Methodology: Ranking Programs & Schools

Read allnurses' official methodology for ranking programs and schools, from LPN programs to RN to BSNs to DNPs. Programs

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Nursing school offers many benefits, making it an excellent choice for those interested in a rewarding and fulfilling career practiced by millions of Americans today.

Whether it be diverse career opportunities, job security, impactful and rewarding work, competitive salaries and benefits, or lifelong learning and professional growth, a career in nursing has something to offer everyone.

To help prospective students select the best school and career path, allnurses' has compiled many articles about the best, fastest, and most affordable programs available.

Methodology Overview

Schools and programs are picked and ranked in accordance with our methodology of surveying readers to understand what they value most while selecting schools, including NCLEX pass rates, graduation rates, student-faculty ratio, price, mode, duration, admission rates, and more for hundreds of the most prominent nursing schools in the United States.

Survey: What's Most Valuable to Students?

  1. We asked students and former students, "What are the five most important factors to you when choosing (or when you chose) your program?"
  2. We compiled all of the responses.
  3. Based on the number of responses and options for each specific survey, we calculated the average number of responses across all factors.
  4. Each factor response total was taken from the survey and divided by the average calculated in step 3. This gets us the initial "weight" or importance of a factor.
  5. The weight in step 4 was normalized to get a maximum score of 100.

Methodology Example

This example is to further elaborate on our methodology and is not representative of exact survey responses.

If 50 survey respondents each choose their top 5 factors across 10 different selections, they will provide 250 responses in total.

  • The average response for each top 5 factor would be 25 (250/10).
  • If "cost" was a top 5 decision-making factor for 50 respondents, or double the average, that would give it a weight of 2x an average factor.
  • If each school was given a 1-5 score on each importance factor, there would be a maximum score of 125 (25x5). To convert to the maximum possible score of 100, we divide each school's score by 125.

ADN Methodology

The following are the weighted results from allnurses' survey on ADN programs.

Factor Weight %
Cost 21%
Location 15%
High pass rates for NCLEX 15%
Nursing clinicals placement 13%
Length of time to obtain degree 9%
Flexibility of schedule 7%
Academic Reputation 7%
Specific nursing school accreditation - ACEN, CCNE 5%
Grads get good jobs 5%
Graduation rate 4%
Total 100%

BSN Methodology

The following are the weighted results from allnurses' survey on BSN programs.

Factor Weight %
Cost (tuition, housing) 21%
NCLEX Pass Rates 20%
Academic reputation 17%
Length of time to obtain degree 14%
Nursing clinicals placement 8%
Availability of online courses 8%
Graduation rate 7%
Specific nursing school accreditation - ACEN, CCNE 5%
Total 100%

RN to BSN Methodology

The following are the weighted results from allnurses' survey on RN to BSN programs.

Factor Weight %
Length of program 24%
Curriculum 16%
Cost 16%
Availability of online courses 12%
Academic reputation 12%
Flexibility of schedule 10%
Specific nursing school accreditation - ACEN, CCNE 4%
Graduation rate 4%
Grads get good jobs 4%
Total 100%

General Application of Methodology

Our survey included three different programs in total (ADN, BSN, RN to BSN), so for other rankings of programs like MSN, DNP, and all else excluding the aforementioned, we conglomerated all survey data into consideration.

Factor Weight %
Cost 19%
Length of time to obtain degree 16%
Academic reputation 12%
High pass rates for licensing exams 11%
Nursing clinicals placement 7%
Availability of online courses 7%
Flexibility of schedule 5%
Curriculum 5%
Location 5%
Graduation rate 5%
Specific nursing school accreditation - ACEN, CCNE 5%
Grads get good jobs 3%
Total 100%

How to Pick a Nursing School & Program

Choosing the right nursing school and program requires careful consideration and research to ensure it aligns with your goals, interests, and personal circumstances. Although it will be different for everyone, some key considerations are:

  • Accreditation: Verify that the appropriate accrediting bodies accredit the nursing school you're considering.
  • Program Options: Determine whether you prefer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), or diploma program. Research the curriculum, clinical experience opportunities, and any specialized tracks or concentrations offered.
  • Location: Consider the location of your desired nursing school and its impact on you. Factors such as proximity to home, support, cost of living, and more should be considered.
  • Faculty and Resources: Research the qualifications and experience of the nursing faculty, and evaluate the resources and support services available to students, such as tutoring and career counseling.
  • Cost and Financial Aid: Consider the tuition and additional fees and whether they align with your financial situation in order to determine if the program is within your budget.
  • Reputation and Success Rate: Research the reputation of the nursing school and their NCLEX pass rates, graduation rates, and post-graduation employment rates to understand their success rate.
  • Continued Education Opportunities: Look into which schools offer continued education, bridge programs, or transfer credits that align with your interests or needs.

Ultimately, finding the right nursing school and program involves conducting thorough research, visiting campuses if possible, talking to current students and alumni, and carefully considering your personal preferences and goals. Consider your options and choose the one that fits you best. Hopefully, allnurses has been able to benefit you in your research.

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