Inclusion of Socioeconomic Status as an Additional Criterion in Holistic Pharmacy School Admission Processes

Am J Pharm Educ. 2019 Sep;83(7):7016. doi: 10.5688/ajpe7016.


Objective. To investigate the impact of socioeconomic status as an admissions criterion for pharmacy school admissions. Methods. Using de-identified data from two PharmCAS application cycles (2012-2013 and 2015-2016), a new socio-economic status indicator was crafted based on complex parental education and occupation information provided by applicants. The indicator was calibrated on federal standards to ensure uniform composition regardless of the applicant's location. The indicator was then used to describe acceptance patterns within each pharmacy application cycle, explore correlations with other demographic and academic indicators, and develop a regression model to understand the impact of this indicator on applicants' acceptance into pharmacy school. Results. The new education and occupation (EO) indicator for an applicant's parent(s) provided new insight into complex applicant demographic information. The number of academically qualified applicants that could have received further admission consideration based on identification of a low socioeconomic status for parent one were 2016; n=435, 13%, 2103; n=767, 14%. The EO indicator by itself had limited value for predicting acceptance rates and became less predictive when academic performance variables were incorporated, demonstrating socioeconomic status was not accounted for in admissions. Conclusion. Based on the Accreditation Council of Pharmacy Education Standards 2016, schools are required to admit a diverse group of students. The addition of the EO indicator will be valuable in identifying diverse and promising future pharmacists during each pharmacy school's holistic review process.

Keywords: admissions; diversity; holistic review; socioeconomic status (SES).

MeSH terms

  • Education, Pharmacy / economics
  • Education, Pharmacy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Occupations / economics
  • Occupations / statistics & numerical data
  • Parents
  • School Admission Criteria / statistics & numerical data*
  • Schools, Pharmacy / economics
  • Schools, Pharmacy / standards
  • Schools, Pharmacy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Class
  • Students, Pharmacy / statistics & numerical data*