Entering the nursing profession is an enriching and fulfilling career. And it’s not just for those who decide to become a registered nurse (RN) as soon as they enter college. It’s never too late to become an RN and enroll in nursing school.
Many aspiring nurses apply to an accelerated nursing program after graduating with a non-nursing degree. Accelerated programs make nursing school more accessible for those who may be changing career paths and/or going back to school for nursing as an adult.
Still, many ask: Are accelerated nursing programs hard to get into? How do you enroll in an accelerated nursing program?
Like any nursing program, accelerated nursing programs take commitment, plenty of preparedness, and a commitment to present yourself in the best possible way as you fulfill the prerequisites and other requirements in the application process.
Let’s discuss an accelerated nursing program, plus the prerequisites and application process for getting into a program. We’ll also determine how hard it is to get into an accelerated nursing program, as a newly aspiring RN.
What is an accelerated nursing program?
Accelerated nursing programs provide a fast-track option for individuals with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing major.
Often called accelerated BSN programs, these bachelor’s degree programs typically take between 11 to 18 months to complete. This makes accelerated nursing programs much faster than the traditional, four-year bachelor’s degree.
To get into an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, one must complete all the prerequisite classes and clinical hours involved. This enables them to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and pursue their licensing exam in registered nursing.
What are the prerequisites for ABSN programs?
First and foremost, students should be selfless, compassionate, determined, and passionate about nursing.
Just like nursing school, it is difficult (though possible) to get into an accelerated nursing program and succeed as a student. Remaining passionate and remembering your goal of helping others throughout the process will ensure you succeed academically and professionally.
Now that you know your ‘why,’ it is important to research prospective ABSN programs and meet with college advisors to understand what specific prerequisite coursework and materials you’ll need to apply. Every college and university is different and will have different requirements.
To get into an accelerated nursing program, students typically should have already completed foundational college coursework in general education, math, and science.
At University of Bridgeport (UB), aspiring ABSN students need the following prerequisite courses:
- Anatomy & Physiology 1
- Anatomy & Physiology 2
- English Composition
- Introductory Chemistry
- Introduction to College Algebra and Statistics
- Introduction to Psychology
- Lifespan Development
- Principles of Sociology
All prerequisite courses must be completed by the first day of the first semester and within seven years of applying to the ABSN program.
What are the general admission requirements for ABSN programs?
After you ensure you will fulfill the prerequisite requirements, you must determine if you meet the general admission requirements at your chosen institution.
This often includes:
- A completed online application form
- All official college/university and high school transcripts
- A professional resume
- A letter of intent or personal essay
- Two completed recommendation forms
As with program prerequisites, every college or university is different. UB’s ABSN program, for example, specifically requires the following:
- A conferred BS/BA degree from a fully accredited academic institution
- A “C+” or better in all math and science courses
- A minimum cumulative Quality Point Ratio (QPO) of 3.0 from all institutions attended
Are accelerated nursing programs hard to get into?
The intense schedule and time commitment needed to earn an ABSN can make it challenging to get into these programs. Students must learn the same material and complete clinical hours in a fraction of the time as traditional BSN programs.
Therefore, interested candidates should be organized, self-motivated, and prepared for the time commitment needed to earn this accelerated degree. In addition to these qualities, here are three more tips for increasing your chances of getting into nursing school.
1. Prepare for the Admissions Interview
Nursing schools want to see someone organized and dedicated to their goals. Therefore, ensure you talk with your chosen institution’s admissions counselors throughout the application and interview process.
Be ready to answer questions about why you want to pursue a career in nursing and why you want to go to their specific nursing program and have your transcripts, resume, and references ready to go.
Of course, not every nursing program requires an admission interview. For an interview-free admissions process learn more about University of Bridgeport’s program.
2. Experience with Patients
Though having prior healthcare experience to enroll in an ABSN program is not required, previous work with patients will provide a valuable perspective on nurses’ impact on patient’s lives.
This perspective often allows candidates to articulate why they want to become a nurse. In addition, it shows the admissions committee that you are passionate, prepared, and an effective communicator.
3. Solid Support System
The application process and the accelerated nursing program itself are rewarding and challenging. You will need a solid support system of family, friends, and peers to lean on for understanding and support.
You can turn to them when you need to remember why you chose this path in the first place and get you through the long clinical hours.
Lastly, accelerated nursing programs are hard to enter because they require more space and resources. You can ensure the best chance by applying as early as possible.
At UB, our ABSN offers two start dates in January and May. The priority deadline for January start is October 1st, and the priority deadline for May start is January 20th.
We have comprehensive support services that will get you through this program and into a great career as a nurse in as little as 15 months. So let’s start your future today!