The nursing shortage has created a strong need for nurses, and resulted in an increasing number of students interested in the profession. Nursing is a stable career with excellent pay and a flexible work schedule. Admission to nursing programs is highly competitive, with top programs turning away large numbers of students that meet minimum requirements. With the competitiveness in nursing programs, you may ask, what do I need to do to gain admission into a leading nursing program? Follow the six steps below:
•Take Prerequisites as Soon as Possible. Many nursing programs admit students who are in the process of completing program prerequisites; however, completing all prerequisites ahead of schedule is more likely to help you gain admission into your nursing program of choice. Most nursing schools have minimum grade point average (GPA) requirements for prerequisites, so retake courses in which you have received poor grades.
•Gain experience. Just because you do not have your nursing license does not mean that you cannot gain experience in the healthcare field. Volunteer as a health educator at a local health clinic or hospital. Both paid and volunteer experience in the healthcare field can support your application by demonstrating dedication to working in the healthcare field.
•Proofread your application. The application materials that you submit are the only basis by which the application committee can judge your application. Typos, incomplete sections and sloppy presentation make an applicant appear careless. Because the nursing profession requires exceptional attention to detail, this step is particularly crucial. If you have difficulties proofreading your own work, ask for help from a family member or friend. Type all parts of the application that you can, write legibly and include as many of your accomplishments as possible.
•Be Open-minded in Application Choices. Nursing school is expensive and competitive. Never rule out a nursing program because you think you won’t get in or cannot afford it. Many schools have robust funding programs to help nursing students through school. Due to the competitive process of nursing school admissions, you never know where you may be admitted. Take advantage of the fact that schools have a rolling admission and apply to as many programs as you can. Keep applying until you have been admitted.
•Connect with the institution. Many nursing departments have extensive websites complete with faculty profiles and comments from current students. Do not hesitate to get in touch with a prospective institution to find out more about a program or working with a particular faculty member. If it is possible to contact current students, ask them for tips in the application process. Demonstrate your commitment and interest in the nursing profession by asking professors for reading suggestions.
•Be assertive. The nursing admission team is busy; however, you want to make sure that you have done all you can to make your application stand out. The first part of that is making sure your application is received. Before contacting the nursing school, thoroughly read every portion of the website. Many websites offer detailed admission instructions including where to send a SASE (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope) to indicate that your application was received.
Be sure to send a “thank you note” to anyone who has helped you during the admission process, and email to find out the status of your application if permissible, as some schools discourage this. Always adhere to school guidelines.