How to Prepare for Nursing School: The Complete Guide
Did you know that there were more than 4 million registered nurses in the United States of America as of the year 2020? Becoming a nurse is a noble pursuit and will provide you with a lucrative career that allows you to help others that are in need. You’ll find that it is one of the most rewarding professions you could ever choose.
One thing that gets overlooked is the number of steps that you need to take in order to become a nurse and all of the schooling options that you’ll have to choose from. It is also important that you know about all of the available options that you have for financial help when you narrow down your list of schools.
The good news is that you’re in the right place to learn more about the financial assistance you can get, as well as gain some valuable school advice that will aid you in your dream of becoming a nurse.
Keep reading this article to learn more.
Sign Up for Pre-Nursing Society
One of the first things that you’ll want to do when you’re getting ready to start your education for becoming a nurse is to sign up for the Pre-Nursing Society. This group of people that are working to become nurses meets on a consistent basis throughout both semesters of each school year.
The Pre-Nursing Society is an organization that is led by nursing students. It will be a great resource for you to connect with peers and other students that are going through similar experiences in school and in life. You’ll also have a great path towards connecting with professionals in the healthcare industry.
Best of all, it is a great resource for helping you with preparation for taking the TEAS exam and getting through the difficult parts of each semester. You’ll also gain valuable help and resources when it comes to the application process for different nursing schools around the country. Taking this step will go a long way towards helping you to achieve your goal and become a nurse.
Complete Your Prerequisites
Most nursing schools or nursing programs have courses that you need to take prior to applying for nursing school. It is a wise move to work together with an academic advisor at your current school to ensure that you’re on the right path for knocking out all of your prerequisite courses.
There are a number of courses that you’ll need to complete before you have all of the classes that the nursing school is looking for. These courses usually involve taking multiple courses on anatomy and physiology as well as microbiology. It is a good idea to check out the required courses for the nursing schools that you’re interested in applying for so that you can get those courses scheduled.
Get Volunteer Healthcare Experience
Getting knowledge and passing your prerequisite courses is a great start on your road to becoming a nurse but you shouldn’t stop there. Getting practical experience by volunteering will look great on an application to nursing school. It will prepare you for your future career.
Keep in mind that taking this step is not required in order to get into nursing school. Still, you’ll gain a key insight into what your future career will be like on a daily basis and determine if this is the course you wish to take with your life.
In addition to showing you if nursing is right for you, you’ll also learn more about what working in a healthcare environment is like. It will make you a more exciting candidate for the nursing schools that you apply to. Look for opportunities to volunteer within your local community as well as on your college’s campus.
Start Preparing Early
It is recommended that you start preparing for applying to nursing school by the time that you’re in your sophomore year of college. If you’re a traditional freshman that started your academic career at a four-year school then you need to be well on your way to applying for nursing school by the end of your freshman academic year.
If you’re dual-enrolled then you need to make sure that you stay on top of communicating with and working with your academic advisor. Dual-enrolled students sometimes need to start their application process earlier.
Some high school seniors even start the application process as part of a pre-admission program. If you’re a student that is transferring to a four-year school then you should start your application process after enrolling in the school that you’re transferring to.
Going back to joining the Pre-Nursing Society, it is a great idea to look for opportunities to network and build relationships with professionals in the healthcare field. If you’re planning on applying to become a BSN then you’ll need either a professional reference or an academic reference. It is best if you’re able to get one of each.
Building relationships with professionals at the Pre-Nursing Society events will go a long way towards giving you better odds of becoming a nurse. Don’t let this great opportunity go to waste.
Get Good Grades
This should seem pretty obvious and self-explanatory, but you need to make sure that you’re getting good grades if you have plans on becoming a nurse in the future. Ideally, you’ll do your best to get good grades in all of your courses but it is especially important that you do well in your science courses.
Having good grades in your science courses shows that you have a strong knowledge of the scientific matter that you’re being taught in these classes. It also shows that you’re great at retaining complex and difficult information. You’ll have a much easier time getting accepted into your favorite schooling options if you have good grades, and you could even get scholarships for nursing students.
Use Your Academic Success Center
There are a ton of great and free resources available to you that you need to make sure you use when it comes to becoming a nurse. One of the best options for getting school advice and financial assistance is going through your academic success center. This resource provides free tutoring that will help you gain strength. You’ll also get better grades in subjects or courses that you’re struggling with.
They specialize in helping you with the core classes for your major and the career path that you’ve chosen. You can also attend workshops that the academic success center hosts. This will bolster your study skills and make sure that you’re taking the right steps towards becoming a nurse.
These workshops will also help you learn how to manage your time better. You’ll become a well-rounded and impressive candidate for any nursing school that you choose to apply for.
Shadow a Nurse
If you want to get a much clearer picture of what your future looks like when you become a nurse then it is a good idea to find a nurse that will allow you to shadow them. You’ll get to follow them through each step of their normal day working as a nurse at a hospital or a clinic.
You’ll get to see the different tasks that they handle in their current roles as well as how they interact with patients. You’ll also get to learn more about the things that they love about their job and the things that they find frustrating. Taking this step will show you if a career in nursing is the right career path for you.
Interview a Nurse
In addition to shadowing a nurse for a day, you should also look for nurses that you can interview. Come up with a list of questions that are related to the work that they do on a daily basis.
Getting an up-close and personal look at what nurses go through each day will give you a much better appreciation of the work that they do. It will help you to prepare for the work you’ll be doing after you become a nurse. It is also another great chance for you to build your network and connect with nurses that work at local clinics and hospitals near you.
Start Applying Early
The sooner that you start the application process for all of your schooling options, the better off you’ll be. Any errors or mistakes on your nursing school applications will be held against you. Starting the process early will allow you to double and triple-check your work to make sure that it is error-free.
You’ll show the schooling options that you apply for that you do great work. They’ll see that you’re thorough when you start your application process early. A good rule of thumb is to start the application process three months early. You’ll have plenty of time to get everything completed in a stress-free manner if you give yourself plenty of time.
Take Your Test of Essential Academic Skills
A massive obstacle that stands in your way of becoming a nurse is passing your Test of Essential Academic Skills. You’ll want to start studying for this exam well in advance because it is one of the most difficult tests that you’ll encounter in your life. Most people choose to take this exam during the summer between the end of their freshman year and the start of their sophomore year.
This exam includes some difficult course material that will put a heavy emphasis on your math skills and knowledge as well as the science courses that you’ve taken. Look for AP Science 1 and 2 as well as Algebra when it comes to preparing for this exam. The sooner you start studying the better your odds are of getting the required score for your favorite schooling options.
There are multiple test preparation materials that you can find on the internet that will provide a ton of help for studying and preparing for your Test of Essential Academic Skills. These resources will improve your odds of getting the required score for getting into nursing school.
Save Extra Money
It should be no secret to anyone at this point that getting a college education is not cheap. You need to look for every opportunity that you can in order to make and save money. Nursing school is especially expensive because it has outside expenses in addition to your tuition.
You won’t face these expenses until after you’ve been accepted into a nursing program or a nursing school, but it is still smart to make sure that you have plenty of money saved and put away for nursing school expenses. You’ll need money for uniforms, scrubs, lab coats, and even background checks.
You’ll also want to make sure that you have enough money for your nursing school textbooks and any nursing equipment that your new nursing school requires from students.
Apply for Scholarships
Saving money is always a smart decision, but you should also invest time in applying for scholarships to nursing school. Getting good grades will go a long way towards finding financial assistance for nursing school.
Being a part of a National Honor Society is another great way to get financial help towards your college education. You should also talk to your academic advisor about any grants that you’re eligible for. Taking these steps will make furthering your education much more affordable. It will help prevent thousands of dollars of student loan debt.
Start Your Journey of Becoming a Nurse
Becoming a nurse is a massive accomplishment and it sets you on a road towards making a career out of helping people that are in need. There are a lot of things that you need to do in order to prepare for the road that you’ll take to become a nurse.
Make sure that you’re applying for scholarships and that you’re getting good grades in your math and science courses. You should also start the application process early. Aim to take your TEAS exam during the summer between your freshman and sophomore years of college.
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