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Nursing School Preparation - Experience

It is important you have an understanding of the nursing field through experiences you have gained in student groups, volunteering, or work experience. Like many other graduate and professional programs, nursing schools like to admit applicants who are well-rounded and have a clear, firm commitment to their goals. In general, a well-rounded applicant will have a solid GPA, and have participated in and made significant contributions in their extracurricular activities such as a student organization, volunteering in a healthcare setting (i.e. hospital, hospice, community clinic), research, etc.

Admissions committees expect you to have researched the nursing profession and know some of the issues nurses currently face. Additionally, the admissions committee will want to know specifically why you are pursuing a career in the nursing profession.  Field experience is a requirement for many accelerated nursing programs.  Students are encouraged to do one or more of the following to gain exposure to nursing and the healthcare field.

  1. Conduct an informational interview, shadow, or observe a nurse.
    1. Apply for an Externship with a Cal Alum during Winter Break through the Career Center’s Externship program.
    2. Search for nurses through nursing related Professional Organizations such as the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).
    3. Become involved in pre-health on-campus student organizations.
  2. Find healthcare related volunteer opportunities.
    1. Health & Medicine Volunteer Opportunities
    2. Tang Center
    3. Become a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant)
  3. Find a healthcare related Internship.
    1. Internship Opportunities in Health & Medicine
    2. Get involved in a healthcare cause that excites you.  There may be internship or job opportunities that involve everything from translating in a foreign language to getting paid to assist emergency room professionals with the administrative details of patient care with a Scribe Program.
    3. Explore health related programs abroad.
    4. Health & Medicine Job Opportunities

Getting exposure to the nursing profession can make you a competitive applicant and help you to begin to identify what skills, values and interests you enjoy in this profession.


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