The Application of Classification Trees to Pharmacy School Admissions

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In recent years, the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) has encouraged the application of big data analytic techniques to pharmaceutical education. Indeed, the 2013-2014 Academic Affairs Committee Report included a "Learning Analytics in Pharmacy Education" section that reviewed the potential benefits of adopting big data techniques.1 Likewise, the 2014-2015 Argus Commission Report discussed uses for big data analytics in the classroom, practice, and admissions.2 While both of these reports were thorough, neither discussed specific analytic techniques. Consequently, this commentary will introduce classification trees, with a particular emphasis on their use in admission. With electronic applications, pharmacy schools and colleges now have access to detailed applicant records containing thousands of observations. With declining applications nationwide, admissions analytics may be more important than ever.3.