How One Student Overcame the Struggle of Getting into Nursing School

Getting into nursing school can seem like a distant goal when you are in the beginning stages of your nursing education. Whether you are still searching for the right nursing program or are in the middle of completing nursing prerequisites, you should know that getting into nursing school takes a lot of work and requires patience, persistence, and a positive attitude.

Stephanie Hollingworth struggled to find a reputable nursing program with spots available in this selective and competitive market. But she never lost sight of her dream and kept an optimistic attitude. That’s when she found Concordia University-Portland’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program. The ABSN program gave her the opportunity to succeed in her nursing career. Now she’s talking about her struggles getting into nursing school and the steps she took that finally allowed her to begin her dream of becoming a nurse.

Be Prepared for a Challenge.

Getting accepted into nursing school is the first step towards a rewarding journey. However, the application process leading up to enrollment can be extremely challenging when you are just getting started. For Stephanie, the challenge of getting into nursing school was a bit of a surprise.

After graduating from college with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, Stephanie felt confident about leveraging her undergraduate school experience and applying it toward nursing school. But that wasn’t the case. “I had good grades, I came from a great school, I had leadership experience and healthcare experience but I had no idea how competitive getting into nursing school really was,” she says. “There’s this big need for nurses but there’s such a shortage of instructors and programs.”

Determined to face the challenges ahead, Stephanie decided to apply to various accelerated nursing programs in and around the state of Oregon. She wanted a program that would provide her with flexibility, speed, a strong academic foundation and the clinical preparedness necessary to take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX). Yet, to her dismay, she was turned away time and time again.

“All I had was a piece of paper to represent myself and my desire to become a nurse,” says Stephanie. “I had the grades. I had the heart for it. I just needed someone to give me a chance.”

It wasn’t until she was referred to Concordia University when she heard about a new accelerated nursing program that was being presented to the Oregon State Board of Nursing. “They were making the Accelerated BSN program for students like me who knew this is what they wanted to do and just didn’t fit anywhere else,” she says.

Concordia University’s ABSN program had all the elements Stephanie was looking for in a nursing program. “I wanted something that was academically rigorous, service-based, and a program with good clinical connections and a good reputation,” she says.

After learning more about the ABSN program, Stephanie was eager to connect with an enrollment specialist.

Ask Questions and Don’t Compromise

Your first phone call with an enrollment specialist will provide you with a complete rundown of the ABSN program. Before connecting with an enrollment specialist, be sure to have your questions ready. This way, you can determine if Concordia’s Accelerated BSN program is for you, right off the bat. “I had a lot of questions,” says Stephanie. “I knew what I was looking for and didn’t want to compromise.”

Your enrollment specialist will discuss your credentials and career goals and help you to develop a personalized plan if you choose to move forward with the application process. Once Stephanie spoke with her enrollment specialist, she knew she would need to meet the following requirements in order to get accepted in the ABSN program:

  • Have a minimum cumulative college GPA of 3.00.
  • Complete all prerequisites within the grade requirement.
  • Have some college credits from a regionally accredited institution.

“The enrollment specialists were really helpful,” says Stephanie. “They called me every week to check up on me to see if I needed anything and helped me through the application steps.”

After completing all ABSN requirements and prerequisites, Stephanie was eager to hear back from her enrollment specialist on her admittance into the program. However, she remained calm and reminded herself why she chose to pursue a career in nursing in the first place.

Remember your purpose.

If you’re making the decision to change careers and become a nurse, take time to analyze your purpose behind this life-changing decision. First, take a step back and consider the following questions:

  • What inspires you to become a nurse?
  • What do you want from your nursing career, not just your degree?
  • Will you be able to commit to a nursing program full time? If so, what lifestyle adjustments will you need to make?

For Stephanie, the dream to pursue a career in nursing started her freshman year of college. “My brother’s best friend, Jake, was diagnosed with brain cancer. I called him my second brother, he was around all the time,” she says. “They gave him under six months to live and it really just hammered home that I wanted to be able to give back in the way that these nurses and these medical professionals had given to me and to my family.”

Remembering your purpose will provide validation and encouragement and can ease the challenges you may go through during the nursing school application process.

Hard Work Pays Off

The moment Stephanie had been waiting for had finally arrived. After submitting multiple forms of paperwork and completing all prerequisites and requirements, she was finally admitted into Concordia’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program.

“I had been trying to get into nursing school for so long. It had been such a battle and I was accepted,” says Stephanie. “All that work had paid off. I was going to get the chance to be in a great program.”

“Concordia fit the mission that I wanted,” she says. “I wanted hands-on learning and clinical rotations along with online flexibility. With the ABSN program, I got the best of all worlds.”

You’re Not Alone

Getting into nursing school isn’t a cake walk. Stephanie is not unlike other students trying to get into nursing school. It’s important to find a program that supports you and gets you started as soon as possible. At Concordia University-Portland, our enrollment specialists are committed to your success from day one. If you have the drive and willingness to do what it takes to enroll in the program, then Concordia University is the place for you.

If Stephanie’s story has inspired you to begin your nursing career, contact our enrollment specialists to take the first steps toward that new career today.

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