Are you considering a career as a nurse? If so, you’re not alone. Nursing is a noble profession that is in high demand. However, getting into nursing school can be competitive. There are many qualified candidates vying for a limited number of spots, but a Bachelor of Science in Nursing is a great degree to get.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to increase your chances of being accepted into a nursing program.
Table of Contents
- 1. Get a Job in Healthcare or Do Volunteer Hours
- 2. Apply Early and Apply to Multiple Nursing Schools
- 3. Become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
- 4. Take Relevant Courses
- 5. Earn a High GPA
- 6. Get Involved in Extracurricular Activities
- 7. Ace the Nursing School Entrance Exam
- 8. Prepare Interview Questions
1. Get a Job in Healthcare or Do Volunteer Hours
One way to help your application stand out is to have experience in the healthcare field. This can include paid employment or volunteering. Many nursing schools require applicants to have a certain number of paid or volunteer hours working with patients.
If you don’t have any job experience, start looking for opportunities as soon as possible. Even a job that isn’t directly related to healthcare can be beneficial as it shows you have experience working with the public.
Some examples of paid positions in healthcare include: certified nurse assistant (CNA), medical assistant, phlebotomist, EMT/paramedic, and scribe. You can find entry-level positions at hospitals, clinics, physician offices, and other healthcare facilities.
If you’re not able to find a paid position, consider volunteering. You can contact your local hospital or nursing home to inquire about opportunities. Some organizations also have specific volunteer programs for people interested in going into healthcare. For example, the Red Cross offers a Nurse Assistant Training program where you can learn skills like taking vital signs and providing personal care.
Both paid and volunteer positions in healthcare can give you the opportunity to shadow nurses and see what the job is really like. This firsthand experience can be helpful in confirming your desire to become a nurse as well as providing insight that can make your nursing school application more competitive.
2. Apply Early and Apply to Multiple Nursing Schools
The nursing profession is one of the most important and rewarding careers out there. Nurses provide vital care to patients and families, often during some of the most challenging times in their lives.
If you’re interested in becoming a nurse, it’s important to start preparing early. The nursing school admissions process is very competitive.
It’s a good idea to apply to multiple nursing schools, even if you have your heart set on one in particular. The more options you have, the better your chances of being accepted into a program.
When applying to nursing school, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, start the process early. It can take several months to complete the application, so you don’t want to wait until the last minute.
Second, make sure you meet all the requirements. Each nursing program has different prerequisite courses that must be completed before you can apply. These courses can include anatomy, physiology, chemistry, and microbiology.
Third, have a backup plan in case you’re not accepted into your first-choice nursing program. Many students are waitlisted or rejected from their top choice school. If this happens, you don’t want to be left without any options.
There are many nursing programs to choose from, so doing your research is important. Consider things like the location of the school, the size of the program, the type of curriculum offered, and the clinical experiences available. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, you can begin the application process.
3. Become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
One way to increase your chances of getting into nursing school is to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Many nursing schools give preference to applicants who have CNA certification.
CNAs are responsible for providing basic patient care, such as bathing, dressing, and feeding. They also take vital signs and provide emotional support. CNAs typically work in hospitals, nursing homes, and other long-term care facilities.
To become a CNA, you must complete a state-approved training program. These programs typically take about two to six weeks to complete. Once you’ve completed the program, you must pass a competency exam to earn your certification.
Working as a CNA can give you valuable experience in the healthcare field. It’s also a good way to get your foot in the door if you’re interested in eventually becoming a registered nurse (RN). Many CNAs go on to complete their RN training and work in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other healthcare settings.
4. Take Relevant Courses
Your undergraduate coursework can also make your nursing school application more competitive. Nursing programs typically require prerequisite courses such as anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, and nutrition. If you haven’t already taken these courses, try to complete them before applying to nursing school.
In addition to the required prerequisite courses, taking other relevant courses can also improve your application. For example, psychology and sociology courses can help you better understand the social and behavioral aspects of healthcare. This is important as nurses must be able to interact with patients and families from a variety of backgrounds.
Taking relevant coursework can show nursing schools that you’re serious about becoming a nurse and that you have the academic foundation to succeed in their program.
5. Earn a High GPA
Your GPA is another important factor in your nursing school application. Nursing programs are typically very competitive and have high admissions standards. As a result, you’ll need to earn a strong GPA to improve your chances of getting into nursing school.
Nursing schools generally consider both your overall GPA as well as the GPA you earned in prerequisite courses. In general, a GPA of 3.0 or higher is considered competitive. However, some nursing schools have even higher admissions standards with an average GPA for accepted applicants ranging from 3.5 to 4.0.
If your GPA isn’t as high as you’d like, there are a few things you can do to improve it. First, make sure you’re taking challenging courses. A lower GPA in a more difficult course is often seen as more impressive than a higher GPA in an easier course. Second, consider retaking any classes where you didn’t earn the grade you wanted. This can help raise your GPA both overall and in specific prerequisite courses.
6. Get Involved in Extracurricular Activities
In addition to your academic record, nursing schools will also consider your extracurricular activities when reviewing your application. Participation in extracurricular activities can show that you’re well-rounded and have a variety of interests.
There are a number of extracurricular activities that can be beneficial for your nursing school application. First, consider joining a pre-nursing or nursing interest group on campus. This can show your commitment to becoming a nurse as well as provide you with valuable information and resources.
You might also want to get involved in volunteer work or shadowing opportunities. These can help you gain experience in the healthcare field and better understand what it’s like to be a nurse. In addition, many nursing schools give preference to applicants with healthcare experience.
Finally, think about joining any relevant clubs or organizations. For example, if you’re interested in pediatrics, you might want to join the school’s pediatric interest group or volunteer at the local children’s hospital. These activities can demonstrate your interest in nursing as well as your dedication to working with certain populations.
7. Ace the Nursing School Entrance Exam
Most nursing schools require applicants to take an entrance exam such as the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) or the National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Examination (NLNPAX). These exams test your knowledge in the areas of reading, math, science, and English.
You can usually take the nursing school entrance exam more than once. However, you will likely need to wait a certain amount of time before retesting. For example, the TEAS can be taken every 90 days and the NLNPAX can be taken every 45 days.
It’s important that you prepare for the nursing school entrance exam as your score can have a big impact on your application. There are a number of study resources available including practice tests, flashcards, and review books. You can also find online tutors to help you brush up on any weak areas.
8. Prepare Interview Questions
One way to prepare for a nursing school interview is to practice your answers to common questions. You’ll feel more confident and have fewer chances of being nervous during the interview if you do this.
In a nursing school interview, you might be asked the following typical questions:
- Why do you want to become a nurse?
- What qualities do you have that would make you a good nurse?
- Describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult situation.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Why did you choose our nursing program?
Preparing for your interview ahead of time can help you feel more confident and increase your chances of impressing the interviewer.