10 Ways to Increase Your Chances of Getting Into Nursing School

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How hard is it to get into nursing school? It is not easy, but there are ways to increase the chances of getting into nursing school. Ensure you choose the right school and that you can meet the admission requirements. Submit a strong application package with a well-written personal statement.

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Becoming a nurse offers many great perks—such as a strong job growth rate and the opportunity to contribute positively to your community. But before you can put on a pair of scrubs, you must get into nursing school. How hard is it to get into nursing school? How can you increase chances of getting into nursing school?

Although getting into nursing school is not always easy, the Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) admission team is here to help. Once you are accepted into the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program and have completed any necessary prerequisite courses, you could graduate with your nursing degree in as little as 16 months.

How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Into Nursing School

Your dedicated admission counselor at PLU will explain how to get into nursing school. You will receive support every step of the way—from assessing your eligibility to completing the prerequisites to finalizing your application package. The first step in getting into nursing school is to choose the right program for you.

1. Choose the Right Program for You

Many nursing schools exist in the U.S., but not all are right for you. Choosing the right nursing program for your needs and goals is important. So, how can you decide which nursing school is best for you? Consider the following:

  • Convenience: Do you want a nursing program that offers online nursing coursework paired with in-person learning experiences?
  • Flexibility: Are you interested in a nursing school that offers multiple start dates each year so that you can get started when you are ready?
  • Mission-oriented: Would you like to attend a nursing school that offers faith-based education?
  • Location: Would you like to work toward becoming a nurse in a bustling, vibrant city that offers some of the best healthcare facilities anywhere?
woman sitting at desk with laptop

Want more information on how to choose a nursing school? Explore these top eight things to look for.

2. Make Sure You Meet the Admission Requirements

Once you have identified a nursing school that meets your needs, you must ensure you meet the admission requirements. Admission requirements vary from one school to the next. As an ABSN student, you will likely need to demonstrate that you have a completed non-nursing degree or a certain number of non-nursing college credits from an accredited institution.

Here is a look at some of the basic admission requirements at PLU:

  • A non-nursing bachelor’s degree or a minimum of 60 non-nursing college credits
  • A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • A minimum grade of B- in each prerequisite course.

3. Be Prepared to Discuss Your “Why”

Even if you are still determining whether you meet the admission requirements, you can contact the admission team to discuss your situation. Having an unofficial copy of your college transcripts handy is a good idea so that the admission counselor can review your academic history with you. This first phone call with the admission counselor is also a good time to bring up any questions you may have. You can learn more about the ABSN program and determine whether it is the right fit for you.

PLU nursing students looking at lab equipment

Be prepared to discuss your reason for wanting to become a nurse. Motivation is important because nursing school is difficult. Yes, you will want to increase your chances of getting into nursing school, but it is also important to ensure that your motivation is enough to sustain you through the long days of studying.

4. Collaborate With Your Admission Counselor

Moving forward from that first phone call with your counselor, you can collaborate on the admission process. Your counselor will explain how to get into nursing school step by step. Your counselor will also help you create a personalized plan for meeting the admission requirements. Do not hesitate to raise concerns or questions; your counselor will help.

5. Put Effort Into the Prerequisites

Even if you have previously completed a bachelor’s degree, you may still need to meet one or more nursing school prerequisites. These prerequisite courses help prepare you to tackle the nursing curriculum. Putting effort into your studies is important because you will need to earn a minimum grade in these courses to qualify for the ABSN program. (At PLU, the minimum grade required is B-.) Plus, doing well in the prerequisites may help increase your chances of getting into nursing school.

The prerequisites can vary from one nursing school to the next. In general, however, you can expect to take courses such as microbiology, human anatomy and physiology, statistics, and nutrition.

6. Try to Gain Some Relevant Experience

Another strategy that may increase your chances of getting into nursing school is gaining relevant experience while completing the prerequisites. Prior healthcare experience is optional for ABSN students. However, gaining exposure to the field through a volunteering opportunity, internship, or part-time, entry-level job can be helpful. For example, consider volunteering at a hospice program or working as a part-time medical receptionist.

PLU nursing students practicing skills in lab

7. Take Your Time With the Personal Statement

After you have completed the prerequisites, it is time to focus on your nursing school application. You will likely need to submit a personal statement or essay. Writing prompts can vary, but you may be asked to discuss why you decided to become a nurse.

Taking your time is important when writing your statement. Be authentic and honest, but also look for a way to make yourself stand out from the other nursing school candidates. You can ask a trusted friend or relative to read your statement and offer feedback. Be sure to proofread it thoroughly.

8. Obtain Letters of Recommendation From the Right People

Some nursing schools request one or more letters of recommendation. Requesting letters of recommendation from people who know you well but are not your relatives or friends is best.

For example, you might ask a former college professor or employer, particularly if you have a former healthcare-related employer. If you served as a volunteer, you might ask your supervisor. The right letters of recommendation may help increase your chances of getting into nursing school.

9. Ensure Your Application Package is Complete

Making a careless mistake might cost you in the admission process. Please double-check that your application package is complete before you submit it. Asking your admission counselor to verify that you have all the necessary documentation together is also a good idea.

10. Prepare for Your Nursing School Interview

At some ABSN programs, you may have a nursing school interview (either required or optional) as part of the admission process. Treat this as a job interview. Dress professionally, be punctual, and be prepared to answer and ask questions. Expect to be asked about your reason for wanting to become a nurse.

nurse with child

Still trying to decide whether nursing school is right for you? Check out these 10 reasons to consider a nursing career.

How Hard Is it to Get Into Nursing School?

Now that you know how to get into nursing school, you may be wondering exactly how hard it is to get into nursing school. It is not easy—nursing programs must ensure that they only admit well-qualified applicants who are positioned for success. However, the PLU admission team is always here to support you through each step of the process. Your admission counselor’s goal is to facilitate your success.

Begin Your Journey Toward a Nursing Career Today!

Now that you know how to get into nursing school, are you ready to get started? At Pacific Lutheran University, you can get step-by-step support from your dedicated admission counselor, who will help you increase your chances of getting into nursing school. Plus, with three start dates per year in February, June, and September, you can start working toward your nursing degree sooner.

Contact our friendly admission team today to begin working toward a rewarding and meaningful career as a nurse!