Year of Publication

2014

College

Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Degree Name

Master of Public Administration

Executive Summary

Admission into pharmacy school is a very competitive process, and as a result multiple authors have looked at a variety of factors in an effort to create a systematic process that admissions committees can use to identify candidates who are likely to succeed in the rigorous pharmacy curriculum. One of the issues with this approach is that these analyses tend to be very institution-specific. In this paper I hope to identify a mechanism that the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Pharmacy admissions committee can use to efficiently and thoroughly evaluate candidates using scientifically validated factors.

This study uses a retrospective multivariate regression analysis completed using data collected from the UK College of Pharmacy admissions office for the Class of 2013. A variety of factors including pre-pharmacy Grade Point Average (GPA), math GPA, science GPA, Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT)-composite and subject scores, extracurricular activities, pharmacy work experience, pharmacy technician certification, obtainment of prior degree, number of years of pre-pharmacy coursework, and performance on the Health Sciences Reasoning Test (HSRT) served as the independent variables. First-year GPA and cumulative GPA are the dependent variables. For GPAs, PCAT scores, and HSRT performance, Pearson correlation coefficients were used to identify significant relationships between the variables. I used dummy variables to analyze characteristics such as extracurricular involvement, work experience, obtainment of prior degree, and technician certification in regressions. From the factors identified having significance, regressions were executed to analyze factors that affect first-year GPA and cumulative GPA.

This analysis identified a set of factors that have a statistically significant effect on first-year GPA: pre-pharmacy GPA, science GPA, math GPA, PCAT, PCAT-chemistry, PCAT-biology, and HSRT-deduction scores. Statistically significant factors for cumulative GPA included pre-pharmacy GPA, science GPA, math GPA, PCAT-composite, PCAT-biology, and HSRT-deduction. A predictive index for first-year GPA using science GPA, PCAT-biology, and HSRT-deduction accounts for 38% of the variance in first-year GPA. Using the same factors, a predictive index for cumulative GPA accounts for 37% of the variance in cumulative GPA.

From this study, I make several recommendations for the current admissions process used at the University of Kentucky. First, the HSRT provides valuable information to the admissions decision. I propose making this a required portion of the admissions process. Second, I recommend that a predictive index utilizing the science GPA, PCAT-biology score, and HSRT-deduction score be calculated and reported to the admissions committee for consideration when selecting candidates to admit.

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