Congrats on almost being finished with nursing school! What 3veggiesRN said above is true: Experience with kids is a MUST. I did not have a specialty preceptorship or capstone in Peds, BUT, I did have quite a bit of volunteer experience and work with kids to make up for it. I got hired for the ED and had ED experience already (including getting to do my Peds rotation in nursing school at a Level I Pediatric Trauma Center), so I think that helped as well. For people who only had a Peds rotation, and don't have any other volunteer work specific to kids (or other experience with children) you prob wont get an interview. Sorry to say.
Tips would be:
1) Be flexible and make it known that you are flexible. ED was my 1st choice and I was blessed enough to get it, but for me, it was more about being at Children's CO and wanting to learn in THIS Residency program (which I still believe is the best around!) So in my resume and cover, I made that known and even wrote, "Preference for ED but flexible regarding unit placement."
2) Don't turn in a "same-old, same-old" cover letter. I dont know what anyone else in my cohort did, but I wrote from my heart. I told the story about what inspired my to become a Peds nurse, and told them exactly why I wanted to be at CHCO.
3) I took a boatload of extra Peds classes that were specific to Peds/ED nursings (ie PALs, NRP, etc). I also took a lot of Peds specific on-line classes that were available to me through my EMS agency. So check on-line and get as much Peds specific education that you can.
4) If you dont already do volunteer work with Peds, it's an absolute MUST, so start.
If you can, I would also set up an All Nurses thread for the Spring 2014 cohort. This site was so helpful to me when I was applying-- and it took a lot of stress out of it for me just getting the updates. I am sure there others out there who have questions as well, and it helps when you can keep each other posted with updates. Good luck and congrats again! :)