What do Nursing Schools Look for in Applicants?

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Every nursing school has different program options and admission requirements, making it difficult to give a straight answer to the question: What do nursing schools look for in applicants? When it comes to our 16-month ABSN program in Cincinnati, Ohio, here are seven ways we evaluate our applicants.

What nursing schools are looking for in applicants

1. Education

Because our ABSN program is a second-degree option, we look for nursing school applicants who have a bachelor’s degree in another field of study, along with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7. We also require that applicants successfully complete four ABSN prerequisite courses before they begin the program. The prerequisites, which include microbiology, human anatomy, human physiology, and statistics, can be completed online through our university.

2. Motivation

We seek highly motivated nursing school applicants. Motivation is an essential trait to be able to keep up with our fast-paced ABSN curriculum that consists of online coursework, hands-on nursing skills and simulation labs, and in-person clinical rotations at top health care facilities within the Greater Cincinnati area.

3. Dedication

Dedication is vital to nursing school success because working through the ABSN curriculum is similar to holding down a full-time job. Therefore, we want our applicants to show us their dedication toward nursing school and the profession. While our nursing faculty and staff are readily available to provide support, every accelerated nursing student must be self-reliant because of all the independent study that’s involved.

4. Organization

From the first to the last day of class, students in our ABSN program experience a whirlwind of learning, which requires them to prioritize accordingly. That’s why we seek applicants who have strong organizational skills and can juggle multiple priorities at once.

5. Compassion

The best nursing students understand that competence and compassion go hand in hand when delivering quality patient care. We value applicants who can empathize with the feelings of others and respond appropriately, which includes being able to convey openness without judgment and to show respect for the dignity of all patients.

6. Self-Reflection

Rooted in strong Jesuit values, our university promotes care of oneself and others through a series of mind-body-spirit interactions. Prospective students don’t have to be Catholic to apply to our ABSN program; they just need to have a desire for knowledge in the service of others and a willingness to always do more. It’s also important that they be willing to cultivate lives of reflection, compassion, and informed action to make the world a better place.

7. Collaboration

While students do a lot of independent study during the ABSN program, they also come together as a cohort to participate in nursing labs and work on group assignments. Being able to effectively collaborate with others, whether in nursing school or on the job, is critical for achieving the best possible patient care outcomes.

Attributes That Matter

Keep in mind that while having these seven attributes can help get you into nursing school, they also come in handy when you’re applying for RN positions. Why? Because health care employers look for these same qualities in nursing applicants.

According to Lisa Long, associate director of nursing for the ABSN program at Xavier University, health care employers love Xavier nurses. “Employers understand the solid education and values our nursing graduates bring to the health care workforce.”

Marie Leist-Smith, regional director of nursing practice and research at Mercy Health Cincinnati

“Employers understand the solid education and values our nursing graduates bring to the health care workforce.”

Marie Leist-Smith, regional director of nursing practice and research at Mercy Health Cincinnati (one of our clinical partners), reinforces Long’s statement by saying, “Xavier nurses are unique because they are taught to be empowered at the bedside to provide the best patient care possible.” Leist-Smith also noted that she can always tell which Mercy nurses graduated from Xavier. “They are the nurses who exhibit leadership, service, personal growth, professional advancement, and scholarship.”

Advice for Applicants

When applying to our ABSN program, prospective students have the support of an assigned admission counselor every step of the way. Long recommends listening to and working closely with your admission counselor because he or she can help you develop the most competitive nursing school application possible.

“If I’m your counselor, I’ll contact you on a regular basis to make sure you have everything you need to keep your nursing school application moving along smoothly,” said Julie Zarobinski, admission counselor for the ABSN program at Xavier University.

Zarobinski went on to say that it helps to apply to the ABSN program sooner rather than later. Why? Because our School of Nursing reviews applications as they come in, instead of waiting for the submission deadline to pass and reviewing them all at once. We’re currently accepting applications for the fall 2018 and spring 2019 ABSN program terms.

By applying early, you have an advantage over other applicants interested in the same ABSN program term. In fact, we can give you an admissions decision before some students even apply.

“I felt really supported,” said Lauren Weaver, a 2018 ABSN program graduate. “Any time I had a question, my admission counselor got me the answer very quickly.”

Support for Students

While in the 16-month ABSN program, Long encourages students who may be struggling in some capacity to seek help from nursing faculty or an academic success coach. “You don’t want to wait to ask for help in an accelerated program because if you do, you might not have time to turn things around,” she said.

“I love the Xavier faculty — absolutely love them,” said Brianna Prescott, a 2018 ABSN program graduate. “They are in your corner and want to see you succeed.”

Jessica Lonzo, academic success coach for the ABSN program at Xavier University

“I’m a one-stop resource for students. I’m pretty much accessible 24/7.”

Jessica Lonzo, academic success coach for the ABSN program at Xavier University, serves as an advocate for students, connecting them with a wide variety of resources that can enhance their overall nursing school experience. “Whether it comes to a financial aid question, general question, or an academic question, I’m a one-stop resource for students,” she said. “I’m pretty much accessible 24/7.”

Ready to learn more about our 16-month ABSN program in Cincinnati, Ohio? Want more information about what nursing schools look for in applicants? Contact our admission team today!

Xavier ABSN simulation lab

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