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The Importance of Speaking with Admissions Before Applying for a Nursing Degree

Proper Measures to Make Sure You're Picking the Right Nursing Program for Yourself

By andrewdeen14Published about a month ago 5 min read
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The Importance of Speaking with Admissions Before Applying for a Nursing Degree
Photo by Luis Melendez on Unsplash

High school seniors have so much on their radar. As a guidance counselor, your job in preparing for them for the future is tricky. On the one hand, you want to make sure that they check all of the necessary boxes. On the other hand, you don’t want to overwhelm them so much that they become anxious, or ineffective.

By that standard, encouraging outgoing seniors to speak with admissions before enrolling in a nursing program may feel like a losing proposition. One more thing to do on a list that only seems to grow.

In this article, we take a look at why it is important to speak with admissions before enrolling, and how you can successfully encourage your students to take this extra step.

Not All Nursing Programs are Created Equal

It can feel on the surface like one nursing school will be more or less just like the next. Because nursing and healthcare are so strictly regulated every program is required to hit more or less the same points.

But while the things each program teaches will be mostly the same, the support and supplementary infrastructure won’t be. There are tons of details many high school students don’t even know exist. Considerations that can have a major impact on their experience.

Here are some questions incoming freshmen should ask of any program they are considering.

How Long Does it Take to Complete a Nursing Degree?

While four years is standard, many nursing schools will offer special programs that either allow you to accelerate your studies, or roll a graduate degree into the four-year program. These opportunities are great because they allow students to graduate at the traditional age and enter the workforce with an advanced credential that will increase their earning potential and open the door to new career opportunities.

What Special Resources Does the School Provide?

Nursing education technology has advanced radically over the last few decades. Simulation labs now allow students the opportunity to experience realistic healthcare scenarios in a safe, controlled environment.

These labs are a great way to learn what it feels like to be a working nurse, but not all schools can provide them. They are extremely expensive and they depend on specific infrastructural requirements— like a large open space that can be converted into a pretend emergency room.

Encourage your students to find out what makes a nursing program special before they sign on.

How Does This School Offer Clinical Placement Support?

Nursing students are required to complete a specific number of clinical hours. During this time, they will go into a hospital and work a variety of rotations that give them first-hand experience with a wide range of different medical situations.

Every nurse needs to complete these clinicals before they can graduate. However, not all students are equally supported by their institution of learning. Some schools have complimentary placements. Effectively, they set everything up and may even provide transportation.

Other schools require the student to do everything on their own. While that doesn’t have to be a deal breaker, it’s a good thing to know on the front end.

What Are the NCLEX Pass Rates?

The NCLEX is a big nasty test that every nurse will need to complete before they can be fully registered and eligible to work. The national pass rate average hovers around 80%. However, any school your students consider will have its own pass rate.

It’s an interesting metric for an incoming student to look at. The test itself is taken after graduation, but the number of program graduates who pass on their first try might reflect the quality of how well the school prepares its students for what is ahead.

What is the Rate of Professional Placement?

What percentage of graduates are working as a nurse within six months of leaving the university? This figure reflects on both the quality of the program and the extent to which the school supports graduates. Some universities have very robust job placement opportunities while others offer virtually nothing.

Does Admissions Really Want to Hear From You?

Eh. Maybe. Many college admissions officers are so busy that the idea of unnecessary, unfocused student contact only gives them a headache. The key to a successful interaction is to make sure that the student understands their talking points and can direct the conversation in a way that is constructive and relatively brief.

Make sure that your students understand the importance of having a clear plan that facilitates purposeful communication. Not only will it help them get the answers to their questions but it will also impress the admissions officer. Confident, thoughtful eighteen-year-olds are not always in large supply.

Selling This to a Teenager

Great, right? Except that you, as a responsible adult, are not the target audience of this message. How can you get these ideas to resonate with someone who possibly has never had a significant responsibility before?

Help them understand that colleges aren’t the only party in the admissions process that are making a choice. So many students feel helpless as they send out their applications and wait for the response. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that they also have power in the process.

Students strengthen a school’s reputation with their achievements. They also spend hundreds of thousands of dollars there over the course of four years. That’s bargaining power. Sell your seniors on the idea that they are vetting and interviewing the schools they apply to just as surely as they themselves are being evaluated.

The idea that they have power over a process that feels out of their hands may hold deep appeal. It should also make them think more deliberately about how they want to direct their college journey. What do they want out of their future education? The time to start thinking about that is now.

One more thing for your students to keep in mind. These questions may feel intrusive and time-consuming. In reality, they should take only a few minutes to answer. Universities track these data points. Admissions will either have the information on hand or be able to access it with a few clicks.

Encourage your students to feel comfortable and confident enough to ask any question they might have. Choosing a college is the biggest choice most of them will have made in their lives. Going into the process with questions and concerns provides them with a degree of power and autonomy that many will have never experienced before.

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