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Rookie Wit & Wisdom
How to Get Into Nursing School

Nursing is an exciting and rewarding career choice. Registered nurses work as part of a healthcare team to provide care to those who are sick or injured. All registered nurses start their careers with attending nursing school and there is a lot of advice on how to get into nursing school. There are several different types of nursing schools to choose from including diploma programs, two year associate's degree programs and four year bachelor's degree programs. Most nursing schools do not allow students to apply directly out of high school. Often, they require that students have completed prerequisite courses or have junior class standing prior to applying for admission. Nursing schools start the admissions process at least six months prior to the start of courses, so potential nursing students should be sure to meet the application requirements well in advance.

Classes Needed For Nursing

Most nursing schools require that students apply to the school of nursing once prerequisite classes are completed. Exact class requirements can vary, but there are certain subjects that are central to a good nursing school foundation. Classes to take for nursing include the social sciences such as sociology, psychology and anthropology. A strong science foundation is needed with coursework in chemistry, organic chemistry, microbiology and anatomy and physiology. Applicants must also have completed other classes needed for nursing, such as basic math and English courses. Potential nursing students should strive to earn high grades in the prerequisite coursework as a high grade point average (GPA) is crucial to admission.

GPA Requirements

Nursing school admission is very competitive. A high GPA is an important attribute that should not be overlooked by the nursing school applicant. Many schools have a minimum GPA that an applicant must meet. The minimum GPA can range anywhere from 2.0 to 3.0 depending on the school. Applicants often need a much higher GPA than the required minimum to compete for admission. Potential nursing students should try to earn the highest grades possible to increase their chances of admission.

Work Experience and Extracurricular Activities

Some nursing schools require that applicants have work or volunteer experience within the healthcare field. This helps to ensure that students admitted to the nursing program are well suited for a career in nursing. Schools that do not require work or volunteer experience may still award applicants for their experience by assigning a value which may increase an applicants chance of admission.

Nursing Essay and Interviews

Nursing schools may also require an admission interview or a nursing essay. Interviews and essays are often required by nursing schools to gain insight into the student themselves. They give a face and story to the nursing school applicant, which can aid in the admission process. Rather than looking at students simply as a collection of grades and GPA scores, essays and interviews give schools another tool to determine which applicants are most likely to be successful nursing students.
Nursing school admissions are very competitive. Potential applicants must be well prepared for the best chance of admission. Completing the required coursework and maintaining a high GPA are of great importance. Students can round out their applications by garnering work or volunteer experience in the healthcare field. Students can also take advantage of nursing essay and interview requirements to help strengthen their overall application. Once admitted, new nursing students will be on their way to becoming registered nurses and embarking on a rewarding career path.

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