Nursing school will be full of challenges for you as a student. There will be mountains of reading, tests to take, and clinical skills to master. But, before all of that can begin, you have to be accepted into a nursing program. In 2012, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) released survey results that calculated the acceptance rate for nursing programs to be 39.5%. What does that mean to you? It means that yes, nursing school is competitive. Here are some tips to help you prepare for acceptance.
Get the facts
No two nursing programs are exactly the same. Investigate the programs in your area or in the area where you want to attend school and look at the admission requirements. Some schools require admittance exams while others require prerequisite courses. Some schools might require both. Get the details of the application process and any deadlines you will need to meet. Reach out to program advisors and ask questions. Take some time to explore the options. Do your best to determine what nursing school will best fit your goals.
Keep an open mind
Some schools offer multiple nursing degree programs. Some offer an Associate’s degree while others offer traditional or accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree programs. Be flexible with your schooling options. Maybe you can’t get into the BSN program right now. What about the Associate’s degree option? One of the beautiful things about the nursing profession is that there are always ways to advance your education. If getting the degree quickly is a priority, be willing to try some of the alternate pathways to get you to your goal of becoming a nurse.
Do the work
Being accepted to a nursing program will in some way focus on academic performance. Does this mean you need straight A’s in your academic background to be accepted? Certainly not! But, you will need to be willing to do whatever work needs to be done to meet the grade requirements for admission. Seek out resources to help you earn the grades you want or need to earn. Nursing school doesn’t come easily to everyone. Speaking from experience, I sought out a math tutor 2 days a week for a whole semester to help me with a prerequisite math course so I had enough learning support to get the grade I needed for my application. One or two low grades won’t end your nursing school dreams if you do the work needed to improve your performance and bounce back after you have a setback.
The truth is, nursing school is competitive and it doesn’t end at acceptance either. Nursing students have a reputation for being high achievers so for many, the competition continues throughout nursing school. However, just because it is competitive, it isn’t impossible. Get the facts, keep an open mind, and do the work you need to do to achieve your goal of becoming a nurse. Happy Studying!