Nursing School - Application
Each nursing school has specific application/deadline submission dates which are noted on individual websites. NursingCAS is a new centralized application service that many nursing schools are starting to use. A current list of NursingCAS participating nursing schools is on the NursingCAS website. It is important for you to know the deadline dates for the schools/programs that you plan to apply as well as any requirements needed.
Many accelerated nursing programs have minimum fieldwork requirements as part of their application process, so gaining experience in the field of nursing through volunteer, shadowing and internships will be key to one’s acceptance at a competitive program. Additionally knowledge of a foreign language and multicultural competence is a requirement for many nursing schools.
Most accelerated nursing programs require applicants to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). See the ETS website for more information on preparing for and taking the GRE. Test scores need to be sent directly to the schools you apply to by their deadline. Most schools will not accept test scores older than 5 years at the time of application.
Letters of recommendation are critical. Letter requirements vary from school to school but generally, two to four letters of recommendation are required. Students must check individual school websites for specific letter guidelines as there is currently no one source with cumulative information for all programs. Most schools require letters from professional references who are acquainted with the applicant’s academic, work and volunteer experience. In general it is also wise to obtain a letter from a nurse who can speak to your interests and knowledge of nursing. Remember, it is YOUR responsibility to make sure you are submitting the correct letters for each school you apply.
You can influence the quality of your letter by providing your letter writer with useful information that will aid them in preparing your letter: a copy of your transcripts, your resume, a copy of your personal statement discussing why you want to be a nurse. You should plan on meeting with you letter writers to discuss the letter they will write you.
Electronic letters are strongly preferred by individual accelerated nursing programs as well as NursingCAS. Follow the instructions on individual application websites regarding what you need to do as well as how your writers can upload your letters. Read more tips and resources for how to obtain strong letters of recommendation.
A written statement of purpose is required in the admission process. In you statement, plan on addressing why you selected nursing as your career. The statement is an important aspect of the application and should receive careful attention. This is your opportunity to discuss how your relevant personal background and interests, education, and experiences have led you to select an education in the nursing field. Take time to review and rewrite your statement as many times as needed. Select individuals who know you well either personally or professionally to read your statement and provide you feedback. There are various character limits for statements. Refer to the individual application sites for complete details.
Not all nursing schools interview candidates. In some cases interviews are offered to competitive applicants at specific accelerated nursing programs. Some schools require you to interview as the next step in the admission process. Interviews will vary from school to school. You may be interviewed by a faculty member and an advanced nursing student. Your interview may be just you or you may be part of a group. When you are offered an interview, it is important that you research the type of interview each school conducts so that you can best prepare yourself.
The interview helps the school get to know you better. Like a job interview, schools are looking at you from a professional point of view. You may be asked questions regarding your accomplishments, why you selected nursing, your educational and experiential background, your communication skills, how you cope with change, stress or conflict, and your decision making and problem solving skills. Prior to your interview, take time to review your application, research the school and practice your interviewing.
Interviewing for Health Professions offers some tips and suggestions to help you prepare for your interviews.