There are many reasons for nursing school application stress, from finding the right program to finding financing. Utica Admissions Advisor Brenna Casey has heard and dealt with it all, and here offers cures for nursing school application stress.
Top 5 Nursing School Application Headaches (and Cures!)
Every accelerated nursing school applicant is different, but the one thing they all have in common is application stress. I’m here to give you the remedies for the top 5 headaches every ABSN applicant faces.
1. ABSN Admissions Advisor
I’m not just trying to toot my own horn here. Admissions Advisors are truly your go-to cure for your nursing school application anxiety. We help with all steps, from the first call to the first day of class.
When you call, your Admissions Advisor will first help you to find the best ABSN program, based on your specific circumstances. Once we identify your ideal program, we get to work developing a "personalized plan of study" for you to determine your target start date. That way, we take away some of the unknowns. You can look at your personalized plan and see the road to your ABSN, including when and where to take your prereqs.
Related: Applying for Utica’s ABSN Program
2. Making Peace with Prereqs
I know – nobody wants to take prerequisite classes. You're psyched about nursing school, and you want to start ASAP. I want you to start ASAP, too! But the reality is that you’re going to have to take prerequisite courses. They’re part of life, and everyone has to take them. (Everyone!)
What I can help you do is determine when and where to take your prereqs. Did you know that some prereqs can be completed online within 6 weeks instead of an entire semester? Despite popular belief, you don’t have to take your prereqs where you went to undergraduate school or where you’re going to go to nursing school. Admissions Advisors are here to get creative so you can ace your prereqs and get started as a nursing student.
One last thing about prereqs – if your GPA is borderline, you should love prereqs. Do well on your prereqs and that GPA requirement is a lot easier to meet.
3. Understand Your Transcripts
Sometimes, looking at transcripts can be like interpreting ancient hieroglyphics. It’s not easy trying to figure out your overall GPA, your “major” GPA and your health science GPA. That’s a lot of figuring! Plus, you have to figure out which credits from your bachelor’s degree can be transferred. I can understand how applicants get frustrated. That’s why you call me. I am an expert at interpreting transcript hieroglyphics.
About Interpreting Transcripts…
Like tea leaves, college transcripts can be misinterpreted. I know nothing about tea leaves, but I can interpret transcripts like a pro. For example, I’ll tell you about a current accelerated nursing student – we’ll call her Brittani. Brittani’s GPA wasn’t quite enough to get into an ABSN program, and she was close to giving up. But my first look at her transcripts surprised me – she had been on the Dean’s List for 4 semesters in a row. That kind of performance didn’t jibe with her overall GPA.
Then I saw that Brittani's second-year grades were, well, the pits. Like, almost-on-academic-probation pits. I asked her what happened. It turns out, that year Brittani’s father had died suddenly in a car accident. Her family was not prepared; they were in terrible debt, and she had three younger siblings at home with her grieving mother, three hours away. When her mother had to go to work, Brittani took a train home sometimes twice a week to help her mother with childcare. Her focus was understandably not on schoolwork.
Though she had a bad year, the rest of Brittani’s academic career showed that she was committed and hard working. She is the exact kind of applicant we want – I knew she’d be an outstanding nursing student. In the end, Brittani brought her grades up with prereqs and proved that she really was worthy of the Dean’s List.
4. Start Arranging Financing ASAP
Once you are admitted to an ABSN program, you will get a federal and state financial aid package – which is great. But waiting until you are admitted to secure financing is waiting too long. When should you start? Well, if you haven’t started already – start now. (Seriously, after you read this blog, call an Admissions Advisor and get started!)
One thing that most applicants and parents don’t realize: Financing a second bachelor’s degree is different from financing a first. There's only so much money in the federal and state aid pot for each student. You'll likely have to take out private loans or look for other financing opportunities. Some applicants are even able to find small scholarships to help them.
Financing nursing school can be a jungle, so call and Admissions Advisor and get as many resources as possible – and pass the information on to your parents. Make sure you and your parents know as much as possible so that you can find the best ABSN financial plan.
5. Choose the Right Program – Not Just the Program Next Door
So you had your heart set on a school in New York. It's close to home; you have friends there, and you like your comfort zone. Let me warn you – don’t pigeonhole yourself into only one target program – you could wind up in waitlist land for three semesters. The right program for you might be in another state – like sunny Florida. Beach days in January sound nice, no?
Keep an open mind, and don’t be afraid to relocate to find the perfect accredited and not-for-profit ABSN program for you.
Bonus Tip: Talk to Other ABSN Students
One of the best things you can do to alleviate the stress of applying to nursing school? Talk to others who have been there. Find communities online where you can get real-life examples of how to get through the ABSN admissions process. I can help to alleviate a lot of your stress, but sometimes you need to talk to someone who has walked in your shoes.
Brenna Casey is one of Utica’s expert ABSN Admissions Advisors. She’s helped hundreds of applicants become nursing students. If you're ready to talk to her about your nursing school application, contact us today.