- Covid-19 disrupted the program’s in-person interview process and they needed a tool in addition to Casper to help them get to know their applicants before deciding who to interview 1:1 in a virtual setting.
- The program signed up to pilot Snapshot. Applicants’ Snapshot scores were weighted with their application scores to determine 1:1 interview invites.
- The program believes they have a more robust process in place to adequately consider applicants’ cognitive and non-cognitive abilities in their decisions. Applicants also liked their experience with Snapshot, and the program will continue to use it to inform their interview selections.
When COVID-19 hit, David A. Bringman knew that something had to change in their admissions process if they wanted to maintain their commitment to holistic applicant review without in-person interviews.
“We’re big believers in holistic applicant review because our goal is to identify and nurture the best clinicians,” says Bringman.
Bringman explains that before the pandemic, all applications were scored by faculty before interview invites were sent. These scores were determined based on the following criteria:
- an overall and Science GPA of 3.0 or higher
- a GRE Quantitative score of 144 or higher
- a GRE Verbal score of 146 or higher
- Casper score
- number of observation hours
- feedback in letters of recommendation
Until the pandemic, the process had worked well in finding applicants who would succeed in the program. “95 percent of our graduates pass the Board examination the first time, and 100 percent gain meaningful employment,” explains Bringman.
Based on the application scores, successful applicants would be invited to participate in a half-day in-person interview. “This length of time helped us get to know our applicants that much better and inform final reviews and seat offers,” shares Bringman.
About the program
The Physical Therapy program at Georgia Southern University is a full-time doctoral program offered on the Armstrong Campus in Savannah, Georgia. The program consists of nine semesters of academic coursework, including three full-time clinical affiliations (with a minimum of 31 weeks of full-time clinical practice) and several additional clinical experiences. Upon completion of the program, all students are awarded a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. All program graduates are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examination and apply for state licensure in all jurisdictions. The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Georgia Southern University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
No. of applicants per year
No. of matriculants per year
So when COVID-19 disrupted this process, Bringman explains that the opportunity to pilot Snapshot, a 10-minute one-way video interview, was welcomed enthusiastically. “It would give us the opportunity to get to know our applicants beyond the qualities shown in their paper applications and help us manage those 1:1 virtual interviews that we were just transitioning to.”
So how exactly did the program incorporate Snapshot into their admissions process? Bringman explains that all applicants were required to complete Casper and Snapshot (both of which are delivered by Altus Assessments) as part of the application process. The admissions committee then reviewed and scored the applications (minus Snapshot) to develop a ranked list of applicants. Top applicants had their Snapshot videos reviewed and rated by Bringman. Their application and Snapshot scores were weighted to determine invites to 1:1 live virtual interviews with specific members of the admissions committee.
So what was Bringman looking for as he reviewed Snapshot responses? He explains that instead of watching the videos, he turned his chair around and listened to what applicants were saying, paying close attention to their motivating factors for applying to physical therapy, life experiences, and overall communication skills.
“It was really important that I focused on their words and not get distracted by their appearance or what they had in the background,” shares Bringman. “That said, Altus requires anyone reviewing Snapshot to go through training on how to rate and ways to confront implicit bias, which should ease anyone’s concerns about watching and rating.”
Bringman also explains that since he was the only reviewer for Snapshot, the admissions committee agreed to watch and rate the recordings of all the subsequent 1:1 interviews to ensure inter-rater reliability. “This process seemed to work for us and gave us confidence in the way we were assessing and selecting applicants,” says Bringman.
Once all these steps were completed, the committee did a final review, weighting candidates’ application scores, Snapshot scores, and 1:1 interview scores. This helped solidify seat offers to the program.
Bringman also explains that the addition of Snapshot will be more than just a temporary solution to address Covid.
“It’s here to stay, because it is helping us improve our process so that it is more holistic,” says Bringman. “It takes more than a 4.0 GPA to become a good clinician. We’ve actually accepted people with lower GPAs and standardized test scores when their non-cognitive metrics were very high, and we’ve turned down others who had great grades, but lacked some of those essential non-academic qualities. We want to find a balance, and having Casper and Snapshot has really helped us balance those qualities in our decisions.”
Applicants have also responded well to the addition of Snapshot. Bringman shared that many felt the addition of Snapshot gave them an opportunity to show more of who they were as people and some even said more schools should use assessments like Casper and Snapshot.
“We were concerned that adding another requirement could deter people from applying to the program, but we didn’t see much of a difference,” says Bringman. He goes on to explain that applicant motivation is a major deciding factor in the program’s admissions process, so applicants who would hesitate to go through the process may not necessarily be motivated enough to join the program anyway.
“We’re definitely happy with our new process and I absolutely think other programs should consider how tools like Casper and Snapshot could help them achieve their admissions goals,” says Bringman. “Don’t throw away your ‘snap’ shot at getting to know your applicants better!”
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