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I want to be a Nurse: Where do I begin?

emilygill3emilygill3 Posts: 9Registered User New Member
edited October 2012 in Nursing Major
I am a Sophomore in HS and I am completely certain that I want to become a Nurse! Starting today, I want to make a fresh start and focus on preparing for Nursing School. Last year and so far this year, my grades have been sub par (mostly B's with A's scattered here and there and a few C's and one D). Not impressive, believe me I know. But I also know that if I set my mind to it and get organized, I can get my grades up to most A's and a few B's. The next issue, ECs. I have been working as a cashier at the same family-owned grocery store for almost two years now, and plan on doing so until I go to College. I also babysit on the side. My family isn't made of money, and working is the only option for me. This unfortunately does not leave time for sports. I also write for the school paper, and will almost definitely be an editor by Senior year. Do I need to do more? My SATs scores should be very good because I test very well and do good under pressure, too.

I have a few main questions. How high of a GPA do competitive Nursing programs expect? What ECs do they want? SAT scores? Any information you have would be amazing!

What advice do you have for me? My dream is to attend a good Nusring School in New England (think Northeastern, Simmons, URI, Sacred Heart, and UNH). Any suggestions and tips on making this dream a reality would be greatly appreciated! Thankyou so much in advance :)
Post edited by emilygill3 on

Replies to: I want to be a Nurse: Where do I begin?

  • emilygill3emilygill3 Posts: 9Registered User New Member
    bump bump bump
  • LakemomLakemom Posts: 2,550Registered User Senior Member
    Why don't you start your research looking over this entire website.

    Starting Out | Discover Nursing
  • emilygill3emilygill3 Posts: 9Registered User New Member
    thanks for the link :) very helpful
  • charlieschmcharlieschm Posts: 4,282Registered User Senior Member
    Try to do a paid or volunteer job in a health care setting. It will look good on the application, and help you see if nursing is right for you. The experience may also give you ideas for your college application essays.

    Apply to a range of schools - nursing is often the most difficult program for admittance at less selective schools and at state flagships. Try to get your applications in before Nov. 1 of your senior year.

    Many less selective private colleges offer automatic merit scholarships for certain test scores or class ranks.

    Take as much science as possible, preferably including AP Biology, Chemistry or Anatomy. Psychology and statistics are also valuable for nursing school, while calculus is not.

    Visit a larger and a smaller college to get a sense of which you may prefer. You might also try a public and a private college, and an urban and a suburban college. The most informative visits are during Open Houses, which are only offered on average 3 days a year, mainly in the fall. Open Houses typically include sessions for your major vs. the standard generic powerpoint and tour on the regular visit days.
  • NeonzeusNeonzeus Posts: 1,229Registered User Senior Member
    My kid felt having a committed pattern of hospital volunteering helped her applications a lot. In the beginning the volunteer jobs didn't seem like they would add much to a resume. By the time she was a senior, the hospital knew her well and she was getting some really great experiences. A doctor offered to let her watch open heart surgery, for example. (She usually went to the hospital for 4-5 hours on a Saturday or Sunday morning.)

    She also volunteered with a health care charity, and tracked down some nursing shadowing experiences for her resume. My daughter didn't have any clubs or sports. When she came home from school she either helped to care for an ill family member or worked for a discount store.

    She also used SAT and ACT review books starting with sophomore year. She felt that they helped her add about 20-30 points to her scores (at least from the first sample tests that she took in the books). She got used books on Amazon. If nothing else, the practice tests helped alleviate any test anxiety.

    Starting in Jr year, she was able to dual enroll in our local community college. Our high school is highly competitive and supposedly one of the top schools in our state. The guidance office told her she could leave school early and go to the community college. She didn't want to give up high school time, so she would enroll just for one evening class each semester and then pick up a class or two in the summers of her Junior and Senior years. She enrolled for the types of college prereqs that were easier to knock off (English 101, Sociology 101, Psychology 101, Philosophy, History, etc.). This looked good on her resume too, and by the time she went off to college she had accrued more than a semester of prereq credits. This meant that she was able to either add a minor or take lighter semesters when the schedule was going to have some really tough classes. The grades in those classes will someday be folded into a post-grad GPA for graduate school admissions.

    Take a look at the admissions requirements for the schools on your lists. You'll see a pattern of prereqs, particularly for sciences, math and often 3 years of a language. Spanish is always good for nursing, although my kid chose German. Interestingly, her first non-English speaking patient was from Eastern Europe, and her German came in handy!

    Your GPA should be as high as you can get it, obviously. Sometimes a school will disclose the admissions profile of its admitted students, but sometimes it won't. GPA is going to be important for scholarships too. If you are applying to a school with a 2+2 program, you are typically able to rely on the profile for admitted students. However, you will have to apply to the nursing program in your sophomore year, will have to worry about your college GPA and will have to meet the program's prerequsities. If you apply to a 0-4 program to get into nursing as a freshman, typically the programs are much more selective than the admissions stats for the freshman class. Sometimes the nursing school will tell you the profile for their admitted students, but sometimes they won't. We heard from at least one nursing school at a college that admitted students with GPAs of 3.4 that the nursing school's average GPA was 3.6, for example.

    When you get to Junior year, I also suggest going to open houses at the schools. The nursing schools will typically have open houses that show their facilities and answer questions. Since nursing is a school-within-a-school, the nursing open houses were particularly important to get the feel of a program. My kid got to meet nursing students at each school to ask them about the best and worst things at their school, and in her nursing school application was able to articulate why she was applying to School X .

    Good luck!
  • charlieschmcharlieschm Posts: 4,282Registered User Senior Member
    If you are better at science than math, you will probably do much better on the ACT than the SAT. Take both at least once. For whichever test you did better on, take that test again.

    Also, applicants need to stay out of trouble. A criminal conviction can keep you out of colleges and can keep you from getting a nursing license and from working in many settings. Some states prohibit people with many types of convictions from working in nursing homes. Some drug convictions can make you ineligible for federal college grants and loans. If you get into trouble, do everything you can to get the record cleared (most states have programs to clear the record for first time minor offenses, if you do everything that is required under the program).
  • emilygill3emilygill3 Posts: 9Registered User New Member
    thank you all so much for this advice! I feel like I have a better shot of being prepared to apply now.
  • LakemomLakemom Posts: 2,550Registered User Senior Member
    Good luck to you emilygill3!

    My last piece of advice since I see you are from Boston is if you can pick a college closer to a city, you are going to have rotations at more progressive hospitals. Boston has many good hospitals.
  • emilygill3emilygill3 Posts: 9Registered User New Member
    thankyou Lakemom :)
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