How competitive is it to get into a nursing school?

  1. 0
    Hi Everybody! I have read many threads here and I think the advice is just great so I thought I would add my question here as well.

    I am very interested in becoming a nurse but I am quite confused what it takes to get into a nursing school. I know everybody needs to have their pre-requisets but beyond that what is a determining factor?

    I keep hearing these stories how difficult it is. One of my friends who is a nurse told about a woman she knows who has tried to get into a nursing school in many different places in Washington Tacoma, Shoreline and Everett to name few but hasn't had any success. The weird thing about it was that supposingly this person has gotten all A's in her pre-requisets and has previous experience. Since she hasn't had any luck here she is going to another state for a nursing school.

    I think it is great that she has an option of going to another state for a school. That is really not an option for me since I am married and have kids so I need to stay here and try to get into a school here.

    I also have attended in nursing advising sessions and in one of them an advisor said that if a person gets 3.0 and better on all the prerequisets it is pretty much guaranteed that they will be accepted to a nursing program.

    So please do advice me what is REALLY required of a person? What is it that they are looking for in candidates? I also know that in some colleges (Everett, Shoreline) you can apply several times a year. How many times should one person try to apply to one college? When trying to get into a school does a past excperience help or is not really a factor?
    I personally don't have any experience but I am considering becoming a CNA since I thought it might be helpful.

    Any advice would be appreciated!
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  5. 0
    Hello!

    In my experience, every nursing school has different specific criteria for acceptance. Some are based only on GPA, they start at 4.0 and go down the list until the spots are filled. Others, such at the Univ. of Washington program are looking for the "well-rounded" canidate. Their application points are divided into 5 20% sections: gpa, letter of recommendation, resume, hands on health care experience, and volunteer work (I belive those are correct, but not positive). So if your grades are lacking, but you have years of experience in health care and volunteer in your community, you can make up for it.

    My best advise is to go to website of each school you wish to apply to, and the acceptance criteria is typically spelled out. If it's not, contact the advisor for that school and ask very specific questions if you aren't able to make it to the general info session that most hold which will usually provide everything you need.

    As far as applying, do it to as many schools as possible and as many times as it takes. Some schools will tell you where you are lacking if you aren't accepted, others are not able to do so due to applicant volume. Some general things are to retake a science or pre-req course if you have a low grade and work to keep a high GPA, even if it means taking one less class a quarter. Find a place to get hands on experience that will set you apart from all other applicants. Being memorable is key when there are hundrends of applicants for only 80 or so spots. It's also important to get your letter of recommendation from a nurse who has observed you in a patient care setting. These are typically more powerful as they will be able to speak more directly about your ability to perform well as a nurse. Volunteer work is also key to some schools, and again the more the application reviewer will look and say "wow, that must have been a great experience", the better. I can understand this is difficult with a family, but don't get discouraged if it takes a while. I just read yesterday that over 125,000 qualified applicants were turned away from nursing programs last year, due to lack of space alone! Most people prepare for at least 2 or 3 years and doing so activly will help ensure you are a stand out candidate.

    If you have any other questions, especially regarding the UW program requirements, let me know (post or PM) since that is the one I am most familiar with and I'll answer any questions I can.

    Best of luck, I hope this helped!
  6. 0
    WOW! Thanks Carissa, it sounds like I have a lot of work ahead of me. For the last five years I have really "only" been a mom so I am starting in the beginning. I will be going to a community college for my prerequisets and was thinking that I may have better chance of getting into a program in community college. I think community college is also much cheaper.
  7. 0
    Unfortunately, there isn't 1 single characteristic to focus on. To be competitive (which it is here in the Seattle area), you need to have everything and you need to be strong in everything. You need volunteer or work experience with/around nurses. You need to have most prerequisite classes done, and you need to have good grades in them. You will also need a good overall GPA. You need community involvement experience. You need excellent recommendation letters. You need amazing application essays.

    Once you have all these things, your application will quickly rise to the top and you will be accepted. This has been my experience, and I started at the bottom.

    Best of luck!
  8. 0
    Everyone has given you great advice and a very well rounded look at what it is like to get into Nursing School in Western Washington. I have found that though all the schools have SOME similar requirements (Chem, A&P, Micro) each school has one or two classes that is a unique requirment (example, Bellevue requires a specific Multicultural Communications class, Shoreline just wants {just about} any Multicultural class)

    All the school's websites are fairly good, though some you have to contact the school to get their packet of info (Highline, for instance). Try to attend as many info sessions as possible, that is where you'll learn the most. If you don't have your questions answered by the info session, make an appointment with an advisior (Everett's info session is all about the Nursing profession and has almost zero to do with their program specifically...that was a waste of an afternoon for me).

    Since you are just starting out, especially since you've been "only" a mom for 5-years (GIVE ME A BREAK....YOU KNOW HOW HARD THAT IS!!!) take it slow at first. It is quite an adjustment to start school again. Take only 1-2 classes at a time, at first. Take a Math Placement test to know where you stand there (unless you've already had College Calculus or Stats). Chem 101 or Bio 101 are good places to start...you'll want those out of the way before you get into some of the more difficult science classes.

    If you can find the time, try to volunteer at a hospital a few hours per week. That will give you some hands on experiene (most schools strongly recommend, or require it, though Bellevue doesn't even consider volunteer work) Another suggestion is to get Nursing Assistant Certified. It is great experience and all the schools give bonus points for it.

    Good luck to you! I just got my first REJECTION letter (I am so bummed! :angryfire ) It was from Shoreline...I had a 3.8 GPA in my classes, but I was lacking enough voluneer hours to make an impact. Now I am working on getting my NAC.

    Tabitha
  9. 1
    Everyone has alreay posted some great responses about what it takes to get in, so I'll just add a few things here in addition instead of repeating everything :chuckle

    1. Do your own research into the programs, do not get discouraged by urban myths circulating as "generally accepted truths" amongst pre-nursing students.

    2. Figure out which school you believe to be the best fit for you. After doing #1 I formed my own judgement of the programs

    3. Focus your energies on applying to the "best fit" schools, few people can be "be everything to everyone" at once. For example I went to one of the top 5 public universities in the nation and held highly responsible jobs in the private sector. Schools that don't care where I got my undergrad or even that I have a BA don't "work in my favor". Along the same lines programs that give me the exact some # of points for non-healthcare work experience as they would to a burger-flipper don't "work in my favor" either. I wouldn't stand out in those cases. However that same system may be good for folks who do very well in their pre-req.s, don't have a BA, and have CNA/LPN work experience. Figure out your strengths, and focus energy to enhancing those, then apply to schools that would look favorably on your strenghs.

    Good luck and your persistance will pay off!
    wonderchic24 likes this.
  10. 0
    Quote from westcoastgirl
    Everyone has alreay posted some great responses about what it takes to get in, so I'll just add a few things here in addition instead of repeating everything :chuckle

    1. Do your own research into the programs, do not get discouraged by urban myths circulating as "generally accepted truths" amongst pre-nursing students.

    2. Figure out which school you believe to be the best fit for you. After doing #1 I formed my own judgement of the programs

    3. Focus your energies on applying to the "best fit" schools, few people can be "be everything to everyone" at once. For example I went to one of the top 5 public universities in the nation and held highly responsible jobs in the private sector. Schools that don't care where I got my undergrad or even that I have a BA don't "work in my favor". Along the same lines programs that give me the exact some # of points for non-healthcare work experience as they would to a burger-flipper don't "work in my favor" either. I wouldn't stand out in those cases. However that same system may be good for folks who do very well in their pre-req.s, don't have a BA, and have CNA/LPN work experience. Figure out your strengths, and focus energy to enhancing those, then apply to schools that would look favorably on your strenghs.

    Good luck and your persistance will pay off!
    Westcoastgirl:

    I am very impressed with your insights into the challenge of finding the right nursing school. Any pre-nursing student would benefit greatly from this advice. I especially appreciate the "work in your favor" section. My #1 choice for school is one of those that give the same points for the burger-flipper as they do for my nearly 10-years in management positions (Guess who!!) If I had thought as stratigically as you have, I may have been in school by now!

    Tabitha
  11. 1
    I'm wondering if there are other repeat-applicants to UW who are again licking their wounds of rejection right now (?)

    I was bummed but also invigorated last year after being rejected by UW. I knew I was short on classes and experience, so I hit the classrooms and hospitals with the determination of getting into UW the next go-round.

    Over the next year, I finished all my prerequisites with a 4.0 in both A&Ps and a 3.8 in Micro (3.86 total science GPA). I gained over 400 hours of volunteer experience in 2 local hospitals with a raving recommendation from one of the charge nurses (exp. was in an ED and a PACU). I left my career to devote myself full-time towards the goal of getting into nursing school. I'm a well-balanced person with caring and goal-oriented values. I'm a male, which I thought might help.

    I also learned about accelerated BSN programs in other states for post-bacc students, so I applied to 6 of these programs as well as UW (WA has no accelerated BSN programs). I was accepted to all 6 accelerated programs, some where I competed with up to 1,000 other applicants. I was rejected again by UW.

    While I'm a little disappointed, I'm also happy that I'll be attending Johns Hopkins, which will have a lovely appearance on my CV when applying to jobs and grad school. I have a relative who used to work for the WA state board of higher education, and he said that I just don't have the right skin color for UW's nursing school (I'm white).

    Are there other people out there who thought they would get into UW because of a strong profile, but didn't? I'm trying to hold my head up high and remember that when people ask from which institution this great nurse acquired their education, it will be JHU, not UW!
    j450n likes this.
  12. 0
    Quote from Summitk2
    I'm wondering if there are other repeat-applicants to UW who are again licking their wounds of rejection right now (?)

    Over the next year, I finished all my prerequisites with a 4.0 in both A&Ps and a 3.8 in Micro (3.86 total science GPA). I gained over 400 hours of volunteer experience in 2 local hospitals with a raving recommendation from one of the charge nurses (exp. was in an ED and a PACU). I left my career to devote myself full-time towards the goal of getting into nursing school. I'm a well-balanced person with caring and goal-oriented values. I'm a male, which I thought might help.

    I also learned about accelerated BSN programs in other states for post-bacc students, so I applied to 6 of these programs as well as UW (WA has no accelerated BSN programs). I was accepted to all 6 accelerated programs, some where I competed with up to 1,000 other applicants. I was rejected again by UW.

    While I'm a little disappointed, I'm also happy that I'll be attending Johns Hopkins, which will have a lovely appearance on my CV when applying to jobs and grad school. I have a relative who used to work for the WA state board of higher education, and he said that I just don't have the right skin color for UW's nursing school (I'm white).

    Are there other people out there who thought they would get into UW because of a strong profile, but didn't? I'm trying to hold my head up high and remember that when people ask from which institution this great nurse acquired their education, it will be JHU, not UW!
    For the UW, did you apply for the BSN only or their MEPN program? If it was the latter, then there was one more factor you needed to consider: the focus area you chose on your application. If you chose FNP, ANP or mid-wifery, those were the more "popular" slots. So you would be competiing with more highly qualified candidates. There only have 20 slots at the UW which is far less than Hopkins with 150 slots. (Don't get me wrong; they are both highly competitive schools to get into!) There may only be 3 - 4 slots for FNP, so the odds would be stacked against you, no matter how stellar your grades.

    Congrats on getting accepted at Hopkins! :hatparty:

    Smile123
  13. 0
    Quote from sunnyday1
    Hi Everybody! I have read many threads here and I think the advice is just great so I thought I would add my question here as well.

    I am very interested in becoming a nurse but I am quite confused what it takes to get into a nursing school. I know everybody needs to have their pre-requisets but beyond that what is a determining factor?

    I keep hearing these stories how difficult it is. One of my friends who is a nurse told about a woman she knows who has tried to get into a nursing school in many different places in Washington Tacoma, Shoreline and Everett to name few but hasn't had any success. The weird thing about it was that supposingly this person has gotten all A's in her pre-requisets and has previous experience. Since she hasn't had any luck here she is going to another state for a nursing school.

    I think it is great that she has an option of going to another state for a school. That is really not an option for me since I am married and have kids so I need to stay here and try to get into a school here.

    I also have attended in nursing advising sessions and in one of them an advisor said that if a person gets 3.0 and better on all the prerequisets it is pretty much guaranteed that they will be accepted to a nursing program.

    So please do advice me what is REALLY required of a person? What is it that they are looking for in candidates? I also know that in some colleges (Everett, Shoreline) you can apply several times a year. How many times should one person try to apply to one college? When trying to get into a school does a past excperience help or is not really a factor?
    I personally don't have any experience but I am considering becoming a CNA since I thought it might be helpful.

    Any advice would be appreciated!

    Seattle Central Community College is the only program in Western Washington that is first come first. In the fall on the first day you can sign up if you line up and get their early in the morning I.E 2am you line up and if you have a number below 40 and below you more than likely will be accepted--Make sure you submit all your transcripts at least a month in advance and have attended an orientation and talked to an advisor before lining up on the first day. I have heard through the grapevine that the school has a poor reputation--They are on warning and may loose their accred's. Shoreline Community College has an excellent reputation and the process is very clear. It is very competitive and the highest scores get in. You have to have 114++ to get accepted. Highline has a great program and if you have good grades and do a nice job on their essay you stand a good chance to get in. Bellevue has a reputation that you have to have 4.0 to get in and have some goofy math requirements. Tacoma you would need to be a student there to begin with since they have a 3 anatomy series that they use points for to get in. Hope this helps


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