It is said that the younger you can attain your BSN the better, but it is tough often having to move away from home, make new friends, getting used to university life and still having all the normal young persons problems such as juggling friends, social life, boy drama etc. However, the mature students often appear more confident particularly on clinicals and tend to be far more serious with regards to study etc although they often have family responsibilites.

In Ireland the majority of first year student nurses are probably aged 17-19. We enter straight out of high school however there are opportunities for mature students ( i think you are classed as mature if you are 23 or older) but mature student places are limited. I was wondering just simply our of curiosity, is this different in America?

Specializes in ICU, Stepdown ICU, CCRN.. Has 10 years experience.

I go to a community college and I think the youngest person in my class is going to be 22 soon. The oldest student is in his 40s. Most of people in my class are probably around 26-33. Alot of us are going back for a second career in our community college associates program.

Though, BSN programs are probably different. I am assuming most of the students are probably around 20 yrs old. Most colleges I know start off with general courses the first two years and then get into the actual nursing classes their junior year (making them around 20 yrs old.)


39 Posts

I was 17 during my first year of college. I finished all of my prerequisites my first year of school. I know from experience that age doesn't have that much to do with maturity. There were people in my classes anywhere from 16-60 years old. I was more mature than most people in my classes. There were several people in my classes in their mid to late twenties who acted like they were in middle school. I don't know if it was because I attended community college, but most of the people in my classes, seemed to seemed to lack matureity. But I defiantly think maturity affects your ability to get into nursing school, but they focus on grades mainly. I had good grades, because I was mature enough to study (because you can't pass classes if you don't..haha) which I think is the biggest factor. I got into nursing school at 17 years old, where as the twenty year olds in my class didn't.

NICUmiiki, DNP, NP

1,774 Posts

Specializes in Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. Has 8 years experience.

It's not the same here as in Ireland. I could see a program in the U.S. getting slapped with a big fat lawsuit for limiting spots on the sole basis of age. It's discrimination and illegal.


180 Posts

It's not the same here as in Ireland. I could see a program in the U.S. getting slapped with a big fat lawsuit for limiting spots on the sole basis of age. It's discrimination and illegal.

sorry i should have also said that in Ireland you do the leaving certificate examination, are awarded points depending on your grades. In order to enter any course you must get a certain number of points. Generally people aged 17-19 sit the leaving cert as it is done in school however anybody of any age can sit it and Im pretty sure that they can enter college this way too however it isnt very common for anyone older than say 21 to enter college this way. Mature students (as we call them) although there are limited places, enter the course (as far as i know) through interviews and stuff. So in this way gives older people who may not have the same leaving cert points can still enter therefore it is kinda the opposite to discrimination i suppose!! :)

classicdame, MSN, EdD

2 Articles; 7,255 Posts

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

you would find all ages in live and online classes in USA. I was 45 when I started nursing school. Points are not always a consideration regarding secondary education. Admission may be based on the entrance exam score to the particular college. Schools (and the states they are in!) have different requirements. Most are eager to take any student who can pay. So getting in may not be as hard as getting out. It is possible to attend nursing school all those years then flunk out, or not pass the national board exam. In that case you would have a degree, but not a license. Licensure requirements also different from state to state, so we might have 50 versions, excluding Puerto Rico and Guam (USA territories). Can be confusing.