Tips, Wisdom & Advice for Getting into Nursing School?

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    Hello! I've been lurking these threads for a couple months now, nodding my head when members asked the same questions I had and hmmm-ing my way through the thoughtful responses.

    And now - ta da! - here I am.

    I would be grateful for any ideas on how to improve my nursing school application and any methods by which to become more competitive. Any general advice is greatly appreciated.

    Anything more specific would also be helpful. Here are a few stats about me:

    • Male, 24, White
    • First bachelor's degree in Creative Writing from a state school
    • Graduated with multiple honors and a 3.8 GPA
    • Currently a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ethiopia (education sector)
    • Planning to take necessary prereqs in the coming fall at a local university
    • Intending to seek employment in the healthcare field upon my return to the U.S. in five months (!)

    I will be seeking admittance into accelerated programs at several highly competitive universities. Any ideas?

    Thanks!
    Last edit by jdmitchell on Mar 4, '13
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  3. 5 Comments so far...

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    Get some great recommendations and write a thoughtful essay about why you're pursuing nursing (or something similar)! These can really set you apart from other students applying.
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    Describe what has led you from studying creative writing to wanting to pursue nursing. Have it come across in your personal statement that nursing is a better fit for you than other healthcare disciplines (physical therapy, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physician's assistant, respiratory therapy, medicine, etc.).

    In addition, you might want to consider options other than an accelerated BSN (like a Master's Entry program). Since you have an undergraduate degree already, you would not be eligible for federal financial aid (including Stafford loans) if you pursued a second undergraduate degree. If you pursued a Master's Entry program you would be eligible for federal loans and might be eligible for more graduate-level scholarships. Just a thought.
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    Thanks for the ideas!

    zoe92: Planning/hoping to get some hospital experience when I get back and that should lead to a thoughtful essay: at least, one with more anecdotes.

    UVA Grad Nursing: I've thought about the Master's Entry programs, but it's not a good fit for me right now. I haven't had enough exposure to the nursing field to really know what specialty I would want to pursue; I'm hoping that will become clearer as I get my BSN. Plus, I haven't taken the GRE and what with taking prereqs, working/getting hospital experience and readjusting to American life (i.e. eating, eating, eating) I think I'd feel overwhelmed by studying for the GRE. I appreciate the ideas. Good thoughts for the future.
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    JDMitchell, a lot of schools waive the GRE if your GPA is above a 3.4 (I know Ohio State says it's waived if you're GPA is above a 3.0). Some master's entry programs get you a CNL or make you a nurse generalists so you don't have to pick a concentration.

    I think your peace corps experience can help set you apart. Being male will help! And you could use your (soon-to-be) healthcare experience to draw upon in your essays. Make sure you pick people who know you REALLY well for your recommendations. And make sure you have good and interesting and personal reasons for why you want to become a nurse (besides helping people because everyone says that)
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    I wouldn't do a Masters entry program unless you already have nursing experience. You may complete the program, but who would hire an MSN with no floor nursing experience?

    Taking prereqs at a community college will save you a lot of time and money. Plus they have more flexible scheduling. Just make sure the prereqs are accepted at the university (or universities) where you'll be applying. Then do your best to get straight As in the prereqs.

    Once you're back in the states call and visit the nursing schools you're interested in. They can evaluate your transcripts and recommend ways to improve your chances of being accepted. It will establish a relationship with the office staff and advisors and can't hurt if they recognize a familiar name in the stack of applications.

    Getting their advice is also a good reality check. The accelerated program I'm applying to has an official minimum GPA of 3.2 in prereq classes, but the counselor there said it's so competitive no one with less than a 3.8 has been accepted in the last few years.

    Also make sure their school has a high pass rate on the NCLEX. A school with a high pass rate is much more likely to not only prepare you for the test, but also to be well respected in the healthcare community so you have a better chance of getting a job once you graduate.


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