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 is more complicated due to all of the different nursing programs and degree options that are currently available. While we can’t speak for every nursing school, we can explain what looks good on a nursing school application and 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. Nursing schools look for a thorough understanding of prerequisite course material in applicants, so this is an important element anywhere you apply.

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. Evaluate your current life responsibilities, and make sure you can successfully take on this challenge before applying.

Felician nursing student

4. Passion for the Profession

While good grades are important, one of the most vital things that nursing schools look for in applicants is a sincere passion for helping others. If your motivation for becoming a nurse has to do with pay or job security, and not with service or humanitarian reasons, you’ll likely end up unhappy during your nursing career. In the Felician ABSN program, we believe the best nurses are those who have a genuine interest in helping others, so we prioritize passion when selecting applicants.

5. Adherence to the Application Process

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.

How to Create a Competitive Nursing School Application

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

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

Craft Your Nursing School Resume

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.

person handing resume to employer

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.

Formatting your resume can also be a challenge with so much relevant information to convey, but you can stand out in the applicant pool by submitting a well-formatted document that is both aesthetically pleasing and thorough. While you will want to structure your resume to highlight all your accomplishments, organization and brevity are the keys. Try to stick to a length of one page, and triple check your resume to make sure there are no obvious spelling or formatting errors. To learn more about the way a nursing student resume is formatted and how you can structure your own, read this article and take note of the displayed template examples.

Make Your Letter of Intent Stand Apart

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.

There are other key factors to keep in mind when crafting your letter. Follow the guidelines below, and you should have written something that genuinely expresses who you are while boosting your chances of getting into a nursing program:

  • 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.

Take Advantage of 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. They will first get to know you as a person and ensure that you are a good fit for the program. When speaking with them, be prepared to answer why you want to become a nurse and why you might be a good fit for the program. Nursing is a demanding career that requires plenty of patient care and advocacy, so it’s their priority to make sure you have the right qualities to succeed as a nursing student and beyond.

Don’t be shy about asking for their assistance or sharing your concerns about the application process and nursing school in general. After all, your admissions counselor is there to help keep you on track and guide you in submitting the most competitive application possible. They can help explain how previous academic experiences affect your chances of acceptance and the traits you have that will allow you to succeed in nursing. Whatever you need as an applicant, they are here to help you achieve it.

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 you as a complete individual, including academic history and prerequisite grades as well as your commitment to nursing school and the profession before deciding.

Nursing students in lab coats

Now that you know what nursing schools look for in applicants and how to stand out as a prospective Felician ABSN student, 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.