Wondering how to increase your chances of getting into nursing school? You’ve come to the right place.
With nurses in high demand — especially on the West Coast, where some of the highest-paying nursing jobs are located — you’d think nursing schools would increase the number of admitted students to help meet this urgent need. Unfortunately, this has not been the case, and too often qualified applicants are finding themselves stuck waiting for years to get into nursing school — or worse, being rejected.
This has many applicants looking for other nursing school options. However, it’s not all bad news. For those would-be nurses who have college credits or a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, accelerated nursing programs — such as Concordia University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) — offer not just a chance at getting into nursing school, but also at graduating sooner.
Still, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to get into nursing school. Here, we’ll discuss seven ways you can increase your chances of getting into nursing school.
1. Know why you want to be a nurse.
You know why you want to be a nurse. But can you articulate why you want to be a nurse? Stories are powerful. Just being able to explain why you are passionate about becoming a nurse can help increase your chances of getting into nursing school.
When you first speak with an admissions counselor (more on that later), he or she is going to ask you why you want to be a nurse. How you answer says a lot about the effort you’ll put in as a nursing student. Not to mention, many nursing schools require applicants to submit an admissions essay or — in the case of the Concordia University ABSN — attend an in-person admissions interview. Putting some thought into your why this early in the process will make that essay or interview a lot less intimidating when the time comes.
2. Do your homework.
Another way to impress your admissions counselor is to have your unofficial school transcripts handy (and be familiar with them) the moment you pick up the phone for that initial call. Coming prepared shows you are serious, and it will help speed up the admissions process.
Not to mention, knowing your cumulative GPA and how many college credits you have completed going into your nursing school search can save you the time of applying to a program for which you aren’t eligible. However, don’t despair if your GPA is just slightly below that required by a school or program. In some cases, simply retaking a course (or fulfilling prerequisite courses — more on that in a bit) may be enough to raise your GPA. When you talk to an admissions counselor, he or she will help weigh your options and make recommendations on how to improve your chances of getting into nursing school.
3. Research and choose a program that fits your needs.
Where you choose to earn your nursing degree matters. It almost goes without saying that you need to ensure any nursing program you consider is accredited and has an excellent reputation. You should also take a look at a program’s NCLEX-RN® pass rate.
However, while necessary, quality should not be your only concern. Before you begin your search, a little self-evaluation is in order. For example, some learners prefer the convenience and flexibility of online learning, while others would rather learn via campus-based lectures. Some prefer to complete nursing school as soon as possible while others would rather learn at a slower pace so that they may continue working while in school. Knowing your needs and preferences will help you to find the nursing program that is right for you.
Remember, no matter how great a program is, if it’s a poor fit for you, your schedule, etc., it’s probably not the right choice… and your admissions counselor will realize that, too.
4. Cast a wider net.
Sometimes the quickest path to a career in nursing isn’t the geographically closest option. This is especially the case in states like California, where nursing faculty shortages and class-size constraints (among other issues) have resulted in nursing applicants waiting as long as six years to get into a program. Being willing to relocate for nursing school significantly increases your options and is a great way to get out and experience a new place.
Considering relocating to Portland for nursing school? We shared one graduate’s story who moved from Boise, Idaho, to Portland for our ABSN program.
5. Talk to an admissions counselor.
By now, it’s probably quite apparent that talking to a school’s admissions counselor is a must. For many programs, like Concordia’s ABSN, it’s the first step in the nursing school admissions process. We’ve already shared how your admissions counselor will work with you to determine whether the program is a good fit, but it’s worth going into more detail.
When you first call Concordia University, you will be assigned a dedicated admissions counselor to guide you through the admissions process. You will be in close contact during this process, so build a good rapport with him or her. We also cannot stress enough the importance of being honest and upfront about any issues of concern. A previous nursing school start, failed classes, and legal troubles — while potentially uncomfortable — should be discussed now. That way they don’t become a problem later on in the process.
6. Meet all program requirements.
Accelerated nursing programs allow you to earn your BSN degree quicker by leveraging your past college credits. However, you may still need to take a few prerequisite courses depending on the area of your previous study. Before enrolling in any outstanding prereqs, be sure to talk to an admissions counselor to ensure you are a good fit for the ABSN program. He or she will also provide you with valuable guidance on how best to meet any additional ABSN requirements so you can start your nursing education sooner.
Speaking of other requirements, while they vary from program to program and state to state, many programs (like Concordia University’s ABSN program) require you to obtain Basic Life Support (BLS) certification and, in the case of the state of Oregon, to have completed a Certified Nursing Assistant course prior to entry. Again, when you talk to an admissions counselor, he or she will help you come up with a plan for tackling any outstanding requirements.
Additionally, many programs require you to take an admission test. For example, to get in Concordia’s Accelerated BSN program, applicants who do not have a Bachelor’s degree must complete the Kaplan Admission Test.
7. Volunteer your time.
Another way to increase your chances of getting into a nursing program is to volunteer your time. Doing so shows a commitment to making the world a better place — a value we can all appreciate. When you submit your professional resume as part of the application process, be sure to include volunteer work you’ve completed.
Ready to Start Your Nursing Journey?
If you have at least 60 college credits from a regionally accredited institution and meet the additional requirements, you may be able to earn your nursing degree in 16 months with Concordia University’s ABSN program. Call today to find out how you can start your nursing journey sooner.