Nursing Department Changes Lottery System
March 8, 2017
The nursing program at Fresno City College rolled out its new multi-criteria screening application process on Feb. 1.
This new process requires students to meet several academic standards to qualify for the RN program lottery.
The multi-criteria screening application process, according to Stephanie Robinson, director of nursing, is more beneficial than the traditional lottery system, because it results in better prepared students entering the program.
“If we look at academic performance and other elements that would provide more well-prepared students, then the attrition rate would go down,” Robinson said. “We would have students who could finish the program and pass the NCLEX-RN on the first attempt.”
The change in the admissions requirement is also expected to increase National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) success rates. In the 2015/2016 school year, the 221 FCC nursing graduates who took the NCLEX-RN passed the examination for a 76 percent pass rate.
The multi-criteria screening application process also provides an opportunity to have a better look at the type of students who are selected for the nursing program.
Until the new standard, nursing program applicants had to have a minimum of 2.5 overall GPA, a grade of C or better in all prerequisites, and a score at least 62 percent on the Test for Essential Academic Skills (TEAS).
In addition to this, the new process now requires that students meet a minimum cut-off score to participate in the modified lottery process. Points are given based on students’ ATI TEAS total adjusted scores, GPA in prerequisites, previous academic degrees, relevant health care certifications and life experiences.
Fresno City College has the largest community college nursing program in California, and the second largest program in the U.S. Many aspiring nurses have tried their luck in getting into the program each semester, but were instead forced to wait up to five years to be accepted because of the sheer amount of students applying to the program and the college’s randomized lottery system.
“In the past we would get anywhere from 300 to 600 students applying to the nursing program and had over 900 waiting in the lottery,” Robinson said. “Approximately 110 are accepted each semester, but the number could change depending on grant funding.”
Applications for the upcoming semester were accepted until 5 p.m. on Feb. 28.
“There were so many people waiting to be accepted through the old lottery system, but the new process will be more efficient in getting people in the program,” Jessie Santos, who started the program in Spring 2016, said. “The new changes could make potential nursing students more conscious of their grades and more willing to gain experience that could help them in the nursing field.”
Kathleen Caliwag, who started the nursing program in Spring 2017, also commented on the modified lottery system. “I think that the new process will lead to higher qualified nurses,” Caliwag said. “With weights being assigned to the criteria, students will have to prioritize their time, efforts, and resources.”
Both Santos and Caliwag waited a year before getting accepted into the program.
“I was initially selected as an alternate, meaning that I would only be accepted into the program if there was room for me,” Santos said. “I didn’t have too much of a problem with the old lottery system; a year-long wait wasn’t too bad, but I know of people who had to wait for three to five years.”
Caliwag said it was hard to see people who finished their prerequisites after her get in before she did. “There was a lack of academic differentiation between applicants,” Caliwag said.
Applicants are notified whether or not they are selected for the nursing program via mail. Those who are not selected in the lottery receive a form that must be sent back to the department Secretary indicating interest in participating in the next lottery.
“With the Multi-Criteria Screening Application Process, we have an opportunity to look at the type of students that we would select,” Robinson said. “The RN program is a very demanding program, and the new application process ensures students are fully prepared to take it on.”