KCON changes admissions, requires interviews

Liz Garlick

Grand Valley State University’s Kirkhof College of Nursing will change its admissions process in the fall of 2012 to be more accommodating to the almost 200 students who apply to the program each semester.

Sue Mlynarczyk, assistant professor in KCON, said the new admissions process will include an interview, which looks beyond the applicant’s grade-point average and focuses more on their communication skills, well-roundedness and knowledge, as well as caring and compassionate attitudes.

“We’ve heard students are excited about the interviews, especially students who might not have [the best] GPAs,” Mlynarczyk said.

She stressed that the GPA is still weighted because nursing school can be quite rigorous, but hopefully “this will give students an edge by having interviews as opposed to looking just at the GPAs.”

Mlynarcyzk said this program change will take effect for students in Fall 2012 who are applying for the Winter 2013 semester. Students who have already applied in February are still under the old admissions criteria without the interview.

Under the new criteria, an applicant’s GPA accounts for 65 percent of the admissions decision, with 30 percent coming from the interview. The final five percent will come from the Laker Score count, a score that takes a maximum of 29 credits from budding nursing students who have taken all of their prerequisites at GVSU, which gives them a slight edge over transfer students.

Elaine Van Doren, associate dean for undergraduate programs and associate professor in KCON, said the goal of these interviews is to give a “nice full view of applicants to best help them prepare for secondary admission into the KCON.”

Van Doren is also involved with the KCON Office of Student Services, where four advisors and the office director will help students prepare for these interviews and any difficulties they might encounter. The Office of Student Services provides sample questions, an opportunity to meet with advisors and tips on what to say in an interview.

The Pre-Nursing Club also helps with secondary admission to the nursing school.

“During preparing [for applying to KCON], the Pre-Nursing Club is used by students to better understand what is nursing, and what it’s really like to be a nurse, and not just what students see on TV,” Van Doren said.

Another trial that has been talked about in nursing admissions is Community Leaders, which involves the interaction of students with nursing experts like alumni or faculty members to provide a broader view of nursing. Van Doren said the process has not yet been organized, though, and will be considered in late summer.

Van Doren said no extra cost is tied to the new process of interviews into the nursing admissions. Mlynarcyzk added that a main challenge of carrying out this new program will be finding the time to interview about 200 applicants each semester.

For more information about changes to the nursing program, visit the KCON’s Facebook Page, www.facebook.com/#!/KCON.Advising, or to their website at www.gvsu.edu/kcon/.

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