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5 reasons to apply to a program using Altus Suite

When it comes to applying for programs like medicine, physician assistant, nursing and teacher’s education, there’s always a large emphasis placed on grades. But we all know that grades aren’t everything.

You have to be able to keep up with coursework and perform academically, of course, but you need more than that to be successful in a program. You need professionalism.

Professionalism is essential for success in an academic program and in the workplace. That’s why hundreds of programs have adapted their admissions process to include an assessment of professionalism and other personal characteristics — Altus Suite.

Altus Suite isn’t just another tedious requirement in the admissions process; it can actually be a good thing for applicants.

Here are five reasons to apply to a program that uses Altus Suite to assess non-academic skills.

1. The program sees that you’re more than just your grades

If a school or program is screening for more than just academic ability, it’s a strong indication that they care about their students on a deeper level beyond their academic rankings or reputation. Instead of running their academic institution like a business, pumping students out year after year, the program is taking the time to screen, admit and train individuals who are best suited for the profession, whether it be serving a patient population as a doctor or nurse, or teaching children in grade school. They want to graduate the best people for the job.

2. The program values diversity

Academic metrics such as grade point average (GPA) and standardized tests, like the MCAT, often put some applicants at a disadvantage. For example, it’s often difficult to maintain high grades if you need to work outside of school to help support your family or finance your tuition. Similarly, paying for prep courses or taking the summer off to study can help you ace the MCAT, but not everyone can afford to do that.

We’ve heard from multiple programs that Altus Suite is much more affordable and accessible for applicants than many other standardized tests, and when used as part of a more holistic admissions process, helps consider applicants that would otherwise be screened out early based solely on cognitive metrics.

 

3. You’ll be a part of a diverse and interesting cohort

“The way to get a B+ is to work with other people who look like and think like you. The way to get an A+ is to work with people who are different from you” — Professor Scott E. Page, University of Michigan.

That’s what Professor Page calls the diversity bonus. It’s a term that describes the “improved problem solving, increased innovation, and more accurate predictions” enjoyed by groups composed of diverse members. Individuals from all walks of life can bring unique insights and perspectives to your learning experience. How can you possibly learn from your peers and colleagues if you’ve all been through the exact same experiences?

We’ve heard from applicants who have made it into programs that use Altus Suite that their classes are made up of individuals who come from a broad range of backgrounds and academic experiences. This cognitive and identity diversity has enriched the overall learning experience of these applicants. It has also prepared students for life after graduation, where they will likely be working within diverse teams.

4. You’ll be better prepared for the real world

Upon graduation, some graduates will start specialty training while others will join the workforce. While most programs will try to prepare you for the real working world through case studies and simulations, it’s never quite like the real thing. That’s why it’s important for students to already have well-developed professional competencies, such as ethics, equity, problem-solving and professionalism. So if a program is using Altus Suite as part of its admissions process, it’s dedicated to selecting individuals that already have these real-world skills and to making sure that its graduates are prepared for the workforce.

5. You’ll know sooner whether a program is right for you

It’s not talked about much, but students often change their minds about the field they’re studying. In medical programs, for example, some students may complete their coursework in the first part of the program before advancing to the clinical years, when they realize medicine is not for them. This results in a loss of time, effort and money spent, and can also create an emotional burden for the student, who has already invested years in their studies.

This often happens when a student doesn’t have the skills they need to succeed. And not just academic skills, but professional and personal competencies as well.

Students who meet the cognitive requirements needed to make it into professional programs such as medicine or nursing are typically very smart. But that’s not the issue. The issues arise once they’re placed in situations such as clinical settings or collaboration with peers that the absence of certain required professional skills becomes obvious.

It’s also important to consider whether a program’s learning environment will be one where you can thrive. Often, students select schools based on prestige or location, but there are so many other factors to consider such as teaching methods, access to faculty, support programs, diversity of faculty and students, the program’s mission, research opportunities, success of graduates, and much more.

You need to ask yourself:

  • What do I truly value in a program?
  • Does the program I’m applying to share the same values?
  • What would help me succeed?
  • Does the program offer what I need to succeed?

Altus Suite can help identify potential gaps — and even a sense of alignment — earlier in the process, so both applicants and programs get a better sense of suitability and fit early on. This saves both the applicant and the program valuable time and money.