If your dream is to become a nurse, then you are joining the ranks of thousands of qualified individuals who desire the same thing: to help people in a meaningful way through research, science, and compassion. However, the first step is getting into nursing school, which may sound a bit easier than it actually is. Fortunately, with the right attitude and a whole lot of determination, anything is possible for those that really want it.
Nursing school is tough, but the hardest part is getting in. Currently, the United States is experiencing a bit of a nursing shortage, so you are definitely needed in the field. However, this means that there are fewer nurses going into education, which has resulted in a lack of instructors to teach upcoming nurses. Therefore, getting into nursing school is incredibly competitive, due to the small number of slots available. If you’re considering nursing school, here are a few tips to help you make your dream come true.
- Know the Prerequisites
Because there are generally long waiting lists for students wishing to enter nursing school, you have plenty of time to prepare yourself to get in. This may sound frustrating, since you’re just waiting on a spot to open up, but it gives you a lot of time to focus on your prerequisites. A good idea is to research what the nursing program requires you to complete before beginning and start those courses immediately. Take advantage of the waiting time and get those prerequisites out of the way now.
- Get Experience
While you’re working on the prerequisite classes, take time to get some experience in healthcare. This can be anything from a job at a veterinary office or volunteering at your local retirement home. Anything that you can put on your nursing school application to show that you are already involved in the world of healthcare will raise your chances of getting in. If you aren’t scared off by volunteering your time at your college health clinic or local Planned Parenthood, you will seem like a good investment to schools.
- Perfect Your Application
Your application to nursing school is basically your request to attend, and you should make sure to put a lot of effort into creating the best application you can. If the application is done online, make sure your typing skills are up to date and double- and triple-check everything before sending it. If it’s a paper application, make sure to use your best handwriting. If you don’t have great handwriting, enlist the help of a friend to help you. If given the chance on the application, make sure to brag about yourself; highlight your professional and academic accomplishments, and don’t forget to mention all that experience you’ve gained!
- Introduce Yourself
You may feel like it’s jumping the gun a little bit, but if you live near the school that you want to attend, head over and introduce yourself to the Nursing Department Chair. Make sure you are dressed professionally and that you go in with confidence and respect. Let them know that you would love to enter the nursing program and that you wanted to meet those involved. This will help them remember you when your application comes up. Hopefully, they’ll recall meeting you and remember how determined and motivated you are to enter the nursing field.
You may also consider asking what they would recommend you do to prepare or to make yourself even more acceptable to the program. Take their advice; if they suggest you volunteer on campus, do so. If they let you know of an event that will help you get to know other nursing students, show up. Showing that you are listening and will do what they suggest is a really good sign that you’d be a valuable student.
- Don’t Wait Around
After submitting your application, check in with the Nursing Chair or their receptionist to make sure that your application was received and ask if there’s anything else you can do to prepare. Let them know how enthusiastic you are to start nursing school and want to be as ready as possible. Remember, the more you show your face to the people in charge, the more likely they are to gravitate towards accepting you when your application comes up through the pile!