1. Research the schools you want to apply to- First things first. You need to research into what program you want to go to. Think what is most important to you for the school. Does it need to be close to your house? Does it need to be a well known program? Is it cheaper than another program? Depending on what you are looking for, just make sure that whatever you apply to, that if you get accepted, that you will take that spot! Some students have found that if they defer their spot, it may take many more months before they get another opportunity.
2. Get your pre-reqs completed prior to applying- depending on the school/program, they may require more classes. Be sure to talk to someone in admissions to get the full required list for your school. Some of the main classes you will be expected to take prior to applying to nursing school are:
- English 101 & 102
- Human Anatomy & Physiology I and II
- General Chemistry 151 & 152
- General Math (140, 141, 142)
- Intro to Physiology 101
Be sure you are getting a “C” or better in your courses as well. But to be honest, nursing school is SUPER competitive, so it may take a higher grade (GPA) to be considered. Do the best you can!
3. Study and take the TEAS/HESI entrance Exams- aside from taking all of your pre-reps, you will also need to tackle this entrance exam. Depending on your program, you will take the TEAS (that is ATI driven) or the HESI. These exams will test you over Reading Comprehension, Math, Science, and English. The books below are very popular on Amazon and have high success rates! Grab yourself one and start studying!
4. Get background check/drug screening/finger clearance card- The programs will do a background check and a drug screening for you to be part of the program. Finger clearance cards you will have to go to an approved site, at the school, or the police department an able to be able to do clinicals in the hospitals while in the program. The program should provide you all the information on getting these completed
5. Get your vaccines! What will also be added to the list will be the COVID-19 vaccine, but these others you will have to make sure you get them if you haven’t already or booster shots to provide the admissions department. Again, this is so you can partake in your clinical settings in the hospital as they are a requirement.
- COVID-19 vaccines (2 shots + boosters)
- Influenza shot (flu season)
- Hepatitis B
- Chickenpox (varicella)
- MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
- TB (tuberculosis)
6. Get CPR certified- You will have to get the basic life support done. Admissions will make a copy of it. The American Heart Association does these at many places at many different times. You will have hands on experience plus a written exam you will have to pass.
7. Complete the programs admission packet and turn in on time!- So important! Know when the deadline is for the next round of applications! Do not miss the date it has to be turned in by or else you will have to wait until the next round comes along, which will be months from then. Make sure you are constantly staying in touch with the admissions counselor so you are staying on track with getting everything completed and turned in in a timely manner.
8. Set life/school balances ahead of time- whenever you start nursing school, be prepared that it will take up MOST of your time. Between lectures, labs, clinicals, studying, etc you will be SUPER busy! So if you have a family at home, be sure you are already getting things planned out for daycare if you need someone to watch your kids while you are at school. Or, if you are not going to be working at all, make sure you already have a financial plan in place like student loans if need be. Planning these things out in advance will help reduce the amount of stress and anxiety you already have going on with school. LOL!
9. RELAX!! RELAX while you can! Once you have everything together and have applied, you have done ALL the hard work already. Now just relax and enjoy yourself in the meantime knowing that you have done everything you could and that hopefully you will get the amazing phone call or email saying that you are ACCEPTED!!
Hope this list helps you prepare for applying for nursing school! YOU GOT THIS!!!
Kristen BSN, RN ❤️