Special Committee on Admissions

AACP Article

The 2011–2012 Argus Commission, in their report, Cultivating 'Habits of Mind' in the Scholarly Pharmacy Clinician, recommended that colleges and schools of pharmacy identify the most effective validated assessments of inquisitiveness, critical thinking, and professionalism for use in admissions. They also recommended that pre-pharmacy requirements be minimized in favor of the aforementioned assessments as well as considering pre-pharmacy experiences that develop an inquisitive mind. In the 2009 report, Scientific Foundations of Future Physicians, AAMC and HHMI undertook similar steps by developing a broad set of competencies to define the knowledge and skills required for entry into medical school.

The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) has implemented training workshops for admissions officers to help them establish holistic admissions practices that match the missions and values of their institutions. Anne Wells, of the American Dental Education Association, says there are a variety of experiences that can indicate work ethic and dedication: community service; work and military experience, especially while attending school; and overcoming challenging life situations or economic hardship. The ADEA training program has been conducted all over the United States to assist dental admissions officers in adjusting their admissions processes in order to review dental applicants in a more holistic manner.

The Association of American Medical Colleges has also designed a publication and training program to help admission deans, staff, and committees at medical schools develop and integrate holistic review practices into their student selection processes; Roadmap to Diversity: Integrating Holistic Review Practices into Medical School Admission Processes. This publication provides schools with a flexible, modular framework and accompanying tools for aligning admission policies, processes, and criteria with institution-specific mission and goals, and establishing, sustaining, and reaping the benefits of medical student diversity (as defined by the school) in support of those missions and goals. Chapter six of the publication calls for evaluation of the holistic review process. The authors of the publication state, “Conducting evaluation and sharing the findings provide medical schools the opportunity to demonstrate what holistic review is doing for the school in meaningful ways. Evaluating the effectiveness of admission policies, processes, and criteria in producing outcomes that reflect a medical school’s mission is a core element of holistic review.”

In a 2012 AJPE statement, several pharmacy school deans asked the question, Are We Producing Innovators and Leaders or Change Resisters and Followers? They called upon AACP to lead an academy-wide assessment of current admissions, recruitment and interview practices to assess their effectiveness in identifying the innovators and leaders for the future. Further, they encouraged individual members and member schools to undertake scholarship on the types of skills needed to become successful leaders in the practice of pharmacy.

According to the Accreditation Council for Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE) Accreditation Standards and Guidelines for the Professional Program in Pharmacy leading to the Doctor of Pharmacy Degree, admissions criteria should support the potential of the student to become an effective professional and a self-directed lifelong learner. The ACPE Standards and Guidelines state in Guideline 17.3 that admissions criteria should take into account other desirable qualities, “such as intellectual curiosity, leadership, emotional maturity, empathy, ethical behavior, motivation, industriousness, and communication capabilities.”

Marketplace factors in the evolution of healthcare and pharmacy practice are impacting pharmacy school admissions and will influence the process for the foreseeable future. These factors include a plateau in the numbers of applications to schools of pharmacy as well as increased competition for qualified applicants among the growing number of schools.

The 2013–2015 Special Committee on Admission was charged to:

  • examine current admissions practices used by pharmacy schools
  • evaluate innovative practices used by other professions
  • make recommendations of how schools may holistically assess at admissions the types of learners who will become the confident practice-ready graduates and future leaders/innovators the profession needs

2015 White Paper on Admissions - Report of the AACP Special Committee on Admission