Have you been thinking about pursuing nursing as a career? If so, you’re not alone. Nursing is one of the fastest-growing career fields in the U.S., with a projected growth rate of 7% over the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The career flexibility, compensation levels, and personal sense of satisfaction to be gained from a nursing career are enough to attract plenty of people to consider going to nursing school and take steps toward a new career.
But what are the steps you can take to raise your chances of acceptance to any nursing school, and how can you find easy nursing schools to get into that are appropriate for your life circumstances? Let’s explore each of these elements to help you find a nursing school that’s right for you.
How to Make Getting into Nursing School Easier
While there are a number of paths you can take for pursuing your nursing education, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is the one most preferred by healthcare employers to enter the profession and offers a number of other benefits. For one, among other benefits, a BSN opens a pathway for pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), should you desire to advance your career further.
Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) programs offer an alternative option to traditional BSN programs, providing everything a student will need to achieve a BSN degree on an accelerated timeline (typically 11 to 16 months, instead of four years for a traditional program) while blending online and in-person learning.
Now that we’ve explored the types of nursing degrees and program formats you’ll be looking at, let’s examine how you can boost your admission chances and find easy nursing schools for you to get into.
Meet Basic Nursing Program Requirements
Just like each nursing school is different, each nursing program will have slightly different requirements you’ll need to meet to be accepted as a student. Luckily, even if you don’t currently meet some requirements, you can take steps to become eligible with the right plan.
Level of Education Completed
There’s no getting around it: without a high school diploma or GED, it will be nearly impossible for you to become a traditional BSN student at any accredited nursing school. Luckily, there are plenty of accessible options for GED study, and on average, you could likely complete this step of the process within three months.
For 2nd degree ABSN program students, completing a set amount of credits or achieving a non-nursing bachelor’s degree are going to be required. If this applies to you, then you’ll need to be sure you’ve completed the next most important thing: prerequisite courses.
Many nursing schools offering ABSN programs have prerequisite courses that you’ll need to complete before you’ll be eligible to apply. However, many nursing schools also offer accelerated online-based prerequisite courses and some even offer conditional acceptance to those who enroll in prerequisites.
However, even if you do meet other criteria, your GPA in high school or college can determine the schools you’ll be able to get into. Nearly every single nursing school will have some type of GPA requirement, and if your GPA is not high enough then you could have difficulty getting into a major accredited institution.
What if My GPA is Too Low?
You can work around any issues created by your GPA in several ways. First, you have the ability to potentially boost your GPA by retaking courses and improving your grades, either at an institution you’re currently attending or at a community college (though it’s important to ensure your credits will transfer).
With nearly 300 ABSN programs nationwide, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, you’re likely to find a program that will accept your application. You may have to be open to relocating in order to attend a program, but many institutions are high-quality despite being less well known than big-name nursing schools. No matter what your GPA is, you have options when attempting to gain admission into nursing school.
Increase Your Chances When Applying
When applying to nursing school, on top of meeting requirements you’ll want to stand apart from the pack and showcase that you’d be an ideal candidate for a school’s nursing program. Follow these steps during the application (and potentially, interview) part of the process, and make the best impression possible.
Meeting application deadlines, keeping track of forms and generally understanding what you’ll need to do next during the application process will remove a huge amount of strain and stress from the process. Without handing in the right forms your application could be dead in the water, and by staying as organized as possible, you won’t have to worry about unintended pitfalls.
Communication skills are key to being successful in a nursing career, so you should begin honing these as early as possible. Prompt replies to admissions departments, as well as effective application letters that communicate your values and drive, can go a long way in making an application stand out over another, sloppier entry, and make it easier to get into nursing school.
Gain Pre-Nursing Experience
This is not strictly necessary, but the more experience you have in interacting with patients in a clinical setting, the better your nursing school application will look. Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) can take as few as six months, and the jobs you can do with this certification will certainly transfer into a nursing skillset. Otherwise, volunteer work with a medical focus can be a great application differentiator and increase your odds of getting into nursing school.
Find a Nursing School for You
If you follow the advice in this post, hopefully most nursing schools will be easy for you to get into. If you’re ready to find a nursing school, our online form will allow you to research nursing school opportunities within your state and connect with admissions representatives to begin the application process. Good luck, and remember that you have the skills to succeed as a nursing student and in your career.