8 Ways to Increase Your Chances of Getting into Nursing School

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Our 8 tips for helping you increase your chances of getting into nursing school include: write down your “why,” choose a program with multiple starts, ensure you meet requirements, create a resume, connect with your admissions counselor, start prerequisites early, spend time with patients, and write a standout personal statement.

Hands writing on an application

Applying to nursing school is a competitive yet rewarding process. Given all the qualified students who are applying to nursing school, you may be wondering what you can do to strengthen your application and stand out among the crowd. While a major part of your application involves doing well academically, there are other ways to increase your chances of getting into nursing school if you take the right approach.

Getting into a high-quality nursing program, like the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) track at Concordia University Texas (CTX) in Austin and Dallas, Texas, can be a challenge. However, at Concordia University, we are committed to helping students succeed in nursing school and in their future careers.

Below we cover eight ways you can improve your chances of getting admitted into a reputable accelerated nursing program, like the ABSN track at CTX.

Start where you are.

Learn more about becoming a nurse through the ABSN track.

1. Write Down Your “Why” for Nursing

Making the decision to pursue a career in nursing is just the first step. Now it’s time to get to the root of your decision. What sparked this career change in the first place? Knowing this can help you determine what you need from the right nursing school and program.

You can start by thinking about and then writing down your personal reasons for becoming a nurse. For example, maybe you want to become a nurse to enhance the health and well-being of others. Maybe you want to be a supporter for people going through cancer treatment. Be specific about your “why.”

Being able to explain why you want to be a nurse will help legitimize your decision for wanting to change careers. It will also help when speaking to an admissions counselor. Not to mention, you’ll want to think about your mission statement well in advance of writing your personal essay for admission, which we’ll discuss later.

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2. Choose a Nursing School with Multiple Start Dates

If you want to learn how to increase your chances of getting into nursing school, it’s time to get strategic about where you apply. Why? Because, given the national nursing shortage, qualified students (even with excellent GPAs) are finding it difficult to pursue their passion for nursing. This is because nursing schools across the country are reducing the number of available slots due to capacity issues and lack of faculty.

This is what makes accelerated nursing schools with multiple start dates each year, like Concordia University Texas’s ABSN track, so attractive. With three start dates a year for the hybrid online ABSN track — in January, May, and August — we can accommodate more students than schools with one cohort of students. Having multiple start date options also means you can start working toward your nursing degree sooner by not having to wait a whole year to apply.

How long will my nursing journey take? - Concordia University Texas ABSN student

How long does it take to become a nurse in Texas? Learn how to earn your BSN degree in 16 months with the ABSN track.

3. Ensure You Meet Admissions Requirements

Once you determine your eligibility for the ABSN track, it’s important to review the admissions requirements before contacting an admissions counselor. This will help you understand exactly what you’re getting into and ensure you apply to schools that are looking for students like you.

Look at the school’s degree and GPA requirements, prerequisites, entrance exam requirements, and anything else needed for eligibility. For the ASBN track at CTX, you’ll need a minimum of 60 college credits or a non-nursing degree to apply. You can start working on some requirements right away. These include your personal essay and your recommendation forms from professional sources.

You can start planning how to complete prerequisite courses during the phone call with your admissions counselor.

ABSN student working in sim lab

4. Create a Professional Resume

Another way you can increase your chances of getting into nursing school is to go the extra mile and prepare a professional resume to accompany your nursing school application. Include your education and work, volunteer, and extracurricular experiences. Send your resume to your admissions counselor along with your college transcripts. This will help your admissions counselor get a fuller picture of your history.

Then, when it comes time to submit your nursing school application, also send in your resume along with the supplemental documentation if it is permitted. The simple step of creating a resume can help set you apart and show another facet of why you would make a great nurse.

5. Connect with Your Admissions Counselor

To increase your chances of getting into nursing school, it’s important to build a meaningful connection with your admissions counselor. At Concordia University Texas, our admissions support stands out. An admissions counselor will contact you shortly after you inquire, and that support doesn’t end beyond that first call.

From confirming your track eligibility to helping you submit the most competitive application possible, your admissions counselor will help you every step of the way.

Marie Nguyen ABSN graduate

As Ann Marie Nguyen, CTX ABSN graduate says, “My admissions process was a determining factor for me to apply. My admissions counselor was very inviting — she was very excited for me and made me feel excited about starting this process.”

Because of the major role your admissions counselor will play in your admissions process, it’s important to invest in that relationship. Put effort into how you communicate with your admissions counselor, and show them all the reasons you’re passionate about nursing. Doing this can help them be even more invested in seeing you succeed and helping you submit the most competitive application possible.

6. Start Your Prerequisites Early

Nearly every accredited, accelerated nursing track, like ours at Concordia University Texas, is going to require you to complete prerequisite courses. How many you will need to complete depends on the school’s requirements and your previous college experience.

For example, if you have a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree, you will likely have fewer prerequisites to take than someone with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree because your education incorporated more science coursework. Regardless of the number of prerequisite courses, your admissions counselor can help you develop a personalized plan to complete your prerequisites.

Nursing school prerequisites - woman studying with book and laptop

Learn more about what prerequisites are needed for the ABSN track in our nursing prerequisites guide.

You won’t be able to start the ABSN track until you have completed your prerequisites, so it’s in your best interest to start them now so you can apply and start nursing school sooner. While you’re completing your prerequisites, it’s also important to update your admissions counselor along the way. Keeping them apprised of your progress helps them see your commitment to the ABSN track.

7. Spend Time with Patients

Another key strategy for how to increase your chances of getting into nursing school is to experience firsthand what it’s like working in healthcare. The CTX admissions committee does not require patient care experience for ABSN eligibility, but patient care experience is an additional step you can take to potentially set you apart. Being with patients will help you gain clarity on why you want to be a nurse and what the clinical healthcare world is like.

nursing student using stethoscope to check patient heartbeat

Some of the many options for spending time with patients before nursing school include working as a nursing assistant or surgical tech or volunteering in a hospital or long-term care facility. The more time you spend with patients, the better you’ll discern your “why” for going back to school for nursing. You’ll also begin developing nursing soft skills, such as effective patient communication.

Another advantage of gaining patient care experience before nursing school is that you may experience meaningful interactions with patients that you’ll be able to bring up in your personal essay or admissions interview. These real-world examples will help nursing schools see your passion for patients and commitment to nursing.

8. Write a Standout Personal Essay

As part of the admissions process for accelerated nursing schools, including Concordia University Texas, you will be required to write a personal statement to go with your application. This part of your application is where you can let your unique personality shine through.

While it may sound like a chore, spend time crafting an honest and insightful personal essay. Start with a clear “why” for nursing. Then make an outline before moving forward with writing it. Finally, edit the essay and have someone else look it over before you submit it. This writing and editing process may seem tedious, but it can make a difference at decision time.

Because there’s a good chance other applicants will share the same academic qualifications as you, a personal statement can set you apart from the other talented candidates. Focus on explaining your personal reason for choosing nursing and use real-world examples to show the admissions committee who you are.

Ready to Get Started?

Getting into a nursing school, like Concordia University Texas’s Accelerated BSN track, takes effort and hard work. However, the hard work will undoubtedly pay off when you get to enter the accelerated nursing track and earn your BSN degree in as few as 16 months.

CTX ABSN student in purple scrubs

The accelerated BSN track at CTX in Dallas, Texas, and Austin, Texas, is an ideal setting for earning your degree because it offers a hybrid track that combines online courses with simulation and skills labs and clinical rotations. This approach ensures you are ready to sit for NCLEX and start a career as a professional nurse after graduation.

To learn more about the ABSN admissions process at Concordia University Texas, fill out our online form or contact our admissions team today.