If you’re considering changing your career path to nursing, you probably have questions about how to prepare for nursing school. From big-picture life planning to completing prerequisites to gathering all the necessary paperwork and supplies, it can easily start to snowball into an overwhelming task!
It’s a lot of steps, but you don’t have to do them all alone. That’s why the team of Marian University online-based ABSN program admissions advisors exists: to help you take the stress out of preparing for nursing school and focus on your future goal of becoming a nurse.
To help give you an idea of what all you’ll have to do before you start nursing school, below we break it down for you step-by-step.
1. Contact an admissions advisor
The first thing we always recommend prospective nursing students do is schedule a phone call with one of our admissions advisors.
Don’t think of this appointment as a formal interview; rather, consider it a chance for you to learn more about the Marian University ABSN program, time commitment involved, and full scope of the application process. Still, for this conversation, Bradley says it’s helpful (but not required) to have prepared:
- All your previous academic transcripts (Note: To qualify for the Marian University ABSN program, you must hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and a minimum cumulative 2.8 GPA or 3.0 for the last 60 credits completed.)
- Answers to these questions:
- What do you want to do with your degree after you graduate?
- Where do you want to work?
- What role do you want to play in your future workplace?
- Updated FAFSA forms if you have questions about student loans.
2. Complete all prerequisites
An admissions advisor can also help you strategize how to complete any outstanding prerequisites you may need to pass before applying to nursing school.
Any general education prerequisites you passed with a C or better in the past seven years can count toward this requirement, but if you still have some left to go, no worries! Your admissions advisor can determine if you qualify to enroll in Marian’s Adult Programs (MAP) to finish them online in as few as five weeks through the same learning platform you’ll use as a nursing student.
While you must pass all science courses with a C+ or better and an overall 2.8 GPA minimum and all other courses with a C or better, before you can enroll in our ABSN program, unlike some other nursing programs, Marian University ABSN does NOT require prospect students to:
- Complete any entrance exams (TEAS)
- Go through a formal admittance interview
- Submit letters of recommendation as part of the application process
Note: If enrolling in the Marian University ABSN program requires you to relocate, Bradley says you should start thinking about where within your new city you want to live as early in the nursing school enrollment process as possible. Your admissions advisor can help you determine a budget and your priorities.
3. Attend on-site application session
Your next step involves meeting with your admissions advisor in person at one of our online-based ABSN program learning sites for an application session. During this session, he or she will walk you through how to complete your nursing school application.
Even if enrolling in nursing school requires you to move, these in-person sessions help you stay on track to reach your target start date.
“The application sessions are a good opportunity for you to get a lay of the land. It’s where you really begin to see yourself in the nursing school setting,” Bradley says.
At your application session with your advisor, you’ll discuss all the tasks, forms, and paperwork you’ll need to complete to submit your nursing school application, which is due 45 to 60 days before your desired start date.
This to-do list includes how to provide:
- Proof of background check, drug screen, and immunizations.
- Proof of health and/or liability insurance.
- Certification in CPR and Basic Life Support.
Note: The Marian University ABSN program offers four-hour CPR certification training courses at each of our online-based ABSN program sites several times per start date at a discounted rate of $50.
4. Network, network, network
Before you begin your nursing journey, it’s important to get to know who’s going to be along for the ride with you. After all, many consider nursing school to be a full-time job, so you’ll be spending a lot of time with these people! That’s why it’s so helpful to make introductions and connections with the other members of your future cohort, nursing instructors, and other nurses before the craziness of nursing school begins.
Marian University’s online-based ABSN program understands the importance of having a strong support network, building in networking opportunities into your pre-ABSN program experience such as the:
- ABSN Applicant Luncheon, where you can meet your fellow cohort members. This event usually takes place two to three weeks before Registration Day.
- Marian ABSN Students Facebook group, where you can meet your future classmates before orientation. It’s also a helpful resource for those looking to buy used supplies or find a roommate.
5. Attend Registration Day
By this point, you’re almost ready to begin nursing school. But before you can attend Orientation Day (a/k/a your first “official” day of nursing school), you’ll have to attend Registration Day, an event that takes place at one of the online-based ABSN program learning sites a few weeks before your first day of nursing school. Here’s where you’ll have the chance to meet your fellow students, ABSN faculty members, and support staff.
At this event, you’ll also:
- Learn about upcoming important dates
- Learn more about Marian University
- Register for classes
- Order and try on uniforms, supplies, and textbooks through the Marian University Bookstore.
6. Attend Orientation
Now you are in nursing school! Here’s what you can expect to do on your first “official” day as a nursing student:
- Take cohort class photo (don’t forget to wear your scrubs!)
- Meet instructors, clinical support staff, academic success coach, and the director of nursing and academic services
- Review protocols, policies, and clinical expectations
- Learn what you should bring and wear for your first day of labs
- Review test day procedures and student support resources
7. Get organized
From keeping up with online nursing theory coursework to knowing when and where to attend simulation labs and clinicals, staying on top of all of accelerated nursing school’s moving parts from the start is the key to success throughout the entire program.
You’d be wise to do the following before courses begin to maintain your sanity and increase your odds of succeeding:
- Once you have them, import your lab and clinical schedules into your calendar
- Plan out a study schedule and choose a designated study spot
- Make a weekly meal plan
- Coordinate childcare arrangements, if needed
How do you become a nurse? Start with Step 1.
Applying to and preparing for nursing school requires some legwork, but you won’t be going through the process alone. The common denominator with all the nursing school to-dos above is your admissions advisor, who always welcomes the opportunity to help you succeed and answer your questions.
If you’re interested in accelerating your path to nursing school, start with step 1 — contacting an admissions advisor — to see if the Marian University ABSN program is a good fit for you.