Educational Session: Recruitment and Admissions

Saturday, March 14, 2015

1:30–5:30 p.m.

Effective URVM Recruitment: Your Reputation Precedes You
Paige Carmichael, University of Georgia
Lisa Greenhill, AAVMC
Sandra San Miguel, Purdue University

A study recently published in the Journal of Veterinary Medical Education explored the ways in which the perception of a non-supportive college climate could affect the experience of students attending US Veterinary Schools and Colleges. While much of the data has still to be evaluated, one finding was that while majority students’ perception of the college climate was overall good, certain underrepresented populations did not feel as included or accepted. There may be an effect on the success of recruitment and retention of these underrepresented populations if the reputation of the School or College is perceived as non-supportive to the target populations. Mechanisms that can be used to foster the perception of a supportive environment could lead to more effective recruitment. These include pipeline building, formal student-mentor pairing, integration of cultural competency into the curriculum, and communicating clear paths of reporting bullying or harassing behavior.

Signed, Sealed, and Delivered – How One Pre-Vet Club Unlocked the Secret to a Successful Application Process
Diane McClure, Western University of Health Sciences

Veterinary medical career exploration in the undergraduate setting often involves students seeking information from the campus Pre-Health advisors and joining the “Pre-Vet Club.” The Pre-Veterinary Medical Club of the University of California, Santa Barbara delivered an annual calendar of events based on the VMCAS application timeline. As a result of this time management and with a strong peer-peer support system, there was a significant increase in the number of members who submitted completed admissions application and of those accepted to a veterinary medical program. This program has been piloted in an online format which can be utilized to extend the reach to a diverse group of applicants. The intended outcome of this presentation will be to share the key elements of the program which would benefit other recruiters.

The Secret Life of the Veterinary School Applicant: Findings from the Study of Applicant Behaviors, Relationships, and Finances
McKensie Carr, AAVMC

Each year AAVMC conducts surveys after the close of the VMCAS application that provide a revealing glimpse into the “Secret Life of the Veterinary School Applicant.” This session will present data from surveys conducted in 2013 and 2014 of applicants who successfully completed the application and applicants who began the process but failed to submit a completed application. The presentation will focus on applicant financial literacy and behaviors. Data from the 2013 study revealed a disconnect between applicant’s perception of their ability to deal with day-to-day finances and their actual financial behaviors, particularly for first generation college student applicants and racially/ethnically underrepresented in veterinary medicine (URVM) applicants. Many applicants were not able to accurately report the average veterinary school graduate’s student debt level. Data from the 2014 study will further examine applicant behaviors through additional questions on financial behaviors, and will dig deeper into trends discovered from the 2013 study. This presentation will provide insights into veterinary school applicant’s behaviors that are relevant for admissions professionals, administrators, and those interested in student financial issues.

Creating Collaborative Programs to Promote Diversity
Brandi Phillips, University of Florida

Increasing diversity amongst students is a College and University-wide priority. Efforts to recruit students from various backgrounds have led to the review of existing pipeline agreements and exploration of new opportunities. An existing agreement between the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine (UF CVM) and the UF Animal Sciences Department (UF AS) was updated to promote the entry of qualified students pursuing food animal medicine. A similar agreement with Florida A&M University, the state’s historically black land grant institution, was updated and modified to promote greater opportunities for minority and disadvantaged students. The UF College of Engineering feeder program with the local college (Gator Engineering @ Santa Fe) was investigated. This program serves as a unique opportunity for qualified economically or academically disadvantaged students from the local college to gain access to the University of Florida. These students are assigned a UF advisor who meets with them regularly starting the first semester and receive access to UF services and organizations after completing the first semester at Santa Fe College (SFC). The UF Engineering program also provides teaching assistants for calculus, chemistry and physics classes. These opportunities along with smaller class sizes and lower debt load are significant benefits for students. Another appealing aspect of this program is that these students are not considered transfers, as they are accepted into UF and SFC simultaneously. Steps have been made to develop a similar program within the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. UF departments housing pre-veterinary students may be able to increase their diversity in this manner, potentially leading to greater diversity at UF CVM. The intention of this presentation is to highlight how creative collaborations with multi-college and multi-institution teams can increase the success of involved programs and help to increase the diversity at Colleges of Veterinary Medicine.

Admissions Training to Promote Diversity
Pamela Ginn, University of Florida

In response to the increasing body of literature supporting admissions practices that include consistent holistic application review, the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) spearheaded a creative new approach to improve student body diversity in U.S. Colleges of Dentistry via an admissions committee training development program based on legally sound admissions practices. The primary goal of these workshops is to incorporate a consistent method for applicant review, assessing an applicant’s academic and non-academic factors with the intent to increase student body diversity. Ten representatives from numerous dental colleges participated in an intensive training program: “Train-the-Trainers Admissions Committee Workshop.” Once trained, teams of two visited six U.S. dental schools to administer the ADEA Admissions Committee Workshops (ADEA ACW). Evaluation of the Train-the-Trainer workshops and the ADEA ACW in conjunction with post-workshop outcomes in relation to structural diversity at the participating institutions have had very positive outcomes (2011 Price, et al), which included increasing admissions committee knowledge of the role non-cognitive factors play in the role of diversity within the student body. Fortunately, the University of Florida houses trained admissions committee trainers who, with the permission of the ADEA, are willing to provide an admissions committee workshop for the UF CVM admissions committee. This effort is consistent with their goal of collaborating with other health professions to promote the best practices and holistic admissions concepts. The future goal of this group is to collaborate with the ADEA and the AAVMC to develop a similar program within the Veterinary Medical Colleges to assist in recruiting and selecting for a more diverse student body in veterinary schools and the profession.