New process helps administrators wade through application pool

Photo by Taylor CoxIn a year full of changes for Butler University, the highly competitive physician assistant program has instituted a new admissions process for its students.

Butler freshmen looking to enter the physician assistant program now have the option of auto-advancement while upperclassmen are permitted to apply for early decision.

Mike Roscoe, program director for the physician assistant program, said that the recent changes will be beneficial to Butler students.

“The decision to change this year was to pull apart the application pool so that we are not spending all of our time in one month trying to figure everything out,” Roscoe said.  “That way we try to reduce the error rate, reduce the amount of stress and give more time to our students to make decisions.”

In previous years, students submitted their applications by a standard deadline that often caused stress for both the administration and the students.

“We were burdening both admissions and registration and records, and it was stressful for the students because it was so late they didn’t know what school they were going to go to,” Roscoe said.

Students who meet the criteria for the early decision deadline have the advantage of knowing whether they will be offered a spot in the physician assistant program earlier than students who apply through the standard deadline.

Roscoe said that it definitely will help the students in their decision-making process.

“Our old process was always late,” Roscoe said. “We interviewed in early March while a lot of other schools are already filling up their classes. So some of our top students were getting into multiple places and had accepted somewhere else.”

Audrey Wagaman, a sophomore pre-physician assistant major, was recently told that she qualified to apply for early decision into the program.

“It’s very exciting to have this opportunity for early decision,” Wagaman said. “It’s a bit stressful since we have an earlier deadline, but overall I think it will prove mostly beneficial.”

As for the introduction of the auto-advancement for Butler freshmen, the program hopes that it will capture great students right out of high school.

Associate professor in the physician assistant program Jennifer Snyder said she believes that it will bring more allegiance.

“It will bring a loyalty, not only to the physician assistant program, but a loyalty back to the university,” Snyder said.

Snyder said auto-advancement for freshmen will allow the students to have better experiences.

“If the students commit, let them go through Butler, let them experience the core, experience a liberal arts education and all the great things it has to offer, and then let them come into our professional phase,” Snyder said.

Though this might be exciting for incoming physician assistant students, it could leave upperclassmen wondering why the auto-advancement could not have been initiated when they were freshmen.

Snyder said that she can understand the concern, but changes to the admissions process had to start somewhere.

“Somebody was going to be in that boat,” Snyder said. “And all of the faculty are sympathetic to the sophomore students because they truly are the ones that just missed out.”

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