Before you contact a program, learn what to know about a nursing program by reading these nine questions to ask nursing school admissions. Being aware of these questions will help you choose a program that meets your standards and is a good fit for you.
So you are getting ready to make your first phone call to admissions, but you are not quite sure what to know about nursing school or what to look for in a program. Whether you choose an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) or a traditional BSN program, you will be given the opportunity to contact an admissions counselor who can help you walk through the steps to submitting your application to the program. Your counselor can provide you with helpful information, but there are still some important questions to ask nursing school admissions before you commit to a program.
1. How long will the program take?
The first of your questions to ask in a nursing school interview should be about the length of the program. Because nursing is a significant investment into your future, you should plan accordingly. Depending on which program you choose, you can be in school from anywhere between a year and four years. Your counselor can help you decide if an Accelerated BSN timeline is a good fit for your lifestyle and needs, but be sure that you are ready to commit to the length of the program you apply to.
Is an ABSN program right for you? Here is more information on how an accelerated nursing program works.
2. When are the program start dates?
While a traditional nursing program offers start dates at the beginning of each fall and spring semester, ABSN programs are a bit different. This can vary by school, but many programs offer three start dates throughout the year since they tend to run year-round. Start dates are very important to know because you may need to complete requirements before being admitted; if you miss the deadline, you will have to wait until the next start date to begin your classes.
3. What are your program accreditations?
Full accreditations are the primary indicator that you will receive a quality education from your school. They ensure that you will be able to take the NCLEX-RN® and find a job as a nurse. There are multiple types of accreditations and accrediting bodies, but there are a few in particular that you should look for. Check for the Commission on College Nursing Education (CCNE) as well as regional and state accrediting bodies. If a program has the seal of approval from the CCNE and regional accreditation, you can know that you are applying to a quality nursing school.
4. What are the NCLEX-RN® pass rates?
NCLEX-RN® pass rates are very important because they can tell you how prepared a school’s students were for their nursing licensure exam. If a school’s pass rate history falls consistently below the national average, that might not be a good sign. This means that you will have to do more work on your own to prepare for your licensure exams. Ideally, you will want to apply to schools that have pass rates at or above the national average. This will help you know that the classes you take really do help you prepare for the NCLEX-RN® exam.
5. What does the admissions process look like?
There are many steps to any admissions process. So in order to plan ahead, you should fully understand every step from your first phone call to the moment you submit your application. You will also want to determine what level of support you will receive during this process. How often will you get phone calls to help move the process along? Is your admissions counselor invested in your success? Work with your counselor to create a timeline so that your admissions checklist is completed before the application deadline.
6. What are the admission requirements?
Because each nursing program is unique, each will have different admissions requirements. You don’t want to waste time and energy applying to a program when you do not meet these standards. ABSN admission requirements might include previous college credits, a minimum GPA, completion of the TEAS or HESI exam, references, and a written essay submission. While some requirements are flexible and you can complete them during the admissions process, others are concrete. The admissions department will help you determine if you are a good candidate for the program, taking into account these requirements.
Worried that your GPA is too low for nursing school? You still have options. Learn about getting into nursing school with a low GPA.
7. What are the prerequisite requirements?
When entering an ABSN program, you will likely need to complete certain prerequisites before you can be eligible to apply. If you have a previous degree or have completed college credits, there is a good chance these will transfer. However, you will still need to make sure that you fulfill each requirement listed for your program. These often include pre-nursing courses such as Anatomy & Physiology, Microbiology, Statistics, and Chemistry. It can also include some general education requirements that help you to enter the program as a well-rounded individual. Your admissions counselor will help you identify which courses you still need to take and how to best go about fulfilling those requirements in a timely manner.
8. How is technology used in simulation labs?
The medical world is evolving, and the world of nursing education is evolving with it. Many nursing programs are integrating high-fidelity manikins to provide students with the best simulation lab experience possible. These manikins have additional features that allow students to practice additional skills and develop a more extensive foundation of knowledge before entering healthcare facilities in their clinical rotations. If you are interested in a high-tech lab experience, ask your admissions counselor what that will look like and what types of manikins are available for student use.
9. What medical facilities do you partner with for clinical rotations?
Clinical rotations are central to your nursing school experience. Not only are they a great opportunity to practice what you learn, they are a stepping-off point into your nursing career. With good networking skills, you may even be able to secure a position at one of the facilities you work with. As such, you want to make sure that the partnering hospitals and medical offices meet your working standards. Magnet status hospitals are especially important to look out for. This means that the hospitals are excellent work environments and attract quality nurses. Do your research not only on the nursing program, but on your clinical rotation settings as well.
Are You Ready to Apply to Nursing School?
When choosing to apply to a BSN or ABSN program, there is a lot to know, but your admissions counselor is there to help. Now that you have a set of nine questions to ask nursing school admissions, you are ready to take the first step.
By filling out our online form, we can get you connected with nursing schools in your area that meet your individual needs. Once you have it completed, you can expect to be contacted by admissions shortly. This service is completely free, and you are not obligated to any school that contacts you.