Starting in August 2014, applicants to graduate programs at the SON will not be required to submit GRE scores. Faculty leaders from the PhD, DNP, and MSN programs collaborated to petition the Graduate School to have the GRE requirement waived for a five-year period.
The SON joins other highly regarded schools of nursing, such as the University of Washington SON, in removing the GRE requirement. Research suggests the GRE has a limited ability to predict students’ academic success in graduate nursing programs. SON leaders believe the test might actually be discouraging potential applicants from applying–particularly applicants from minority communities.
“The GRE has never been the primary component of our application process, yet we’ve been told by potential applicants the test is a barrier for them,” said Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Gwen Sherwood, PhD, RN, FAAN. “In line with our goal to make high-quality graduate nursing education available to as many qualified applicants as possible, we felt it was necessary to request a moratorium on requiring the GRE for admission.”
At the end of the five-year moratorium, SON leaders will re-evaluate the GRE requirement. In the meantime, leaders of the SON’s graduate programs will continue to apply stringent criteria, such as written statements of professional goals and clinical interests, to identify potentially successful applicants.
“We intend to evaluate this change very carefully,” said Dr. Sherwood. “Our hope is that removing the GRE will decrease stigma and enhance the diversity of our applicant pool.”