How to Apply to Nursing School: 7 Application Tips for Success

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Are you wondering how to apply to nursing school? Applying for nursing school typically involves speaking with an admission representative, checking the eligibility requirements, completing degree requirement courses and compiling your application package. You’ll need letters of recommendation, an essay and your official transcripts.

nurse sitting in interview with resume

Does your current career not quite meet your expectations? Perhaps you feel stuck in a rut and you’re looking for a different field in which you can thrive. Nursing might be the right choice for you; luckily, switching careers to healthcare isn’t as time-consuming as you think.

However, navigating how to apply to nursing school might seem a bit overwhelming, and you might have some questions, like “How to apply to nursing programs without any healthcare experience?” and “When do you apply to nursing school?”

We’ll take a closer look at those questions here and walk you through the process of applying for Utica University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program. Follow these top 7 tips for applying for nursing school.

1. Speak with an Admission Representative

Before you do anything, you’ll need to speak to an admission representative. Your admission representative will develop a personalized plan that will allow you to confidently navigate the process of applying to nursing school. Your admission representative can guide you through every aspect of the application, including:

  • Determining your eligibility
  • Identifying a goal start date
  • Helping you understand your financial aid options
  • Figuring out which degree requirement courses you’ll need
  • Answering your questions about the program
  • Providing advice for completing a nursing program

Your admission representative will let you know what you can expect from your online classes, simulation labs, clinical rotations and other components of the nursing program.

two Utica nursing students working in lab

Wondering what you expect after admission? Learn more about what nursing school is like.

2. Get Organized

Getting organized is essential for navigating the process of how to apply to nursing programs, and it’s also crucial for achieving success as a nursing student. Use the following tips to stay on top of everything.

Getting Organized When Applying for Nursing School

When you speak to your admission representative, take notes and save your emails. Anything physical you collect, such as notes or informational flyers, should be kept in a single folder. This allows you to go back and refresh your memory about various issues, such as potential start dates or the degree requirement courses you need to complete.

You should also create a folder within your email to save correspondence between you and your admission representative. This is a good starting point for staying organized during nursing school, which can make a huge difference in your performance.

Getting Organized During Nursing School

Of course, staying organized is also crucial for success during nursing school. You’ll need a planner or an online schedule management app or tool if you don’t already have one. Your planner will help you stay organized throughout every step of nursing school. Write down all your classes, study group meetings, homework due dates and exams.

3. Complete Degree Requirement Courses Before Applying for Nursing School

Utica nurse

The degree requirement courses must be completed before you can begin nursing school. They will help you prepare for the intensive nursing coursework by establishing a firm foundation of basic scientific knowledge. In addition, these courses put you and your fellow nursing students on the same level, regardless of prior background.

Additionally, the courses offer an opportunity to improve your GPA, which can increase your chances of getting into nursing school. You may also find that you’ve already taken some degree requirement courses while earning your first degree. Your admission representative can determine whether your credits can transfer and which courses you still need to take.

The requirements include general courses, such as Ethics, Nutrition and Life Span Development Psychology, and natural science requirements, such as Microbiology I and Anatomy and Physiology. These courses are all instrumental in your proficiency as a nursing student, so put forth your best effort. Remember to keep your admission representative updated on how you are progressing through your courses.

nursing students sitting in class

Ensure you put your best foot forward with seven ways to increase your chances of getting into nursing school.

4. How to Apply to Nursing School: The Documentation You’ll Need

As you’re nearing the completion of your degree requirement courses, start gathering the documentation you’ll need for your nursing school application. Your admission representative will help you figure out precisely what you need. Generally, you will need letters of recommendation and an essay or personal statement.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation should be written by those who have worked directly with you in a professional or academic environment. Consider asking former professors or employers for a letter of recommendation. It would be best if you didn’t ask your family members or friends for a recommendation letter.

It’s best to request these letters well in advance of when you’ll need them. This gives these individuals ample time to compose a thoughtful, well-written letter. When approaching your selected individuals to request letters, detail exactly when you’ll need the letter and in which format.

Essay or Personal Statement

When applying for nursing school, you should expect to be required to submit an essay or a personal statement, often on a provided writing prompt. For example, you may be asked to write an essay on why you want to become a nurse. Ask your admission representative about the essay requirement and start working on it early.

You don’t need to be Stephen King or Emily Dickinson to write a good essay, but you should be clear and concise. Ask a family member, friend, peer or even a former professor to look at it before you send it in with your application. The more eyes, the better. Start early so you have plenty of time to revise as needed and proofread thoroughly.

students helping each other

5. Complete the Online Application

Once you’ve completed the degree requirement courses, you can officially complete the Utica University application for the nursing program. Before starting the application, ensure you have everything you need close at hand. You can find the application online. When you apply, be sure to:

  • Read all directions thoroughly and be careful to follow them precisely.
  • Fill out every single section in full.
  • Include all necessary documents, such as letters of recommendation and an essay.

Take your time when you’re filling out your application. If you rush through it, you may miss something important.

6. Order Your Official Transcripts

Your admission representative may ask for an unofficial copy of your transcripts to determine your eligibility for the nursing program, but you must have the official transcripts sent to Utica University. To send your transcripts, you should contact the registrar’s office of all colleges/universities you attended and ask for official transcripts to be sent directly to Utica University. Transcripts must:

  • Be sent directly to Utica University at 290 Elwood Davis Road, Suite 200, Liverpool, NY 13088.
  • Arrive in their original sealed envelope.

7. Apply for Financial Aid

Everybody’s financial aid situation is different. Your admission representative can help you navigate the landscape of financial assistance, which offers many options for financing your nursing education. Here’s a look at the three most common methods of financing nursing school.

Fill Out the FAFSA

You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year. This form determines your eligibility for federal student loans and grants. Be sure not to leave this to the last minute, as it may take several sessions before you complete the whole form. If you have any questions or issues, contact the school’s Financial Aid Office or check out the FAFSA website’s help page for assistance.

two Utica nursing students

Apply for Scholarships

Many undergraduate students are eligible to apply for scholarships. Plenty of scholarship databases are available online, and you can often search with filters to identify which scholarship opportunities you are most likely eligible for. Apply to as many scholarships as possible; the more you apply, the greater your chances of landing one or more.

Many students opt to apply only to scholarships that offer big bucks. This means the competition for less well-funded scholarships is often less intense, and you may have a better chance of being awarded those funds.

Consider Private Student Loans

Funding higher education entirely with scholarships and federal financial aid is often impossible. After exhausting your other options, consider applying for private student loans from financial institutions such as banks and credit unions. Do plenty of research to identify options with the best possible rates and terms.

hands holding a jar full of change

Learn more about how to pay for nursing school here.

When Do You Apply for Nursing School?

There is no universal timeline for applying for nursing school. Some people head off to nursing school right after high school. In contrast, others pursue higher education in another field and enter the workforce before switching careers to nursing later. You can apply for nursing school in your 20s, 30s, 40s and even into your 50s and 60s. It’s never too late to follow your dreams of becoming a nurse.

When you decide the time is right, your admission representative will help you create a personalized application plan. At Utica University, our rolling admission procedure means you can submit your application at any time of the year. It largely depends on your chosen start dates. In general, you should plan on having your application completed and submitted about two months before your intended start date. There’s no better time than now to start your new career!

Utica nursing student smiling holding book

Applying to Nursing School at Utica University

Now that you know how to apply to nursing programs, it’s time to take the next step in your career pathway. When you choose Utica University, you’ll have the opportunity to graduate with your B.S. in Nursing in as few as 16 months and plenty of student support resources to facilitate your accomplishment.

Contact an admission representative at Utica University today to learn if our ABSN program could be the right choice for you.

The Ultimate Nursing School Admissions Checklist

Ready for nursing school but stressed about applying? We recommend downloading our free admissions checklist to learn the important ins and outs of applying to accelerated nursing school.

The ultimate nursing school admissions checklist