How to Apply to Nursing School (And Get In!)

How to Apply to Nursing School (And Get In!)

Don’t know where to start your nursing program?

Before you begin your nursing career, you need to conduct extensive research on the different nursing pathways and the admission requirements to each program.

Read on. This guide provides a breakdown of how to apply to a nursing school.

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The Multiple Pathways to Becoming a Nurse

While nursing may seem straightforward, there are different pathways to becoming a nurse.

Here are the nursing programs offered at most universities and the duration in which you could complete each nursing course.

Practical Nursing

A practical nursing diploma is a great way to start your nursing career and gain experience in the field. As a licensed practical nurse (LPN), you work as an integral part of the health system. You could work under a supervising registered nurse and the medical staff.

This program typically takes about 1 or 2 years to complete. However, at some universities, you could take as few as 15 months to earn a diploma in practical nursing.

Associate Degree in Nursing

An Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is the fastest track to becoming a registered nurse (RN). As an RN, you could make a difference every day by serving as a direct link to patients.

Depending on the program you choose, you might take roughly 3 years to complete your ADN. Some universities provide accelerated programs that enable you to earn your ADN in as little as 18 months.

Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing

A Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN) could prepare you for nursing positions in leadership and management roles. With a BSN, you are equipped with more skills, and you could expect higher compensation.

It is worth noting that most employers prefer hiring nurses with a BSN.

Most students could take about 4 years to complete a BSN. In some universities, you could complete your BSN degree in as little as 30 months (2.5 years) instead of 4 years.

The qualifications of admission to these specific nursing programs differ. You should check with the universities you are considering to learn more.

Other Nursing Pathways You Should Know

While Practical Nursing, Associate Degree in Nursing, and Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing are the three primary routes you can pick to get into a nursing career, there are other pathways worth noting.


As a licensed nurse, you can expand your education by earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN). You could position yourself for more competitive jobs, such as managerial positions, with a BSN.

According to the 2020 National Nursing Workforce Survey, 65.2% of registered nurses have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN).

As an RN, you could earn a BSN between 1 year and 4 years, depending on whether you are in part-time or full-time enrollment. Some programs could help you advance your education You could earn your BSN in as little as 12 months.

Remember to look at the requirements you need to get into the BSN program from any bachelor’s degree.

Online College of Nursing

Nursing as a profession can be very demanding. That’s why online nursing courses are becoming more common. Recent reports show that a combination of online learning and in-person could be beneficial to aspiring nurses.

The online nursing colleges make it easier for you to get into your nursing program while balancing your real-life and school life.

Research Possible Prerequisites

Nursing prerequisites will vary from school to school, and they depend on the nursing program you’re accepted into.

The good news is some nursing schools don’t have prerequisites. They believe that the most successful nurses showcase the desire and passion for helping others.

Tour Your Potential Nursing School Campus

It is crucial to find the right nursing school for you. Make a point of visiting some nursing campuses and meeting with admission representatives who will assist with answering your questions.

You should:

  • Inquire about the program you've chosen and see if it fits in your schedule
  • Verify the tuition of the nursing programs and decide if the pricing is within your means
  • Ask about the number of hours required for your chosen nursing program
  • Clarify if you’ll require prerequisites and, if so, which ones specifically

Generally, it would help if you did your research depending on what matters most to you. You can confirm all the nursing information ahead of time.

Take An Assessment

Most nursing schools require you to take an entrance exam or assessment to determine your suitability for a nursing program. Some of the most common tests required of aspiring nurses are the Test of Academic Skills (TEAS) exam and the Health Education Systems, Incorporated (HESI) admission assessment.

To be accepted into a particular nursing program, you must pass the assessment exams and set the minimum scores.

Provide Transcripts or GED

Transcripts or GED are determining factors in getting you into your dream nursing school. You must provide official transcripts to show that you’ve attended a college, you’re a high school graduate, and/ or you have GED scores.

Your high school GPA (or a GED score that meets the GPA entry) must be acceptable.

Some universities have set the minimum of 2.5 GPA, and others require an even higher GPA of 4.0 (or the equivalent GED score). You could qualify in some nursing programs with a GPA below 2.5 by taking biological science courses to bump your GPA to 2.5 or higher.

Submit The Entrance Essay

Some nursing schools require an entrance essay. Writing a compelling essay showcases you as a passionate nurse and a worthy nursing student.

The entrance essay could be on these topics:

  • Academic integrity
  • The art of caring
  • Managing college and life balance

Generally, the required length of the entrance essay is 1 to 2 pages.

Ready to Start Your Journey in Nursing?

At ECPI University, you’ll study nursing quickly and efficiently. Our nursing programs are affordable.

For more information on becoming a nurse at ECPI University, visit one of the ECPI University campuses or contact one of our admission advisors. You will get all the information you need to make an informed decision.

Are you interested in making positive changes in the health of your community by becoming an nurse? Enroll at ECPI University to advance your passion into a profession. Connect with our friendly admissions advisor to learn more about this exciting program.

It could be the Best Decision You Ever Make!

Learn more about ECPI University's College of Nursing TODAY!

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