Nursing School Requirements: Courses, Skills and More
If you’re interested in a career in nursing, it can be hard to know where to start. When it comes to nursing school requirements, they can be physical and emotional, as well as academic. Whether you’re coming in from high school, transferring from another program or looking to change career paths, the best thing you can do is be prepared.
At William Jewell College of Nursing, we offer four different Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree programs so you can tailor your nursing education to your needs as a student. Depending on the program you're interested in, the prerequisites will differ. Here is everything you need to know about nursing school requirements, including checklists for each program, interview tips and essay-writing best practices.
Nursing school requirements
Among all of the programs at William Jewell, nursing education can be quite rigorous. For this reason, there may be some additional admission requirements to go along with your application. Here is our admission requirements breakdown by program, complete with checklists.
Our four-year nursing program is the most traditional track, with 124 credit hours spread out over 8 semesters. This program is well-suited for high school graduates looking to begin a career in nursing with less than 12 hours of AP credits or dual enrollment credits.
Four-year nursing school requirements checklist:
- Completed William Jewell College application or Common Application
- Copy of your high school transcript
- Copy of transcripts from any postsecondary institutions (if applicable)
- Copy of ACT or SAT exam scores
To apply for the four-year track, indicate which program you’re interested in on your William Jewell application. After passing your nursing entrance exam and completing your application, you may qualify for direct admission. Requirements for direct admission are:
- Completed William Jewell Application or Common Application
- Declare nursing as your major within your first semester
- ACT score of 22 or better
- Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better
- High school diploma or GED with less than 12 college credits
The benefit to direct admission versus general admission is that you may begin a nursing curriculum and have an advisor in the nursing department within your first semester of college. General admission students should complete all general education curriculum before declaring their major.
Prerequisite coursework for our three-year nursing program is identical to our traditional four-year undergraduate nursing program; however, the three-year nursing program is best suited for students with AP course credits or dual enrollment course credits. General education courses like College Algebra, Composition and Reading and Introductory Psychology are suggested.
Three-year nursing school prerequisites checklist:
- Completed William Jewell College of Nursing application or Common Application
- Copy of official high school transcripts, including GPA
- Copy of official college transcripts, including GPA (if applicable)
- Copy of ACT and/or SAT scores
Students applying to the three-year undergraduate nursing program may also be eligible for direct admission following the same criteria.
Our nursing school requirements for transfer students depend on the type of program you were previously enrolled in and how much progress you have made. Based on where you’re at academically, transfer students will enter into our four-year or three-year undergraduate nursing program.
View the transfer nursing program requirements.
Jewell designed our accelerated nursing program for those who have a previously completed or soon-to-be completed bachelor’s degree. This type of nursing degree is a good fit if you are looking to change careers, enter a new field or explore a new passion.
Coursework in this accelerated program is more rigorous than our other program options due to the timeline. Because the curriculum excludes general education courses, classroom instruction is focused on nursing-based subjects like pathophysiology, virology and more.
Visit jewell.edu/ nursing-accelerated-track for program requirements.
After the nursing admissions staff reviews your application materials, you may be selected for a formal interview. This is the last step in the admissions process.
The pre-nursing program is intended for students who wish to join one of the undergraduate nursing programs but are not eligible for direct admission. This track is designed for you to focus on your general education and prerequisite coursework to then be considered for the nursing program at a later semester.
Because there are limited seats in the nursing program, there is a competitive selection process for students admitted to the pre-nursing track.
Visit jewell.edu/pre-nursing-admission-policy for the pre-nursing program requirements checklist.
Prerequisite testing for undergraduate nursing programs
Before gaining admission to any of the undergraduate nursing programs at William Jewell (as well as most accredited nursing schools), you must pass one of three admissions exams:
- Kaplan Admissions Exam (Local applicants may register and take the Kaplan exam on our campus.)
- Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS)
- Health Education Systems Incorporated (HESI)
Mental and physical requirements for nursing school
Clinical practice is one of the pillars of nursing education. Working in the field provides invaluable, hands-on experience and allows you to experience all of the academic, physical and emotional demands and responsibilities of being a nurse.
In order to successfully complete your clinical hours and to ensure the safety of both you and the patients, there are additional nursing school requirements beyond your prerequisite coursework and application materials.
Physically, it’s important that you’re able to spend extended periods of time on your feet. It’s also essential that you can provide patients with physical assistance, which may require you to lift heavy amounts, crouch, squat, or kneel. It’s also important that your vision, fine motor skills and sensory abilities are optimal.
Mentally, an even temperament and level head are necessary for a successful nursing students. The clinical environment can be fast-paced and demand quick, critical thinking and calm responses to stressful situations.
Our exceptional nursing faculty at William Jewell is dedicated to helping students develop these skills throughout their program, in addition to preparing students academically. Just as we focus on the whole patient in care standards of care, we focus on fostering a well-rounded nursing education that extends beyond the classroom.
Tips and resources to prepare your application
For students hoping to join our institution, we want to provide you with tips and resources to help you build a strong application and prepare yourself for nursing school from the admissions process to graduation:
Tips for successful test taking
Your entrance exam scores will be considered along with the rest of your application materials when you’re being considered for one of our undergraduate nursing programs. You can employ these helpful tips to ensure you are as prepared as possible for your admissions test.
- Get enough sleep
Sleep is essential in studying and preparing for a test. Not only is it an important step in the process of retaining and storing information, but getting a good night’s rest allows you to be at peak performance on the day of your exam.
- Eat a protein-rich breakfast
Breakfast is brain food! Have a healthy breakfast with plenty of vitamins and protein on the day of your test to feed your body and mind. Foods rich in protein can also contribute to greater mental alertness. Try oats, grains, fruits and vegetables and eggs.
- Read thoroughly
When taking an exam, read each question thoroughly. Understanding the instructions should be the easiest part of a test, so take your time and be mindful. Many students find success in answering the questions they feel most confident about first and then circling back to spend extra time on the more difficult ones.
- Essay writing best practices
It’s important to follow essay-writing best practices, even when writing a personal essay. The same conventional concepts, like a central argument, clear narrative and proper syntax, can apply to both academic and personal writing.
- Analyze the question
Make sure that the thesis, or central idea, of your personal essay is in direct response to the essay question. Your writing should illustrate that you thought critically about the question posed and crafted your essay around it.
- Create an outline
Creating an outline before you begin writing can keep you on track during the writing process, and help you structure your essay in a way that clearly communicates your thoughts. An outline can also help to ensure that you stay on-topic and approach the question posed from every angle necessary.
- Write clearly and concisely
If you can communicate an idea in fewer words, you should. Writing concisely is important in making your points clear. It can also help to convey a clear timeline or order of events if you are telling a story. Eliminating fluff in your prose ensures that your readers can easily make sense of your points and leave with a clear understanding of your ideas.
- How to make your admissions interview stand out
Practicing confidence and professionalism in an interview setting is a skill that will take you far in life—both academically and professionally. Here are the top three tips for giving your best nursing school prerequisite interview:
- Be on time
Punctuality is crucial. Being on time is a simple way to make a good first impression. Not only is it polite, but it also demonstrates that you are organized, prepared and looking forward to the interview process.
- Practice a professional greeting
Speaking of first impressions, practice a professional and personable greeting before your interview. Be sure to smile warmly, say hello, and greet your interviewer with a polite handshake. Confidence is key, and a great first impression can be quite impressive.
- Prepare your own questions
When preparing for a prerequisite interview, practicing how you might answer certain questions is a great tactic, but you should also prepare questions of your own.
Asking your interviewer thoughtful questions demonstrates confidence, genuine interest in the program and listening skills just as much as your answers to their questions. It is also the perfect opportunity to learn more about the university, program, admissions process and more.
Start your path to a nursing degree at William Jewell College
Apply for free to one of our leading BSN programs today to experience the William Jewell difference and earn your nursing degree. With four different program options, exceptional faculty and on-campus student resources, there is a place for every student to excel and succeed.
If you have questions, reach out to our department chair, Dr. Leesa McBroom, and her dedicated nursing admission staff at email@example.com.