Tips for Getting into Nursing School
Cindy Mehallow | Monster Contributing Writer
Given the nursing shortage, it’s unfortunate that nursing schools reject many eager prospective nurses each year. In 2007, nearly 31,000 qualified applicants were turned away due to a shortage of faculty and resources, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
In Maryland, nursing schools are “bursting at the seams,” says Tracy Jamison, director of admissions at the University of Maryland School of Nursing in Baltimore. At her school, the BSN program typically receives eight to nine applications for every one it can accept.
Even with this stiff competition, applicants can learn how to stand out with these tips from nursing school admissions officers:
High Schoolers: Performance and Passion
High school applicants need to demonstrate strong academic performance. Grade point average (GPA) is more important than class rank, the significance of which varies depending on a school’s class size. Holding a leadership position in a student organization, such as student government or band, makes a positive impression.
Some nursing schools also scrutinize attendance records. Too many tardies and absences raise a red flag. “We want students dedicated to coming here prepared to study,” says Ann Schiele, PhD, RN, president and dean of Mount Carmel College of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio. “Nursing is a difficult curriculum built on the sciences.”
Mount Carmel admissions officers also look for prospective students to show altruism. “It’s part of our mission statement that every graduate must complete a minimum of 20 hours of community service,” Schiele says. “We believe that every educated person should give back to the community they live in.”
Community-service experience, such as candy striping or volunteering at a nursing home, also demonstrates that you have some knowledge of healthcare and a passion for nursing. You can also convey that passion (and showcase your writing ability) when answering the application essay on why you’re interested in nursing.
Tip: Making positive, strong connections with your supervisor during volunteer work, especially in a healthcare setting, can yield a recommendation that carries more weight than one from a teacher.