Holistic Admissions Process Creates Diverse Cohort in TAMU-CC Accelerated Bachelor of Nursing Program

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CONHS) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is offering a new opportunity to candidates in the Accelerated Bachelor in Nursing (ABSN) Program.

Through an all-new holistic admissions process, the university has assembled a unique set of students whose past experiences – both professional and personal – is creating a diverse and influential nursing cohort.

“Holistic review is a flexible, individualized way of assessing student applicants,” CONHS Executive Associate Dean, Bunny Forgione, PhD., said. “It considers student-life experiences, personal qualities, as well as traditional measures.”

According to Forgione, the new admissions practice educates nursing students in an environment that values diversity and inclusion and will graduate nurses better prepared to practice in underserved communities, while also improving patient satisfaction and trust.

Among the newest class of Islander nursing students is Albert Hernandez ’22, a seven-year military veteran serving in both the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. Hernandez, who spent his civilian life as an EMT, says his experience outside of the classroom is what has best prepared him for the road ahead.

“Not everybody is a traditional college student, not everybody is a books person; some people are hands-on learners and learn through on-the-job training,” Hernandez said. “Through my time in the military, I learned to work in high-pressure situations dealing with patients and serious injuries. I also had the opportunity to work alongside some of the most gifted nurses, doctors, hospital corpsmen, and infantry Marines.”


Courtesy of the Health Resources and Services Administration, the CONHS was awarded three grants – the Nurse Education, Practice, Quality and Retention Grant; Nursing Workforce Diversity Grant; and Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students Grant. Through these funds the college was empowered to retain and graduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds, which also included racial and ethnic minorities underrepresented among registered nurses. Five specific strategies were identified to achieve this goal, including holistic review.  

In a report from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the majority of schools using holistic admissions reported an increase in the diversity of the student body – not only in race, ethnicity, and gender, but also in experience, socio-economic status, and perspective.

Islanders Leona Wilfred ’22 and Shanei Womack ’22 say the new admissions process provides new hope for nursing students whose undergraduate degree or past career choice did not involve healthcare.

Womack, a mother of two with 11 years of experience in the education field, says while she met the overall applicant criteria, she believes it was the skills she gained as an educator, counselor, and speech therapist that set her apart from other ABSN program candidates.

“Having the opportunity to go through the holistic interview process gave me the chance to show that    the experience I gained while working with students and their guardians prepared me with transferable skills that will make me a great nurse,” Womack said. “Unlike a lot of my peers, I am making a complete career change, but this is my second chance – a life-changing opportunity.”

“I believe it is so important to always bet on yourself and push yourself toward constant self-reinvention,” Wilfred said. “It’s all about resiliency. If you have your goals, you have your dreams. You work relentlessly toward them, despite the circumstances, because you know life has its ups and downs. Everyone has an excuse to fail, but it’s all about getting up again.”

For ABSN program eligibility requirements and more on the application process, click here.