Date Published: April 4, 2017
Nursing school here you come! Before you take on classes and clinicals, it’s application time. When it comes to the application process, it’s important to start with the basics. We have identified three essential steps for pre-nursing students to address.
Not ready to apply to nursing school? Check out How to Get into Nursing School: A Five-Step Guide.
Pick a Path
Not all nurses take the same educational path. For starters, pre-nursing students need to choose to between a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN/LVN) program or a Registered Nurse (RN) program. It’s important to note that not all schools offer both types of nursing programs.
If you do choose an RN program, you will then choose from three degree paths. The most common two paths include Associate of Science Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). The third degree path for becoming an RN is to enroll in a Nursing Diploma/Certificate program. This type of program is often associated with a hospital or provider instead of a nursing school.
Want to learn more about the differences between associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and nursing diplomas? Check out Is a Career in Nursing for You?
Identify the Must-Haves
Once you have chosen the right nursing degree for you, it’s on to the must-haves, the non-negotiables – the features of a nursing program on which you’re not willing to compromise. Not all schools are the same, and not all schools are right for you. Take the time to identify your must-haves. Below are a few of the top items on pre-nursing students’ lists:
- Public school
- Private school
- School with no waiting list
- Online school
- On-campus school
- School located in the Midwest
- School located in the Northeast
- School located in the South
- School located on the West Coast
Look at the Financials
Before enrolling in a nursing program, it is important to understand the financial big picture. Having a solid understanding of the financial component will give you a better idea of what schools to pursue. A few questions to have answered beforehand, include:
- What is the cost of tuition?
- Will I have to borrow money to pay for tuition?
- If so, how much will my payments be following graduation?
- How can I minimize living expenses during school?
Speaking of financials, did you know that there are health care facilities that will pay off your nursing school loan in exchange for work or will send you to nursing school? In fact, The Campaign for Nursing’s Future developed a tool that helps you find loan repayment programs around the county. Regardless of the program type, don’t forget to look into scholarship opportunities. Financial aid can make a school that would be “out of budget” a possible contender.