What Do Nursing Schools Look For in Applicants?

What Do Nursing Schools Look For in Applicants?

You are ready to start applying to nursing schools, but before you fill out an application, there are a few things you should know that can help you stand out. What do nursing schools look for in applicants? Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to apply and set yourself apart as a candidate for Marquette’s second-degree Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.

A Quick Overview of the Direct Entry MSN Program

Designed with career changers in mind, Marquette’s Direct Entry MSN program offers two programs – a traditional on-campus program in Milwaukee and a hybrid (online and hands-on) in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. Both programs put your non-nursing bachelor’s degree to work, allowing you to seamlessly transition into a nursing career in 5 semesters or less than 21 months.

The Direct Entry MSN program in Pleasant Prairie embraces a blended learning model that combines online coursework, in-person skills labs and simulations, and in-hospital clinical rotations. The curriculum teaches you how to think critically and gives you the confidence needed to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), which is required to practice as a nurse. Marquette’s dedicated staff and faculty will support you each step of the way and provide innovative and relevant learning experiences to ensure your success so you’ll never feel alone in your nursing school journey.

What attributes do you need to become an applicant for a nursing program like Marquette’s? Here are some qualifications Marquette looks for in potential Direct Entry MSN students.

1. Education

Since the Direct Entry MSN program in Pleasant Prairie is a second-degree option, in order to be considered as a potential student you must meet the educational background necessary. Marquette University’s Direct Entry MSN program requires applicants to have:

  • A bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing discipline
  • A minimum undergraduate cumulative 3.0 GPA
  • Completed the GRE General Test (the GRE is waived for those with a 3.2 GPA or higher)

Once you apply to the Direct Entry MSN program, you will be assigned an admissions adviser who will work one-on-one with you to determine if your past credits and GPA meet Marquette University’s eligibility requirements, and determine which, if any, prerequisites you may need to take before you can begin the program.

The prerequisites consist of:

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Chemistry OR Biochemistry OR Microbiology OR Biology
  • Nutrition for Health Sciences
  • Behavioral Sciences: Psychology or Sociology or Anthropology
  • Statistics, including inferential analysis

Once you successfully complete your prerequisites, you can apply to the Direct Entry MSN program and, upon acceptance, graduate in less than 21 months.

If you have questions about these admissions requirements, be sure to ask your admissions adviser, as they have your best interest in mind and want to help you submit the most competitive nursing application possible.

2. Drive

For many potential students, the goal to pursue a career in nursing begins with a calling. For example, Direct Entry MSN graduate Rachel Davis felt called to become a nurse practitioner. “I want to precept for other nursing students and eventually teach incoming nursing students,” says Rachel. “Marquette’s Direct Entry MSN program allowed me to take the first step toward furthering my education, so I can apply for an NP program after graduation.”

MSN student with patient

As you build the relationship with your admissions adviser, you’ll want to share your true passion and motivation for wanting to become a nurse. You will also be required to include a written goals statement as part of your application. This goals statement should reflect on your future plans and what you hope to achieve with an MSN degree from Marquette. The drive you bring to the program will help you stay motivated to keep up with the curriculum’s rigorous and fast-paced structure. It will also help you make a plan for the future, like Rachel.

3. Organization

Applying to Marquette’s Direct Entry MSN program requires you to be extremely organized so you can stay on top of all the various requirements and deadlines. You’ll have a lot of pieces to package together for your application, including your official academic transcripts and letters of recommendation. Your adviser will be there to guide you through the process, but there are some simple things you can do to make it go smoothly. Some examples include:

  • Taking notes while speaking to your admissions adviser
  • Bookmarking all email exchanges
  • Keeping all of your physical information in one place (e.g., notes or informational flyers)

Important information, such as potential start dates or the prerequisites you need to complete, should always be easy to reference, so organization is key. It’s also a great way to prepare for the rigors of the program. The application process is a great time to start implementing the organizational habits that will serve you well throughout nursing school.

4. Adaptability

Marquette University seeks applicants who can adapt to diverse environments and work well with others. As a master’s-prepared nurse, you’ll be expected to work with a variety of healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, physical therapists, doctors and other nurses to coordinate safe, quality patient care.

As you apply to the Direct Entry MSN program, make sure you’re prepared for any requirements that may come your way. For example, if you possess a non-nursing Bachelor of Science degree, the science courses you took during your undergraduate experience may count toward your prerequisites so you can start your nursing school journey sooner. By contrast, if you possess a Bachelor of Arts degree, you may need to take more science-focused prerequisites before you can begin.

5. Empathy

If you’re someone who thrives on human connection and helping others and have the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you may be a great fit for Marquette’s Direct Entry MSN program. During the program, you’ll gain more than 1,000 hours of clinical experience, where you will be able to connect with patients from all walks of life.

Within the first semester of the Direct Entry MSN program, you’ll work alongside seasoned nurses and staff. These individuals know the language of empathy extremely well, so be sure to take notes and carefully observe how they establish a connection and sense of trust with their patients.

6. Leadership

marquette nursing studentAs a master’s-prepared nurse, you’ll be expected to showcase leadership skills as soon as you begin your career. Additionally, an MSN will give you the educational foundation required to specialize in advanced nursing roles in the future, like adult acute care, or pediatric primary care (which you can earn through Marquette’s post-master’s certificate programs). Before applying to the program, think hard about the unique leadership qualities you possess that will help you stand out from other nursing school applicants and make sure those qualities are evident in your application.

7. Accountability

As stated earlier, the Direct Entry MSN program in Pleasant Prairie combines online coursework with hands-on experience. That means, during the online portion, you need to be able to hold yourself accountable for completing your work on your own. While there are staff and faculty in place who you can contact by email or phone, it is up to you to have the discipline to complete your work on your own, outside of a classroom.

8. Similar Values

Marquette also looks for applicants whose goals and values align with the mission statement. Marquette University’s mission includes a commitment to truth, the discovery and sharing of knowledge, the fostering of personal and professional excellence, the promotion of a life of faith, and the development of leadership expressed in service to others.

marquette nursing student

“I’ve always wanted to be a Marquette student because of its reputation,” says Marlyn Paniagua, Direct Entry MSN graduate, Class of May 2018. “My values stem from my religious background so when I discovered Marquette has similar values I knew it would make me a better nurse for my patients because I would learn to treat them holistically.”

Are You Ready to Begin?

Now that you understand what nursing schools like Marquette’s Direct Entry MSN program in Pleasant Prairie looks for in applicants, your next step is to get in touch with an adviser to find out more about the program and if you could be a fit.

If you think you have what it takes to become a registered nurse through Marquette University’s Direct Entry MSN program in Pleasant Prairie, contact an admissions adviser to begin the admissions process today.

Get Started Today

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