How to Stand Out with Your Nursing School Application (RN)

by Elizabeth Russ, FNP

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    00:01 Although what pre-reqs you will have to take and which test you are assigned can vary and be difficult to navigate, your application is where you have the advantage.

    00:10 You know exactly where the nursing program is going and what they're looking for in a nursing school.

    00:15 So we are going to be in detective mode, uncover that and use it to our advantage.

    00:20 The very first thing I want you to do when applying to your nursing school and writing your nursing school application essay and all of that is to look up the School of Nursing's mission statement from their nursing website. This will often be found in the Student Handbook section of their welcome page. And once you have the student handbook, grab a spare sheet of paper and your note-taking app or whatever you want to use and write out all of the different aspects of the mission statement on a different piece of paper at the top, on a sticky note or on whatever you want.

    00:52 Whatever is important to that school, write it down.

    00:56 Now, after you've written all of them down, under the topic headings, I want you to think of traits, education or experiences that you have ever had that align with that particular nursing school's specific goal under that heading.

    01:11 And what can this kind of look like? Let's look at some examples.

    01:14 Do they value research? Maybe you did a research type of study in your psych class or You see the benefits of research and are inspired by the nursing program because it's always evolving due to, like, nursing research and that's important to them and you're a lifelong learner and yada yada yada.

    01:30 Maybe you had a family member who benefited from a research study and being a patient in one of those.

    01:35 And you want to be involved in a program That focuses on helping others with research and utilizing it in practice.

    01:42 What if this school is super-duper into, like, family-centered care? Maybe you have kids of your own who have needed medical care, and you've seen the value of involving the entire family in the care of that patient, in order for everyone to feel engaged and cared for. Or maybe you have a passion for education and have been involved in your community teaching classes to children, and you know that the adults matter just as much because they have to learn just as much at home.

    02:07 This works perfectly for nursing schools that prioritize patient education.

    02:11 I promise that for anything a school specifically mentions in their mission statement, you have an experience or many in your life that you can weasel into that application under that title.

    02:23 But what if you're kind of looking through and you notice a gap in your resume? And you're like, I don't have anything for this particular section. Find an activity or volunteer for a position or an event or a job experience that will be able to fill that empty space that they want.

    02:38 You can volunteer.

    02:40 You can join a committee or a club.

    02:41 Basically, find parts of your life that can tick off every single box for what that program specifically states they want in a nursing student.

    02:50 And if you're watching this way ahead of time, it's always good to be super proactive, research the schools that you are interested in and start making lists now so you can identify these potential resume gaps earlier.

    03:02 And then you can look at like your current job, your current volunteer opportunities, clubs, what have you, to find places to round out your experience, and you'll have a lot more time to do so.

    03:11 And while we're talking about starting things early, I want to stress how important it is to start writing your application essay, like, way sooner than you think you need to in order to meet the deadline.

    03:22 You should also send out your request for letters of recommendations really early To the people writing them so that they have plenty of time.

    03:30 Will they procrastinate on writing them until the last minute? Absolutely. But you did your part and you asked them, so you're good.

    03:37 I also would really encourage you on that and to include a resume with your request for a letter of recommendation and be sure to let them know what the school is looking for so they can target their letter specifically to that school and they don't have to ask you what your background was and where you volunteered and what you did. It just makes you look better.

    03:56 When you're writing your personal statement, early is always super helpful.

    04:00 Because it helps relieve some of the stress that you have to do like all of this, and it's hanging out over your head.

    04:06 You can get that out of the way and then have people read it and provide feedback.

    04:10 Have multiple people do this, people who are not you will often be able to identify places where you excel better than even you will, and you can add those to your statement to fill out any holes.

    04:22 Our goal here is to make you shine in your mission statement like the rock star that you are.

    04:27 And, remember, you are a rock star.

    04:29 Which leads us to the final point I want to drive home.

    04:32 Just be you.

    04:34 Nursing school administrators get so many applications and in a crowd of people saying that they're exactly, exactly what they think they want administrators to hear, what better way to stand out than being just, like, authentically, kind of quirkily, you.

    04:49 Be your unique, weird, funny self because you are enough.

    04:54 Every single person has probably written an essay about how they just want to help people , and they have always liked people and they just, they just want to help and yada, yada, yada, yada.

    05:04 We've all heard that before.

    05:06 And maybe for some people that is true.

    05:08 But if it's not, just be honest when they ask you Why do you want to be a nurse? Even if the answer is something as mundane as, Hey, this seems like a pretty solid job, and it has a lot of different career options. And I am 17, and I don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

    05:24 But this kind of sounds interesting and has a lot of options.

    05:28 Just be honest.

    05:30 And you know what? If you don't get in right away, it has absolutely nothing to do with you and has absolutely everything to do with how overwhelming nursing schools as a system are themselves.

    05:44 There are so many applications and so few spots, so if you don't get in, and you're truly driven to this career, try again. And email the school and ask the admissions counselor what you could do to make yourself a more competitive applicant in the next cycle.

    05:58 This will help in a couple of ways.

    05:59 You'll familiarize yourself with the staff.

    06:01 They'll, like, know your name, and it will give you a good direction to kind of target when you change your approach.

    06:06 And it shows you have a lot of initiative.

    06:08 So, now that you know how to prepare your application for the process, let's skip ahead, again, to where you've sent in your beautiful, unique, rockstar application and you've been accepted.

    06:19 And now, you need to prepare for actually going to nursing school.

    06:23 I know we've been talking all this time and we haven't even gotten to nursing school, but that is up next.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture How to Stand Out with Your Nursing School Application (RN) by Elizabeth Russ, FNP is from the course Applying to Nursing School (RN).

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Be unique
    2. Research the school
    3. Outline experiences that fit within the school's mission
    4. Don't be concerned with resume gaps.
    5. Resume does not need to be tailored to each school.
    1. Start nursing applications early.
    2. Send out requests for recommendation letters with resume.
    3. A student should always be honest.
    4. Send out requests for recommendation letters without a resume.
    5. State in a nursing application essay that you always wanted to be a nurse.

    Author of lecture How to Stand Out with Your Nursing School Application (RN)

     Elizabeth Russ, FNP

    Elizabeth Russ, FNP

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