How to Prepare to Apply to Nursing School
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Giebien Na in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
If you are eager to work in the medical field and care for patients, you should consider pursuing a career in nursing. Nursing attracts individuals who are passionate about the biological sciences, healthcare, medicine, and the well-being of others. When you are in high school, you can begin preparing to apply to nursing school by designing an academic and extracurricular schedule that shows colleges that you are committed and prepared to enter the nursing field.
You can prepare to apply for nursing school by taking honors, advanced placement (AP), or international baccalaureate (IB) courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics (calculus and statistics) at your high school. Enroll in any additional courses related to human health and the sciences, such as anatomy and physiology, psychology, organic chemistry, and biochemistry. If your high school does not offer these courses, see if you can enroll in classes at a local community college, a nearby university, or online. Taking advanced science classes in high school will signal to nursing school admissions officers that you are prepared for the rigors of the nursing school curriculum.
Beyond the classroom, it is important to build your extracurricular profile around activities, organizations, and opportunities in the healthcare field. By participating in these activities, you will gain valuable experience working with healthcare professionals and patients. Moreover, these experiences will dispel any illusions that you have about nursing by giving you real insight into the day-to-day responsibilities of nurses.
Here are a few activities in the healthcare field that you can pursue to learn more about being a nurse:
- Organize a blood drive.
- Volunteer at a local hospital, medical clinic, or nursing home.
- Shadow a nurse.
- Take first aid, CPR, and automated external defibrillator (AED) courses.
Another great opportunity is to join or start a Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) organization at your high school. HOSA is a global student-led organization that aims to prepare students of all ages for healthcare professions. If your high school doesn’t have a HOSA chapter, you can work with a health or biomedical science teacher at your high school to start your own.
As a nurse, you need to be compassionate, empathetic, thoughtful, and dedicated to caring for others. You can begin developing these soft skills by volunteering to work with underserved populations at hospitals, nursing homes, homeless shelters, and soup kitchens. The best thing that you can do is find whatever cause or community you care most deeply about and spend as much time volunteering as your schedule allows. When you volunteer, you will not only prepare yourself well for applying to nursing school and someday caring for patients, but you will also find the experience to be personally rewarding because it is incredibly gratifying to give your time and talents in service to others.
For more information about nursing school, learn about the prerequisite courses that you will need to take before applying to nursing school, and check out this list of the top 30 nursing schools in the United States.