Steps for getting Into nursing school
The exact steps you should take will depend on your goals, but in general, there are 4 main points to hit as you work to get into nursing school.
Pick a career path
Before anything else, you’ll need to decide on the kind of nursing career you want. There are many ways to work in the field, from entry-level assisting to top-tier executive roles. Beyond that, there’s a seemingly endless list of specialties to choose from, along with a variety of medical facilities in which you can work. Together, these factors will affect the kinds of nursing programs you pursue.
Step 2: Meet the prerequisites for the program, which typically include a high school diploma or GED, and completion of certain college-level courses such as biology and chemistry.
Step 3: Prepare for and take any required entrance exams, such as the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) or the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).
Step 4: Submit an application to the nursing program, which may include transcripts, test scores, a personal statement, and letters of recommendation.
Additionally, you may want to take the following steps to increase your chances of getting into nursing school:
- Volunteer or work in a healthcare setting to gain experience.
- Maintain a high GPA and score well on standardized tests.
- Network with current nursing students and professionals to gain insight and support.
- Prepare for and do well in any required interviews.
- Keep track of deadlines and requirements for nursing programs.
- Meet any additional requirements like background check or health screening.
Additional requirements for nursing school can vary depending on the program and the state in which you live. Some possible additional requirements may include:
- Criminal background check: Many nursing programs will require a background check to ensure that you do not have a criminal history that would prevent you from working in a healthcare setting.
- Health screening: Some programs may require a health screening to ensure that you are physically and mentally fit to perform the duties of a nurse.
- Immunizations: You may need to provide proof of certain vaccinations, such as measles, mumps, rubella, and hepatitis B.
- CPR certification: Many programs will require that you are certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) before you can begin clinical rotations.
- Malpractice insurance: Some programs may require you to purchase malpractice insurance to protect yourself and the school in case of any legal issues that may arise.
- Drug test: Some nursing programs may require a drug test to ensure that you are not using illegal substances.
- Physical examination: Some programs may require a physical examination by a healthcare provider to confirm that you are able to perform the physical demands of the nursing profession.
It’s important to check with the specific program(s) you’re applying to for their additional requirements to ensure you have all the necessary documentation.
Here are some additional tips that may help you increase your chances of getting accepted into nursing school:
- Maintain a high GPA: Nursing programs typically have a competitive application process, so a high GPA can set you apart from other applicants.
- Gain relevant experience: Volunteer or work in a healthcare setting to gain experience and demonstrate your commitment to the field.
- Network: Connect with current nursing students and professionals to gain insight and support.
- Write a strong personal statement: Many nursing programs require a personal statement as part of the application process. This is your opportunity to explain your motivation for pursuing a career in nursing and highlight your unique qualifications.
- Get solid letters of recommendation: Seek out letters of recommendation from professors, supervisors or mentors that can vouch for your abilities and character.
- Be prepared for interviews: Some nursing programs may require an interview as part of the admissions process. Be prepared to answer questions about your motivation, qualifications, and experiences.
- Keep track of deadlines: Be sure to submit all required materials on time and stay organized throughout the application process.
- Be persistent: If you don’t get accepted into a nursing program the first time, don’t give up. Keep trying and consider applying to other programs or reapplying the following year.
Financial aid can help cover the costs of nursing school, which can be significant. Here are some options for financial aid that you may want to consider:
- Federal financial aid: You can apply for federal financial aid, such as grants and loans, by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Scholarships: Many nursing programs, schools, and organizations offer scholarships to students based on academic achievement, financial need, or other criteria.
- Grants: Some nursing programs and organizations offer grants to students to help cover the costs of tuition and fees.
- Work-study: Some nursing programs may offer work-study opportunities that allow students to work part-time and earn money to help pay for their education.
- Private loans: You can also consider taking out private loans from banks or other lenders to help pay for nursing school.
- Military Service: If you’re a veteran or active-duty service member, you may be eligible for financial aid through the Veterans Affairs (VA) or the military.
It’s important to research and apply for multiple financial aid options, including scholarships, grants and loans, to maximize your chances of getting the funding you need to pay for nursing school.