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It’s easy to dream about a future career, but the actual journey involves a lot less glamour and lot more cocoa and late-night essay writing. This particular post is targeted mainly toward high-schoolers and pre-nursing students. As mentioned in earlier posts, I go to Brigham Young University, so this information might be geared more heavily toward getting accepted into BYU’s nursing school, but I would recommend these tips for anyone working on college applications, and anyone wanting to become a nurse! For those that are planning on applying for this particular program at BYU, they look at many things during the application process (and I assume most schools are similar). The application is divided into sections, which all go into your score, and those with the highest score are accepted into the program.

These categories are: ACT score, impromptu essay, service, leadership, grades, letters of recommendation, and a background check.

A lot rides on your ability to write well and maintain good grades!

  1. ACT Score
    This is definitely something that stays with you past your college acceptance. This was heavily weighted on my application. I would recommend studying for the ACT, and taking it more than once. After the first time, I did a prep book and actually boosted my score by 4 points.
  2. Impromptu Essay
    For this part of the application, we all signed up for a time to go into a computer lab all together, and we had an hour to write a 5-paragraph essay. It was about an abstract question like,
    What is your biggest fear and how have you overcome it? Or Why do you want to be a nurse? Things like that. They give you your topic, you type furiously at the keyboard, and then it’s over in a blur. Writing comes pretty naturally to me, but I know that a lot of my friends really struggled with this part. If writing isn’t your strong suit, spend some time practicing. Think of a random question, and practice organizing your ideas. Have a friend help you work on simple things like punctuation and spelling, so it looks more professional.
  3. Service
    This was honestly the biggest part of the application. They want to see that you are giving back to your community, and ask for a FIVE YEAR service history. I served in different clubs throughout high school. But, the most important part here is the
    consistency. They want to see long-term service commitments. I would recommend getting in touch with a local hospital or charity and doing some service every month if possible. Pro-Tip: The BEST advice I ever received from a teacher was to keep a log of all of the service and leadership experience you have. I took this advice and I am so grateful that I didn’t have to go back 5 years and remember everything I had ever done. Start keeping a record now with dates, number of hours, and the name of the organization you are doing service with.

    There are so many service opportunities in and outside of the medical field! Start keeping a record now!

  4. Leadership
    This sounds really basic, but they like to see examples of you stepping up and having responsibility as a leader. If you’re still in high school, make sure to get involved as a president of a club or captain of a team. If you’re already in college, there are still lots of leadership opportunities! I would highly recommend being part of the Resident Hall Association! I was a hall representative, and I absolutely loved planning events for everyone living in my complex. It was a great way to make friends and get some experience under my belt.
  5. Grades
    Sounds easy. But it’s really important to stay on top of the little things, especially in college. Honestly, the big assignments aren’t what kill you, but the daily assignments that add up if you miss a lot of them. My solution is to buy a nice planner! I religiously use my planner! That way, all of my assignments are in one place and I don’t forget about the little ones. (See my link on the bottom about how to maintain good grades your first few semesters!)
  6. Two Letters of Recommendations
    Ask early. If you do have any nursing/doctor friends, make sure to become really good friends with them. Babysit their kids. Mow their lawn. Ask to shadow them at work. Do NOT ask a family member, and do NOT ask a few days before the application is due. You want it to be really good. Also, don’t be afraid to ask someone else for a recommendation if the one you get isn’t very good. This is supposed to showcase you, and you can’t turn in a recommendation with grammatical errors, or one that doesn’t make you sound AMAZING.
  7. Background Check
    Don’t do drugs. (I believe in you.)

There are a lot of important things that go into your application, but make sure that you focus on making these areas really strong! Even if you are still in high school, there are so many things you can do to NOW to prepare for the future.

Check out these other links below! (Coming soon!)

Nursing School Survival Guide: FAQs
The First Semesters
8 Supplies Every Nursing Student Needs

Do you still have questions? Feel free to comment below!

-Makayla

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