How to Ace Your Nursing School Interview: Pros Tell All

two ladies talking in an interview setting

You’re confident that you’re destined to become a nurse. Nurses are integral to the framework of medical treatment and it takes a brave, caring and hard-working person to fill those scrubs to their tremendous potential—someone exactly like you!

But not everyone has what it takes to pursue this prestigious profession. There are a few hurdles you’ll have to jump first which include exams, courses and clinicals. But none of these can happen until you pass your nursing school interview.

Just hearing the word “interview” might be enough to make your stomach queasy. But the best way to be confident is to be prepared. We enlisted several nursing pros to share their tips on how to ace your nursing school interview.

7 expert tips for your nursing school interview

Tip #1: Research the program

There’s a lot to consider when walking into an interview. You never know who your interviewer will be or what exactly they’ll be evaluating. It can be daunting not knowing who will be sitting across the table from you.

One thing you can be sure of is that he or she will appreciate it if you are familiar with the program for which you’re applying. Research the program and find out what makes it unique. This information will come in handy when asked why you’re interested in that school.

Tip #2: Anticipate possible questions

There will inevitably be a few unforeseen questions, but most nurses can agree on a few basic questions you can expect in your nursing school interview. Here are a few questions you should be ready to answer:

  • Why do you want to become a nurse?
  • Why did you choose this program?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What sets you apart from others?

Your answers will help the interviewer determine if you have what it takes to become a nurse. It takes a special kind of person to work in this profession, says Marcie Sivertson Frederick, registered nurse (RN) certified in neonatal care.

“We work weekends, nights and holidays. We get puked on. We deal with angry doctors, families and patients,” she says. You should leave your interviewer with no doubt that you possess the high character and hard-working nature needed to succeed in nursing.

Tip #3: Practice giving creative answers

Your interviewer has likely done this dozens (if not hundreds) of times before. It’s also likely that he or she has heard the same rehearsed answers time and time again. Our experts agree that there’s a good chance you’ll be asked why you want to be a nurse. Megan Drake, RN at the University of Minnesota Medical Center urges you to go deeper than just saying you want to help people.

“Being a nurse requires much more than that: critical thinking, planning, organizing, professionalism, empathy, prioritizing, coordinating and delegating,” Drake explains. Your answer should definitely reflect your altruism, but it’s important to intertwine these other skills as well.

Tip #4: Think about the future

“Interviewers may want to know about various long and short-term goals, and if the prospective student wants to specialize in a particular field of nursing,” says Nick Angelis, nurse anesthetist and author of How to Succeed in Anesthesia School.

Be sure to sketch out a five-year-plan in your mind, equipped with future goals, specialties and community initiatives. Your plan will likely change between now and then, but having an answer ready will prove to the interviewer that you are serious about your future in nursing.

Tip #5: Be ready to think critically

Nursing is a non-stop, fast-paced profession. You will likely encounter difficult situations and at times you’ll have to conjure a quick solution to an abrupt patient issue. Angelis says you should expect some of your interview questions to put your critical thinking skills to the test.

He explains that most nursing hopefuls have no hands-on experience, so the answers given will be hypothetical. Rest assured that your interviewer doesn’t expect you to know how to treat a patient without any training. He or she is more focused on your willingness to think on your feet and remain calm under pressure.

Tip #6: Expect the unexpected

“You have to be prepared for all angles because it totally depends on the personality of the person giving the interview,” says Brie Peters, graduate student at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. After conducting several interviews, your evaluator has probably learned to get creative with his or her questions.

Peters recalls some unexpected questions from her nursing school interview. She remembers being “totally thrown off” when asked how she would explain to another applicant that she was a better candidate than him or her. She was also asked about the last book she read outside of schoolwork.

It’s understandable to be at a loss for words in the heat of the moment. Peters advises you to always remain confident and personable even if you feel you don’t have a perfect answer.

Tip #7: Be yourself

One of the most important takeaways that each of our nurses emphasized was to be yourself. Angelis made a point to embrace his sense of humor in his interviews. “Truthfully, I am a weird person and I had to professionally acknowledge my wacky sense of humor from the beginning so it wouldn’t take my professors by surprise,” he says.

Letting your unique personality shine through will be a breath of fresh air for interviewers who may be accustomed to conducting stale interviews. Angelis believes a healthy blend of professionalism, humor and practicality will surpass glib clichés and bland answers.

You can do this!

Interviewing can be stressful—especially when your dream career is on the line. With these tips in your back pocket, you have everything you need to nail your nursing school interview.

Getting into nursing school is only half of the battle. Take advantage of more expert advice on how to overcome the difficulties of nursing school and how to manage your stress level throughout.

Jess Scherman

Jess is a Content Specialist at Collegis Education. She researches and writes articles on behalf of Rasmussen College to help empower students to achieve their career dreams through higher education.


Related Content

This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen College to support its educational programs. Rasmussen College may not prepare students for all positions featured within this content. Please visit for a list of programs offered. External links provided on are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced. Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college.

logo-accreditation-acen logo-accreditation-ccne chart-credential-laddering-healthcare-management 0 Credits 90 Credits 180 Credits 48 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE’S DEGREE Start Here MASTER’S DEGREE PURSUERS End Here BACHELOR’S DEGREE End Here MASTER’S DEGREE chart-credential-laddering-rsb 0 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS 90 Credits Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE 180 Credits End Here BACHELOR'S DEGREE chart-credential-laddering-rsd 0 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS 91 Credits Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE 181 Credits End Here BACHELOR'S DEGREE chart-credential-laddering-rsjs 0 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS 91 Credits Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE 180 Credits End Here BACHELOR'S DEGREE chart-credential-laddering-rsn 0 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS 91 Credits Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE 181 Credits End Here BACHELOR'S DEGREE icon-colored-advance icon-colored-arrows-cross-curve icon-colored-build icon-colored-bulb-analytics icon-colored-certificate icon-colored-continual-development icon-colored-folder-mortarboard icon-colored-globe-pen icon-colored-growth icon-colored-hand-bubble icon-colored-head-blocks icon-colored-head-cog icon-colored-laptop-cbe-skyscraper icon-colored-laptop-webpage icon-colored-location-pin icon-colored-monitor-paper-scan icon-colored-national icon-colored-person-whiteboard icon-colored-police-light icon-colored-prep icon-colored-presenter icon-colored-regional icon-colored-save-time icon-colored-skyscraper icon-colored-state icon-colored-student-centered icon-colored-support icon-colored-world-experience icon-colored-outline-bank icon-colored-outline-certificate icon-colored-outline-circle-dollar-sign icon-colored-outline-folder-search icon-colored-outline-hand-heart icon-colored-outline-head-blocks icon-colored-outline-head-cog icon-colored-outline-head-heart icon-colored-outline-health-plus-leaves icon-colored-outline-hospital icon-colored-outline-light-bulb-analytics icon-colored-outline-magnifying-glass icon-colored-outline-monitor-healthcare icon-colored-outline-monitor-paper-search icon-colored-outline-nurse-rays icon-colored-outline-padlock-shield icon-bank icon-general-chart icon-general-connect icon-general-degree icon-general-discuss icon-general-email icon-general-find icon-general-hat icon-general-heart icon-general-laptop-building icon-general-laptop icon-general-leader icon-general-map icon-general-money icon-general-paperwork icon-general-people icon-general-phone icon-general-speak-out icon-head-heart icon-mglass icon-scales icon-camera icon-filter icon-info-circle icon-mail-forward icon-play-solid icon-quote-mark-left icon-quote-mark-right icon-share-square-o icon-spinner icon-tag rebrand-arrows ras-logo-flame ras-logo-horizontal ras-logo-stacked icon-simple-chat icon-simple-desktop icon-simple-find icon-simple-hamburger icon-simple-phone icon-testimonial-quotes icon-social-facebook-square-colored icon-social-facebook-square icon-social-facebook icon-social-google-plus-square icon-social-google-plus icon-social-instagram icon-social-linkedin-square-colored icon-social-linkedin-square icon-social-linkedin icon-social-pinterest-p icon-social-twitter-square icon-social-twitter icon-social-youtube-play-colored icon-social-youtube-play icon-util-checkbox-white icon-util-checkbox icon-util-checked-white icon-util-checked icon-util-chevron-down icon-util-chevron-left icon-util-chevron-right icon-util-chevron-up icon-util-language-switch icon-util-loading icon-util-open-window-button icon-util-open-window-link icon-util-pdf-button icon-util-pdf-link icon-util-refresh icon-util-x