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What Are My Chances Of Getting Into Nursing School?
Becoming a nurse requires intense study, practical experience, and a lot of critical thinking. But before you slip on those scrubs and care for your first patient, you must be accepted into nursing school, and that's not as easy as you might think.
What Are My Chances of Getting Into Nursing School?
The United States is in the grip of a nursing shortage, but nursing school rejections are still increasing.
In 2017, over 56,000 applicants were turned away, and according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, "Some of these applicants graduated high school top of their class with a 3.5 GPA or higher". In 2020, 66,274 applicants were rejected from entry-level baccalaureate programs and over 14,000 more were rejected on doctoral, master's, and RN-to-baccalaureate programs.
It's not all bad news, though, as thousands more are accepted. To increase your chances of being one of the lucky majority, keep the following in mind:
Think About Why You Want to Be a Nurse
Why do you want to be a nurse? What is your inspiration and purpose? What will drive you to succeed in this demanding and challenging profession?
Everyone has their reasons and they are all equally important, but it's how you articulate those reasons that makes the difference.
Can you explain, with passion and clarity, why you want to be a nurse in front of an admissions counselor? Can you write an essay that relates those words and gets your story across?
As part of the admissions process, you may be expected to attend an interview and/or write an essay. Your admissions counselor will also ask you why you want to be a nurse.
Make Sure The Nursing Program is Suitable For You
When looking for a suitable nursing program, it's important to focus on the NCLEX-RN pass rate and the school's reputation, but there's more to consider.
Does the school offer online learning? Will you have the sort of flexibility that you need? Can you learn at your own pace?
If a nursing program is not a good fit for your lifestyle and schedule, it's not a good fit for you.
Check the Requirements of the Nursing Program
Before you start your nursing education, most schools require you to have good grades in a number of key subjects, including math, biology, and anatomy. Some accelerated nursing programs also require specific certifications, including a Basic Life Support certification and a Certified Nursing Assistant course.
Volunteer for Good Causes
Volunteer work always looks good on your resume. Nursing students who commit to making the world a better place are more likely to be viewed in a good light. You're aspiring to be a healthcare professional, after all, and volunteer work proves that you're willing to sacrifice your time to help others.
Talk To Your Admissions Counselor
An admissions counselor will guide you through the admissions process and ensure you're adequately prepared. It's important to build a good relationship with your counselor and to be honest with them every step of the way.
If you have any questions, ask them. If there are issues, be open about them. You don't want any of these things to arise and cause problems at a later date.
Do Your Research
Don't waste your time by applying to a nursing program for which you aren't eligible. Pay attention to the program's requirements and make sure you meet them.
If you fall short of the requirements needed for your preferred nursing school, it could be time to go back to the drawing board and increase your GPA.
Consider an Accelerated Nursing Program
Accelerated nursing programs use your current qualifications and experience to fast-track you to a nursing degree. You'll need good grades and college credits, but if you have them, accelerated nursing programs could be ideal.
Speak to your admissions counselor about applying to these programs.
The closest nursing school is rarely the best one. There are hundreds of nursing schools across the country and some are easier to access than others. Rather than waiting years to enroll at one of your local nursing schools, consider moving out of the area and going to a school in another county or state.
Why is the Demand for Nursing Schools so High?
Nursing is a challenging profession, nursing schools are difficult to get into, and nursing programs require a great deal of work...so why is there such a huge demand right now?
There are a few factors at play here.
The nursing shortage has played a major role as there has been a drive to recruit new nurses. To someone who aspires to make a difference in the world, it makes sense to choose this career path and help to fill that gap.
The recent pandemic has also helped, as there was a notable increase in nursing school admissions during 2020. Not only did the pandemic place a great strain on the healthcare industry and make those shortages all the more evident, but it also placed nurses and doctors in the spotlight, turning them into the everyday heroes they have always been.
As far as the financials are concerned, nurses can earn a good salary and they have a lot of opportunities. They can study across a number of specialties, work in many healthcare settings, and accept overtime.
Nurses have good job security, as well. The healthcare industry is one of the biggest in the United States and as we're all living longer and requiring more assistance, those numbers will keep climbing.
Last but not least, nursing is a rewarding profession. Sure, they deal with abusive, violent, and unappreciative people and generally see the worst that society has to offer. But nurses also save lives, make a difference in the world, and bring joy to sick people and their families.
Summary: Getting Into US Nursing Schools
Getting into nursing school is not a given. Even if you have the qualifications and meet the requirements, there are no guarantees. But if you follow the guidelines above, you will give yourself every chance of being accepted into nursing school and beginning your career in this trusted and fulfilling profession.
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