Top 11 Requirements to Get into Nursing School

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If you’re thinking about applying to accelerated nursing school, you’ve probably experienced how complicated the admissions process can become. With the educational requirements, entrance exams, interviews and applications, it can be hard to navigate. That’s where we come in. We’re going to clarify the main points for you, so the requirements to get into nursing school become clear.

At Concordia University, St. Paul’s 16-month Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, we are committed to making your journey to a nursing career smoother. Our admissions counselors will work one-on-one with you to help you create a plan for completing the requirements to get into nursing school.

Whether you plan on applying to nursing school now or in the future, it’s important to know what will be asked of you when applying. Here are the 11 key requirements to get into nursing school at an accelerated program.

1. Personal Goals that Align with Nursing School

The first requirement of making the career change to nursing and applying to accelerated nursing school is to ensure it’s the right path for you. Think about your career goals and why you want to be a nurse, and why a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree is important to you. Whether it’s because of the job opportunities, higher salary, growth potential or depth of clinical knowledge, consider why a BSN is the right path for you.

Also consider the time commitment of nursing school, and ask yourself if you’re prepared to spend 40 hours a week on the blended nursing school curriculum, consisting of online coursework, hands-on labs and in-hospital clinical rotations.

CSP nursing student sitting at desk using laptop

Applying to nursing school is not something that should be taken lightly. Once you’re clear about how nursing school fits with your vision, it’s time to focus on the other more subjective requirements to get into nursing school.

2. Completed Introductory Admissions Interview

At many accelerated nursing programs, including Concordia St. Paul, reaching out to the admissions counselors is one of the first requirements. Expect the first phone call with your admissions counselor to be pretty casual — almost like speaking to a friend.

To kick off the conversation, your admissions counselor will ask you a series of questions all about your goals and interests, including:

  • Why do you want to become a nurse?
  • What are you looking for in a nursing program?
  • How do you learn best?

Your admissions counselor wants to get to know you and help you in the best way they can, so it’s crucial you are transparent when answering their questions. At CSP, we focus on creating personal connections with students, and that begins before you even apply.

Some students find the admissions process and enrollment support at Concordia St. Paul to be one of a kind and a reason to continue in the process.

3. Academic Eligibility

Now let’s get into the details of academic requirements to get into nursing school. First, you’ll need to meet the prior degree or coursework requirement, which depends on the school. At Concordia, St. Paul, students with a prior non-nursing bachelor’s degree or with 60 college credits can apply to the accelerated nursing program. Some schools require a completed bachelor’s degree, but this is not required for CSP.

In your prior college courses, you’ll also need to meet GPA requirements that differ based on the school. For Concordia St. Paul, we require a cumulative GPA of 3.0 on your prior college courses.

4. Sufficient Prerequisite Courses

Each accelerated nursing program will have a set of prerequisite courses designed to prepare students to jump into a rigorous nursing curriculum. As an example, the prerequisite courses required at CSP include:

  • Lifespan Development
  • Quantitative Reasoning for Health Care
  • Chemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Communication

At CSP, you’ll need to be mostly done with your prerequisites before you apply. Plan to have at least 80% of the math and science prerequisites finished before applying. Then make sure you’re registered for the remaining prerequisites so you can complete them before nursing school starts.

Accelerated nursing schools also have grade requirements for prerequisite courses. At Concordia St. Paul, you’ll need to earn a C or higher on your prerequisites and earn a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on your science prerequisites.

CSP nursing students working in sim lab

5. Entrance Exam Performance

Another requirement to get into nursing school at many accelerated BSN programs is passing a national entrance exam. There are many possible exams schools may require, so do your research on your top programs. At Concordia St. Paul, we require our prospective ABSN students to take the ATI Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) exam.

The minimum TEAS score for consideration at CSP is 65% or greater proficiency within the year prior to applying.

6. CNA Course Completion

Because nursing is a hands-on healthcare-focused field, many schools want to see that you have some understanding of the basic patient care skills. Some schools want to see prior healthcare experience in one form or another. At CSP, we require our applicants to complete a certified nursing assistant (CNA) course. Keep in mind that the license is not required.

Concordia St. Paul wants our students to come into nursing school already having some hands-on patient care knowledge. CNA training teaches practical skills for assisting nurses and taking care of the daily needs of patients. This will help you prepare to begin working with patients in clinicals by week five of the ABSN program at CSP.

CSP students often say that completing a CNA training was the best way they prepared themselves for the early clinical experiences in the accelerated nursing program.

7. Official Application Submission

Every accelerated nursing program requires an official application process where you’ll submit a variety of application information, essays, grades and more. The application for the ABSN program at CSP can be completed online.

Your admissions counselor will keep you informed about the deadline for submitting your official application to the ABSN program. It’s important to submit the application as well as any supplemental documents on time.

8. Submission of Official Transcripts

The official transcripts for your past college courses or degree are a vital piece to applying to an ABSN program. Some nursing schools do not require transcripts until later in the application process. At CSP, you’ll need to submit your official transcript along with your nursing application, so make sure to get it in before the application deadline.

two nursing students sitting and looking at a laptop

9. Nursing Faculty Interview

Interviewing is one of the final requirements before receiving an admissions decision from an accelerated nursing school. After officially applying to nursing school, the admissions committee will determine whether to formally interview you.

At Concordia St. Paul, this interview involves ABSN nursing faculty, and it is a more formal process than your original admissions counselor interview. You’ll want to prepare well for the interview, present yourself professionally, and bring along your resume, transcript and questions you’d like to ask the interviewers.

10. English Language Proficiency

Nurses are responsible for interacting with patients, families and healthcare team members every day, so it’s important to be able to communicate with them. For applicants who are non-native English speakers, U.S. schools may require you to demonstrate your proficiency with the English language.

At Concordia St. Paul, applicants who are non-native English speakers will need to pass an English language proficiency exam for eligibility to the ABSN program.

11. Background Check Clearance

The last of the requirements to get into nursing school is to pass a background check. You can expect this for most nursing programs, as it’s an important safety measure for the wellbeing of patients.

Do All These Requirements Feel Overwhelming?

This was an exhaustive list of requirements, and it may feel like a lot. Just remember, we are here to help with every step of the process. One of the qualities of Concordia St. Paul that sets us apart from other programs is our commitment to your success. We will help you through the entire journey of transitioning from your past field into the new and exciting path of nursing.

“I’ve gone through enrollment processes at other schools, and you don’t talk to anybody — you just submit paperwork and wait,” says Vickie Waadevig, a Concordia Accelerated BSN graduate.

As your academic plan unfolds, your admissions counselor will do everything in their power to keep you informed and up-to-date on all requirements needed to submit the best application possible. You are not in this alone, and we are always just a call away.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Are you ready to consider applying to the accelerated BSN program at Concordia, St. Paul? Our 16-month hybrid program consists of a mix of online classes, simulation labs and clinical rotations. We offer three start dates each year, allowing you to start at a time that works for you and finish your degree sooner.

We offer our ABSN program in two locations, in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Portland, Oregon. If you’re looking to transform your prior bachelor’s degree or 60 college credits into a BSN and enter the rewarding career of nursing, CSP is the perfect place to get started.

To learn more about starting accelerated nursing school at Concordia University, reach out to an admissions counselor today.