It’s no surprise that so many people apply to nursing school each year. Nursing is one of the most rewarding career paths you can let yourself walk down, and it will offer you excellent wages, great benefits, and a sense of personal satisfaction that few other jobs can match. But there’s no question that the process of applying to, enrolling in, and completing your education will involve a serious investment of time and effort. Knowing what to expect is important so that you can plan out the process. Understanding the basic timeline for applying to nursing school will let you know what to expect, how long it will take, and what you should be doing during each phase of the process. Here’s a basic guideline of what to expect.
Before You Apply:
These are all things you’ll need to do before you ever apply to the school. The specific timeline for them will vary, but it’s important to start early.
- Complete any and all prerequisite courses during undergraduate studies.
- Research the different nursing programs you may want to enroll in
- Volunteer in nursing facilities to help boost your application’s attractiveness.
- Take the GRE well before application time
- Obtain your transcripts
- Obtain your letters of recommendation
During the Application Cycle:
This is when you’ll need to make the moves to apply and gain acceptance to the school you’ve decided on.
- Confirm the application deadline for the schools you’re applying to
- Obtain applications and complete the application packets you receive in full
- Return application packet, complete with GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and any other required items.
- Continue to work and volunteer as you wait results
After you do these basic things, the NursingCAS will verify your application and release the information to the different schools, usually within about four weeks of receiving it. The specific amount of time it will take them to review will vary, but applying early will often help to ensure that your application is viewed more quickly and with a bit more detail. In other words, applying early is in your benefit.
Once you’ve applied, a few more things will still happen.
- Nursing programs will begin to interview potential students that have caught their eye.
- Once interviews have been completed, you’ll have a short time to wait before hearing back from the school.
All in all it’s a fairly simple process. In most cases you should plan for a full year in order to properly apply, including the time it takes to investigate each school, determine which ones you’re interested in applying to, submitting your application, and awaiting their decisions. Usually you can expect a few additional points to hold true. They are:
- Schools that begin their program in June will usually have a fall or winter deadline for application. This will vary, but is a good rule of thumb.
- Similarly, you can usually expect to receive an acceptance or rejection letter in December to January for programs that begin in June.
- So, applying in the fall, receiving the application board’s decision in winter, and starting school in late spring or early summer is usually the norm and what you should expect to occur.
Schools are all different, and that applies to their nursing application process as well. Each school may have different requirements and different timelines for applying. But the above information should serve as a good guide for what you can expect. If you’ll move through the different phases of planning, applying, and post-application properly then you should be able to find the right school for you. It’s a long, involved process that will take an investment of time and energy. However, given the big rewards for nurses that awaits them in the medical field, that investment of time and energy is something well worth making. It’s a smart move that will help to change your life for good.