How Hard Is It to Get Into Nursing School?

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If you’re asking how hard is it to get into nursing school, we admit it can be a challenge due to limited seats in many nursing programs, but we need nurses now more than ever. Marian’s ABSN program is helping solve the problems that cause qualified students to be rejected.

Marian ABSN student sitting at desk studying with a laptop

If you’re considering going back to school for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, congratulations! From those operating Marian University’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, we understand that this is an exciting decision which can help you establish yourself in a new career and change your life. With an aging population and a growing need for nurses, this in-demand career could give you the flexibility, job security, and career mobility you’ve been looking for.

But just how hard is it to get into nursing school? While it can potentially be hard to get into nursing school, with persistence and a positive attitude you can still access a nursing education. In this post, we’ll look at some of the things that nursing schools look for in a student, share how to stand out among applicants, and give you advice for when you’re ready to apply.

Why Are Nursing Schools So Competitive?

It can be hard to get into nursing school because they are often very competitive. But why? There are many qualified candidates who can meet the rigorous academic requirements, but nursing programs are often limited by factors including the number of faculty, the size of their facilities, and the amount of available spaces for clinical rotations. Fortunately, programs like the ABSN program at Marian University are designed to alleviate some of these issues. We offer our program across the country in Indianapolis, Nashville and Oklahoma City, have three start dates each year, provide nursing theory coursework to our students in an online format to round out a hybrid curriculum, and our program can be completed in as little as 16 months. All of these characteristics make it possible for us to accept more students and for you to put your nursing education in motion sooner.

The Growing Popularity of BSN Degrees

Nursing is a growing field, and the U.S. going through a nursing shortage means that the demand for BSN degrees is also increasing. While it can be hard to get into nursing school, patients and healthcare providers need nurses now more than ever. More and more employers are also seeking BSN-educated nurses, and some hospitals, especially those working toward Magnet status, will only hire candidates that have a BSN. These requirements are only going to become more likely, meaning a BSN degree ensures more future career prospects.

Nursing School is Hard — But We’re Here to See You Through

Nursing school is hard but it’s well worth it. There are many stressors, and we have advice for you to persevere through them.

What Do Nursing Schools Look For In a Student?

With a healthcare gap created by a shortfall of qualified nurses, and more people waking up to the career opportunities that nursing can bring, nursing programs are in high demand by students. Marian’s ABSN program offers a 16-month route to qualified students to graduate with their BSN and become a registered nurse after passing the NCLEX-RN exam.

With so many variables, what are some of the top elements that admissions advisors will be looking at when examining your application? In the following sections, we’ll explore some of the qualifications and qualities that nursing schools look for in students.

Nursing School Qualifications

To start, you’ll want to be sure that your grades and academic record are at the standard required by the school and program you’re applying to. Using Marian’s ABSN program as an example, that means asking yourself:

  • Do I hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution?
  • Do I have a minimum overall cumulative 2.8 GPA or a 3.0 GPA for the last 60 credit hours completed?
  • Have I completed all of the ABSN prerequisite courses within the grade and GPA requirements?

If the answers to these questions are yes, great! If you answered no to any of these, then taking steps to complete prerequisites or other routes to becoming a nurse are still available to you.

Nursing Student Qualities

Beyond your academic qualifications, many nursing programs look at different qualities before accepting or rejecting prospective students. Marian University, for instance, molds students into nurses who focus on holistic care for the entire individual, rather than simply treating the symptoms on the surface. We want to be sure that students in the program will be able to carry out this unique care philosophy.

nursing students sitting in room at desks using computers

With the fact in mind that nursing schools may be looking for specific qualities in applicants, let’s look at a few of the things that might make you stand out from the crowd.


Not only is nursing school hard to get into, but the programs themselves can be challenging, especially when it’s a 16-month ABSN program. You’ll need to be dedicated to your goal of becoming a nurse, and have the discipline needed to complete the work to see the program through. Communicating your intent to take the program seriously, and having personal examples of succeeding through self-discipline, can help set you apart.

Organizational Skills

Organization is an extremely important skill for prospective nursing students. If your application is late, if you don’t have the documentation necessary to go through the process, or even if you’re always late in replying to emails, then improving on your organizational skills will raise your chances of successful applications. Keep everything you think you’ll need for nursing school applications in one place and be sure to reply to admissions advisor emails promptly. Lastly, don’t be worried to reach out to your admissions advisor for help. They are there to help you throughout the process, and can offer guidance on meeting deadlines and keeping materials in order.

Would I Be a Good Nurse? 6 Traits

If you are looking for more insight as to whether nursing school is for you, we go deeper into the qualities that not only make a good student, but also a good nurse.

Applying To Nursing School? You’ve Got This.

Getting into nursing school can be hard, but with so many rewards in your career and life to be gained through nursing school, it’s worth taking on the challenge of applying and going through an ABSN program. Here are three tips to help increase your chances of getting into a nursing school.

1. Know Your Why

Outlining why you want to become a nurse before you speak to an admissions advisor will help you be able to communicate your story and your passion for nursing clearly. Taking time to reflect on your why can help to get you through a rigorous nursing program as well. Being able to remember why you started can be just what you need to keep working toward your goal, as you will know it’ll be worth it in the end.

2. Do Your Research

Before speaking to an admissions counselor and applying to a program, be sure to do your research about the specific school. This will ensure that the program is a good fit for you and will show your admissions counselor that you are serious about their program and that you either fit or have a plan to fit all of their admissions requirements as well.

3. Consider Getting Experience in Healthcare

Although many programs may not require any previous experience in healthcare, getting some sort of volunteer or paid experience can be a great addition to your resume. Not only will this prove to the admissions team that you are dedicated to your goal, but it can also be a great opportunity for you to get a taste for the healthcare field.

a Marian ABSN student using stethoscope with patient in room

Ready to Apply to Nursing School?

Now that you know how hard it is to get into nursing school and how Marian’s ABSN program can accept more qualified students, you may be curious to learn more. If you think you could be a good fit for the Marian University ABSN program, contact one of our admissions advisors and start your journey toward a nursing degree today.