Nursing school is notoriously competitive, and it is even more so now that the nursing shortage is becoming a problem.
It’s important to make sure you have all the prerequisites ready before you apply to nursing school, and you should work hard to make them as impressive as possible.
Grades are crucial in getting into nursing school, though you don’t need to have all As to make it.
Generally, you should try for a 3.0 average. This is the bare minimum it takes to get into most nursing schools, but the higher your average, the better.
Often, there isn’t much to differentiate candidates for nursing school, so it is important to have good grades in your high school or prerequisite classes. Higher grades mean a better probability of you making the cut for nursing school.
You should also consider where to apply when you’re approaching nursing school. If the competition is fierce where you live, you might be able to get into a program in a different region.
Different states have different needs for nurses, and this carries over to nursing schools, too. Where one region may have several schools in the area and an ultra-competitive programs, some regions may have fewer schools and more facilities to support nursing students.
You should probably apply to the colleges and schools near you, but certainly don’t discount applying somewhere that is further away.
Even if you have to go to another state, it will be worth it for the schooling.
To round out your application to nursing school, it helps to have some medical experience. If possible, you should become a certified nursing assistant, or CNA, to get some experience with patients.
Working as a nursing assistant can give you a good feel of the nursing floor, if you’ll like it, and looks great on an application.
You can also volunteer in hospitals or for an emergency medical service to improve your chances of catching the admission counselor’s eye.
The Wait List
Many large, competitive schools actually have a wait list, and this means that you will need to spend some time working before you can get into a program.
Usually, if you are on the wait list, you have an application that impressed the counselors, but that doesn’t mean you should rest on your laurels.
While you are on the wait list, you should do everything you can to prepare yourself for the upcoming classes.
You should strongly consider working as a CNA to get experience and make yourself even more desirable as a candidate.
You should also start working on any prerequisites that are part of the college process. For instance, English, math, and art may be required, but you don’t need to be in the nursing program to take these classes.
While you are on the wait list, get these classes done and out of the way.
That way, when you are trying to get through your core classes, you won’t have to worry about juggling college level classes with nursing classes and clinicals.
You can take a long time to get your prerequisites, if you desire. If you are unsure about nursing, taking classes part time will give you time to work as a CNA and still get the classes under your belt that you need for nursing school.
On the other hand, you can take prerequisites as quickly as you can, too.
In fact, many nursing students take some prerequisites with their first nursing classes.
You have to decide what is best for you. If it has been a long time since you’ve taken a class, then taking the prerequisites more slowly would be a better option for you to ease yourself into the work.
It really depends on where you are in the schooling process, what your lifestyle looks like, and what you can handle when considering prerequisites.
Typically, the classes that are required before you start nursing school are base classes required by the college. English is an important one to pass, and you may need to take some form of advanced math.
Some colleges require chemistry and biology, but this depends strongly on the school you are attending.
Most nursing schools require that you take a class in anatomy and physiology before you start the core nursing classes.
For some students, this can be a daunting task, but you can get through the prerequisites by working with tutors or the learning center at your school.
If you can’t get through these core classes, you may want to take a hard look at whether you would be able to get through the nursing classes.
Although prerequisites are difficult, they are generally easier than core nursing classes, particularly because nursing classes require a clinical.
Getting through the early classes will give you an idea of how close you are to completing nursing level classes.
Finally, some schools require an entrance exam, and this can make you nervous if you’ve been out of high school for some time. Particularly, the math sections tend to give students the most problem.
If you need to take an entrance exam, you would do well to get a GED study book.
Although this is meant for people who never graduated high school, it would have the information in it to help you pass an entry-level test.
By studying GED concepts, you can refresh your memory, and you will be able to pass your entrance exam without needing remedial classes before you can take the prerequisites.