Top Nursing School Questions to Ask Your Admissions Adviser

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Asking your admissions advisor questions on topics like their school’s accreditation, NCLEX pass rates and the amount of clinical hours can give you a good impression of what a nursing program can offer you as a student and help inform your choice of school.

Stethoscope on textbook with text top questions to ask

Are you ready to take the first step toward a career in nursing through Marquette University’s Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing (Direct Entry MSN) program? Before you make the call or fill out the form for more information, you need to be prepared. In order to save you some research time, we’ve put together the top questions to ask about nursing school from your admissions adviser.

Is the program accredited?

Choosing a nursing school that is accredited is extremely important because it can affect your job prospects once you earn your degree and pass your NCLEX exam. Employers usually prefer to hire nurses from accredited schools. Plus, if you plan to continue your education, you will need an education from an accredited school.

Make sure the nursing school program you are inquiring about is accredited, as without accreditation, your degree will be worthless. This makes accreditation one of the most important factors in choosing a nursing program. Accreditation happens on national, regional and state levels.

Regional Accreditation 

You want to make sure the university you choose is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Founded in 1895, HLC is an independent corporation that serves as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States.

National Accreditation

A nursing school’s accreditation on the national level is granted by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Officially recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education, CCNE is a national, autonomous accrediting agency that contributes to the improvement of public health by confirming the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate and residency programs in nursing.

State Approval

Each state has a board of nursing that helps to ensure public safety by regulating nursing licensure and monitoring the quality of nursing programs in each state.

nursing students studying

What is the school’s NCLEX pass rate?

The NCLEX-RN is a national exam every nursing school graduate is required to take in order to become licensed to practice. Knowing a school’s first-time NCLEX pass rate can give you an idea of how well the faculty prepares its students. For Marquette University, first-time and repeat testers achieved a combined 99.66% pass rate in 2020. Comparing this to the national average can give you a good impression of the quality of education you will receive from Marquette.

What are the prerequisites for the program?

Before you can begin an accelerated nursing program, you may need to complete some prerequisites. While you may hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, your existing education may not have covered certain courses that are important to complete before beginning nursing school.

Most prerequisites consist of science courses that help provide you with the foundation needed before starting your accelerated nursing program. How many prerequisites you will have to take depends on your previous academic history, specifically within the past five years. For example, if you have a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree, you will probably have fewer prerequisites to take than someone with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree because your education has more of a science background.

How much of the program is online?

Accelerated nursing programs offer different pathways to complete coursework: online or on campus. If the program you are looking into includes online coursework, an important question to ask your nursing school adviser is what percentage of the program in online so you can plan accordingly.

For example, Marquette’s Direct Entry MSN program is offered in multiple formats. At our Milwaukee campus, students will engage in traditional, campus-based classes and coursework. Our Pleasant Prairie Direct Entry MSN program is hybrid, meaning it combines online coursework delivered through a dynamic e-Learning platform with hands-on experience in labs and clinicals. Both components work together to provide you with a comprehensive learning model so you can be prepared to graduate and sit for the NCLEX exam.

How many total clinical hours do students attend?

Clinical experience is what provides nursing students with the hands-on experience they need. It allows them to practice the skills they have learned online or in labs, putting them to use in the real world on real patients.

In Marquette’s Direct Entry MSN program, students gain approximately 700 hours of clinical and simulation experience, more than many other programs. The clinical experience is diverse and is completed in top healthcare facilities throughout metro-Milwaukee, southern Wisconsin, near Kenosha, and northern Illinois, near Chicago.

What will my admissions adviser expect from me?

Understanding what Marquette is looking for in applicants and collecting your requisite materials is important, but that’s not the only thing your adviser will want to discuss. Ethan Kelly, Marquette University Direct Entry MSN program site director, says that he asks just as many questions during the first phone call because he wants to know what inspired you to change directions and become a nurse.

“Expect me to pick your brain. I want to know why you want to change careers and become a nurse,” he says. “Everyone has a different story for coming into an accelerated nursing program.”

Besides questions and background information, admissions advisors also go over the Direct Entry MSN program overview with each student. “I want to make sure potential students know what to expect regarding time commitment and costs,” says Ethan. “I like to really build that relationship and figure out if this is the right fit because this is a big decision; this is somebody’s future.”

How quickly can I start?

Now that you know the most important nursing school questions to ask, you can begin making progress toward an exciting new degree path and a rewarding career as a leader in patient care and advocacy. Marquette is dedicated to your nursing school success and is prepared to work with you in order to find the best educational path possible. Contact an adviser today to get started.