A Year in Review:

How Holistic Admissions Improved the Nursing Student Body

One year later, the first cohort of students admitted through the holistic admissions process are now seniors in the BSN program at the College of Nursing. The holistic admissions approach was implemented last fall to admit students in the program by evaluating not just their GPA and academic achievement but also their life experiences and what they may contribute as students.

The College of Nursing’s holistic admissions process models the University of Florida’s approach: A team reviews each application and assesses the individual student as a whole based on attributes and metrics that are applied equitably across the candidate pool, said Associate Dean for Student Affairs Versie Johnson-Mallard, Ph.D., ARNP, FAAN.

“This is an opportunity for an applicant to present accomplishments beyond the classroom, such as motivation, extracurricular actives, leadership abilities, volunteer and work experiences,” Johnson-Mallard said. “There are well-qualified students who are unable to maintain a 4.0 GPA because they have to work or are active in leadership roles and the community. They may not have been considered before based solely on their GPA, but now they are.”

The result is a robust and diverse student body with a collection of backgrounds as varied as the patients for which these future nurses will care.

Natalie Barnes is a senior in the traditional BSN program and the president of the Nursing College Council. She was in the first cohort of students admitted last year through holistic admissions.

“Holistic admissions is so important in nursing because being a good nurse requires so much more than simply being book smart,” Barnes said. “It requires strength, passion, kindness, and resiliency. This approach helps find individuals who have a passion for nursing and a desire to make a positive change. This is reflected in my classmates every day because we all have unique and individual passions, which we use to encourage each other to reach our true potential as Gator Nurses.”