How To Successfully Crack Nursing School Requirements In 2024


Written By: Darby Faubion, RN, BSN, MBA


Are you dreaming of becoming a nurse but have questions about where to begin? One of the most common questions among individuals considering going to nursing school is, “What are the nursing school requirements?” I understand how pressing it can be to make sure you meet all the criteria for nursing school.

In this article, I will share nursing school requirements for ADN and BSN programs and show you how to successfully crack nursing school requirements in 2024 to help improve your chances of getting into a top program.



WHAT DOES THE TERM “NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS” EXACTLY MEAN?


“Nursing school requirements” refers to the requirements candidates must meet to be admitted to a nursing program. For the purposes of this article, we will discuss nursing school requirements for associate (ADN) and bachelor's (BSN) degree nursing programs.

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DO NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS VARY BETWEEN DIFFERENT SCHOOLS?


Nursing school requirements often vary a bit between schools. There are some general criteria that all schools require, but it is important to verify the admission requirements for each school where you plan to apply to make sure you meet their specific criteria.



ON AVERAGE, HOW MANY REQUIREMENTS ARE NURSING SCHOOL STUDENTS REQUIRED TO MEET?


The number of nursing school requirements for admission varies. On average, most schools have at least four or five criteria that all applicants must meet. Some criteria are general and allow students to be admitted conditionally. Other requirements, when met, help secure an unconditional admission offer.



ARE STUDENTS REQUIRED TO MEET ALL THE NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS?


Typically, all prospective students are required to meet all nursing school requirements to be admitted. Some schools may have policies to offer applicants conditional admission under certain circumstances. For example, if your GPA is below the minimum required, you may be offered conditional admission based on supporting documentation showing why your grades were poor and your likelihood of performing well in the program. Nursing schools are not required to offer conditional admission. So, it is in your best interest to meet all the requirements, if possible.



ARE NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS HARD TO CRACK?


ADN:

Nursing school requirements may or may not be hard to crack, depending on the individual requirement. ADN programs typically have less strict requirements than BSN programs. For example, ADN programs may accept candidates with lower GPAs or students with no previous college experience.

BSN:

BSN programs are four-year undergraduate nursing degrees. BSN students not only learn associate-degree nursing content but in more depth. Also, BSN programs have additional training in case management, leadership, and health information management. As such, BSN programs may require candidates to meet additional nursing school requirements to get into their programs.



TOP 3 REASONS WHY NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS ARE HARD TO CRACK


There are several reasons why nursing school requirements are hard to crack. The following are the top three reasons potential students may not meet the requirements and find their applications rejected.

REASON #1: Many prospective students do not understand the importance of some of the nursing school requirements.

If you do not understand what you are being asked to do, it is hard to follow through with an assignment. I have seen nursing students who fail to meet nursing school requirements simply because they do not understand what the school is asking for. For instance, recent high school graduates may have never heard of a Statement of Intent, which could lead them to not turning in their statement or turning in one that is poor quality.

REASON #2: Candidates often fear the admissions interview.

Not all nursing programs require an admission interview, but the ones that do often have at least a few prospective students who do not perform well. Some applicants experience anxiety and fumble to answer questions, which can lead admission faculty to question their communication skills, an essential skill for nurses.

REASON #3: Some candidates underestimate the weight previous grades hold in the admissions process.

Some prospective students, especially younger learners just out of high school, do not understand the impact their previous grades may have on their chances to get into a good nursing program. Unfortunately, this often leads to them failing to crack nursing school requirements.



TYPICALLY, WHAT ARE THE NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS FOR ADN PROGRAMS?

(The following are the typical nursing school requirements for ADN programs, along with tips to crack them.)


REQUIREMENT #1: Meet the Minimum Grade Point Average Requirement


About the Requirement:

One of the most common nursing school requirements is to have a minimum GPA. Most ADN programs require candidates to have a minimum GPA of 2.7-3.0 on a 4.0 grading scale.

PRO Tip to Crack This Requirement:

The easiest way to crack this requirement is to achieve and maintain the minimum GPA throughout the duration of any college coursework you attempt. However, if you have taken classes previously and your GPA is below the minimum required, you may consider taking a few extra courses to help raise your overall GPA.


REQUIREMENT #2: Scoring Well on the TEAS test


About the Requirement:

One nursing school requirement for most ADN programs is to take the TEAS test. The Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) test is a standardized test many nursing schools use to judge a candidate’s likelihood of success in a program. The test consists of 170 questions covering four subjects, reading, science, English, and Math.

PRO Tip to Crack This Requirement:

The best way to crack this requirement is to prepare! You can purchase a TEAS study guide that was written by the test creators for $29.99. The test is timed, so investing in practice tests where you can hone your time management skills can be helpful. When it comes time to take the real test, pace yourself, and take your time answering questions. If you are unsure about a question, go with your first instinct and move on.


REQUIREMENT #3: Complete All Prerequisites


About the Requirement:

No matter which ADN program you choose, there will be some type of prerequisite requirement. Failure to complete the required general education and nursing prerequisites could result in you being denied admission.

PRO Tip to Crack This Requirement:

If I could give you any advice to help crack this nursing school requirement, it would be to start early. For example, if you are a high school student planning to enroll in nursing school, consider taking some dual enrollment or advanced placement classes. Dual enrollment classes allow you to take one class and receive both high school and college credits when you pass it. Advanced Placement courses give you the opportunity to earn college credits by taking advanced classes in high school. If you have already graduated high school or earned your GED, you can begin by registering as a pre-nursing or general studies major at a local community college and taking classes.


REQUIREMENT #4: Submit an Admission Essay


About the Requirement:

The admission essay is a typical requirement for most nursing schools. Some schools provide questions that you must answer in essay form. Others provide an outline of information they want covered in the essay.

PRO Tip to Crack This Requirement:

The most important step in cracking this nursing school requirement is to follow the directions. Read the instructions in your admission application carefully to determine if you must answer a set of questions, follow a particular format, or stay within a word limit. Keep in mind that the admission essay is about more than you answering a few questions. Admission faculty will use your essay to rate your communication and writing skills. Be sure you check your essay for grammar and punctuation accuracy before turning it in.


REQUIREMENT #5: Take the Accuplacer Exam or ACT


About the Requirement:

In addition to requiring TEAS test scores, many ADN programs require candidates to take the Accuplacer exam or submit ACT scores. The Accuplacer test is designed to evaluate a prospective student’s writing, math, and reading skills to determine their readiness to begin college-level coursework.

PRO Tip to Crack This Requirement:

The Accuplacer is divided into five placement tests, reading, writing, arithmetic, quantitative reasoning/algebra/statistics (QAS), and advanced algebra functions. You can prepare for the Accuplacer by taking practice tests and studying these topics to brush up.



TYPICALLY, WHAT ARE THE NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS FOR BSN PROGRAMS?

(The following are the typical nursing school requirements for BSN programs, along with tips to crack them.)

BSN programs typically require candidates to meet all of the criteria mentioned above in the ADN nursing school requirements. Additionally, applicants should expect to meet the following requirements.

REQUIREMENT #1: Provide Letters of Recommendation


About the Requirement:

When you apply to a BSN program, one of the nursing school requirements is usually to provide two or three letters of recommendation. Through these recommendations, admission faculty get to know you through the eyes of someone else.

PRO Tip to Crack This Requirement:

It is important to select the right people to write your letters of recommendation. If you previously attended college, consider asking one of your former instructors to write a letter. A high school guidance counselor is another great choice for writing a reference letter. Past or current employers or supervisors are also excellent sources for letters of recommendation. The letter should speak of your character, work ethic, and the writer's opinion of your likelihood of success in the program. Remember, friends and family should never be used to write letters for your admission application.


REQUIREMENT #2: Demonstrate a History of Academic Excellence


About the Requirement:

Like ADN programs, BSN nursing programs also require candidates to achieve a minimum grade point average to be considered for admission. Most schools require BSN applicants to show evidence of a 3.0 or higher GPA.

PRO Tip to Crack This Requirement:

Your past academic record is a strong predictor of future academic success, which is why nursing schools ask for transcripts from previous schools you attended. It is important to understand that when schools mention a required GPA for admission, this is typically the minimum GPA they will accept. To crack this nursing school requirement for admission, I suggest taking some prerequisite courses relevant to nursing to help boost your GPA as much as possible. Remember, the higher your grade point average, the more viable a candidate you become.


REQUIREMENT #3: Demonstrate Leadership Experience


About the Requirement:

As a baccalaureate-prepared registered nurse, you will hold the highest undergraduate nursing degree, which means more opportunities for leadership. Although you will learn about leadership in the program, admissions teams love to see candidates who have already demonstrated some type of leadership ability.

PRO Tip to Crack This Requirement:

You do not need to be a nurse or have experience as a leader in nursing to demonstrate an ability to lead. If you have leadership experience, be sure to mention it on your resume or in your personal statement. If you do not have leadership experience, consider volunteering to head up a project at work or in the community. Anything you can do to show your interest in progress and teamwork will look positive on your application and could give you an edge over other candidates.


REQUIREMENT #4: Provide a Statement of Intent


About the Requirement:

Another common nursing school requirement is to prepare a Statement of Intent. Your statement is something admissions and program faculty will read before they meet you for your nursing school interview. In a way, you could consider this an opportunity to introduce yourself before you have a face-to-face encounter with anyone from the program.

PRO Tip to Crack This Requirement:

Your Statement of Intent, often referred to as a Statement or Letter of Intent, is a formal statement used to explain your interest in the nursing profession and the school. The statement should be personal. Talk about why you chose to become a nurse, what you think “ABC” school is the right school to earn your degree, and what you plan to do when you accomplish becoming a registered nurse. Additionally, consider including information about your background and personal or professional history that may help you succeed in the program and accomplish your professional goals.


REQUIREMENT #5: Complete an Admissions Interview


About the Requirement:

After submitting all your paperwork and supplemental documentation for review, if you are a suitable candidate for the program, it is common that one of the last nursing school requirements is to participate in an admissions interview. The interview is your chance to meet with faculty and discuss the program and why you feel you should be admitted.

PRO Tip to Crack This Requirement:

It is natural to feel nervous about your nursing school interview. The best way to crack this requirement is to be prepared. Start by reviewing potential interview questions and answers. Do a mock interview with a family member or friend so you can practice answering questions.

I was once the student being interviewed, and I have been the faculty member interviewing candidates. The best tip I can give you is from personal experience, and that is to be yourself. Do not be afraid to smile and interact with the individuals interviewing you. Be confident in knowing you are a good candidate for admission. Otherwise, you would not have been invited to the interview.



WHAT ARE THE NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS FOR THE TOP ADN PROGRAMS?

(The following are 8 examples of nursing school requirements for some of the top ADN programs in the nation.)


ADN NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS EXAMPLE #1: Manhattan Area Technical College

To apply for admission to the ADN program at Manhattan Area Technical College, candidates must complete an online undergraduate application and pay a $40 application fee. When applying, you must request an official high school transcript (or GED transcript) and official transcripts from any college or university you have attended. All applicants to the technical college must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid and take the ACCUPLACER college placement test or provide ACT scores.


ADN NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS EXAMPLE #2: Northwest Florida State College - Niceville, FL

Meeting nursing school requirements for admission to the ADN program at Northwest Florida State College includes first applying and being accepted to the college, then applying to the School of Nursing. Applicants must provide official transcripts to the Academic Records and Enrollment office reflecting a minimum 3.0 GPA. All candidates must complete an online information session and submit a post-test confirmation form from the session and take the TEAS exam.

Upon selection for admission, you must attend a mandatory orientation and submit a physical examination form, proof of immunization, and a copy of your BLS/CPR card. Before matriculation into the nursing component, all students must pass a drug screening test and a criminal background and fingerprint check.


ADN NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS EXAMPLE #3: Austin Community College District - Austin, TX

To begin the admission process at Austin Community College District, prospective students must attend a virtual information session, complete the post-test, and talk with a recruiter. You must create a student account and complete the online application to the college.

Applicants desiring admission to the ADN program must complete all prerequisite courses with a minimum grade of "C," have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.7 and complete the TEAS Admission Assessment. Candidates must provide official transcripts with course descriptions from any college other than ACC they attended a copy of TEAS test scores from the ATI student account, and a signed Technical Standards form.


ADN NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS EXAMPLE #4: Sierra College - Rocklin, CA

Candidates seeking admission to the associate degree nursing program at Sierra College must take the most current edition of the TEAS exam and have a minimum cumulative score of 62%. You must complete all prerequisite coursework with a grade of “C” or higher and submit official transcripts from any post-secondary school you have attended.

Students seeking transfer credit for previous college classes not listed on the Equivalency Grid must provide official course descriptions from the school where the classes were taken. If you plan to use your high school math grade to meet the math prerequisite nursing school requirement, you must provide an official high school transcript, as well. All applicants must complete the Fall RN Application and complete the multi-criteria entrance form.


ADN NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS EXAMPLE #5: Anne Arundel Community College - Arnold, MD

The first nursing school requirement for admission at Anne Arundel Community College is to attend an information session. Candidates must complete applications for the college and the School of Nursing. Applicants must take the TEAS examination and, score a minimum cumulative 58.7%, complete a chemistry course with a grade of at least "C." Along with your application, you must provide high school transcripts or GED equivalency transcripts, or college transcripts reflecting a minimum 3.0 GPA. Candidates must complete all prerequisite English, Math, and Human Biology or Anatomy and Physiology courses with a grade of “C” or better.

After meeting academic and admission requirements, you will be granted conditional acceptance and must attend a mandatory meeting with faculty. You must complete a urine drug screen, criminal background check, and health examination, including vaccinations and technical standards, and provide verification of your current American Heart Association BLS CPR certification.


ADN NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS EXAMPLE #6: Manchester Community College - Manchester, NH

At Manchester Community College, candidates attempting to meet nursing school requirements for admission must complete a program application and attend a mandatory Nursing Information Session. Proof of satisfactory completion of high school biology, chemistry, and algebra courses with a grade of at least "C" is required. Additionally, all applicants must complete the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) and have an Adjusted Individual Score as follows: Math 68.8%, English 60%, Reading 70%, and Science 55.3%.

Although traditional ADN candidates are not required to complete Human Anatomy & Physiology I and II, special consideration is given to applicants who have completed the classes with a grade of “C” or higher before applying.

Manchester Community College also offers an LPN to RN option. Admission to this pathway requires having a current, unrestricted LPN license. LPN to RN candidates must complete the NLN Nursing Acceleration Challenge Exam I: Foundations of Nursing with an overall grade of 75% or higher.


ADN NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS EXAMPLE #7: State Fair Community College - Sedalia, MO

To apply to the ADN program at State Fair Community College, you must be currently enrolled in your final prerequisite course(s) or have completed all prerequisite courses. Applicants must be admitted to the college before applying to the nursing program. You must provide official transcripts from any college or university you attended and have an Adjusted Total Individual Score of at least 58.7% on the TEAS test.

The school offers a competency-based bi-level program designed to allow you to become a licensed practical/vocational nurse and then transition to the associate nursing program. Additionally, there is an option for an Advanced Placement ADN program for candidates already licensed as an LPN/LVN. Therefore, before admission to the nursing component of the ADN program, you must show proof of current LPN licensure.


ADN NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS EXAMPLE #8: Century College - White Bear Lake, MN

Century College uses a holistic approach to evaluating candidates for its nursing program. Candidates are scored based on the following: an Experience and Attributes Essay (40% of score), a Critical Thinking Health Science Reasoning Test (40% of score), an Open Book Quiz using the Nursing Program Information Guide (10% of score), and previous diplomas, degrees, certifications, and licensures (10% of score).

Once accepted into the nursing program, you must complete Biology Concepts or Principles of Biology, chemistry Concepts or Principles of Chemistry, English Composition I, and Developmental Psychology: Lifespan with a 2.75 average for each class. These courses must be completed before beginning the program.



WHAT ARE THE NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS FOR THE TOP BSN PROGRAMS?

(The following are 8 examples of nursing school requirements for some of the top BSN programs in the nation.)


BSN NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS EXAMPLE #1: The University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL

The nursing school admission requirements for the BSN program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham include the following. Candidates must apply for and be admitted to the University of Alabama at Birmingham as undergraduate degree-seeking students before applying to the School of Nursing. Applicants must complete all pre-nursing prerequisite courses and achieve a minimum grade of “C” for each pre-nursing foundation course and achieve and maintain a 2.75 or higher GPA throughout the admission cycle.

The university offers a Second-Degree BSN option for candidates who have an undergraduate degree in a non-nursing discipline. Applicants for this program must meet the same requirements. However, if you have an undergraduate degree and your GPA is less than 2.75, you may submit GRE scores for consideration. Your GRE must reflect a combined score of 297 on the quantitative and verbal sections and must have been completed within the last five years.

Candidates for both programs must meet the Pre-licensure Core Performance Standards for Admission and Progression.


BSN NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS EXAMPLE #2: University of Arizona - Tucson, AZ

Admission to the University of Arizona’s BSN program begins by applying to the pre-nursing major through the UA Undergraduate Admissions Application. Candidates must complete all general education and nursing prerequisites with a completed grade of “C” or higher and a minimum prerequisite GPA of at least 3.0. You must provide official transcripts and participate in a virtual behavioral interview, which is part of the NursingCAS application. Although not required, holistic experiences such as healthcare experience, military service, volunteer experience, leadership, and academic achievements are considered, if applicable.


BSN NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS EXAMPLE #3: Baker University - Baldwin City, KS

Baker University uses a holistic approach to screen candidates for admission to its BSN program. Candidates are reviewed based on academic history, prerequisite GPA, any other degrees earned, math and science prerequisite GPA, and an interview with nursing faculty. You must provide high school and college transcripts, if applicable, and complete an online application.


BSN NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS EXAMPLE #4: Western Kentucky University

At Western Kentucky University, applicants to the BSN program must first be admitted to the university and complete a minimum of 80 hours of college-level coursework. You must have a minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale for all general education and pre-nursing courses and attain a minimum grade of “C” in all required sciences and required pre-nursing prerequisites. You must provide a School of Nursing Application and copy of HESI entrance exam scores to the admissions office, as well.


BSN NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS EXAMPLE #5: University of Tampa - Tampa, FL

At the University of Tampa, prospective students seeking admission to the BSN program must first apply to the university using either the Common Application, Coalition Application, or Online Application. Candidates initially apply to the university as a pre-nursing major and may apply to the nursing department after all pre-nursing requirements are met.

Applicants must have a minimum 3.25 GPA overall for all pre-nursing and general education coursework when applying to the BSN program. It is important to note that although candidates with GPAs of 3.25 are considered, the average cumulative GPA of admitted students is 3.7.

The university evaluates each candidate holistically, considering academic performance and character review. A few things that are not required but that could help make you a more attractive candidate are to provide official SAT or ACT scores, professional or academic recommendations, a resume or co-curricular transcript, and a visit to the campus to meet with program faculty and admission counselors.


BSN NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS EXAMPLE #6: University of North Georgia - Dahlonega, GA

The University of North Georgia offers a Traditional BSN program for candidates who have not yet earned a baccalaureate degree and an Accelerated BSN program for individuals with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree who want to become an RN.

All applicants must apply for admission to the university first and request official transcripts from any college or university they have attended and submit Health Education Systems Inc. scores. A minimum score of 75% on the HESI exam is required, as well.

Admission to the traditional BSN program requires having a 3.0 or higher GPA for all college coursework attempted. Candidates for the traditional BSN pathway must complete a minimum of 35 credits earned from science (12 credits), English (6 credits), and math (3 credits) and earn a “C” or better on all core courses.


BSN NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS EXAMPLE #7: Trinity Christian College - Palos Heights, IL

To be considered for admission to Trinity Christian College, you must begin by completing an online application. Candidates must request official transcripts from any post-secondary school attended to be submitted to the admissions department. Once your transcripts are received and evaluated, a decision for admission is made. For unconditional admission, you must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale and have a 67% completion rate for previous coursework.

Applicants who do not meet the above nursing school requirements may be asked to submit a personal statement or letters of recommendation to be considered for conditional admission.


BSN NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS EXAMPLE #8: Indiana University Northwest - Gary, IN

Acceptance to the BSN program at Indiana University Northwest requires meeting the following criteria. Candidates must first apply and be accepted to the university and then complete all prerequisites before applying to the nursing program. Applicants have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 and a minimum pre-nursing grade point average of 2.7. All candidates must complete a national criminal background check and a urine drug screening.



10 MOST COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID WHILE TRYING TO CRACK NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS


After deciding you want to go to nursing school, the next step is to start applying for admission to programs. The following list explains 10 of the most common mistakes prospective students make when trying to crack nursing school requirements.

MISTAKE #1: Turning in an Incomplete Application

One of the most common mistakes individuals make trying to crack nursing school requirements is to turn in an incomplete application. This mistake is one way you can be sure your application will be rejected.

Take your time to review the application instructions carefully. Double-check the list of required supplemental documents to ensure you have everything requested. Remember, the few minutes it takes to verify your application is complete could make a difference in you meeting all the requirements and being admitted.

MISTAKE #2: Telling Yourself the Admissions Exam Will Be Easy

Admissions tests are designed to see if you are a viable candidate for a nursing program. Therefore, they can be challenging. Most schools require candidates to take the TEAS test, HESI admission exam, or Accuplacer exam as part of the nursing school requirements for admission. Telling yourself any of the tests will be easy is a huge mistake. Take your time to prepare for the tests so you can succeed.

MISTAKE #3: Turning in an Admission Essay Without Proofreading It

What may be one of the easiest nursing school requirements is the admission essay. As easy as writing a brief essay may seem, many nursing school candidates make the mistake of submitting essays without checking them for errors. Admission teams look for applicants who are professional and can communicate well verbally and nonverbally. Your written essay should be easy to understand and free of any grammatical or punctuation errors. If it is not, there is a good chance your application could be rejected.

MISTAKE #4: Choosing the Wrong People to Provide References

Earlier in the article, I mentioned providing letters of recommendation as a nursing school requirement and told you the type of information the admissions team looks for from your references. The thing about letters of recommendation is that, even if they say all the right things, if they do not come from the right source, they hold little weight. Avoid using close friends or family members altogether. Your letters need to appear unbiased. Therefore, even if you worked with a friend or family member, choosing other references is best.

MISTAKE #5: Refusing to Be Immunized

The fact that nursing school requirements state that students must have current immunizations is a touchy subject for a lot of people. Immunizations have been a controversial issue for as long as I can remember, and the controversy has seemed to deepen since COVID-19. Many students feel it is their right to refuse immunizations, and that is true. In fact, some schools offer immunization waivers to students who meet certain criteria. However, an immunization waiver to attend school does not mean you are cleared to participate in clinicals at healthcare facilities. Healthcare facilities require proof of current immunization for all nursing students participating in clinical practicum.

MISTAKE #6: Not Using Your Statement of Purpose to Your Advantage

In my experience, many students fail to realize the importance of crafting a compelling Statement of Purpose. Your Statement of Purpose should outline reasons why you want to become a nurse. For example, did some event or person in your life impact you in a way that led you to choose nursing as a career? It should engage the reader while telling the story of who you are, what nursing means to you, and what you hope to accomplish as a nurse. If you have a personal experience you feel comfortable sharing, share it. Doing so creates an opportunity for admission teams to connect with you on a personal level, which can be helpful when you try to secure a spot in a competitive program.

MISTAKE #7: Having a Care-Free Attitude About Grades

One of the main nursing school requirements for admission is to meet the minimum grade point average. If you have poor academic performance before applying to nursing school, you could find yourself at a disadvantage when compared to other candidates. Admission to nursing school is quite competitive. Therefore, yes, your application will be compared to others. Whether you are still in high school or attending college now, do yourself a favor and make getting good grades a priority.

MISTAKE #8: Trying to Hide Past Criminal Issues

In a perfect world, one past mistake may never affect your future. However, when it comes to a career in healthcare, that one mistake could make or break you... especially if you are dishonest about it. Not will your nursing school application ask if you have any previous convictions, but all nursing students are required to submit to a criminal background check. Failure to disclose vital information could result in your application being rejected.

If you have a previous conviction of any type, it is best to discuss it with the program director and follow their advice. Keep in mind, while previous legal issues may not prevent you from becoming a nurse, failure to disclose could.

MISTAKE #9: Being Unprepared for Your Admission Interview

The admission interview is typically the final step in the application process before schools make offers of acceptance. If you make it to the point where you are invited to an interview, that is a good sign. However, an interview does not mean automatic acceptance to nursing school.

Take the interview seriously by preparing. Think of how you will answer questions and consider a few questions to ask faculty members when given the opportunity. Dress professionally and arrive a few minutes early. Treat your admissions interview as if you were going to an interview for your dream job!

MISTAKE #10: Asking for an Extension on Your Application or Turning Your Application in Late

One of the key characteristics of a good nurse is that we know how to manage time wisely. Your first test of time management will happen before you begin classes, as you must turn your application and required documents in on time. Remember, admission to top nursing schools is a competitive process. Serious applicants will have their applications turned in by the priority deadline if at all possible. So, asking for an extension or turning yours in late could lead to a disappointing outcome for you.



BONUS! WHAT NEXT IF, DESPITE YOUR BEST EFFORTS, YOU FAIL TO CRACK NURSING SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS?


Meeting nursing school requirements takes effort. Even with the best of intentions, you may fall short of cracking the requirements for admission. If, despite your best efforts, you fail to meet the requirements, do not give up! The following are a few things you can do to help make your next attempt successful.

OPTION #1: Be Honest with Yourself About Whether Nursing Is Right for You

The first thing you should do if you fail to crack nursing school requirements is find out why you did not make it. If your grades were a little low or you needed a little experience, that is understandable. On the other hand, if you applied half-heartedly and feel unsure about becoming a nurse, now is the time to decide. Be honest with yourself about where you want to be five, ten, or twenty years from now. Can you see yourself in nursing? If not, there are unlimited options for a different career. However, if becoming a nurse is what you dream of doing, this is the time to get serious and do what you can to improve your chances of admission the next time you apply.

OPTION #2: Work on Improving your GPA

One of the top reasons prospective students do not get into nursing programs is failure to meet the minimum GPA requirement. If you find yourself in this situation, all is not lost. Consider taking some relevant courses to help increase your GPA and reapply! It may be a bit disheartening, but you can improve your grades and better your chance of admission the next time around.

OPTION #3: Get to Know the Admissions Counselors/Advisors

Having contacts in the right places never hurts anyone. If you do not crack nursing school requirements the first time, make an appointment with admissions and get to know the advisors. Attend information sessions if the schools offer them, as well. Anything you can do to make yourself visible and show an interest in the program could get the attention of people making admission decisions and may result in you getting the help you need to get accepted.

OPTION #4: Become a Certified Nursing Assistant

Although being a CNA may not be a nursing school requirement, it would not hurt to have it on your resume or application. Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant gives you firsthand experience in the world of healthcare. Your willingness to become certified before going to nursing school also speaks to your commitment to the profession, which is something admission faculty look for in potential students.



MY FINAL THOUGHTS


Choosing to pursue a career in nursing school is a major decision. One of the first questions you may ask is, “What are the nursing school requirements?” Each school has a list of criteria that all applicants must meet. In this article, I shared some of the requirements for top ADN and BSN programs and gave some insight into how to successfully crack nursing school requirements in 2024.



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT


1. What Are The Basic Nursing School Requirements Every Student Has To Meet?

The basic nursing school requirements students must meet are to have a high school diploma or GED, take the TEAS test, and meet the minimum grade point average requirement for the program.


2. What Nursing School Requirements Do Students Most Commonly Find Easy To Meet?

For many students, the easiest nursing school requirement to meet is the minimum GPA. Most nursing schools require applicants to have a 2.7 to 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 grading scale.


2. What Nursing School Requirements Do Students Most Commonly Find Difficult To Meet?

Scoring well on the TEAS test is often challenging for nursing school applicants. Additionally, preparing a Statement of Intent can be difficult for some students when it comes to meeting nursing school requirements.


3. What Nursing School Requirements Do Students Most Commonly Fail To Meet?

Believe it or not, one of the most common nursing school requirements candidates fail to meet is turning in paperwork on time. Some candidates may fall short of the GPA requirement or perform poorly in the admission interview, but those are not the most common causes of failure to meet the criteria.


4. Are There Any Minimum GPA Requirements For Nursing Students?

The average minimum GPA that nursing student candidates must have is 2.85.


5. Are There Any Specific Prerequisite Requirements For Nursing Students?

Yes, all nursing programs have required general education and pre-nursing prerequisite requirements. Students must typically take Anatomy and Physiology, Biology, Microbiology, English Composition, Lifespan Growth and Developmental Psychology, and Nutrition, to name a few.


6. Are There Any Specific Entrance Exam Requirements For Nursing Students?

Another important nursing school requirement is taking the TEAS exam. The test is a standardized multiple-choice exam designed to test a candidate’s knowledge and likelihood of success in a nursing program.


7. Are There Any Specific Extracurricular Activity Requirements For Nursing Students?

Extracurriculars are usually not among nursing school requirements for ADN and BSN programs. However, if you have relevant extracurricular experience, be sure to mention it on your application or in your essay.


8. Are There Any Specific Physical Fitness Requirements For Nursing Students?

Yes, nursing schools require applicants to submit to a physical examination to prove they are capable of handling the physical requirements involved in patient care.


9. Are There Any Specific Immunization Requirements For Nursing Students?

Nursing students must show proof of current immunizations to be eligible for clinicals in nursing school. While some schools may admit students lacking immunizations to their campus for classes, healthcare facilities are not required to accept any unimmunized student.


10. Are There Any Specific Cultural Competency Requirements For Nursing Students?

Cultural competence is a vital characteristic of all nurses and nursing students. Not all schools ask for proof of cultural competency prior to admission, but you will be expected to demonstrate it to remain in the program.


11. Do I Need To Have A Specific Number Of Hours Of Community Service To Meet Nursing School Requirements?

ADN and BSN programs do not always list community service hours as a nursing school requirement. However, if you have community service experience, especially in a health-related field, be sure to mention it.


12. Do I Need To Have A Specific Number Of Hours Of Work Experience To Meet Nursing School Requirements?

Most ADN and BSN programs accept students who have no work experience. Graduate-level programs, on the other hand, typically do require work experience as a nursing school requirement.


13. Do I Need To Have Any Specific Type Of Work Experience To Meet Nursing School Requirements?

No, ADN and BSN programs usually do not require any specific type of work experience to meet their nursing school requirements.


14. Do I Need Any Clinical Experience To Meet Nursing School Requirements?

For associate and bachelor’s degree nursing programs, clinical experience prior to enrolling is typically not a nursing school requirement for admission. You will complete clinical practicum hours throughout the course of your program.


15. Do I Need To Take Specific Science Courses In High School To Meet Nursing School Requirements?

Nursing school requirements often include the recommendation to have experience in biology, chemistry, and statistics, and many students complete these courses in high school. However, if you do not complete them in high school, you can take them during the general education/pre-nursing part of the nursing program.


16. Do I Need To Take Specific Math Courses In High School To Meet Nursing School Requirements?

Most nursing programs require at least three years of high school math for admission to their programs. Competitive schools may require more math experience.


17. Do I Need To Take SAT OR ACT To Meet Nursing School Requirements?

Some colleges require candidates to take the ACT or SAT for admission to their programs, while others do not. Many schools relaxed the ACT and SAT score requirements when COVID-19 occurred and have not yet implemented it as a nursing school requirement again.


18. Do I Need To Take TEAS To Meet Nursing School Requirements?

Although all nursing schools do not require the TEAS test to meet nursing school requirements, many do. Therefore, I suggest all prospective students prepare to take the exam.


19. How Many Letters Of Recommendation Do I Need To Meet Nursing School Requirements?

Most schools that request letters of recommendation as a nursing school requirement ask for two or three letters from professional and academic references.


20. Do I Need To Submit A Personal Statement To Meet Nursing School Requirements?

ADN programs are less likely to require a Personal Statement than BSN programs as part of their nursing school requirements. However, it is good to think about your reason for wanting to become a nurse and be prepared to write a statement if requested.


21. Do I Need Any Specific Skills Or Qualities To Meet Nursing School Requirements?

Nursing schools look for candidates with good written and verbal communication skills. Also, if you have a history of leadership (in any capacity) and demonstrate empathy and compassion, these are equally important.


22. Do I Need Any Specific Computer Or Technology Skills To Meet Nursing School Requirements?

If you attend an online nursing program, the school will provide a list of nursing school requirements relevant to the online program. If you attend a campus-based program, it is still good to have a sturdy, lightweight laptop or tablet that you can take notes on and perform research with and a dependable internet connection.


23. Are There Any Specific Dress Code Requirements For Nursing School Admission Interviews?

Nursing schools typically do not list a dress code requirement because they want to see if you look like a professional without being told to do so. I always advise nursing school candidates to dress professionally, as if going to an important job interview.


24. Do Nursing School Requirements Vary Between Online And On-Campus Programs?

Nursing school requirements are usually the same for online and on-campus programs offered at the same school.


25. Do Nursing School Requirements Vary Between Different States?

RN licensing requirements vary by state. Therefore, nursing school requirements may also vary based on the state’s licensure requirements.


26. Does The Minimum GPA Requirement Vary Between Different Nursing Schools?

The minimum GPA requirement does vary between different nursing schools. Most schools require candidates to have a 2.7 to 3.0 grade point average.


27. Do All Nursing Schools Require A Minimum GPA?

Most nursing schools have a strict minimum GPA requirement that candidates must meet. You may find a few that use a holistic approach to evaluating candidates, in which case other factors are considered in addition to the GPA nursing school requirement.


28. Do All Nursing Schools Require The TEAS?

Not all nursing schools require the TEAS, but most do.


29. Do All Nursing Schools Require The ACT OR SAT?

The ACT and SAT are not always nursing school requirements. However, if you have taken either of the tests, you may still submit your scores for consideration to most schools.


30. Do All Nursing Schools Require Prerequisites?

Yes, all nursing schools require students to complete prerequisites prior to admission into the nursing component of the program.


31. Do All Nursing Schools Require Work Experience?

ADN and BSN nursing schools do not usually list work experience as one of their nursing school requirements for admission.


32. Do All Nursing Schools Require Recommendation Letters?

No, recommendation letters are not a nursing school requirement for all nursing schools.


33. Do All Nursing Schools Require A Personal Statement?

Some nursing schools require a personal statement for admission, but not all do.


34. Do All Nursing Schools Require An Interview?

You are more likely to be required to have an interview for a BSN program than an ADN program. However, I suggest all nursing applicants be prepared, just in case.


35. What Are The Major Differences Between ADN Nursing School Requirements And BSN Nursing School Requirements?

The major differences between ADN and BSN nursing school requirements are that BSN applicants usually participate in an admissions interview and must provide a Statement of Intent. Additionally, BSN applicants usually have more prerequisite requirements than ADN candidates.


Darby Faubion, RN, BSN, MBA
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years of experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels. Because of her love of nursing education, Darby became a test-taking strategist and NCLEX prep coach and assists nursing graduates across the United States who are preparing to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).