Don't Be Intimidated by Nursing School Requirements

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It’s no wonder the nursing profession interests you. Competitive salaries, growing opportunities and excellent health benefits are just a few of the many reasons to become a nurse. All of these benefits make you wonder why everyone’s not applying to nursing school.

One of the factors turning people away from the field is the notoriously strict nursing school requirements. These intimidating conditions cause many nursing hopefuls to quit before they’ve even started.

It’s true that nursing school is no cake walk, but you shouldn’t let your past dictate your future. Just because you had less-than-stellar grades in high school doesn’t mean you have to give up your dream of becoming a nurse. Keep reading for a little motivation from nurses who were once in your shoes.

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Get out of your own way

“I wanted to be a nurse but every nurse I knew seemed so smart and well put together with their career. I felt that I could not compete with them,” says nursing graduate Katherine Johnston. She claims she always flew under the radar in high school and never stood out academically.

After dropping out of college Johnston began considering nursing school, but had doubts about being accepted to a program. The biggest hurdle between her and nursing school was the dreaded TEAS test, which is required by nearly every program. With a little encouragement from her family, she finally passed the exam and was accepted into the Rasmussen College nursing program.

Andrea Hendrickson is another example of someone who almost let her poor academic past stop her from pursuing her dream nursing career. Despite her low GPA in high school, she is currently a registered nurse at Ministry Saint Joseph’s hospital.

“It was a constant battle inside of me that I had to fight,” Hendrickson says. “I wanted my career and that was my driving force.”

Highlight your motivation

That driving force Hendrickson referenced is likely what helped her gain acceptance into nursing school. Besides test scores, there are certain characteristics that stand out among applicants, according to Tammie Rogers, nursing dean at the Rasmussen College Wausau campus. Motivation, curiosity and compassion for others are three qualities that she looks for in candidates.

Rogers says high school transcripts aren’t even a requirement to apply to the program, so there’s no reason to dwell on bad grades in the past. If the topic does come up in a conversation, simply take responsibility and openly express your commitment to changing your habits. This sincerity and dedication may even give you a leg up on your competition.

Ask around & do your research

Johnson advises all new nursing students to not be too proud to ask for help because another student is probably struggling too. Being willing to ask for clarification or resources might pave the way for another student in the same boat.

"Don't let your fears be what stops you from accomplishing your dreams!"

This same advice goes for the application process. Ask current students, instructors or nurses to share their advice. They’ve been around the block already and have the experience to help you make informed choices for where and how apply. Who knows—your questions may even help you forge some useful connections for future career opportunities.

Nursing programs vary. While some will be more academically strict, others put more stock in personal characteristics. Interviews are often part of the nursing school requirements, which allow more opportunity for highlighting your personality and inspiration for becoming a nurse.

Take some time to research the school and program before your interview. Not only will you have a better idea of what’s to come, but your prior knowledge may be an indicator of your work ethic and dedication to your career. (Click here for more nursing school interview tips!)

Believe in yourself

“If you really want something, don’t let your fears be what stops you from accomplishing your dreams,” Johnson says.

She is living proof that your past doesn’t have to dictate your future. Don’t let nursing school requirements be a deal breaker. Instead, let your passion fuel you to overcome them and make your dream a reality.

Getting accepted is only the beginning! Prepare yourself for your new academic environment with these expert tips for getting through nursing school.

About the author

Brianna Flavin

Brianna is a senior content manager who writes student-focused articles for Rasmussen University. She holds an MFA in poetry and worked as an English Professor before diving into the world of online content. 

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