How to Apply to Nursing School in 6 Steps

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Knowing how to apply for nursing school before submitting applications eases the process while setting you up for success. Nursing school applications are a multi-step process that involves research, speaking to an admissions counselor and gathering all application materials.

person with laptop and notebooks sitting on floor

Nursing school is competitive, regardless of the nursing track; however, when you understand how to apply to nursing school, you will find the path ahead easier to navigate. The application process always begins with research. Prospective students should thoroughly research the school, program, and application requirements before taking the first steps toward applying.

Fortunately, Concordia University Texas’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing track provides admissions counselors who are available to guide you through every step of the process.

Below are six steps for applying for nursing school, from researching nursing schools to contacting admissions counselors.

1. Find the Right Nursing Track

The first step to applying for nursing school is choosing the right program for you. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), there are three pathways available to becoming a registered nurse: a diploma from a hospital program, an associate degree in nursing or a BSN.

While each pathway leads to working as a registered nurse, an ADN and a BSN are the most common degrees. When choosing which pathway to take, it is essential to first understand the difference between the two degrees.

Choosing Between an ADN and a BSN

An ADN is the minimum degree required to qualify to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), an exam designed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and is the last step before becoming a licensed registered nurse. Most ADN nursing programs are two years long, in which students learn the fundamentals of nursing and patient care.

ABSN student helping another student in sim lab

On the other hand, a BSN is a four-year nursing program, which provides a more comprehensive nursing education. A BSN opens more doors to career advancement, and nurses who hold this degree are in high demand because of the scope of a BSN education.

Healthcare facilities tend to prefer hiring BSN-educated applicants. The 2022 National Nursing Workforce Survey revealed that over 70% of registered nurses working in the U.S. today have a BSN. A BSN is also the minimum requirement for nurses who want to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Consider your career goals as you research nursing degrees, keeping in mind that a BSN is high in demand and provides an in-depth nursing education, leading to more opportunities in healthcare and career advancement.

Choosing a BSN Program

A traditional BSN is a four-year program; however, if you already have non-nursing college credits or a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, you may be eligible to enroll in an accelerated BSN or ABSN track, where you can earn your BSN on an accelerated timeline.

An ABSN condenses a four-year BSN education into a shorter amount of time. In Concordia University Texas’s Accelerated ABSN track, students earn their BSN in as few as 16 months, upon successful completion of prerequisites. The ABSN track prepares students to take the NCLEX with confidence and begin their careers.

Keep in mind that some nursing programs are on-site, while others are hybrid, meaning coursework is completed online, and simulation labs and clinical rotations are in-person. It may help to create a list of your career goals and preferred timeline when choosing the best nursing school for you.

Nurse wearing scrubs smiling

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2. Make Sure You Meet Admissions Requirements

Once you have created a shortlist of nursing schools, review the admissions requirements for each program. If you are applying to ABSN tracks, make sure you meet the college credit or bachelor’s degree requirements, such as prerequisite courses GPA, minimum college credits, or a non-nursing bachelor’s degree.

For example, Concordia University Texas’s Accelerated BSN has the following admissions requirements:

  • Prospective students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in the natural science prerequisite courses.
  • Transfer students must meet pre-nursing degree requirements with a cumulative 3.0 GPA.
  • Students seeking a second degree must have a cumulative 3.0 GPA.
  • Students must complete the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS VI or TEAS VII) within three years of enrollment in the nursing track, with a score of 67% or higher.

Carefully review each of the qualifications for nursing school before contacting an admissions counselor. This way, you will have a productive conversation as you pave a clear path for applying for nursing school.

CTX ABSN student working in sim lab

3. Prepare to Talk to an Admissions Counselor

Before you reach out to an admissions counselor, you want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row. You want to make a strong first impression and show that you are serious about nursing school.

One of the ways you can illustrate this is by researching the school and nursing track beforehand and being prepared to answer their questions.

One of the first questions an admissions counselor is likely to ask you is, “Why do you want to become a nurse?” Understanding and articulating your “why” is essential. You may have been inspired by others in the healthcare field or feel compelled to help people. No matter what your story is, being able to tell it helps personalize the call and can be an effective element in your nursing application.

You should also have your transcripts ready when you speak to an admissions counselor, so you can discuss your GPA and course history. It’s OK if they are unofficial at the time of the conversation. Just remember that you will need to eventually submit official transcripts with your application.

4. Reach Out to an Admissions Counselor

Speaking to an admissions counselor is an essential step in knowing how to apply for nursing school. Admissions counselors will help you know for certain whether the school’s nursing track is right for you, but also remember that they are trying to determine whether you are a good candidate for their school.

So, what do nursing schools look for in applicants? Nursing schools look for students who are motivated and prepared to handle the rigors of nursing school. This is why the research you completed beforehand is so important. You want to make a good impression.

It is important to remain transparent and honest about your education and background during this conversation. Your admissions counselor is here to help and will discuss the best way to navigate the process toward success.

5. Prepare a Strong Nursing School Application

Carefully review each nursing school’s application requirements, writing each requirement down. There may be some overlap between schools, but remember, every school is different. Your application requirements may include an admissions essay, letters of recommendation, passing the TEAS, or a short video introduction.

Your admissions counselor at each school will help you throughout the application process. If you are applying to an ABSN track, such as the one at Concordia University Texas, your admissions counselor will help you create an academic plan so you can complete prerequisite courses before your targeted start date.

CTX nursing students standing in simulation lab

At Concordia University Texas, these prerequisite courses must be completed before you can submit an online application, which is why it is essential to speak with an admissions counselor first. You don’t want to miss important details and ultimately hurt your chances of getting into nursing school.

6. Develop a Sound Financial Plan

A nursing education is an investment, so it is likely you will need to take out student loans to cover tuition costs, supplies and cost of living. It is essential that you plan ahead of time, so you receive the financial aid when you need it. Fill out the Free Application for Federal Aid (FASFA) as soon as possible.

Private student loans and third-party scholarships are also available in addition to federal student aid. Consider all your options when developing a financial plan so you can find the right one that best sets you up for the future.

close up of person in white coat holding purple stethoscope

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Earn Your BSN with Concordia University Texas

When do you apply for nursing school? Each school has a set of start dates and an application deadline. The best time to start nursing school applications is before the application deadline, when you are ready to pursue a nursing degree and meet the admission requirements.

While the nursing school application process can feel intimidating, remember to reach out to admissions counselors for help and keep detailed notes of each school’s requirements and application process. This will help you better understand how to apply for nursing school.

At Concordia University Texas, prospective students are supported throughout the admissions process. Admissions counselors are always available to assist you with your application and answer any questions. Through the Concordia University Texas ABSN track, students are well-prepared to become licensed registered nurses through comprehensive coursework, nursing simulation labs, and clinical rotations.

Contact an admissions counselor at Concordia University Texas today to begin the nursing school application process.