I was wondering when this would get started! I'm one of Spritedkid's classmates and I'd be happy to answer any of your questions as well
As you're going through your application or perhaps deciding whether or not to apply I thought I'd add in my two cents. First, Stony Brook has a great program that I'm absolutely loving. I came from California and couldn't be happier in the program. The professors and staff have amazing careers and I definitely look up to all of them. They are very qualified and I feel like I'm getting a great education from them. Not only theory stuff to prepare for the NCLEX but also practical information from their stories. They have a lot of experience so they are wonderful to learn both the theory and real life stuff from. As for my peers, I think stony brook picked a wonderful class for us. Like spiritedkid said, we're like one big nursing family.
As for applying, it really is true that you don't need to worry about your qualifications. I think a whole lot of weight is put on the essay. I had well below a 3.0 from the school I got my BA from and I got in (I was one if the first to find out I was admitted and wasn't wait listed). I was worried I wouldn't get in because of my GPA so I want anyone who is considering applying to know that it is possible. After my BA I did take 30 units of classes and earn a 4.0 though. I also worked in clinical research for about 5 years so I had health care experience. But what matters most is the essay.
For the essay make sure you really show your passion and pour your heart out! Don't just write that you want to help people. Get more deep than that. Emphasize why you want to be in the medical field and why it is important. They want people who are passionate and dedicated to the program and their career(nursing and medical field) so in your essay you should convey this. Most of us don't normally spend hours reflecting on why we want to do something so you may not have a well developed answer to the questions in the essay. But before you right your essay you should think really deeply about what it is about nursing that makes you want to spend your life doing it. And what it is that is unique to you and your experiences that will make you a dedicated nurse. Your essay should be really meaningful and personal so spend some time reflecting on yourself and what brought you here. Your essay should be something that only you with your experiences could have written, nothing generic that they will read in 100 of the essays.
Also, just an idea, if you don't truly know what nurses do and what roles they play in healthcare (they aren't just on the floor, they are in politics, administration, they volunteer, they travel, do research, teach, become practitioners, etc) it might help you to look this stuff up on google for a bit. It might help you get ideas for your essay and add to your passion. You don't need to show that you know anything about nursing in this essay, but you'll want to be able to really talk about why you want to be a nurse and what you want to do so knowing about the field might give you ideas on how to shine in your essay and help solidify your dedication to the field.
Lastly, if you are like me and perhaps had some rough beginnings, you can write a supplemental essay about it. If anything in your application isn't representative of you today or makes you look bad, write something that explains why this piece is not reflective of you and why it happened. I wouldn't give a sob story because that doesn't show maturity but a short explanation on how you might be different today, what you've learned, and anything you've done since that proves you won't make the same mistakes can help your case.
I hope this helps some if you! Also remember, this is just my opinion and what I think made me stand out so feel free to disagree
And feel free to ask any questions you have
Tl;Dr write a deep and meaningful essay!