How to Choose a Nursing School: 5 Steps

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The process of how to choose a nursing school is a little different for every student. However, you’ll likely want to know about the admissions requirements, including any prerequisite courses you’ll need to take. You should also consider the school’s clinical placements and start dates.

person looking at laptop smiling

Once you’ve decided to transition your career to healthcare and pursue a nursing degree, it’s time to start thinking about how to choose a nursing school. You’re the only one who can determine the answer to the question, “What nursing program is right for me?” After all, you’ll have to consider factors that are unique to you, like your prior education, admission requirements, and willingness to relocate. However, there are a few common points that all prospective nursing students should consider.

At Concordia University Texas (CTX), we’ve designed our admissions process to be as accessible as possible. If you’re thinking about pursuing enrollment in our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) track, you’ll be assigned a dedicated admissions counselor who will assist you every step of the way.

If you have no prior college education, then you’ll need to look for a nursing school that offers a traditional four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. If you do have prior non-nursing college education, you may be eligible to apply for enrollment in an Accelerated BSN track, or ABSN track.

An ABSN track, such as the one at Concordia Texas, can allow you to graduate in as few as 16 months, upon successful completion of prerequisite courses. Like the traditional four-year degree, the ABSN track also confers a BSN degree and qualifies you to sit for the nursing licensure exam (NCLEX-RN).

There are lots of nursing schools that offer an ABSN track. When evaluating how to choose a nursing school, it can be helpful to consider the following points.

1. Check the Prerequisites for the ABSN Track

ctx nursing student practicing on manikin

Prerequisites ensure you are academically prepared to tackle the challenges in nursing school. The number of prerequisite courses you are required to take depends on your previous education. Your admissions counselor will work with you to build a plan for when and where to take prerequisite courses. If you wish, you can take online courses at Concordia Texas to complete your prerequisites.

Prerequisites through Concordia University Texas can benefit you in more ways than one. Your credits will transfer seamlessly, you will become familiar with our Christ-centered education, and you will be prepared for the rigors that lie ahead.

Some examples of the prerequisites for Concordia Texas applicants are:

  • Microbiology with Lab
  • Nutrition
  • Intro to Statistics
  • Lifespan Development

These are just a few examples. You can view the full list of prerequisites for Concordia Texas here. Although you must meet minimum grade and overall GPA requirements, your prerequisite credits will never expire at Concordia Texas. Even if you took a college class in nutrition 10 years ago, you can still use it toward your prerequisites.

close up of nurse with purple scrubs and stethoscope

Do you have questions about going to nursing school? Explore this blog on the 9 most common nursing school questions.

2. Look for a Track with Exceptional Student Support

Nursing school is quite intensive. You’ll have coursework, clinicals and labs, and your workload may require more hours than a typical full-time job. It’s helpful to look for a nursing school that offers plenty of student support.

At Concordia Texas, our instructors strive to support our students in every possible way to prepare them for the NCLEX and their nursing career. To receive this steadfast support, you must keep an open and honest relationship with your professors. Each week, you will have the opportunity to connect with them through video chat. This allows you to ask for help when a concept or hands-on technique is not making sense.

3. Consider Choosing a Faith-Based School

ABSN student in sim lab holding chart folder

Concordia Texas is a faith-based school that maintains a faith-centered campus, while welcoming students from all backgrounds. In addition to supporting you and providing you with a foundational understanding of core nursing concepts, our staff, and faculty are intentional about teaching you the soft skills needed in nursing.

Some of these soft skills include:

  • Communication
  • Empathy for patients
  • Listening
  • Strong work ethic

With our focus on strengthening and living our faith, Concordia Texas strives to promote compassion and servant leadership in our nursing students. Cultural awareness and an embrace of diversity are other key qualities in prospective nurses. Throughout your career, you’ll work with patients from all walks of life and with a range of perspectives and beliefs. At Concordia Texas, you will be taught to treat every patient respectfully and with compassionate humanity.

nurse looking close at IV bag

Learn more about this topic by checking out this blog on the 12 essential skills and qualities of a nurse.

4. Look for a School with Ideal Clinical Placements

Clinical rotations are another issue to consider when thinking about how to choose a nursing school. Clinical rotations are an important part of your nursing education. You’ll be placed into clinical settings, where you’ll provide direct patient care under the supervision of your preceptor.

Many nursing schools don’t let you experience in-hospital clinical rotations until the second or third semester, but the ABSN track at Concordia Texas lets you begin working with actual patients in the first semester.

Exposure to a hospital setting early on allows you to gain confidence and comfort with various clinical situations throughout your nursing school journey. You also have the chance to network with seasoned nurses, doctors, and staff at a range of clinical locations.

ctx nursing student helping a patient

5. Consider the Available Start Dates

Although it may not be the most important issue for getting into nursing school, you’ll also want to consider the available start dates the schools on your shortlist offer. Accessibility is important, particularly if you’re eager to start your nursing journey right away.

At Concordia Texas, you can begin your nursing education virtually as soon as you’re ready because we offer three start dates per year in January, May, and August.

If you’re ready to positively impact people’s lives on both small and large scales, we’re here to support you each step of the way. Should you ever have a question or concern, your dedicated admissions counselor is here to help.

Ready to Enroll and Work Toward Becoming a Nurse?

When you begin the admissions process at Concordia Texas, you can look forward to extensive support from our admissions team, with personalized guidance for helping you succeed in getting into nursing school. You could complete your nursing degree in as few as 16 months if you have prior non-nursing education and meet the other eligibility requirements.

Contact our admissions counselors today to find out how you can get started. With the rolling admissions process at Concordia Texas, you won’t have to wait long for an admissions decision.