What do you look for in a Nursing School

  1. I'm curious...when you were looking for a nursing school, what was the most important things you looked for in the school? Location, characteristics, class size? Or anything else that you looked for that ultimately helped make your decision on going to Nursing school.
  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   ixchel
    ADN vs. BSN is your first, most basic question.

    To make that choice, consider length and cost of program, plus hireability where you will live with either degree.

    After that, look at school reputations. Not just what people in the neighborhood say, but potential employers and former/current students. We have an ADN program that all my little town thinks is amazing. Seriously - people who don't know the first thing about college or nursing will rave about how amazing this program is, and they actually feel that it's harder to get into than the program I am in as a result. I had a kid tell me once, "Yeah, if I don't get in at X school I'm just going to apply to the university since it's easier." I had to break it to him - the average GPA of people admitted into my cohort was something like a 3.7 or 3.8 and out of hundreds of applications that were submitted, only 75 got in. Employers recognize that the program I am in turns out a better graduate. There is a huge difference in the grads each school turns out. The BSN I'm in turns out grads that are better critical thinkers. Community reputation can't necessarily be trusted.

    Look at school stats - graduation rates, NCLEX pass rates, employment rates. These will tell you a lot about the program's quality and supportiveness to its students. If they have a high graduation rate and NCLEX pass rate, you can probably assume that they do well to support their students to learn the material well. If they have a low graduation rate but high NCLEX rate, they're failing students who will kill their NCLEX pass rates. That means they are not supporting their students' learning adequately. If they have a high post-grad employment rate, then you can probably assume that employers like what they see of the graduates of that program. Ultimately, that's the most important thing, right? No point in going to school if we can't get jobs when we're done!

    Determine potential course schedules. If you need all evening classes, but they only offer all day classes, rule them out.

    Look at how they do their admissions. GPA? Points system? Lottery? How many apply vs. how many are admitted? What kind of background or GPA tends to get admitted? Do you feel you'd have a decent shot? (That last question is vital - you need to be honest with yourself. There are people on this board who wait years to get into a program. How long are you willing to wait if you don't have what it takes to get in the first time you apply?)

    Is the school accredited? Are the classes (prereqs) transferable to others schools? I had a friend take a 1-credit microbiology class because that was what the program at her school had as part of her prereqs. Her husband was later restationed in another state and of course no one would accept a 1-credit micro. You may expect to go to one school from beginning to end but realistically, stuff happens. You just never know.

    Advice for keeping down costs - if you decide to go BSN instead of ADN, do all of your gen eds at a community college. Many offer online options for the non-science courses, which is helpful if you have kids or work. Also do the FAFSA. Even if you think you won't qualify, do it. The worst that will happen is they say they won't give you money. You didn't lose anything by them telling you that. But if you're lucky like I have been, you could finish school with very minimal debt.

    Good luck to you in your journey, love.
  4. by   zoe92
    I had a set list of criteria:
    First, I looked at location of BSN programs. Any school within a two hour driving distance from where I live was looked at. I wanted to stay somewhat close to home while finishing my bachelor's.
    Second, NCLEX pass rate was huge. Some schools were automatically slashed for having horrible NCLEX scores.
    Third, the whole transfer situation. I was at a community college taking pre reqs but had to transfer to a BSN program. So I made sure the schools accepted transfers.
    Fourth, tuition. State schools are very competitive in my small state of Maryland. So I had a medium sized tuition budget. I applied to multiple state schools that had cheaper tuition and a couple private (not for profit) schools that are a little pricier but offer really good scholarships. Schools like Johns Hopkins University were not even considered because of their highly expensive tuition.
  5. by   blondebabe0625
    I moved to North Carolina from Washington state for nursing school. I went off of the top ratings list for schools! GO TAREELS!!!