Date Published: August 6th, 2021
Each stage of school is unique and exciting in its own way. Just as undergraduate school is very different from high school, nursing school is also an entirely new experience. While getting into nursing school is an inspiring accomplishment, you may find yourself questioning how this next stage of schooling will actually differ from what you’re familiar with. Understanding how nursing school compares, then, to your undergraduate experience can make the transition smoother.
More intimate campus experience
Because most nursing students do not live in dorms, the social life in nursing school is different from that in a traditional undergrad experience. You may find yourself spending more time with your fellow classmates as the demands of studying bring you closer together.
Increased classwork intensity
Nursing school classes are more intense, meaning that as few as 3 courses can be considered a full load. The beginning of nursing school often includes book work and class lectures, while clinical time is reserved for later school semesters.
A different approach to test questions
Coming into nursing school, you’re probably used to the traditional knowledge-based, multiple-choice questions on exams. In nursing school, you’ll notice a bigger emphasis placed on analytical, application-based test questions (in which you are asked about how to use — or apply — the information you’ve been taught). Because this approach is probably unfamiliar to your previous academic experience, studying practice questions before actual exams will help you tremendously.
Study habit changes
Nursing school requires learning a lot of material. Studying will become an even bigger focus in nursing school as you try to maximize your learning.
Focus on comprehension
Nursing school is rigorous. As you learn new material, prioritize comprehension and the development of critical thinking skills. On a similar note, don’t compare yourself to your classmates, as everyone learns differently.
Nursing school classes are typically smaller, leading to more personal attention and expected classroom participation than in undergraduate school. You’ll be more aware of how well your classmates understand what they’re learning — and they’ll be exposed to your level of knowledge.
Acceptance into nursing school is an accomplishment to celebrate. While nerves are normal before beginning this next stage in your academic journey, you can ease the sense of unfamiliarity before jumping headfirst into this new environment. Informing yourself on these changes is the best way to mentally prepare for the next chapter and start nursing school off on the right foot.