The nursing school admissions process can be far from easy, and one of the most stressful components for many students is the interview. However, if you take the time to learn how to prepare for nursing school interview questions, you can go into your interview with confidence. We’ll cover strategies for optimizing your interview skills so you can put your best foot forward when it counts.
Felician University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program is committed to helping qualified students achieve their goal of becoming a registered nurse. Interviewing for the 16-month Hybrid ABSN program consists of a casual phone conversation rather than a formal interview. Your admissions counselor’s main focus will be on getting to know you.
Use these 11 tips on how to prepare for a nursing school interview before either an admissions conversation or a more formal admissions interview. These strategies can ensure you have the best chance of getting into accelerated nursing school.
1. Do Your Research
Before a nursing school interview, research as much about the nursing program as you can. Search the school website for information about its admissions requirements, curriculum, and other program details. Having a base of knowledge about the ABSN program will set you up to ask good questions while also showing your interviewer that you are truly interested in the program.
Furthermore, researching ahead of time will ensure that you choose a program that is accredited, can be completed in as few as 16 months, offers online learning, and has admissions requirements that align with your background.
2. Demonstrate Confidence
Showing your interviewer you are confident in your skills and abilities is another key to interview success. You are a unique person shaped by your experiences, and you bring a lot to the table. You know in your heart that you would be a good nurse, so help your interviewer to see this.
While humility is a virtue, this needs to be balanced when in an interview situation. You’ll need to help your interviewers see why they should choose you for their nursing program. Therefore, stand tall and speak with confidence about why you believe you would be a benefit to the nursing profession and your future patients.
3. Practice Your Elevator Pitch
Often, the first question an interviewer will ask you is, “Can you tell me more about yourself?” This is a question you should practice answering ahead of time. Many people approach this question by simply giving a timeline of their lives, but this is not nearly as relevant or polished as the alternative.
First, think about the top qualities or skills you hold that are relevant, and use these as the focus of your answer. Next, explain and give evidence for each point. For example, a prospective nursing student could choose these three strengths: compassion, focus, and collaboration. You then need to tie your three strengths into why they will help make you an excellent nurse.
Once you have outlined this answer, practice saying it aloud a few times to ensure you’re confident with your response. This elevator pitch approach of sharing a summary of yourself will help your interviewer to see why you are an ideal candidate for nursing school, while also showing them that you put effort into coming prepared.
4. Practice Answering Questions
Once you have a solid elevator pitch, focus on preparing answers to other common accelerated nursing program interview questions. Considering these questions ahead of time will help you think through potential answers when the pressure isn’t on.
Many interview questions involve scenarios or real-life examples, such as asking about a time you helped resolve a conflict, or an example of a time when you made a mistake and how you handled it. Other questions you should think through are those that ask you to evaluate your greatest weakness or the accomplishment you are most proud of.
Don’t worry about memorizing detailed answers to all the possible questions you could be asked. The most important part is to come up with a general set of ideas that you can draw on to answer a range of questions.
5. Create a List of Questions to Ask
While an interview consists largely of you answering accelerated nursing program interview questions, one key piece that many forget about is asking questions. At the end of the interview, you will generally have the opportunity to ask questions about the ABSN program. As a rule, always ask questions!
Asking thoughtful questions shows the interviewer you are truly interested and engaged. Further, it also helps you get more information that you can use to decide whether the program is a good fit for you. As you’re researching the details of your ABSN program before your interview, write out a list of any questions you have, and take this list with you to the interview.
6. Come Prepared with Your Transcript
During your phone call with the admissions counselors at Felician, you’ll spend time going through your transcript to see whether you meet admissions requirements. You’ll also review your prior college classes to see which prerequisite courses you’ve already completed. Therefore, it’s vital to have access to your unofficial college transcript so you can provide it to your interviewer.
7. Dress Professionally
You need to dress professionally for your nursing school interview, especially if it is a video or face-to-face conversation. Plan to wear business dress, such as a button-up with a tie for men, and a smart blouse or dress for women. Wear your hair in an appropriate way, and remember to smile when you meet your interviewer.
It’s generally better to show up to an interview dressed too formally than too casually. Even if your interview is only on the phone, it’s also a good idea to dress up, as this can help you feel more confident during the call.
8. Take Time When Answering Hard Questions
During your nursing school interview, you may be asked questions that are particularly challenging. You may not know the answer right away, and that’s OK. Take a step back, pause, say you’ll take a moment to think about it, and respond when you are ready. This is expected during an interview.
There isn’t pressure to answer right away if you don’t know the answer. Take your time and form your response first. Formulating a response will help you communicate your ideas in a more effective way.
9. Show Who You Are
When you are interviewing for nursing school, it’s important to show your interviewer your true self. Rather than trying to impress them with inflated stories, be genuine and honest about what makes you unique.
When students share their true selves with Felician’s admissions counselors, it helps their admissions counselors connect with them and see how they would benefit the ABSN program. Felician is committed to investing in our students and prospective students, and we want you to achieve your nursing goals. Therefore, our admissions counselors want to learn your story and help you get accepted. By opening up to your admissions counselor, you’re investing in that relationship, and your counselor will be all the more interested in helping you succeed.
10. Express Your Passion
You want to go back to school to become a nurse, which means that you are likely to be passionate about taking care of people in a clinical setting. Let this passion shine through. Convey what inspires you about nursing and why you’re committed to working hard to launch your new career.
Nursing school is challenging, and it requires hard work and commitment, but it is also fueled by passion. Admissions counselors know the value of passion, so they want to hear what excites you and drives you to pursue this career.
11. Show Gratitude
The last strategy for how to perform in a nursing school interview is to show your gratitude to your interviewer. Thank them for the meeting when you begin the interview, and thank them again for their time at the close of the interview. After the interview, write out a brief email or hand-written note of thanks and send it to them.
Genuine gratitude is meaningful to people, and it’s often overlooked. Therefore, put effort into expressing thanks for the interviewer’s consideration and time.
Start Your Journey to Nursing School Today
Getting into nursing school can be a stressful experience, but with the right tools to help you prepare, you can succeed in achieving your goals. Learning how to prepare for a nursing school interview will set you up for success when talking with the admissions counselors at Felician University. However, rest assured that the admissions interview for the ABSN program is much more casual than most; our aim is to get to know you and why you’re passionate about nursing.
Felician offers both a 16-month hybrid ABSN in Parsippany, NJ, and an 18-month on-ground ABSN in Rutherford, NJ. In addition, you’ll be able to choose from three start dates each year for the hybrid ABSN. The hybrid program uses a combination of online courses, skills and simulation labs, and clinical rotations to prepare students to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) and work toward becoming professional nurses in as few as 16 months.
To begin your nursing journey at Felician, fill out our online form, and an admissions counselor will reach out to you. Now is the time to make your nursing career a reality.