How do RN school admissions work? It seems like insanity!

  1. Can someone explain to me how admissions works at nursing schools? I am confused when so many people tell me there is a "2 year waiting list." They make it out as though it is easier to get into med school than an ADN or BSN program. Don't schools make merit based admissions for every term or is there really some sort of seniority based wait list system for all qualified applicants?

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    Background:

    The reason I am trying to figure whether I stand some reasonable chance of being able to start RN school in the term I apply for is that the answer will determine whether I should:

    A. Complete all my remaining nursing prereqs in winter semester in hopes of being admitted to a school for Summer or Fall.

    B. Attend Paramedic school in the Winter and finish up my Nursing Prereqs over the course 2008.

    If I stand a chance to get in right away, it makes sense to me to bang out the prereqs and go for it. If not having all the prereqs done at application time dooms me to wait-list limbo despite the allowance for such things in admission guidelines, I feel I ought to go to Paramedic school in the winter and finish my remaining prereqs (12hrs) and my AS degree (9 hrs) before the next round of RN school applications are due next fall. That way I can work as a medic while I'm in prereq/waitlist land.

    My background: I'm 26. I'm a W-EMT-B/IV with 911 ambulance and FP Clinic experience. I have about 100 college credit hours.

    My goal: is ICU/CCU/ER and ultimately flight nursing (thus the desire to be a Paramedic at the same time).
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   ohmeowzer RN
    the school i atteneded did not have a waiting list. i applied and got in first try. they accept me w/ my GPA only.. i didn't have to do the point system as others have. when i applied 400 people applied and only 96 got in. some schools have lotteries , some have points , some by GPA and transcripts. you should call some of your local schools and find out their critera for acceptance. we actually had one paramedic in my class and he didn't finish ( family problems) . he was doing well. good luck in school.
  4. by   jjjoy
    Admission policies vary from school to school, so you'll have to find out from each school you are thinking of applying to.
  5. by   bubbly
    Like Kiz said, each school is different on how they select students into their programs. My nursing school looked at GPA only based on the grades for the selected pre-nursing courses. Now I hear that the school is also looking at NET grades too because of the high drop-out rate of nursing students and that good GPAs don't always mean good nurses. Try asking the advisors at the schools you are interested in to see what they look for in the admission process and what is their rate of people who get accepted.

    It looks like you are already on a great career path to getting your dream career as a flight nurse. I knew a girl who finished her paramedic training and nursing school at the same time and she did fine. Good luck with getting into nursing school. My only advice is applying to as many schools as you can attend and really researching the programs to see what it takes to get admitted. I knew my nursing school looked at GPA only, but it just said to be considered, I needed a minimum GPA of 3.0. Because of the strict competition, I was surprised to learn that only people with a GPA of 3.7 and above actually had a chance of getting in. So it basically depends on the school.
  6. by   core0
    In Colorado in general the CCs worked differently than the BSN program. The CCs took everyone that met the qualifications (GPA and coursework) and you went on a waiting list. The average wait in Denver last time I heard was 2-3 years. The BSN program work like normal college. They evaluate everyone and either accept you or not. I think that there is one that has wait lists. Its basically all over the place.

    David Carpenter, PA-C
  7. by   ♪♫ in my ♥
    Quote from SummitAP
    Don't schools make merit based admissions for every term or is there really some sort of seniority based wait list system for all qualified applicants?
    The answer is...

    YES

    Both of these are done; additionally, some schools use a lottery system of minimally qualified candidates. A variation on the latter awards applications additional selection probability based on their time on the list.

    You need to look at the various schools that you're interested in and determine their unique admissions criteria.

    Also, note that some schools do not admit every term. Some admit only once per year and my particular program admits only once every two years.

    Not only do admission criteria vary by school, so do prerequisites.
  8. by   EricJRN
    Welcome to the site! I moved your thread to the Pre-Nursing Student Forum (our forum for students completing nursing school prereqs) so that you continue to get good responses. Good luck to you!
  9. by   LMRN10
    I agree with the other posters.

    Each school is different. For my school, there is no waiting list. You have to have a GPA of at least a 2.0 I believe (that's all they care about is that you are above that and they don't use your GPA to determine whether or not you made it in after that). And we also have to take the NLN Pre-Entrance Exam which is basically what determines whether or not we make it in. The cutoff for our school is normally in the mid 80%.

    Check with your school...they should be able to lay out their requirements for you and how they choose from the applicants.

    Good luck!
  10. by   HealthyRN
    In my area of the country, I have found that it is the community colleges that have waiting lists and lottery systems. BSN programs typically evaluate applicants on basis of academic merit, extracurriculars, health care experience, etc. The admission requirements and the factors that the admissions committee evaluate will vary from school to school. I was accepted the first year that I applied to my BSN program. There were over 600 applicants, but seats for only 120 students.
  11. by   LMRN10
    Quote from HealthyRN
    In my area of the country, I have found that it is the community colleges that have waiting lists and lottery systems.
    Not mine. I am attending a CC and there is not a waiting list. They base it on qualifying applicants with the highest NLN score...and they accept those who live within the county first, so they never make it to those applying who live outside our county.
  12. by   ERGirl83
    To be completely honest with you, in Utah, it IS easier to get into med school than nursing school. You only need a 3.0 minimum to be considered at the U of U Medical School (though at least a 3.6 to be competetive) and at our nursing school at UVU, you need at least a 3.8 to be considered a candidate. It's crazy. At SLCC, they accept anyone who received a C or better in their pre-reqs, but they also have a 3 year waiting list, unless you're an IHC employee, which will bypass the wait list, and pay for your tuition, too.

    If I were you, I'd check and see if any of your local hospitals have programs set up with the local nursing schools to gurantee x number of spots to employees each semester. If they do, I'd get a job there, finish my pre-reqs and then apply.

    It's hard to say how to get in, because each school is different. I know the vocational/technical colleges here (Stevens Henager, Provo College, U of Phoenix) are offering nursing programs now, and since they are new, they are practically BEGGING for students, you can get admitted pronto with like a 3.0, but you have to be careful. Provo College costs THREE TIMES more than UVU (you're talking $50K for 2 years) and Stevens Henager isn't even accredited (they say they are, but they aren't accredited for NURSING)....

    It's a pain in the butt to get in, but it's worth the work...I'm taking 5 classes next semester in order to finish my pre-reqs and apply for the fall...I have to re-take Nutrition and Calculus, because I had B+ and they aren't giving extra weight that my Nutrition was IN nursing school, and involved pharmacology and disease processes as well, or that I took Calculus instead of Algebra, so I'm retaking them to have that 4.0....

    Good Luck in whatever you chooses...unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, there's no easy path!
  13. by   jjjoy
    Quote from DollBabyKG
    To be completely honest with you, in Utah, it IS easier to get into med school than nursing school. You only need a 3.0 minimum to be considered at the U of U Medical School (though at least a 3.6 to be competetive) and at our nursing school at UVU, you need at least a 3.8 to be considered a candidate.
    Hmm... a 3.6 GPA that usually includes a year of biology, a year of inorganic chemistry, a year of organic chemistry, a year of physics (with calculus as a pre-req, which means trigonometry and advanced algebra as well), maybe an upper division genetics or biochemistry course, and competing with students who majored in things like microbiology, kinesiology, etc and volunteered with medical services or worked in a research lab for a couple of summers... Yep, that's easier than 3.8 for nursing school...

    I agree that the competition for nursing school has increased exponentially in the last several years. It seems to be due to decreased student spots as well as an increased interest in nursing from those who previously weren't interested (eg, previous pre-meds who want to be NPs or CRNAs). Which makes the crazy process of applying to nursing school, each with their own unique pre-reqs, that much crazier.
  14. by   TxMama
    Unfortunately for many of us, the process of actually getting into a nursing program can be extremely frustrating. For me personally, all of the universities close to me use a waiting list and there is an average 6-8 semester wait. There is one school about an hour and a half to two hours away from me that accepts students based on merit (which I am confident my accomplishments/gpa would result in acceptance), but it is simply too far away with my responsibilities as a wife and mother of four. Sometimes we have to be creative (which I have resorted to) in order to gain enterance ASAP. You can search for LVN programs at local community colleges and then enter a LVN-to-RN career ladder (accelerated program) which typically have a significantly shorter wait. Best luck to you as you explore your options and make an informed decision.

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