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Salt Lake Community College changes to selective admissions for its health programs

The Salt Lake Tribune
Lita Gonzalez, 49, wants to work as a nurse before she retires.

Under new admissions criteria for Salt Lake Community College’s health-profession programs, she is more likely to reach that goal, although she’ll have to compete for her seat.

In a dramatic departure from past practice, the college’s School of Health Sciences will give priority to students who demonstrate the best chance of success in associate’s-degree programs for nurses, dental hygienists and radiological technicians. Criteria announced Tuesday replace a first-come, first-served system that resulted in multiyear wait lists.

Admission will now require earning superior grades in chemistry, biology and other prerequisite courses and a high score on a new aptitude test, known by the acronym HESI.

"It makes more sense if you have to get through the classes with high grades than when they would take someone who took the class 10 times to get a passing grade," said Gonzalez. "This is my last shot. I better do well if I go back [to school]."

She completed her nursing prerequisites last spring, with As in every course except chemistry. But SLCC closed its applications before she could get on the five-year wait list for the nursing program while officials overhauled the admissions process. Officials will reopen applications this spring for admission in January 2013.
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