AdmissionsApplication Advice

What Do Nursing Schools Look for in Applicants? Our Top 5 Must-Haves.

Does your nursing school application stand out?

If you’ve asked the question, “What do nursing schools look for in applicants?” in years’ past, you would have received a fairly straightforward answer. Today, the answer would be less so because of all the different nursing programs and degree options that are currently available. And while we can’t speak for every nursing school, we can tell you the top five things we look for in accelerated BSN program applicants.

1. Strong Academic History

First and foremost, you need to meet the basic admissions requirements for our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, which includes having a non-nursing bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution OR a minimum of 60 credits with a cumulative 3.0 GPA in all undergraduate coursework.

2. Good Prerequisite Grades

We want students coming into our ABSN program to have a solid understanding of math and science. This type of knowledge is critical to your success in nursing school and the profession. Therefore, you must earn a grade of C+ or higher in each ABSN prerequisite course, which includes microbiology, anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, and chemistry.

3. Commitment to Learning

Nursing school in and of itself requires a lot of hard work and dedication to succeed. Now, factor in the accelerated timeframe of our ABSN program and you’ve got a serious commitment on your hands. We want to see that you have the time, energy, and resources to commit to full-time nursing study.

Felician nursing student

4. Passion for the Profession

While good grades are important to us, we also want to make sure that you have a sincere passion for the profession. If your motivation for becoming a nurse has to do with pay or job security, you’ll likely end up unhappy. We believe the best nurses are those that have a genuine interest in helping others.

5. Compelling Application

We look for applications that are complete, compelling, and submitted on time, so, be sure to follow the application directions to a T. As part of the application process, you must submit your official college transcripts, a professional resume, a letter of intent, and two letters of recommendation.

Application Advice

We review student applications as they come in, rather than waiting for the submission deadline to pass (rolling admissions). So, the earlier you submit your application, the better your chances of securing a spot in your preferred term.

How to Create a Competitive Nursing School Application

Even though our ABSN program can enroll a high number of students every year, you still need to find ways to stand out from the competition. After all, many of the students who apply to our accelerated nursing program share similar academic qualifications, so, don’t let your resume or letter of intent fall short.

Resume Recommendations


Before you sit down to put your resume together, it helps to outline the qualities every great nurse possesses, such as confidence, compassion, and commitment. Then, think of all the ways you were able to apply such traits in past experiences. For example, if you’ve ever worked in customer service, highlight your ability to empathize with clients.

And, while you don’t need healthcare experience to apply to our ABSN program, it doesn’t hurt to have relevant volunteer experience on your resume. We want to see any skills that would position you as a standout nursing student. If, for example, you’ve spent time helping to care for the homeless at a local shelter or performed community service at a neighborhood food bank, be sure to tell us about it.

Letter of Intent Insight

Your letter of intent is another great way to show us what makes you an ideal candidate for our ABSN program and the nursing profession. It’s important to take a “show don’t tell” approach to writing your letter. Telling us you want to help people isn’t enough, you need a strong story to back up your claim.

More specifically, don’t just tell us you’re a compassionate individual, show us how that’s true. Let’s say you helped a family member recover from surgery. Instead of rehashing what happened, describe the actions you took and the feelings you experienced during this time. The goal is to connect with us so that we have a better understanding of who you are as a person.

Other items to keep in mind when crafting your letter:

  • Determine your main message and outline your key points.
  • Write from the heart when explaining what motivates you.
  • Write with passion when describing your dedication.
  • Write a compelling argument to show you understand the profession.
  • Write using clear, strong language that gets to the point.
  • Remove any details that detract from your main message.
  • Review every sentence for clarity and accuracy.
  • Ask someone you trust to proofread your work.

Admissions Assistance

When you apply to our ABSN program, we pair you up with a dedicated admissions counselor who is there to support you every step of the way. Don’t be shy about asking for his/her assistance or sharing your concerns about the application process. After all, your admissions counselor doesn’t determine whether or not you get into the program. He/she is there to help keep you on track and guide you in submitting the most competitive application possible.

Ready to Apply?

Every nursing school has a unique set of admissions requirements and looks for different qualities in their applicants. When it comes to our ABSN program in New Jersey, we look at your academic history and prerequisite grades as well as your commitment to nursing school and the profession.

If you think you have what it takes to succeed in our accelerated nursing program, reach out to our admissions team today! Be sure to ask about our 16-month Hybrid Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in Parsippany, which has three start dates a year. We also have a 24-month On-Ground Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in Rutherford, which has one start date a year.

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