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Nursing Schools Now Have One Big Toolkit for Improving Admissions

About a year ago, a dean of nursing contacted us with this question: “Your report on holistic admissions in the health professions was great – but how do I actually implement all this on my campus? Are there resources available for nursing?” At the time we didn’t have a good answer, because no such resources existed.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) have been providing training programs for their member institutions for a number of years, but holistic review is still a relatively new and underutilized practice in nursing – particularly for undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs that have limited ability to select their own students. There simply weren’t any resources available at a national level to assist nursing schools in developing a holistic review process.

Until now.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) just released the first-ever online knowledge base of resources for holistic review in nursing. The knowledge base is populated by multimedia resources developed by AACN, USU/APLU, and the AAMC. These resources were tested and refined during a set of pilot workshops for nursing deans last March, which were supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

The knowledge base is full of useful tools, examples, and communications products customized to the unique needs of nursing schools, including:

  1. Evidence for holistic review

  2. The “nuts and bolts” of implementation

  3. Legal guidelines and best practices

  4. Case studies from exemplar schools

  5. Sample essay questions and assessment rubrics

  6. FAQs

The knowledge base is publicly available and provided free of charge. Although the resources were designed with nursing in mind, faculty and administrators from any discipline may benefit from the information. AACN members can also sign up to participate in an Online Collaboration Community, where they can ask questions, get advice, and share their successes with peers at other nursing schools.

These resources are just a taste of what is to come. AACN plans to develop in-person training modules, similar to those provided by AAMC, to educate nursing faculty and administrators on their campuses.

Need a primer on holistic review? Check out our introductory video:

Visit for more tools, data, and resources to help your school improve its admission process.


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