What's the toughest challenge getting into nursing school?

What's the toughest challenge getting into nursing school?

By Josephine Reid

There's no better way to understand the challenges of getting into nursing school than hearing from the source! There are a plethora of real-life responses from nurse hopefuls via allnurses.com. 

There are some nurse hopefuls that even didn't even get into their program initially. As you can see this is not necessarily the end all, be all:

“I went to nursing school in GA. Had a 'craptastic' gpa d/t screwing off in college. I blew the entrance exam out of the water and was accepted to an ADN program on my first try. I applied and was offered a job in Atlanta about a month after graduation. I got my BSN online and am now a student NP.
My point is that there is always a way...you may just have to take a different path to get there.” - ScrappytheCoco, BSN, RN

“You will either need to retake your courses or consider relocating. There are schools out there that basically admit anyone, but that means that they do their weeding out during the program and they tend to be more intense. My GPA was also less than stellar, and I had no chance on the West Coast due to the insane competitiveness for nursing school, so I relocated to Kentucky just for school. You do what you have to do.” -FatsWaller, BSN, RN, EMT-I

Another challenge that can become a topic of discussion and questions is applying as a minority:

“It continues to be true that nursing is overwhelmingly female and overwhelmingly white (although that is slowly changing). In my experience (as a faculty member in a few different schools), nursing schools are looking for diversity -- they just have no control over who applies (they can't go snatch males of people of color off the street, [laughs]). If anything, your race may well be an advantage. The schools with which I've had personal experience have gone out of their way to accept and retain minority students. Best wishes!” -elkpark

“I live in the south and I know plenty of African American nursing students. I wouldn't judge a nursing program by the pictures on the website.
If anyone would go past my schools' website for nursing in the past, you couldn't tell how diverse my class or the program was; at least 40-50% black, 5% Asian, 5% Hispanic, 40-50% white-and that was the make up of my class throughout the program.
As a African American, If I went by a picture on the Internet, I would've missed a HUGE opportunity to have an enriching educational experience” -LadyFree28, BSN, RN

“I sat on an admissions committee several years ago (not Kansas) ... and minorities were given extra points on their total application score for being a member of a minority. Minority status was an advantage, not a disadvantage because the school needed to show that it did not discriminate against minorities.
I've been involved in hiring at several hospitals over the years and found the same thing. They go out of their way trying to find qualified minority candidates to fill positions so that their statistics show that they are "equal opportunity employers." So if you are qualified, go for it.” -llg, BSN, MSN, PhD

Getting into various programs presents its own set of challenges. There are bits of advice for general and specific situations:

“My school uses TEAS scores and GPA to get in. It's also a small community college with only about 40 seats but we only have at most probably 200 applicants. I didn't get in til my third time applying, but in all honesty I just wasn't ready so I am glad they didn't let me in til now. If I were you, I would go ahead and apply at other schools. I would have changed my major and gone for my EMT is I didn't get in this year. They also tell us not to work if we can help it, but I don't see how they would know that you were working, unless there is a place on your application to put that, or how that could count against you. Lots of people have to work.” - LoriRNCM, ADN, ASN, RN

“I agree with retaking the courses to get a better grade. Nursing programs everywhere are very competitive to get into. I work from home, have three kids and I spend literally six days a week at soccer practices/games, help my kids with their homework and getting all their stuff done, volunteered at a hospital, took classes and still have a 4.0, so it can be done. If nursing is something you want, then keep at it and find a way to make it work! There is not much that would have stopped me from getting into school. While waiting, you could volunteer at a hospital to start making connections that will be needed once you graduate. When a door closes, another opens....you just have to go find that door!” -Boxer Mama, BSN, RN

I'm Josephine Reid and I work at Dressamed.com headquarters in Los Angeles. I have a B.S. in Retail Merchandising and Business from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. I like to keep a beautiful balance of a creativity and business mindset.