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IN CONVERSATION WITH: Vicki Benedetti, BScN Program Admissions Coordinator

Jan 15, 2018

Vicki Benedetti

Vicki Benedetti has been working in admissions for the School of Nursing’s BScN program for more than 20 years. She is one of the first voices future students will hear when they’re thinking of coming to McMaster for undergraduate nursing. We recently sat down with her for a chat about her role.

Q: What is the purpose of your role?

My role is responsible for admitting students into the program. We want to get the best students and the right students. It has to be the right “fit” because our program is different. We focus on problem-based learning and smaller group learning. We try to make applicants aware of that because some students like the more traditional teaching style where you attend a lecture and take notes. With problem based learning and smaller group learning, you have to be comfortable in a group setting and willing to participate. We try hard to make sure that this difference gets across. We let people know that group sizes are about 40, which is larger than before, but still small compared to 300. We have an Open House in May. I always tell students to visit the different universities they’re considering. If you can envision yourself there, then that’s the school for you. We convey the message through our website, which has recently been revamped. We also share the message whenever we are talking one-on-one with the student and their parents.  

Q: What does a typical workday look like for you?

It varies according to the time of year. Right now, it’s getting busier. The Registrar’s Office is starting to send me files for people who have a university or college background or have completed high school a year ago. I get about 500 files and I have to go through the files one by one to determine whether or not they are eligible and input all the grades. If they are eligible, the files stay here and we wait for the CASPER scores to come in. CASPER is a Computer-based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics. At the same time, inquiries from applicants are coming in by phone and email. So I’m splitting my time between inquiries and the files. Later on, we’ll get a list of the current high school students who are applying, with their grades and CASPER scores. Once we have the data, I’ll work with Dr. Maria Pratt, the Chair of Admissions, and we select the applicants and send out offers.

I also represent the school at the May at Mac event I mentioned and other university education fairs. The big one is the Ontario Universities Fair in Toronto at the Convention Centre in September. It’s a Friday-Saturday-Sunday event. I go, along with the academic advisors, faculty members and some of our current students. The applicants want to hear from the students! Then McMaster has Fall Preview Days in October and November. We let current BScN students do the presentations, and Dr. Maria Pratt and I are there to answer any questions.  

Q: What you like best about your job?

I like dealing with the students. I like to help them figure out if nursing is what they want to do. And is our program the right choice for them? I like the energy that they bring. Also, this role has changed enough over the years that it’s kept my interest.

Q: What is one of the rewards of working at McMaster University?

The tuition benefit program is great. I earned my Sociology degree part-time while working full-time. I was able to fit that in with my day schedule, so I didn’t have to be away from my kids during the evening. That was a huge bonus.    

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