Applying to nursing school can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a nurse in no time.
How to Apply for Nursing School
In terms of schooling, you can choose either an associate degree nursing program, which takes roughly two years, or you can do a bachelor’s degree, which is typically about four years of schooling.
There’s actually a new option now it’s called a direct entry master’s program where you don’t have your nursing license when you start. This program is for students with a non-nursing degree who would like to pursue a career as a registered nurse (RN) or advanced practice nurse (APRN).
With this option, you receive credits from the degree you already have. When you’re done, you graduate with a master’s of science in nursing (MSN).
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After you decide which nursing degree you want, you need to figure out which nursing school you want to go to. Nursing is not a degree that you can do entirely online. It is important to consider which schools within your area you want to go to and look at the prerequisites for nursing school.
While not all nursing schools are created equal, often times your local college will have just as good of a program as a well known school, but at a fraction of the cost. I’ve never had a patient ask me where I went to school. I’ve also never had a patient ask me if I have a bachelor’s or if I have an associate degree.
Keep in mind that many organizations are now requiring your BSN for work. In 2017, New York state signed a bill that requires all newly licensed nurses with their Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN) to obtain their Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) within 10 years of their initial licensure.
Depending on where you live, it may make more sense to get your BSN right away instead of your ADN.
The following are some things that you need to consider in nursing schools:
- You must have transcripts from an accredited school to sit for your NCLEX examination.
- A part of being a registered nurse is passing the NCLEX exam; you can’t sit for that exam if you did not graduate from an accredited school.
- Make sure your school has the appropriate accreditation; that should be very easy to find on their website. You also want to ask when they’re due to have their accreditation renewed, so you know whether they have had any issues maintaining their accreditation.
- The last thing you want is to be a year into this degree, and this school loses its accreditation.
If you plan to attend a newer nursing school, I would really look into accreditation and its timeline.
NCLEX Pass Rate
Next, you want to look at what is the NCLEX pass rates of that school. You can go through nursing school and graduate from an accredited program, but if they don’t set you up to succeed in passing this examination to get your license, what’s the point?
You need to be able to pass this examination at the end of the day so what I want you to do is go to the state board of nursing, select the state that those schools are in, and look up the NCLEX pass rates. There is always personal responsibility in studying for and taking the NCLEX, but you want to attend a school that will give you the tools needed to succeed.
How To Choose a Nursing School?
Let’s say you live in Texas and you’re going to go to the Texas state board of nursing, and on their website, they should have all the nursing schools in Texas listed, and you should be able to find their NCLEX pass rates. I want you to look at a couple of things.
Don’t just look at the percentage because what they typically do is say, last year, this percent of our graduates passed the NCLEX examination on the first attempt. This percentage passed on the second attempt, and so forth. They will give you a percentage for the overall pass rate, but this percentage is influences by how many graduates they had.
When I graduated, I had a class of 16 graduates. I worked with another nurse who had close to 200 graduates. If three or four people don’t pass the NCLEX from my 16 graduates, that really changes the pass rate versus maybe the one or two from the class of 200 graduates.
Consider class size; because it’s really important when you’re looking at a nursing school. This is a massive financial investment, and it is also a lot of time, you want to make sure you pick your school appropriately.
Nursing School Costs
Cost is another big thing; just because the school costs more does not mean it’s better. I have seen and met people who have graduated from a nursing school with more significant federal student loan payments than my mortgage payments.
The best part? We took the same examination, we’re working in the same hospital and making about the same amount of money. Their school cost two or three or even four times more than mine did. The cost of nursing school is a big thing. Keep in mind that more money does not necessarily mean you’re going to get a higher quality education.
What Are the Nursing School Requirements?
Now that you have decided which degree in nursing you want and which schools you’re going to apply to, the next thing you have to do is visit those schools’ websites and the specific requirements. They’re probably going to ask you to submit your GPA and your official transcripts from high school.
If you are a non-traditional student, they will often require you to have taken specific science courses within a certain amount of time.
If you graduated from high school, and want to go to a four-year school, most four-year colleges don’t have it structured where those four years you’re doing all degree courses. You are also doing general education courses.
When you apply to a four year nursing school, you may have to do your first two years of general education requirements first, and then apply to the nursing program. They want to make sure you’re doing well in general courses before they let you into the nursing program of that college.
Another thing that is considered in the application process is standardized testing. So many nursing schools use something called the TEAS test. Since the process of applying to nursing school can be very competitive, having another facet to review a potential nursing student’s skills can be helpful. It can also help students who may have a lower GPA to get a more competitive chance in the application process.
This test helps weed out people who are not going to be able to cut it in their rigorous program.
Also go to that school’s website and check out the specific requirements for admission.
It makes a good impression if you can follow directions, and that is also true when you start to apply for jobs. After you graduate nursing school, you want to be that person who doesn’t need their hand held through a basic application process.
Make sure you follow the directions. If they say to submit a word document, you should submit a word document; if they say just submit a pdf or if they say to fill this out first and then do this, you must do that, don’t try to do it differently. Allows follow the directions strictly.
I hope that helps make the application process for nursing school make a little more sense. If you have questions or any tidbits of advice that you’ve gone through recently for others, please share them in the comments.
Video for How to Apply for Nursing School
If you’re interested in nursing school and think you have what it takes, start by doing your research, applying to schools that fit your needs, and preparing for the rigorous academic journey ahead. The nursing field is a challenging but rewarding field, and with the proper preparation, you can achieve your nursing career goals and make a difference in the lives of others. One more thing to remember is the nursing school application process can be competitive and stressful, but you have to stay positive. You can do this!
FAQs on How to Apply for Nursing School
What Are the Requirements to Study Nursing?
In order to study nursing, you will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. You will also need to complete a pre-nursing program with prerequisite coursework in the sciences, communications, and other liberal arts.
After completing the pre-nursing program, you will then apply to a nursing school to complete your professional training.
Upon graduation from nursing school, you will be required to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) before becoming licensed as a registered nurse (RN).
How Do I Apply for BS Nursing?
To apply for a BS in nursing, you will need to submit an online application to the school of your choice. You will also need to furnish transcripts, letters of recommendation, and entrance test scores (if required). Many schools also require an interview before admission is granted.
A BS nursing degree prepares students for a career in nursing. Students learn about the human body, medical terminology, pharmacology, and other topics related to nursing.
After completing a BS in a nursing degree program, students are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Passing this exam allows nurses to practice as registered nurses in the United States.
How Much Do the New Nurses Earn?
Nurses fresh out of school earn between $13 to $27 per hour, depending on the state in which they work. With experience, that number can go as high as $45 per hour.
How Many Points Do I Need for Nursing?
If you’re looking to become a nurse, you’ll need to have an Admission Point Score (APS) of at least 27. APS measures how well you’ve done in your academic career leading up to nursing school and is determined by your marks in specific prerequisite courses.
The higher your score, the greater your chance of getting into the nursing program of your choice.
What Is the Age Limit for Nursing?
There is no age limit for the nursing profession. However, most programs require that prospective nursing students be at least 18 years old before beginning the program. This is because nursing is a physically and emotionally demanding profession, and it requires that students have the maturity to handle the challenges they will face. Often times career people turn to nursing as a second career.