE does a really good job at giving you all the tools and resources it can to help you prepare yourself.”

The Seidman College of Business is another school that requires secondary admissions. According to the GVSU Institutional Analysis website, the enrollment trends for the last four years have fluctuated, decreasing from 2009-2011, but increasing since then.

The secondary admissions requirements for the college include direct admittance for incoming freshman and sophomores, who are pre-business majors. After students have taken 55 credits at GVSU and have maintained a minimum GPA of 2.75, they will be automatically admitted to the college and can then declare a major in business.