Is It Hard to Get Into Nursing School?

Each blog post is dated and contains accurate information as of that date. Certain information may have changed since the blog post publication date. If you would like to confirm the current accuracy of blog information, please visit our ABSN overview page or contact admissions at (844) 347-2503.

Is it hard to get into nursing school? Yes, nursing schools must often turn away qualified applicants due to factors like faculty shortages. To increase your chances of successfully getting into nursing school, write a compelling and authentic admissions essay and work closely with your admissions counselor.

girl arms up celebrating

If you no longer find your career satisfying or meaningful, you may have thought about switching to healthcare. But is it hard to get into nursing school? How long will it take? Will you need to earn another four-year degree? These are all common questions we’ll answer here.

If you have a non-nursing degree, you need not enroll in another four-year program. The College of Mount Saint Vincent offers an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, which builds on your existing foundation of knowledge and confers a nursing degree. When you graduate from this program in as few as 16 months, you’ll be qualified to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensing exam to become a registered nurse (RN).

two ABSN students working in sim lab

Learn more about how our ABSN program works.

Requirements for Getting Into Nursing School

Exactly how hard is it to get into nursing school, and what are the requirements? Every school with a nursing degree program establishes its admission requirements. At the Mount, for example, ABSN applicants must have completed a non-nursing bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 from an approved higher education institution. You must meet the prerequisites and submit your official transcripts with your application.

The science prerequisites require a grade of B or higher and must have been completed within the past five years. They include the following:

  • General Chemistry
  • Anatomy and Physiology I and II
  • Microbiology
  • Psychology Across the Lifespan

In addition, there are non-science prerequisites, which you must complete with a grade of C or higher:

  • English language at the college level
  • Mathematics at the college level (e.g., statistics or calculus)
Nursing students having a conversation in a clinical setting

Don’t worry if you are missing prerequisites. Your admission counselor will help you put together a plan to complete the prerequisites so you can apply to the ABSN program. Although getting into nursing school isn’t easy and graduating from it will require a lot of hard work, the ability to complete the prerequisites indicates that you can indeed succeed in nursing school.

How Hard Is It to Get Into Nursing School?

Getting into nursing school can be challenging. It is also difficult to quantify this sentiment, as different students may have various opinions about the difficulty level. However, one way to quantify the difficulty of getting into nursing school is to consider the percentage of qualified students that schools turn away from BSN programs. The National League of Nursing (NLN) states that from 2018 to 2020, the rate of qualified applicants turned away from these programs increased by 2%. In 2020, 29% of qualified applicants were rejected.

Why are qualified applicants rejected? Unfortunately, nursing programs can only accept a set number of future nurses each year. Across the country, nursing programs must contend with problems such as faculty shortages and difficulty obtaining clinical rotation placements.

Furthermore, it can be challenging for an applicant to demonstrate their qualifications. Nursing schools are tasked with educating the next generation of healthcare professionals—people who are quite literally responsible for the lives of others. By necessity, they can only admit students with a strong academic record who are likely to succeed in a tough work environment.

nurses talking together while standing at hospital desk

You can increase your chances of success by following these smart tips!

At the Mount, our nursing faculty take seriously our responsibility to graduate highly competent, skilled future nurses capable of making evidence-based, ethical decisions that place their patients’ best interests first. If you are a qualified applicant, you’ll receive extensive support services every step of the way because our school community genuinely cares about your success.

How Hard Is It to Graduate From Nursing School?

Now that you know the answer to the question, “Is it hard to get into nursing school?” you may wonder, “How hard is it to graduate?” By necessity, the ABSN program at the Mount is rigorous and comprises four full-time semesters. You’ll work through a challenging schedule of classes, labs, and clinical rotations. You’ll acquire a solid foundation of nursing knowledge and skills and have plenty of practice before you begin working with real patients during clinicals.

nursing student holding lab equipment

Want to learn more about what to expect in clinicals? Check it out here!

Nursing school is indeed challenging; it must be to graduate competent nurses. However, if you qualify for acceptance into our program, you can certainly get through it. You’ll need to have excellent time management and designate time for studying most days of the week. Your instructors will welcome your questions and are committed to helping you succeed. Are you ready to get started?

Top Tips for Applying to an ABSN Program

Now that you know how hard it is to get into nursing school, these pieces of advice can help your odds. Follow these tips as you go through the steps of applying to an ABSN program.

Speak with an admission counselor early on.

As with most worthwhile endeavors, getting into nursing school requires advanced planning. At the Mount, we offer three start dates each year. However, you shouldn’t wait until shortly before your intended start date to get the ball rolling. Instead, contact an admission counselor as soon as you decide to become a nurse.

You may need to complete prerequisites before finalizing your application to our ABSN program, which may take some time. Your admission counselor will review your prior education with you to identify which prerequisites are transferrable and which you’ll need to complete. Together, you’ll create an academic plan to meet the requirements and identify your ideal start date. Your admission counselor is always here to help with questions or concerns.

Gain some healthcare experience.

While you’re working on prerequisites and otherwise preparing for nursing school, it can be helpful to gain some hands-on healthcare experience. Of course, you won’t be able to work as a nurse until you’ve graduated, passed the NCLEX, and obtained your license. However, you could explore volunteer positions at local healthcare facilities or entry-level part-time jobs at nearby clinics. These positions can expose you to the inner workings of the healthcare field and enable you to develop crucial soft skills needed for patient interactions.

Nursing student in lab setting with purple gloves

Think carefully about whom to approach for a letter of recommendation.

You’ll need one letter of recommendation for your application to the College of Mount Saint Vincent’s ABSN program. Ask someone who knows you well and can provide an honest recommendation. If you volunteered or worked part-time in the healthcare field while completing prerequisites, you might ask your supervisor. Be sure to request the letter well in advance.

Take your time with your admission essay.

Like other nursing schools, the Mount requires an admission essay. We ask you to write on why you want to become a nurse. It’s best not to wait until the last minute to write your essay. To craft a compelling essay, figure out what makes you stand apart from the crowd as an applicant. Most nursing students want to become a nurse to help other people. What is it about your own story that makes you unique?

For example, were you a family caregiver for a loved one with cancer? Perhaps you were hospitalized for a lengthy period when you were younger, and the nurses made an impression on you. Whichever angle you choose, be sure that you write honestly and authentically.

Is Nursing School Worth It?

Nursing school can be tough to get into and challenging to graduate from, but it will be worth it. When you graduate, pass the NCLEX, and obtain your nursing license, you’ll have a meaningful, rewarding career that you can be proud of. Your life’s work will be making a positive difference in your community. Plus, you’ll enjoy an in-demand career with numerous opportunities to specialize. Are you ready to take the first step?

Nursing students practicing on a manikin

If you feel called to become a nurse, you’ll find extensive support at the College of Mount Saint Vincent. The Mount offers an ABSN program that enables our nursing students to graduate in as few as 16 months. Contact an admission counselor today to take that first step.

When you do, our admission counselors will guide you and provide plenty of support along the way. Start creating your ABSN plan today!