I am a Spring 2015 cohort and would like to offer some advice on the personal statements. They are what gave me the most anxiety in my application!
Please note that in cohorts past Duke did interviews with candidates at Duke Days. Starting with my cohort and yours, and beyond, this is not the case. Therefore, it is imperative that you include all pertinent information concisely in your personal statements, as well as delineate other pertinent info in your resume. I highly recommend EVERYONE upload a resume attachment; this can be as many pages as you want. I included my professional and my job resumes to show to Duke what I have been doing since undergrad to fill in the holes.
- Don't get ahead of yourself in your essays. Duke already knows why you're applying to Duke vs. a community college. They know you want to be a leader in the health field. There's no need to jump ahead and discuss how you want to become a NP. Talk first and foremost about your passion for NURSING. If you wish, vaguely, and I mean at most in a sentence, discuss how you are open to exploring furthering your nursing career.
- DO add personality and flair. Since admissions officers don't do interviews anymore, this is important. Tap into your voice. Sound stoic and professional but also add in some solid word choices and/or narratives that illustrate who you are. Ex) "When my adorable morkie Teddy and I aren't being avid Netflix and Pinterest junkies, I concentrate my time on volunteering with the local boys & girls club."
- Be concise. The character limit is very binding. I edited my essays 4-5 times, submitted them to all my friends who are pursuing Master's, and then edited them even further. In fact, upon getting friends' advice, I completely changed up two of my essays. I am so grateful for their guidance
- Don't be cheesy. All admissions officers know that ABSN candidates had some kind of life changing moment where nursing was spelled out to them. Unless this story is very close to you (i.e. a family member's health has depreciated and you've been caring for them, a health issue of your own), avoid the dramatics and instead just state that you want to advance your biology degree by serving others.
- Do stress patient contact. It's what nursing is all about! You may come from a research background but what about your background and personality would make you excel with patients?
- GRE scores are not the end all, be all. GPA, work experience, volunteer and research experience are more credible. Having patient experience via research or CNA is invaluable in your chances of admissions!