Accepted entry-MSN/NP applicants

  1. For those that were accepted, what sort of volunteer experiences did you have? If you don't mind sharing that is Just want to see what it takes to get in! Did most of you have years of volunteering, or more like months?
    Last edit by RedHead85 on Apr 12, '07 : Reason: added more questions
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    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 35; Likes: 1


  3. by   lc3
    Quote from RedHead85
    For those that were accepted, what sort of volunteer experiences did you have? If you don't mind sharing that is Just want to see what it takes to get in! Did most of you have years of volunteering, or more like months?
    I had 4 years worth of work experience in health care and 2000 hours of volunteer service in the community and healthcare as well. I was also proactive in learning 2 foreign languages.

    I think it really depends what speciality you are trying to get into. I really tried to tailor my volunteer and work experiences to the track I was going for. Many of the applicants to these programs that get turned away are the ones that have generic volunteer experiences--they all have volunteer experiences at the hospitial, but dont really stretch themseleves beyond their comfort level. For example, my friend that got into a DE program volunteered at the Needle Exchange. I worked at a drug detox facility working with injection drug users coming off of heroin, meth, and coke.

    My suggestion is look at each particular schools's mission and vision. My school's mission is social justice and working with vulnerable populations so I opted to volunteer in a public health clinic with the underserved versus a hospital.

    There are also schools that say you dont need healthcare experience for their program, but you better believe that other applicants will have it. Hence, to be competitive you have to standout from the rest and look for challenging experiences. This way you can convey this in your essay and really show that you will be prepared to start grad school and handle being a nurse.

    good luck
  4. by   Winnie04
    Hello to a fellow redhead,

    I agree with lc3 that "what it takes to get in" varies from school to school, depending on how popular the school is (and thus how large/competitive the applicant pool is) and what the school's values are.

    I will be attending Johns Hopkins direct entry program this summer, and I don't have as much health care work or volunteer experience as lc3...the only "direct care" experience I have was from when I worked at a psych hospital for a semester (5 months).

    I had a couple significant volunteer/leadership roles during college (which was a couple years ago), but they weren't health related (although they did serve the community in other ways). I also did volunteer research at a hospital for 2 semesters (helped two docs collect/analyze their data).

    Just about the time I started applying to schools last year I started volunteering at a hospital, so I had only been doing that a few months by the time my nursing school apps were in.

    I've had two year's work experience, in two different hospital-based behavioral research positions, that involve patient interaction but not patient care.

    If there is a magic formula for admissions, I haven't figured it out yet...Obvioulsly they take many other things besides work/volunteer experience into consideration. I imagine that schools want to see that you have at least been exposed to nursing/healthcare in some way or another, so you know what you are getting into. I think it is probably important that you can speak passionately about your interest in the field in your essays and interviews, and back it up with experiences you've had (personal or professional).
  5. by   ICU08
    Red Head 85:
    I was accepted to Columbia for the BS/MS program in Nursing Anesthesia, and I honestly have no health care experience. All of the schools I applied to did not have a requirement of volunteer experience, you tend to find that more with Physician Assistant schools.
    What may have helped me, was that I majored in Molecular Biology, had a good GPA, and currrently work as a Research assistant. So what to take away from that is, as long as your grades are good and you have some science background you should be fine being accepted into BS/MS programs. If you don't have those, then I would try to play up your healthcare experience and start volunteering, to grab the admission committees attention.

    Good luck with your applications!
  6. by   BerkeleyMom

    I agree with the other posters--it definitely depends on the competitiveness of the program and the individual applicant. There is so much variation in the application pool for these programs too--at my interview there were 22-yr-old Bio majors and 40-yr-old PhDs--I am not sure how much volunteer work any of them had, but that was probably just a fraction of the application score.

    I will be starting a direct-entry FNP program this Fall. Since last Fall I have been working as an on-call clerk, and volunteering, at a low income out-patient clinic. I chose to work there because it is the type of environemt that I see myself at in the future. Before that I volunteered for a year at an inpatient med detox facility, working with nurses and patients. While doing my undergrad, I did various community out-reach projects that were health-care related. I also volunteered at a Children's Hospital for 3 years when I was in high school.

    That being said, I would not have done all of that if I were already working in the field. Or, if an applicant is working 40+ hours a week to support themself, it may not make sense to spend hours a week volunteering. More importantly, the applicant should understand the role of the chosen specialty and I why it is a good match for them. If you can demonstrate that without additional volunteer work, then you may not need to.

    Even though I have countless hours of community service, it may have been my shadowing of FNPs that made a bigger difference. I was able to shadow 2 graduates of the program that I was applying to and I definitely included that in my application.

    In addition, I was a Bio major and did research in a genetics lab. Because I did not feel that that influenced my decision to become an FNP, I barely mentioned it in my application. I did however talk about balancing being a young mother and going to school because that *did* fit nicely into my essay.

    It is all about doing what works for you as an individual applicant. I would suggest volunteering if you have a strong desire to, if you have very little on your resume, or if you really feel you need it to understand a specialty. .... Best of luck!

    Last edit by BerkeleyMom on Apr 14, '07 : Reason: typo
  7. by   docaijia

    I'd like to resonate other posters that an applicant's chance of getting accepted really depends on the program and the school you're applying to. I've only applied to one program because I really believed that was the right one for me (UCSF Masters Entry Program in Nursing in the Family Nurse Practitioner specialty). I'll be attending in June. From my experiences applying, this was what I found out about the application process.

    1. Good grades (I'd say at least 3.5. If not, the grades need to compensated by experience and background.)

    2. Experience. Since I've only applied to UCSF, I know that the school really likes the "non-traditional" applicants who have UNIQUE backgrounds from which they can incorporate into the nursing philosophy. Most of applicants have volunteered at hospital or clinics, but the schools may look at what they actually do at these facilities. For example, I volunteered at a community clinic where I provided basic medical care and health counseling to underprivileged clients.

    3. Personal statement. So so important. If a person cannot write a genuine statement that shows how her/his experiences and interests have led her/him into nursing, then they need to re-evaluate their decision to apply.

    4. Interview. Most schools are looking for qualified applicants who are the right fit for the program. I recall at the UCSF interview, the director told us all 150 interviewees (600-700 applicants applied) are qualified. Unfortunately, they can only accept 70-80. Why does the other half get rejected despite their extraordinary qualifications? Basically, it comes down to how well the applicant fit into the school (e.g. teaching philosophy, community, student body, etc . . .)

    Hope this helps!