How competitive is it to get into a nursing school? - page 2

Hi Everybody! I have read many threads here and I think the advice is just great so I thought I would add my question here as well. I am very interested in becoming a nurse but I am quite... Read More

  1. by   Icess64
    Everyone has posted some good advice, and they are all right when they say that every school is different. Mine gets about 500-600 applicants a year but they only accept 50. I got in the first time because I worked my butt off and I had no delusions about the difficulty of getting in!

    This may or may not be the same depending on which school you choose, but for my school they have a very specific list of classes you have to take (44 credits to be exact). They put your applications in piles...those who have 44 credits, those who have 43 credits and so on. Out of those who have 44 credits, they look at grades, prior nursing experience, and things like that. Then they move down to the pile of people who have 43 credits and do the same process.

    If you have all your classes done, good grades and some prior experience ( I became a nursing assistant prior to applying) your chances should be pretty good. Maybe not the first time, but eventually you'll get in if you are trying as hard as it sounds you will! Good luck!
  2. by   Icess64
    Quote from nursingcare
    Bellevue has a reputation that you have to have 4.0 to get in and have some goofy math requirements.
    I got in to Bellevue, and I had a 3.69, not a 4.0. I didn't have to take any goofy math classes, just math 099 (intermediate algebra), which I think is standard--or you can assess out of math entirely.

    The big issue with Bellevue, is that you have to have 44 credits of very specific classes, and good grades in those classes, but not necessarily a 4.0. It also helps to have some kind of prior experience...i.e. you get points for being a CNA, EMT or other things in that area.

    I guess that just goes to show that you should find out from the school itself what their requirements are, not just what people say about them. Second-hand info should always be taken with a grain of salt.
  3. by   thida
    Quote from Carissa

    In my experience, every nursing school has different specific criteria for acceptance. Some are based only on GPA, they start at 4.0 and go down the list until the spots are filled. Others, such at the Univ. of Washington program are looking for the "well-rounded" canidate. Their application points are divided into 5 20% sections: gpa, letter of recommendation, resume, hands on health care experience, and volunteer work (I belive those are correct, but not positive). So if your grades are lacking, but you have years of experience in health care and volunteer in your community, you can make up for it.

    My best advise is to go to website of each school you wish to apply to, and the acceptance criteria is typically spelled out. If it's not, contact the advisor for that school and ask very specific questions if you aren't able to make it to the general info session that most hold which will usually provide everything you need.

    As far as applying, do it to as many schools as possible and as many times as it takes. Some schools will tell you where you are lacking if you aren't accepted, others are not able to do so due to applicant volume. Some general things are to retake a science or pre-req course if you have a low grade and work to keep a high GPA, even if it means taking one less class a quarter. Find a place to get hands on experience that will set you apart from all other applicants. Being memorable is key when there are hundrends of applicants for only 80 or so spots. It's also important to get your letter of recommendation from a nurse who has observed you in a patient care setting. These are typically more powerful as they will be able to speak more directly about your ability to perform well as a nurse. Volunteer work is also key to some schools, and again the more the application reviewer will look and say "wow, that must have been a great experience", the better. I can understand this is difficult with a family, but don't get discouraged if it takes a while. I just read yesterday that over 125,000 qualified applicants were turned away from nursing programs last year, due to lack of space alone! Most people prepare for at least 2 or 3 years and doing so activly will help ensure you are a stand out candidate.

    If you have any other questions, especially regarding the UW program requirements, let me know (post or PM) since that is the one I am most familiar with and I'll answer any questions I can.

    Best of luck, I hope this helped!

    Carissa, did you get accepted in the nursing program at UW? Are you in already? Can you please give me some insights/advices regarding the Proctored Essay requirement?

    Thanks in advance!
  4. by   algebra_demystified
    Here's my .02 on the matter. Every school is absolutely ridiculous to get into for one reason or another. Bottom line is they get tons of applications for a few spots and they have to have some way to select. There's no way around it.

    Some schools line up, some do lotteries, some stack by GPA, it's different at every school. It's tough.

    The school I got into has a lottery and apparently they choose who goes into the lottery. If they get 750 apps for 48 spots they drop the bottom half of GPA's, down to 375. Did you do any volunteer work OR have any experience? Down to 200. Did you repeat any classwork? Down to 175. Do you live in the area? Down to 100. OK, throw those 100 in the lottery and draw 48 names.

    So it's probably smart to put as many points on the board as you can in all different areas, and apply to as many schools as you think you could reasonably commute to. I would commute for 3 hours a day, that was my limit, so I applied to all schools within an hour and a half drive of my home.

    I am very lucky that I got into one on the first try. 3.2 GPA, some experience, no volunteer stuff... couldn't tell you why they pulled my number but I'm not asking any questions.
    [font="comic sans ms"]the problem with the whole process of trying to get into a nursing program is there is no set standard, each school has a different requirement for getting into their particular program. if they would make a national requirement set standard such as for medical schools. people could then apply to as many nursing programs as they want without worrying about taking yet another prequesite class. i suspect half of the people applying do not even want to be nurses, but they have choice because there are no other jobs. i am 42, and i am quite frustrated with having to wait 2-3 years just to get into an rn program.... best of luck to everyone, to all who finally made it into a program congratulations !!
  6. by   iluvmynavyman
    my sister just got in to nursing school and this is what she did

    had a 3.2 gpa on her pres
    bought rosestta stone and learned spanish
    gave her time to an aids hospice

    and was working as an cna

    so i guess it is possible but im not at that point yet
  7. by   ami-tay
    Not sure what else I can add except my experience:
    I have considered pursuing nursing for several years now but felt pretty intimidated by all the stories I had heard about how hard it is to get into AA programs (Shoreline, Everett, Bellevue, etc) so I sat on it for a long time.
    A few years ago, having renewed my determination and getting encouragement from friends, I decided to apply to a university with the hopes of earning a BSN. I chose to take all of my pre-req's there and, yes the tuition is steep, but I qualify for more financial aid as a result and the school has generous scholarships available.
    I took all of my classes here, volunteered at a hospital (with people who were applying to Shoreline and said they needed minimum 200+ volunteer hours <I think that answers another question I saw above.>), and applied last February. In addition to a minimum 3.0 GPA, essay, and recommendations, this school also requires you to pass the TEAS test with a minimum score of 80/100 before they will even consider your application. Turns out that was a deciding factor for some of my friends. I had one who had excellent grades but struggled on the English portion of the TEAS because she is from the Philippines. (She is applying again for this year).
    I guess my advice is find the place that's mission/vision statement matches yours, throroughly research all they require and begin your journey.
    I am not sure what your spiritual beliefs are, but I tended to look at my journey as being whatever God's plan was for me. If He wanted me to be a nurse, then I would get in and if I didn't, I would have needed to reexamine things for myself.
    Okay, not to be a downer, but I did get in and am now in my second semester of Junior year. Guess what? Getting in is just the beginning but the same determination you are using to get into Nursing school should be enough to see you through it.
    Hang in there!
  8. by   Icess64
    I messed this one up...see below.
    Last edit by Icess64 on Jan 11, '07
  9. by   Icess64
    Quote from pacnwnursing
    [font="comic sans ms"]the problem with the whole process of trying to get into a nursing program is there is no set standard, each school has a different requirement for getting into their particular program. if they would make a national requirement set standard such as for medical schools. people could then apply to as many nursing programs as they want without worrying about taking yet another prequesite class. i suspect half of the people applying do not even want to be nurses, but they have choice because there are no other jobs. i am 42, and i am quite frustrated with having to wait 2-3 years just to get into an rn program.... best of luck to everyone, to all who finally made it into a program congratulations !!
    i certainly hope that the people applying/getting into school want to be nurses, i can't imagine going through all that trouble getting in without having some sort of desire to do the job! and if that isn't enough, the workload alone would certainly drive those people just doing in for the money/lack of jobs out of the program. i'm into my second quarter and we've already lost a few people because the workload was too much, and these are people who had always wanted to be nurses...or so they thought.

    another note, i posted before about bellevue's standards for getting in...well now i've heard that they're switching to a lottery system starting with this year's applicants. i'm so glad i'm already in!
  10. by   RB11909
    It depends where you live in WA. I think the more persistent you are in applying and not giving up, and by putting yourself on the waiting lists, the better your chances will probably be. Also, 3.5 gpa or higher would also probably be preferred. ALso, sometimes I think they consider other things as well, like if you know other languages... I hope the best for you!
  11. by   RNGrad2006
    Quote from NurseTab
    Everyone has given you great advice and a very well rounded look at what it is like to get into Nursing School in Western Washington. I have found that though all the schools have SOME similar requirements (Chem, A&P, Micro) each school has one or two classes that is a unique requirment (example, Bellevue requires a specific Multicultural Communications class, Shoreline just wants {just about} any Multicultural class)

    All the school's websites are fairly good, though some you have to contact the school to get their packet of info (Highline, for instance). Try to attend as many info sessions as possible, that is where you'll learn the most. If you don't have your questions answered by the info session, make an appointment with an advisior (Everett's info session is all about the Nursing profession and has almost zero to do with their program specifically...that was a waste of an afternoon for me).

    Since you are just starting out, especially since you've been "only" a mom for 5-years (GIVE ME A BREAK....YOU KNOW HOW HARD THAT IS!!!) take it slow at first. It is quite an adjustment to start school again. Take only 1-2 classes at a time, at first. Take a Math Placement test to know where you stand there (unless you've already had College Calculus or Stats). Chem 101 or Bio 101 are good places to'll want those out of the way before you get into some of the more difficult science classes.

    If you can find the time, try to volunteer at a hospital a few hours per week. That will give you some hands on experiene (most schools strongly recommend, or require it, though Bellevue doesn't even consider volunteer work) Another suggestion is to get Nursing Assistant Certified. It is great experience and all the schools give bonus points for it.

    Good luck to you! I just got my first REJECTION letter (I am so bummed! :angryfire ) It was from Shoreline...I had a 3.8 GPA in my classes, but I was lacking enough voluneer hours to make an impact. Now I am working on getting my NAC.

    Don't give up...I have heard Shoreline has a great reputation which means it is also ultra competitive. I also heard that Shoreline has plenty of applicants with 4.0 that it makes it hard if you have a high GPA but not quite a 4.0. I went to Skagit. It is a great school and easier to get in since all they use is a wait list but once you are in it is sometimes hard to stay in since their program is probably as demanding as any of the others.
  12. by   nurseapplicant
    Hi there,

    I'm not a repeat applicant, but I'm licking my wounds. I think I went in a little bit naively, but was told by faculty members that I was a very strong candidate. I don't know what happened.

    To be honest, reading these posts is making me feel better.

    I still have applications out for other schools on the west coast, but I wonder if I should try for somewhere on the East Coast like Hopkins...

    Congratulations to you!

    Quote from Summitk2
    I'm wondering if there are other repeat-applicants to UW who are again licking their wounds of rejection right now (?)

    I was bummed but also invigorated last year after being rejected by UW. I knew I was short on classes and experience, so I hit the classrooms and hospitals with the determination of getting into UW the next go-round.

    Over the next year, I finished all my prerequisites with a 4.0 in both A&Ps and a 3.8 in Micro (3.86 total science GPA). I gained over 400 hours of volunteer experience in 2 local hospitals with a raving recommendation from one of the charge nurses (exp. was in an ED and a PACU). I left my career to devote myself full-time towards the goal of getting into nursing school. I'm a well-balanced person with caring and goal-oriented values. I'm a male, which I thought might help.

    I also learned about accelerated BSN programs in other states for post-bacc students, so I applied to 6 of these programs as well as UW (WA has no accelerated BSN programs). I was accepted to all 6 accelerated programs, some where I competed with up to 1,000 other applicants. I was rejected again by UW.

    While I'm a little disappointed, I'm also happy that I'll be attending Johns Hopkins, which will have a lovely appearance on my CV when applying to jobs and grad school. I have a relative who used to work for the WA state board of higher education, and he said that I just don't have the right skin color for UW's nursing school (I'm white).

    Are there other people out there who thought they would get into UW because of a strong profile, but didn't? I'm trying to hold my head up high and remember that when people ask from which institution this great nurse acquired their education, it will be JHU, not UW!
  13. by   pugmama
    Don't forget about the community colleges! They usually accept every quarter and are well-known for putting great nurses out into the world! Everett CC, Shoreline CC, Mt. Vernon's CC, Bellevue, just to name a few. Check 'em out! If you have your prereqs done and have decent grades, you stand a good chance.