JMU nursing looks to increase diversity with new admissions approach

JMU Headlines

by Eric Gorton


Harrisonburg, Virginia — When the next group of James Madison University nursing seniors walks across the stage to get their diplomas this May, most of the 114 students will be white females, and there’s nothing unusual about that. 

However, in response to calls for greater diversity in the profession, the school will adopt a new holistic admissions process in fall 2024. 

“The decision to pursue holistic admissions reflects the School of Nursing’s commitment to inclusive excellence, our alignment with university goals and the aims of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing,” said Jamie Robinson, the school’s associate director for undergraduate programs. 

With the change, overall grade point average will be eliminated from the formula for entry into the restricted program that takes just 113 students each fall and spring. Instead, the school will consider the weighted average of prerequisite courses along with other factors such as military service, employment, community experience, and certifications and credentials. Also to be considered will be students who are multilingual, who are first-generation college students and who are eligible for certain financial aid awards. 

“Currently, our admission policy is really metrics-based,” Robinson said. "We use your JMU GPA — it has to be a 3.0 — and we use your GPA on your prerequisite courses to create a composite score and then rank the scores to determine who is offered admission.” 

Students who fall below the metrics "cutline" have no chance to get in during that admission cycle. But that will change. Under the new policy, a student who falls below the cutline could still get in based on the other factors. 

“We think that’s going to help level the playing field,” Robinson said. “When we use the AACN model, which considers experiences, attributes, metrics, and then also consider an essay, we see more about the whole person. It takes into consideration more than how a student performs academically.” 


Contact: Eric Gorton,, 540-908-1760  

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Published: Thursday, April 20, 2023

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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