Are you considering a career in nursing but wondering if you have what it takes to get into nursing school?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Your chances of getting into nursing school depend on several factors, including your academic record, work experience, and performance on standardized tests.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what nursing schools are looking for in applicants and what you can do to increase your chances of acceptance.

Academic Record

Getting into nursing school can be a competitive process, and your academic record is one of the most important factors that admissions committees consider. Here are some key things to consider:

GPA and Coursework

Your grade point average (GPA) is one of the most important factors in determining your eligibility for nursing school. Most programs require a minimum GPA of 3.0, although some may have higher requirements. It’s also important to have a strong foundation in science courses, such as biology and chemistry.

If your GPA isn’t as strong as you’d like it to be, don’t despair. You may be able to improve your chances by retaking courses or taking additional coursework to demonstrate your abilities and dedication.


Most nursing programs require specific prerequisite courses, such as anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and nutrition. Make sure you research the requirements for the programs you’re interested in and plan your coursework accordingly.

It’s also important to note that some programs may require additional prerequisites, such as healthcare experience or CPR certification. Be sure to read the program requirements carefully and plan ahead.


When you apply to nursing school, you’ll need to submit transcripts from all of the colleges and universities you’ve attended. It’s important to make sure that your transcripts are accurate and up-to-date, as errors or omissions could negatively impact your chances of admission.

If you’ve had academic or personal challenges that have affected your grades or performance, consider addressing them in your application materials. Admissions committees understand that life happens, and they may be willing to consider extenuating circumstances when evaluating your application.

Work Experience

When it comes to getting into nursing school, work experience can make a big difference. Not only does it demonstrate your commitment to the field, but it can also give you valuable skills and knowledge that will help you succeed in your studies.

Healthcare Experience

One of the best types of work experience to have is healthcare experience. This can include working as a nursing assistant, medical assistant, or other healthcare roles. Having this type of experience shows that you have firsthand knowledge of the healthcare field and understand what it takes to care for patients.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, many nursing programs require or strongly recommend that applicants have healthcare experience. In fact, some programs may require applicants to have a certain number of hours of experience before they can even apply.

Volunteer Work

If you don’t have healthcare experience, volunteering in a healthcare setting can be another way to demonstrate your commitment to the field. Volunteering shows that you are willing to give your time and energy to help others, and it can also give you a chance to observe healthcare professionals in action.

Volunteering can also be a way to gain experience in other areas that may be relevant to nursing, such as working with children or the elderly. Look for volunteer opportunities at hospitals, clinics, or other healthcare organizations in your community.

Extracurricular Activities

While healthcare experience is important, it’s not the only type of work experience that can be helpful for getting into nursing school. Extracurricular activities can also be a way to demonstrate your commitment to the field and develop important skills.

For example, if you have experience working in a leadership role, participating in community service projects, or working on a healthcare-related research project, these experiences can demonstrate your leadership skills, teamwork skills, and commitment to healthcare.

Ultimately, the more experience you have working in healthcare or related fields, the better your chances of getting into nursing school. However, even if you don’t have a lot of work experience, there are still ways to demonstrate your commitment to the field and your potential for success in a nursing program.

Standardized Tests

Standardized tests are a crucial component of the nursing school application process. These tests are designed to assess your knowledge and skills in various areas related to nursing. There are three main standardized tests you may encounter when applying to nursing school.


The NCLEX exam is the most important test for anyone looking to become a registered nurse. This exam is designed to assess your ability to apply nursing knowledge and make sound clinical judgments. Passing the NCLEX is required to obtain a nursing license in the United States.

According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the average pass rate for the NCLEX-RN exam in 2020 was 85.63% for first-time test takers. While this may seem high, it is important to note that pass rates can vary widely depending on the nursing program and individual student.


The TEAS exam, or Test of Essential Academic Skills, is used by many nursing programs as part of their admissions process. This test assesses your knowledge of basic academic subjects such as math, science, and English. It also includes a section on anatomy and physiology.

The average TEAS score varies depending on the nursing program, but generally, a score of 70% or higher is considered competitive. It is important to check with individual schools to determine their specific TEAS score requirements.

GRE Exam

While not as common as the NCLEX and TEAS, some nursing programs may require the GRE, or Graduate Record Exam, as part of their admissions process. The GRE assesses your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills.

The average GRE score varies widely depending on the nursing program and individual student. However, a competitive score is generally considered to be above the 50th percentile.

It is important to note that while standardized test scores are an important factor in nursing school admissions, they are not the only factor. Admissions committees also consider factors such as GPA, work experience, extracurricular activities, and personal statements when making admissions decisions.

Application Process

Getting into nursing school can be a competitive process, but there are steps you can take to increase your chances of being accepted. The application process typically includes submitting transcripts, test scores, and other materials, as well as completing essays and interviews.

Letters of Recommendation

Most nursing schools require one or more letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to your academic or professional abilities. Consider asking former teachers, employers, or healthcare professionals to write these letters. Make sure to give them plenty of notice and provide any necessary information or forms.

Personal Statement

The personal statement is your opportunity to showcase who you are and why you want to become a nurse. It should be well-written and highlight your strengths, experiences, and passion for the field. Be sure to follow any guidelines provided by the nursing school and have others review and edit your statement.

Interview Process

Some nursing schools require an interview as part of the application process. This is your chance to demonstrate your communication skills, professionalism, and knowledge of the nursing field. Prepare by researching the school and practicing common interview questions. Dress professionally and arrive early to make a good impression.

Comparison of Nursing Schools

School Acceptance Rate NCLEX Pass Rate
ABC University 40% 95%
XYZ College 60% 85%

It’s important to research and compare nursing schools to find the best fit for you. Look at factors such as acceptance rates, NCLEX pass rates, location, and program offerings. Websites such as Niche and U.S. News & World Report provide rankings and reviews of nursing schools to help you make an informed decision.


Getting into nursing school is competitive, but it’s certainly achievable if you have the right qualifications and mindset.

Taking steps to strengthen your academic record, gain relevant work experience, and perform well on standardized tests can all boost your chances of acceptance.

By following the tips and guidance provided in this article, you can position yourself as a strong candidate and increase your chances of success in the nursing school application process.

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