The field of nursing is incredibly rewarding and important. Nurses are the backbone of the medical field, serving on the front line and providing emotional and medicinal support to patients. These professionals need to make quick decisions that impact the patient’s health, safety, and vitality. Therefore, nurses are required to complete a rigorous academic and practical courseload in order to obtain there degrees. While each program may have its own specific prerequisites for acceptance, here are some of the most common nursing school requirements.
A Solid GPA
In order to be an effective nurse, you need to have a solid academic foundation. When examining patients and making decisions about their care, your ability to read, write, reason and recall facts and information will be crucial. As a result, nursing schools look for potential students who have demonstrated past academic success. While your GPA does not give the complete picture of your potential as a student, it does provide a measurable and comparable indication to the college of your likelihood to be successful with the coursework. Many nursing programs also require you to maintain above average grades in order to complete your degree, so they will typically look for an applicant to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Strong Standardized Test Scores
Another performance aspect that allows nursing schools to compare applicants is scoring on general college entrance exams. Again, while standardized test scores do not give the full picture of your potential, they do speak to your ability to share what you know quickly and under pressure. The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and American College Test (ACT) also measure your general knowledge in areas of reading and math that are necessary for success in the field of nursing. Because these exams are standardized, it also allows nursing programs to compare your performance against other candidates nationwide. While each nursing school will require different minimum scores on these exams, typically competitive programs will look for scores of 1300 or higher on the SAT test, as these results fall above the average scores.
Score Well on Entrance Exams
In addition to strong academic success, nursing schools look at standardized measures to make decisions about applicants. Depending on the degree level and the type of nursing that you intend to practice, you may be asked to take several nursing-specific exams before you are accepted into a program. All of the exams measure functional skills, such as reading, math, and science, and also assess your ability to think critically and make decisions. Some of the exams, such as the Psychological Services Bureau Aptitude for Practical Nursing (PBS-PN) test, also assesses aspects of your personality to determine the particular field that you should work in. It is important to do your research into the different nursing programs to which you want to apply to determine which exams you will be required to take in order to be accepted.
A Successful Interview
One of the best ways to get a sense of you as an individual and future nurse is the admissions interview. Many nursing programs will require you to complete an interview as part of the applications process in order to assess your personality and penchant for the field. Nursing is a profession that requires you to demonstrate and utilize interpersonal skills on a daily basis, and an interview is the best way to assess your demeanor and comfort level with this aspect of the job. This is also a great way to balance out your academic and testing performance if your scores are not as high as you or the college would prefer.
Other Evidence of Your Potential
The nursing colleges and programs may also request additional evidence of your potential in the field as a prerequisite for admission. Letters of recommendation from teachers, practicum advisors, or others in the field can help the admissions board get a better feel for your skills and future success as a nurse. Additionally, personal essays can help to convey your experiences, aspirations, and passions for your future career. These essays can also give insight into your personality and highlight your traits that will determine your success in nursing school and in your career.
A career as a nurse is both rewarding and challenging. The ability to make decisions about the health and livelihood of patients requires a strong foundation of academic skills. A good nurse also has a strong ability to communicate, think critically, and making quick decisions. Therefore, many nursing programs are highly competitive and have a long list of prerequisite skills for enrollment. It is important to be aware of the requirements for the programs to which you apply in order to make yourself an attractive and viable candidate for acceptance.