Your Guide to Applying For a Nursing Program: Tips And Advice


Nursing is a noble calling and a good career for those who like helping people and having great job security. There is a huge shortage of medical professionals following the COVID pandemic and other issues. Good nurses can always find a job once they are trained and have their degrees and other credentials. Nursing pay is on the rise because of the nurse shortage, so nurses will earn a good living.


How to Get Started on the Journey to Becoming a Nurse

Becoming a nurse tasks dedication and acceptance into a good nursing program. The best place to start is in high school by getting decent grades and beginning the process of deciding what type of nurse a person wants to be and where they want to practice nursing. There is a difference between being a nurse in a large hospital and being a nurse in a small clinic or doctor’s office.

There is also an opportunity for people in other jobs and professions to retrain to become a nurse. Everyone will need to decide which type of nurse they want to be. Some types of nursing include:

  • Practical nurses
  • Registered nurses
  • Critical care nurses
  • Cardiac nurses
  • ER nurses
  • Certified nursing assistants
  • Surgical Assistant registered nurses
  • Home care Registered nurses
  • Specialized nurses

Each nursing type has education requirements. Deciding on a specialty at the beginning of the education process leads to getting the correct training. Getting into the correct nursing program is important.

Check in with to get an idea of what programs are available and what is required to be accepted into them. Look into which nursing programs are located close by and what their requirements are. Ask about class costs and how long the programs take to complete. There are also opportunities to find financial aid.


What is a Nursing Program?

A nursing program is like going to college for any career, but it focuses on becoming a nurse. This educational program includes a collection of nursing classes, exams, and certifications that are required before being licensed as a nurse. The levels of nursing programs include:

  • Non-degree programs for those who want to become certified nursing assistants or licensed practical nurses.
  • Degree nursing programs lead to undergraduate degrees including an Associate of Science in Nursing and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
  • Advanced degree nursing programs include a Master of Science in Nursing or a Doctor of Nursing Practice.

Getting Into a Nursing Program

It takes effort and planning to get accepted into a nursing program. Most nursing programs have education and other requirements for acceptance. Nursing programs require applicants to take an entrance exam and pass it. Some common requirements include:

  • Get a high school diploma or a GED.
  • Taking the SAT or TEAS or Test of Essential Academic Skills and getting an acceptable score.
  • Passing courses in chemistry, biology, and math with a C or better in high school.
  • Getting the required GPA in high school for the program chosen.

Once these requirements are met, there are other steps to take. Doing research into available nursing programs will help applicants decide on the kind of nursing program that is right for them. Note that more and more institutions require nurses to have a bachelor’s degree. Compare accredited nursing programs to choose the one that meets your requirements.

Some considerations might include choosing a large public college or a small private college. How will college be paid for? Is an in-person or an online program preferred? Does a person want to stay close to home and commute or move away from home and live on campus? Which type of nurse does the school have training for?


Additional Strategies for Being Accepted into Nursing School

After researching available nursing schools, apply to more than one school to increase the odds of being accepted into a program.

Put in as many volunteer hours as possible in healthcare settings, or get a job in health care, to make an application stand out. Some schools require as many as 100 volunteer hours.

Consider becoming a certified nursing assistant to look better on the application to nursing school. Programs for this certificate take a few months and are a nice introduction to nursing.

Carefully fill out applications and avoid errors in spelling and grammar. Make sure the resume part of the application is accurate and up-to-date, including work history,  healthcare volunteer hours, leadership roles, and education that applies to nursing and health care. Start the application process early and do not miss the deadline. Make sure all papers and documentation required are included in the application.

Prepare carefully to look good for the entrance interview. Make the effort to give a great first impression by showing up early, dressing professionally, and having good answers to questions. Some possible questions to prepare for include:

  • Why does the applicant want to be a nurse?
  • Can the applicant dedicate the required time to studying and working clinical hours?
  • What were the applicant’s favorite classes that were required to apply for nursing school and why?
  • What are hot nursing topics? Read about the important healthcare issues in advance.

Don’t Give Up If The First Try Getting Accepted to Nursing School Isn’t Successful

It is not easy to get into nursing school, and nursing school is not easy to complete. Not everyone is accepted, and not everyone succeeds in completing nursing school. Don’t give up on a great career opportunity. If the first application is not accepted, find out why and then reapply. People are allowed to apply multiple times. Correct the shortcomings in the application for a more positive result. Maybe more volunteer hours were required. There could have been errors on the application that need to be corrected.

Sometimes, there are too many applicants competing for the available spots in a nursing program and the next application period there will be less competition. Being persistent can lead to eventual acceptance into a nursing program. And, this is where applying to multiple programs can pay off. Applying to more than one program increases an applicant’s chances of being accepted into a nursing program.