Yes, everyone I've spoken with at FNP programs across the country says the same thing----they never imagined they'd ever see this many applications. I think it's because everyone wants to get started NOW, before the programs all switch to the DNP (rather than master's) degree. A lot of schools
are making that switch next year. (Maryland is announcing its plans this June.)
Some schools aren't taking ANY applicants for a while because they're so backed up. For example, the University of Pennsylvania (a top-ranked nursing school
in Philadelphia) isn't taking applications for its FNP program until 2013. Yes, 2013. Check their website if you think I'm joking. The University of Cincinnati (which has an online FNP program) isn't taking applications for a year or so. And a friend of mine was accepted into the FNP program at Ball State in Indiana last Fall, but they told her she can't start until mid-2012.
It's crazy just how popular the FNP programs are. I applied **last summer** to another top-ranked school in Baltimore for January admission but was told that they'd already filled the January class AND the May class (and May applications weren't supposed to be due for another seven months or so)!!! Around this time, that school changed its admission process from rolling admissions (apply any time and hear back within a month) to once-a-year admissions. It was just becoming too overwhelming to receive so many applications year 'round. Anyway, they kept my application and put it in the pile for the Fall. I'm on their wait list. : p
Another factor that limits the number of people they can take is a serious shortage of nursing faculty. If more people were willing to teach, they could admit more applicants. But it pays a lot more to practice nursing than to teach it, and until that changes, this problem will persist.