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What Does a Nursing School Look For in a Potential Student?

Higher Education Articles July 17, 2014

Nursing is a growing field of expertise, with the number of job openings expected to rise by 19 percent between 2012 and 2022, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With so many upcoming opportunities for employment, nursing schools will be scouting for the best candidates to enter this important line of work. Understanding what nursing schools look for in a potential student will help you know what to expect when you apply for admission.

Education and Activities

To apply for nursing college, you’ll need a strong background in biology, math, chemistry, nutrition, psychology and other social and behavioral sciences. Volunteer work in a hospital, veterinarian’s office, nursing home or other similar paid or unpaid experiences may also help your application. If you speak a second language, be sure to add this information as well since the ability to communicate with your patients is essential.

Personal Characteristics

Nursing is a demanding, high-pressure and fast-paced field of employment. The right personality characteristics are essential for success in your work. You’ll need compassion and understanding for people who have made choices that may differ from your world view. Patience is another must-have characteristic for this profession. Motivation is key in having a successful experience in nursing school and in your professional life thereafter.

Communication Skills

Being able to communicate with your fellow nurses, physicians and other medical staff is a necessary skill. While you’ll hone this skill in nursing school, most nursing programs look for students who communicate clearly and effectively with people of all types.

Critical Thinking Skills

During your nursing education program, you’ll be given real-world situations in which you must make decisions quickly, just like you will as a registered nurse. Critical thinking skills, including knowing when to take action, when to refer patients and when there is an emergency, will help you save lives. You’ll also need to be detail-oriented in your work, showing what steps you take to solve any type of problem.

Teamwork Skills

Your ability to work well in a group will determine your success in a nursing education program and as a registered nurse. You’ll be part of a team of nurses aides, patient care coordinators, patient advocates, other nurses, physicians, therapists and managers. You’ll need to work with all types of personalities in order to serve your patients.

The Drive to Help People

The drive to help people is perhaps the most important quality that nursing colleges look for in a potential student. Your passion for the work, commitment to work hard and persistence in doing what’s best for others are key traits in ensuring your effectiveness as a nursing student.

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