Nursing School Prep

Top Tips for Getting into Nursing School

Nursing School PrepNovember 14, 2016

So you’ve decided you want to be a nurse. Congratulations. You’ve already taken the first step towards a fulfilling, challenging career that will position you to make a meaningful difference in peoples’ lives. But there’s a long road between aspiration and accomplishment. Not everyone is cut out for nursing school or a career in nursing. Coursework can be intense, and mastery of certain subjects will be crucial.  Here are some top tips for getting into a nursing school or an online nursing program.

Before You Apply—Prerequisites

A solid background in certain subjects will go a long way towards assuring acceptance into a program—and achieving eventual success as a qualified nurse. Every school or program has its own requirements, so study admission requirements carefully. Generally, you’ll need the following:

1) A high school diploma or GED, with relatively good grades. Some schools tend to take students with the highest GPAs (3.0 or better), but some schools may work with students having a GPA as low as 2.5.

2) Prepare for and take the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS). High school should have prepared you adequately for this, but investing in a study guide first is never a bad idea. The better your score, the better your chances of acceptance into a nursing program.

3) Request a copy of your high school transcript. If you have taken any previous college level courses, obtain a transcript of those grades, too.

4) Ensure you application has an edge: Round out your résumé with volunteer work. Admissions personnel are interested in seeing more than good grades; they want to see evidence of your experience, enthusiasm and commitment. Volunteering in a nursing home, or as a nurses’ aide, could help set you apart from the pack. It’s also a great way to discover if you’re really cut out for this challenging work.

5) Attend any informational sessions held by the school you’re interested in attending.

6) Finally, schedule an eligibility review session with a nursing school representative if available.

The Application Process

Your Essay

It’s never too early to begin thinking about your admission application essay. A well thought-out, well-crafted essay can make a crucial difference to admissions personnel when it comes to selecting viable candidates for coveted slots in a given program. Describe how or why you came to be convinced that nursing is the right career for you. Enthusiasm and clear-eyed determination can go a long way towards selling the admissions committee on your suitability as a potential nursing student.

Obviously, strong creative writing is not one of the core requirements of nursing, but you should take great care nevertheless, as organization, attention to detail, clear thinking, and the ability to speak with precision and accuracy are all qualities schools are looking for. They’re also qualities that shine through in a good essay. Proofread carefully before submission.

Letters of Recommendation 

Letters of recommendation from notable individuals who know you, your abilities, and your work ethic may also influence your chances of gaining admission to your desired nursing school or program. If you’ve worked with any nursing or other medical professionals, all the better. Check spelling and grammar carefully before submitting.

Organization and Polish

Even the presentation of your application packet can affect the final decision to accept you into a desired program—or not. Is your application packet neat, well-organized, error-free, complete and neatly packaged? Or does it give the impression of hasty, haphazard execution? Obviously, the former approach is more likely to win you a favorable impression. Proofread, double-check any instructions, and submit well in advance of any deadline.