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Guide for getting into nursing school.

Students Pre-Nursing Article  
posted (Updated: )

Has 1 years experience.

If you follow this guide for getting into nursing school then you will be a successful student, and you will get into nursing school. The successful pre-nursing major student will go through their ups and downs, but following these tips will make your life a lot easier, and will ensure acceptance into a nursing program. Remember to stay focused, friendly, and to get help when you need it.

Guide for getting into nursing school.

It is important to make straight A's. One or two B's is alright, depending upon your program, is okay, but to be safe, make all A's. If you are having problems with your school work, ask you teacher for tips and then form a study group. If it comes down to it, retake classes. Just remember to bust your rear-end to get really good grades.

Prepare yourself for nursing school entrance exams. See if your entrance exam has an official study guide. ATI has made an official study guide for the TEAS V. Also, check and see if your school offers study sessions for their nursing school entrance exams. If all else fails, do a Google or amazon search and I bet you will find something there.

Keep in good standings with your class mates and instructors. Some programs require letters of recommendation, and instructors are perfect for this. I'm not saying to kiss their bottom every chance you get, but try to be friendly with them. And you never know when a class-mate will end up working at a potential place of work, and the person over hiring and firing asks them about you.

Keep a positive attitude, and learn to love being a student. You are going to be one for the rest of your life.

Prepare yourself financially for nursing school beforehand. Also, you will need to prepare a lot of free time to study your heart-out in nursing school, so be sure to make arrangements. It's not impossible to get through the nursing school process with a family. In fact, many others have done it, but it does complicate things a bit.

You are never too old to enter the field. If an older nurse came into my room with me as the patient, I would just assume that they have been doing this job for a long time, and that would actually make me feel much more comfortable. Just be sure to show confidence. Also, don't be scared to enter nursing because you are a male or any other minority. There are places for everyone within the nursing field, regardless of where you live. Most males end up working in the ER like units which is where the vast majority prefer to be anyway.

Develop a support group. Getting through the pre-req's with flying colors can be very stress inducing, and having a family member or friend there to support you in the rough time can be very helpful, if you don't have those things then allnurses.com members are known for their encouraging words to struggling students. Just make sure that this is what you want to be doing, and that you are not going into nursing for the wrong reasons. Make sure that you are going in because you love patient care, and not for a pay check because you will be miserable beyond all means if you do, and not just at the nursing level, but also at the pre-nursing student level too.

Volunteer or work as a CNA first. Some schools favor students who volunteer their time or work as a CNA because it shows that they are really going into nursing for the right reasons.

Good luck, study hard and then have fun!

Point by point format

  1. Make good grades
  2. Study official nursing school entrance exam study, or similar material.
  3. Keep in good standings with your classmates and instructors
  4. Prepare yourself financially and free up ample time for studying.
  5. One is never too old, or is of the wrong minority to enter nursing.
  6. Develop a support group to reduce stress.
  7. Do volunteer work.
  8. Keep a positive attitude.

CMA (AAMA), EMT-B

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25 Comment(s)

This is great advice!!! Now I just need help getting straight A's :specs:

Another possible thing to add is to try to get some experience/volunteer work. The school I applied to (and didn't get into) noted that was a major drawback on my application.

Also, make sure to make A's the first time around! In some cases, retakes can be a negative when the number of slots is low and the quality applicant count is high. It can be the difference between acceptance and a waitlist! I speak from experience, but everything works out! Just do the best you can and apply to as many places as you can to have options. :)

If your choice of schools offer information sessions. go to one. If they don't, get to know someone in the admissions department. Find out what THEY think is most important on an application. I was told by several people to do volunteer work to get extra points towards getting into the school I wanted in but at the info session (nowhere else) they said up front, volunteering doesnt matter, grades matter. So I put my time into making As the first time around instead of volunteering and I got in.

Different schools look at different things, make the effort, find out what your top choices look at and focus on that instead of assuming what's generally true will definitely be true.

SopranoKris, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 5 years experience.

I second Grizabelle's comments. Determine which program you want to get into and then attend their pre-nursing seminar (if available). Meet with a pre-nursing advisor to make sure you're taking the correct classes. And most of all, if your school is based on a points system, find out what's going to earn you the most points for admissions and do it! Besides grades, the program I want to get into gives bonus points for either CNA, Phlebotomy, Medical Assisting or other type of medical certification (EMT, Respiratory Therapy, etc.) You also get points for volunteering or working in the medical field. With over 350 applicants for 128 spots, you need all the points you can get!!!

Bobmo88

Specializes in Emergency Room. Has 2 years experience.

Awesome advice, I would like add a few things and make a few comments.

1. Cannot emphasize enough how much harder it is to get into school if you become complacent with just Bs and even get Cs, this probably delayed me at least a couple of years. Do it right the first time!

2. In addition to the study guide, I would also purchase at least one of the online practice tests through ATI and review each justification for each wrong answer so you can increase your score.

4.Exactly, you'll always need to do continuing education to keep up with your license and learn new things as the field advances.

6. One of the traveler's at my work started nursing school in his 50s and he is an excellent nurse. He worked as a truck driver and as a peace officer before and he said school was one of the hardest things he had ever done but it goes to show that it's never too late.

7. "Make sure that you are going in because you love patient care, and not for a pay check because you will be miserable beyond all means if you do, and not just at the nursing level, but also at the pre-nursing student level too." I could not agree more with you. I understand that people have gone through hard times and many are pursuing nursing as a second career but if you are in it solely for financial purposes then you might want to reconsider your choice. I work as an ER technician right now and I know that I am capable of working in a high stress environment for 12 hours or more at a time. Health care isn't always as glorious as it is portrayed to be. You see some very sad things: you deal with very sick people, you deal with people that have hit rock bottom, you see people that have been abused and you deal with a lot of people who are not appreciative of what you do. I accept all of this as a reality and I honestly cannot see myself doing anything else, THAT is why I want to be a nurse, the paycheck is a nice bonus.

8. I think this is honestly one of the most important ones in my book. I wanted to know if this field was for me so I got certified as an EMT. I loved my ambulance ride along and my hospital clinical so after my class ended I applied to an internship at a local hospital. I got to volunteer in Telemetry, the ER (where I now work), the OR, and the NICU. This exposed me to a variety of hospital settings and made me appreciate how different members of the health care team worked together. It also showed that I am able to handle the things in health care that makes some people squeamish such as doing bed baths on patients, watching traumatic cases in the ER and literally seeing peoples' insides in the OR. If this field wasn't for me, I would have found out a long time ago before I finished my pre-reqs and applied to schools. For this reason I think everyone needs to volunteer before they make the huge commitment of going to nursing school.

Edited by Bobmo88

Well I'd say one thing from your post is make sure you want to do this. As a career changer, I can tell you how emotionally draining it is to have a job you hate. There are a lot of jobs out there where you can make as much or more than a nurse without many of the headaches. I sometimes think I'm crazy because I'm trying to get into a field with less income potential than my current career. Nursing is the only thing I can think about doing though.

About a year ago, I decided to get into nursing after graduating with a BS in 2010. 2 weeks ago, I got accepted into the one nursing school I applied to in NY...yess....pretty bawlsy.

One advice...and the ONLY advice. Get all A's or very few B's for your pre-reqs. Primarily, grades determine if you will get in or not. Unfair...I know. IF you have a 2.7 gpa with good experience and recs, you're prolly not gonna get in. This is not the 90's or early 2000's anymore when you can just apply to a nursing school and start school the following semester.

I'm quitting my decent paying job to go back to school for 2 years and I've been having a lot of second thoughts lately.

This is really great advice! However, I thought I'd ask...I graduated with a BS in Biology with a 3.59 GPA. I have A's in A&P 1 and 2, A's in my Chemistry courses, but I have a B+ in Microbiology and a B in Statistics (a prereq for many programs around me). Can anyone offer an opinion on if they think this would hurt me in getting into nursing school? I don't understand how getting a B in something is a bad thing. Some professors are really really difficult no matter how hard you try! :)

Hester,

The idea is really to do the best you can in order to be the most competitive applicant you can be. If you ask schools, they will tell you that their entrance pre-req GPAs have a wide range but the schools I've looked at have average pre-req entrance GPAs of 3.6 to 3.8. So there will be 4.0 students to offset the non 4.0 students but the closer you are to 4.0, the more competitive you are GPA-wise.

This is really great advice! However, I thought I'd ask...I graduated with a BS in Biology with a 3.59 GPA. I have A's in A&P 1 and 2, A's in my Chemistry courses, but I have a B+ in Microbiology and a B in Statistics (a prereq for many programs around me). Can anyone offer an opinion on if they think this would hurt me in getting into nursing school? I don't understand how getting a B in something is a bad thing. Some professors are really really difficult no matter how hard you try! :)

Seems good! B's are def not a bad thing....even a C in a class is not gonna hurt too much either. But try to get A's and try to get above 3.7 (pre-req) gpa.

Bobmo88

Specializes in Emergency Room. Has 2 years experience.

HesterPrynne,

I don't think the B+ and B are going to prevent you from getting into nursing school but some programs are super competitive. For example, the school where I'm finishing my BA (non-nursing but I'm starting a BSN program at a different school in the fall) has an average pre-req GPA of 3.9 for the accelerated BSN program and they only accept 36 students each year. Even though your grades are certainly better than mine, there is a chance that even you might not get into ultra competitive programs like this. Despite this, you have a good cumulative and pre-req GPA and I don't think you'll have trouble getting into a program.

HesterPrynne,

I don't think the B+ and B are going to prevent you from getting into nursing school but some programs are super competitive. For example, the school where I'm finishing my BA (non-nursing but I'm starting a BSN program at a different school in the fall) has an average pre-req GPA of 3.9 for the accelerated BSN program and they only accept 36 students each year. Even though your grades are certainly better than mine, there is a chance that even you might not get into ultra competitive programs like this. Despite this, you have a good cumulative and pre-req GPA and I don't think you'll have trouble getting into a program.

Bobmo,

That really sounds like CSUN, am I wrong? :)

Bobmo88

Specializes in Emergency Room. Has 2 years experience.

willowLA,

You are correct :up:! I am finishing my BA in Spanish at CSUN right now and will be starting the BSN program at CSUCI this fall. As much as I love CSUN (and the new student recreation center they just opened), I don't think I would've been able to get into the program because of how competitive it is. After I had applied to ADN programs, I wanted to get my BA so I could start applying to ELM and Accelerated BSN programs just in case things didn't work out. Nice observation :yeah:

jocy_anne

Specializes in Neonatal ICU. Has 2 years experience.

Great guide, Brian!!! One additional thing I can think of is to make sure you write down all the deadline dates for your school(s). I've heard that organizational skills are EXTREMELY important in Nursing school, so this is an area that can help you develop organizational skills prior to Nursing school if that is an area in which you struggle. I only applied to one school, but still made sure to put all the deadline dates in my calendar with reminders so I wouldn't overlook something. I also checked the school's website constantly to make sure there were no changes with dates or requirements. If you're applying to several schools, then I think doing all that would be even more important, since different schools have different requirements. It would be awful to put a lot of work into applying for a program, only to find out that you missed a test deadline or didn't meet the registration deadline for a pre-req.

Also, research your school(s) and be sure that they're a good fit for you. This is important if your school requires an interview prior to making admissions decisions. I applied to an ABSN-MSN program, so I was required to go in for an interview, and they did ask me what it was about Jefferson that drew me to the school. Just as it is important to go into the Nursing field for the right reasons, it is also important to choose your school for the right reasons. You are the only one who can decide what school is right for you!

On a personal note, I just finished up my Gen Chem II class last night, and will start Microbiology on May 21st. That will be my last prereq, and I will start the full-time Nursing program at Jefferson on September 5th! I'm so excited!!! :w00t:

Good luck to everyone!!!

willowLA,

You are correct :up:! I am finishing my BA in Spanish at CSUN right now and will be starting the BSN program at CSUCI this fall. As much as I love CSUN (and the new student recreation center they just opened), I don't think I would've been able to get into the program because of how competitive it is. After I had applied to ADN programs, I wanted to get my BA so I could start applying to ELM and Accelerated BSN programs just in case things didn't work out. Nice observation :yeah:

Bobmo88,

Haha That is too funny:) CSUN's info is deep in my heart and blood. Yep, very competitive.

I am glad you like CSUN, the campus looked like a peaceful big park to me, I really liked it when I saw it. Congrats to you on the program start in the Fall!!!

Great post!! I agree with a poster who stated that even with a difficult hot instructor getting a B is good! This is a good example even though you do you best an try some instructors are extremely difficult to pass.

Does anyone know of any books to help me with the admission process into nursing school? I want to increase my chances of getting in, but would love to find a book on it.

My college doesn't even go by a point system or have a waiting list. Everything depends on the NLN and only the top 60 scores get in (out of 400+ applicants). I'm so nervous, but ready for the challenge as well!

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