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Things to Know Before Starting Nursing School

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Things to Know Before Starting Nursing School

Things to Know Before Starting Nursing School: Freshmen Round-Table

Embarking on a nursing school journey can be both exciting and daunting. Before you start, it’s essential to understand the requirements and prerequisites, navigate the application process, and familiarize yourself with the nursing school curriculum. In this guide, we will explore the essential things to know before starting nursing school to help you succeed in your educational journey.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understanding nursing school requirements and prerequisites is important before starting the application process.
  • Acing the nursing school application process involves gathering necessary documents and writing a compelling personal statement.
  • Familiarizing yourself with the nursing school curriculum and utilizing available resources can help you succeed in your education.
  • The cost of nursing school is a significant financial consideration.
  • Studying effectively, managing exam stress, and excelling in clinical experiences are essential for success in nursing school.

Understanding Nursing School Requirements and Prerequisites

Before starting nursing school, it is vital to understand the nursing school requirements and nursing school prerequisites. Here’s a quick breakdown of what you need to know:

Academic qualifications

Most nursing programs require a minimum GPA for admission. Check with the schools you are interested in to find out their specific requirements.

Prerequisite courses

Many nursing programs require specific prerequisite courses, such as anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and nutrition. Make sure to complete these courses before applying to nursing school.

Common Nursing School PrerequisitesNumber of Credits
Anatomy and Physiology6-8 credits
Microbiology3-4 credits
Nutrition3 credits

Additional criteria

Some nursing programs may also require additional criteria, such as completing a background check or drug screening, obtaining specific immunizations, or having CPR certification. Make sure to review the requirements carefully and plan accordingly.

By understanding the nursing school requirements and prerequisites, you can better prepare yourself for a successful nursing school application and education.

Navigating the Nursing School Application Process

Applying to nursing school can be a daunting process, but with preparation and attention to detail, you can increase your chances of success. Here are some essential steps to guide you through the nursing school application process:

Step 1: Research Nursing Programs

Start by researching nursing programs that align with your career goals and personal preferences. Take note of each program’s admission requirements, application deadlines, and any additional documentation needed.

Step 2: Gather the Required Documents

Before applying, ensure you have all the necessary documents and information ready. This typically includes transcripts from previous coursework, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement. Make sure to review the requirements carefully and give yourself ample time to collect all the necessary materials.

Step 3: Write a Compelling Personal Statement

Your personal statement is an opportunity to showcase your passion and enthusiasm for nursing, as well as your qualifications and relevant experiences. Be clear and concise, and make sure to address any specific prompts or questions provided by the nursing program.

“I have always been drawn to the healthcare field, and nursing, in particular, appeals to me because of its focus on compassionate care and patient advocacy.”

Step 4: Complete the Application

Once you have gathered all the required materials and written your personal statement, it’s time to complete the application. Be sure to follow all instructions carefully and double-check your work before submitting. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the nursing program with questions or concerns along the way.

Step 5: Prepare for the Admissions Interview

Some nursing programs require an admissions interview as part of the application process. If this is the case, prepare by researching common interview questions and practicing your responses. Dress professionally and arrive early to make a good impression.

By following these steps and staying organized and prepared, you can navigate the nursing school application process with confidence and increase your chances of being accepted into a nursing program.

Exploring the Nursing School Curriculum

As a nursing student, you will encounter a diverse range of courses, nursing skills, and clinical experiences throughout your education. Understanding the nursing school curriculum will help you prepare for the challenges ahead and make the most of your educational journey.

Nursing Courses

The nursing curriculum typically includes a combination of nursing theory and practice. You will learn about the human body, anatomy, and physiology, as well as nursing fundamentals, pharmacology, and patient care. You will also explore specialized areas of nursing, such as obstetrics, pediatrics, geriatrics, and mental health nursing. The curriculum may vary depending on the program, but most nursing schools follow a similar structure.

Here is a sample of the courses you may encounter in a nursing school curriculum:

Nursing FundamentalsIntroduction to nursing theory and practice
Anatomy and PhysiologyStudy of the human body and its functions
PharmacologyStudy of medications and their uses in patient care
Health AssessmentPhysical and psychological assessment of patients
Nursing Ethics and LawLegal and ethical issues in nursing practice
Medical-Surgical NursingCare of adult patients with medical or surgical conditions
Obstetrics and Gynecological NursingCare of women during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum
Pediatric NursingCare of children from infancy through adolescence
Psychiatric and Mental Health NursingAssessment and care of patients with mental health disorders
Community Health NursingCare of patients and families in community settings

Clinical Rotations

In addition to nursing courses, you will also participate in clinical rotations, also known as clinicals. During clinicals, you will work alongside registered nurses and other healthcare professionals in real-world settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics. Clinicals give you the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills you learned in the classroom to real patient care situations.

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The amount of clinical hours required may vary depending on the program, but most programs require a minimum of 500 hours to graduate. Here are a few examples of clinical rotations you may encounter in a nursing school curriculum:

  • Medical-Surgical
  • Obstetrics and Gynecological
  • Pediatric
  • Psychiatric and Mental Health
  • Community Health

Clinicals are a crucial part of your nursing education, helping you develop critical thinking, decision-making, and patient care skills. They also provide valuable networking opportunities and may lead to job offers after graduation.

Overall, the nursing school curriculum is designed to prepare you for a rewarding career in healthcare. By understanding the courses, clinicals, and skills you will learn, you can approach your education with confidence and make the most of your nursing school experience.

Understanding the Cost of Nursing School

Aspiring nurses must factor in the cost of nursing school when planning their educational journey. Between tuition, fees, textbooks, and living expenses, the expenses can add up quickly. In this section, we will explore the different costs associated with nursing school and potential funding options.

Tuition and Fees

The cost of tuition and fees varies greatly depending on the nursing program and institution. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the average cost of tuition and fees for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program at a public institution is $9,139 per year for in-state students and $22,203 for out-of-state students. Private institutions have an average annual tuition and fees cost of $30,231. It is important to research and compare different nursing programs and institutions to determine which program is the best fit for your financial situation.

Textbooks and Supplies

Textbooks and supplies can also add significant expenses to the cost of nursing school. According to the College Board, the average cost of textbooks and supplies for college students is $1,240 per year. Nursing students may need to purchase additional supplies such as scrubs, a stethoscope, and lab equipment. It is essential to factor in these costs when creating a budget for nursing school.

Living Expenses

Attending nursing school may require additional living expenses such as housing, food, and transportation. The cost of living will depend on your location and personal circumstances. If you plan on attending school full-time, you may need to reduce your work hours or quit your job altogether, which can impact your income and ability to pay for living expenses.

Funding Options

There are several funding options available to help cover the cost of nursing school. Financial aid, such as grants, scholarships, and loans, may be available to eligible students. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can help determine your eligibility for financial aid. Nursing students may also consider employer tuition reimbursement programs or military education benefits. It is important to research and apply for funding options early in the nursing school application process.

By understanding the cost of nursing school and potential funding options, you can make informed decisions about your education and finances. With careful planning and research, you can pursue your nursing career without sacrificing your financial stability.

Utilizing Nursing School Resources

While nursing school can be challenging, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Most nursing programs offer a variety of resources to support students throughout their education. Utilizing these resources can help you succeed in your coursework, clinical rotations, and exams. Here are some resources you should consider:

Tutoring Services

If you’re struggling with a particular subject or need extra help, tutoring services can be invaluable. Many nursing schools offer tutoring services either free of charge or for a small fee. These services can be one-on-one or in a group setting, depending on your preference. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

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Study Groups

Studying with a group can be a great way to reinforce learning and stay motivated. Joining a study group is also a chance to connect with fellow nursing students who are going through the same experience as you. Consider starting a study group or joining an existing one to help you stay on track and ace your exams.

Workshops and Seminars

Workshops and seminars are a great way to expand your knowledge and skills beyond the classroom. Nursing schools often offer workshops and seminars on a variety of topics, including leadership, clinical skills, and healthcare technology. Attending these events can not only enhance your education but also your resume.

Career Services

Nursing schools often have career services departments that can help you prepare for your future job search. These services may include resume writing workshops, job fairs, and networking events. Take advantage of these resources to help you land your dream job after graduation.

Mental Health Services

Nursing school can be stressful, and it’s important to take care of your mental health. Many nursing schools offer mental health services, such as counseling or support groups. Don’t hesitate to seek help if you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed.

By utilizing these nursing school resources, you can make the most of your education and set yourself up for success in your nursing career.

Mastering Nursing School Exams and Clinicals

Exams and clinical rotations are essential components of your nursing education. Here are some tips to help you succeed:

Studying Effectively

Effective studying is crucial to performing well on exams and in clinical settings. Consider the following study strategies:

  • Make a study schedule to manage your time effectively.
  • Break up your study sessions into manageable chunks.
  • Use active learning techniques, such as quizzing yourself and summarizing information in your own words.
  • Form a study group with fellow nursing students for peer support and collaboration.

Managing Exam Stress

Exam stress is normal, but it’s important to manage it effectively to avoid burnout. Here are some tips for managing exam stress:

  • Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and meditation.
  • Get plenty of restful sleep before an exam.
  • Eat a balanced, healthy diet to fuel your brain and body.
  • Stay organized and avoid procrastination.

Excelling in Clinicals

Clinical rotations provide opportunities to apply your nursing knowledge in real-world settings. Here are some tips for excelling in your clinical experiences:

  • Arrive on time and prepare for your clinical rotation.
  • Dress professionally and follow all dress code requirements.
  • Be respectful to patients, colleagues, and other healthcare professionals.
  • Ask questions and seek feedback from your clinical instructor.

By following these tips and utilizing the resources available to you, you can master nursing school exams and clinicals and become a successful nurse.


In conclusion, starting nursing school can be an exciting yet challenging journey. By understanding the requirements and prerequisites, navigating the application process, familiarizing yourself with the curriculum, and utilizing the available resources, you can set yourself up for success. Remember also to consider the financial aspects and apply effective strategies to ace exams and clinicals.

It’s important to stay motivated, focused, and persistent throughout your nursing education. Keep in mind the ultimate goal of becoming a skilled and compassionate healthcare provider who can make a positive impact on patients’ lives. With hard work and dedication, you can achieve your career aspirations and make a meaningful difference in the healthcare field.

Frequently Asked Questions About “Things to Know Before Starting Nursing School”

What are the essential things I should know before starting nursing school?

Before starting nursing school, it is crucial to;

  • Understand the requirements and prerequisites,
  • Navigate the application process,
  • Familiarize yourself with the curriculum,
  • Consider the cost of nursing school,
  • Utilize available resources, and prepare for exams and clinicals.

What are the requirements and prerequisites for nursing school?

Nursing school requirements typically include academic qualifications, prerequisite courses, and possibly additional criteria for admission. It’s important to research and meet these requirements before applying.

How can I navigate the nursing school application process?

The nursing school application process involves gathering necessary documents, writing a compelling personal statement, and acing the admissions interview. It’s essential to be organized and prepared throughout the process.

What can I expect from the nursing school curriculum?

The nursing school curriculum includes various courses, clinical rotations, and hands-on experiences. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with the curriculum to understand the educational journey ahead.

What is the cost of nursing school?

Nursing school can be a significant financial investment. Tuition fees can vary, and it’s important to consider potential financial aid options and other financial considerations before starting your nursing education.

What resources are available in nursing school?

Nursing schools often offer resources such as tutoring services, study groups, and workshops to support students throughout their education. Take advantage of these resources to enhance your learning experience.

How can I excel in nursing school exams and clinicals?

To excel in nursing school exams and clinicals, it’s essential to study effectively, manage exam stress, and approach clinical experiences with professionalism and dedication. Develop good study habits and seek guidance when needed.

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