It is important to create a timeline for yourself when applying to nursing school but perhaps more importantly, your timeline should be flexible. Course scheduling, extra-curricular activities, deadline changes, etc. all contribute to a need for flexibility in your timeline.
For specific application deadline dates, you should always check individual nursing school websites. Generally, applications are submitted one year prior to the year you plan to attend. It is always a good idea to apply early. Applying early can help you avoid delays, allow for timely processing and improve your chances of being admitted to schools that use rolling admissions. Additionally, due to the high demand for nurses, a majority of nursing programs are impacted and competition is strong.
Here is a timeline that you should consider prior to and while applying to nursing school.
- Take prerequisite courses and meet with advisors.
- Begin to establish and develop “contacts” with professors, GSI’s, campus staff members, community members, employment supervisors, etc.
- Begin researching accelerated nursing programs.
- Get involved in extracurricular activities to acquire the skills and experience to stand out as an applicant, e.g., join a student org, volunteer, work, or research activities.
- Begin volunteering in various nursing settings to confirm your interest in nursing. Field experience is a requirement for many accelerated nursing programs.
- Prepare for and take the required entrance exam(s). Check the specific nursing school requirements for which exams are required.
- GRE – Register and choose from several dates but it is recommended you take the GRE well in advance of applying to accelerated nursing programs. Because application submission deadline dates vary, there is no ideal time to take the GRE.
- TEAS– The Test of Essential Academic Skills exam is one of the most common tests required of aspiring nurses. It covers reading, science, English, and math.
- Attend various health professional school workshops, graduate school fairs, etc.
- Order and collect official transcripts from ALL colleges and universities that you have attended.
- Gather Letters of Recommendation.
- Sign up with Interfolio (Dossier) to hold your letters of recommendation.
The Application Cycle
- Should be taking the GRE or TEAS, or waiting for the release of your score from an earlier test. It is a good idea to take an earlier test date to help avoid delays.
- Confirm deadline dates for individual accelerated nursing programs.
- Begin to fill out and submit applications for accelerated nursing programs. If applicable, contact NursingCAS, or individual schools directly for specific questions that are not found in their instruction manuals.
- Have letters of recommendation sent to individual schools or NursingCAS – check individual schools for specific criteria.
- NursingCAS verifies primary application & begins releasing the application to schools within four weeks of receipt.
- Continue to work, volunteer, etc.
Last stages of the Application Cycle
- Several accelerated nursing programs interview candidates.
- Make an appointment for a Mock Interview with a pre-health advisor at the Career Center.
- When interviews are completed, schools inform applicants of admission status. Admissions decision processes and timelines vary between nursing programs but you may learn of acceptance as early as December/January for schools that begin in June.