15 Questions to Ask Nursing School Admissions Counselors

Each blog post is dated and contains accurate information as of that date. Certain information may have changed since the blog post publication date. If you would like to confirm the current accuracy of blog information, please visit our ABSN overview page or contact admissions at (866) 664-9033.

Have you decided to enroll in nursing school? The first step in the admissions process is to reach out to an admissions counselor. Here are 15 questions to ask nursing school admissions during your first conversation, ranging from "What are the admissions requirements?" to "When can I start?"

person writing in notebook

Are you ready to take the first step toward a career in nursing through the Notre Dame of Maryland University Accelerated 2nd Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program? Before you call us or complete the form for more information, you need to be prepared.

Enrolling in a top-notch nursing program like ours sets a strong base for the rest of your nursing career, but we understand that when comparing nursing school programs, you’ll likely have a lot of questions to ask.

To save you some time and help you assess the quality of the nursing programs you’re considering, we compiled this list of top questions to ask nursing school admissions counselors.

1. What are the admissions requirements?

You of course want to make the best impression when it comes to your application. When you decide you want to go to nursing school, make sure to look into the application deadlines, nursing admission requirements, and prerequisites of all the nursing schools you’re considering as soon as possible.

We understand the nursing school admissions process can seem daunting, especially if you’re transitioning from a career or field of study that has nothing to do with health care. That’s why you’ll be assigned a dedicated admissions counselor from your first contact with our ABSN program. They will help you determine what nursing school prerequisites you’ll need to complete (if any) to become eligible to apply, as well as assist you with achieving your desired start date goal.

2. Is the program accredited?

If you’ve done any research on nursing programs, you know that finding an accredited nursing school is important, but do you understand why? Nursing school accreditation matters because it means you can:

  • Receive financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Transfer schools or pursue an advanced nursing degree. Graduating from an accredited nursing program ensures your ability to attend other accredited schools should you choose to pursue the advanced studies required to become a nurse educator, practitioner, nurse midwife, or nurse anesthetist.
  • Have a competitive edge when searching for nursing jobs. In fact, many health care employers prefer to hire accredited practitioners educated under nationally established standards.

In addition to accreditation, it’s important to seek out a nursing school that is approved by its state board of nursing. A state board of nursing’s seal of approval grants you the ability to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN®), the licensure exam every nursing graduate must pass to become an RN.

CCNE Accredited - Notre Dame of Maryland University logo

You can rest assured knowing Notre Dame of Maryland University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), while our ABSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and approved by the Maryland Board of Nursing. This means that you are receiving a high-quality education that fully prepares you for a career as a nurse and with a degree that enables you to sit for your licensure exam.

3. What are the school’s NCLEX pass rates?

The end goal of any quality BSN program should be how well it prepares you to sit for and pass the NCLEX. With a rigorous curriculum and clinical rotations at top health care facilities in the greater Baltimore metropolitan area, the Notre Dame ABSN program is designed to help you do just that.

As mentioned earlier, all state-approved nursing schools must report how many of their students pass this exam on the first attempt. How a BSN program’s first-time NCLEX pass rates compare to the national average for first-time test takers is also a great indicator of a school’s quality. The ABSN pass rates at NDMU are consistently well above the national average, so you can know that you will have all the tools and knowledge base you need to pass.

While first-time NCLEX pass rates indicate a school’s commitment to academic quality, remember that success in passing the NCLEX ultimately depends on YOU. Take the initiative and reach out to your professors and school resources for assistance when needed.

4. What academic support resources are available for students?

Nursing school and especially accelerated nursing programs are a major undertaking, both in time commitment and in academic rigor. That said, don’t let this stop you from pursuing your dream profession. It’s important to understand how much access you’ll have to instructors and other faculty, as well as to the level of mentoring and other student support resources.

Nursing student working with manikin

No matter which Notre Dame ABSN learning option you choose — online or campus-based — know you will never be on your own. In addition to faculty advisors who can help support and mentor students throughout the program, Notre Dame’s ABSN program also makes success coaches available to help students with time management, prioritization, test taking and developing effective study skills.

5. What are the cohort sizes?

A cohort refers to the number of students who start and end the program at the same time and are especially valuable in an accelerated nursing program. Your cohort can be a built-in support system as you rise to meet the challenges of your accelerated nursing program. You can form study groups, support one another, and learn from each other as you progress through the program.

Small cohort sizes can lead to more personalized attention from instructors, while larger cohort sizes create more opportunities to build a support system. Consider your education needs to determine which would be the best fit for you.

6. Should I relocate for this program?

Another great question to ask yourself is whether you’re comfortable relocating for your nursing education. Consider the program’s location and your learning preferences when deciding to relocate. Do you thrive in the hustle and bustle of a city? If not, how do you think you’d manage studying in a place with that energy?

If you are comfortable with relocating, we’re confident Baltimore has something for everyone, and we’ll help you find where you fit.

7. How long is the program?

Being a nursing student is a huge time commitment. Especially as an accelerated nursing student, you’ll constantly be participating in online or on-campus classes, labs, studying, or sleeping. Because an ABSN program is so intensive, it’s important to not only ask how long the program is, but how long you can manage being completely dedicated to your studies.

4 NDMU nursing students smiling in scrubs

Keep in mind that the rigorous nursing curriculum will require you to forego events and social plans in favor of studying or completing assignments. Luckily, the Notre Dame of Maryland ABSN program can be completed in as few as 15 months. With our program, you’ll know the sacrifices you’re making are for likely under a year and a half and you’ll be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

8. Where are clinical placements located?

It’s important to understand the expectations of clinical placements as they will be your introduction to real-world nursing. Understanding where your clinicals are located in relation to the ABSN site where you’ll be taking coursework or labs is also vital in helping you plan your days.

Luckily, Notre Dame is in close proximity to some of the Baltimore region’s most prestigious health care providers. Baltimore also has great public transportation available if you need to commute back and forth from class to clinicals.

9. How much of the program is online vs. hands-on?

Whether you do an online nursing program or on campus, you’ll likely have to be in-person for the lab portion. So, knowing how much hands-on time you want is a great item to check off your list when considering questions to ask nursing school admissions.

With the Notre Dame ABSN program, the online program allows you to complete coursework via our intuitive e-Learning platform. You’ll complete modules, watch videos, and attend lectures virtually. However, you’ll attend labs and clinicals in person. If you choose the on-campus version, you’ll be at the ABSN site for your classes, labs, clinicals, and anything else you might need to take care of.

NDMU nursing student working with sim manikin

10. What is the application process?

The application process for nursing school can vary based on the school and type of program, so finding a school with an application process you feel comfortable with is important.

At NDMU, you’ll be supported for each step of the admissions process, helping ease the stress of getting into nursing school.

It all starts with a chat with one of our admissions counselors. They’ll help you identify which prerequisite courses you’ll need to complete, create an academic plan, and help you choose from one of our three start dates. You will also need to take and pass the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) and submit materials outlined in our admission requirements.

11. Can I get financial aid?

Nursing school is an investment and can be difficult to fund for many people, which is why financial aid is available to qualifying students. When you speak to an admissions counselor, they may be able to discuss potential financial aid and scholarship options or direct you to someone who can provide more personalized information.

At NDMU, our Financial Aid Office is available to discuss your options and help you put together a plan so you can start working toward earning your BSN. While the financial investment can seem daunting, it is important to ask this question early on so you can review your options.

12. Can I work while in the program?

Another great question to ask is if you can work during your nursing program — and if you need to. Reviewing your finances and understanding how you’ll afford necessary items while in nursing school will be vital to your success.

We do not recommend working during your time in the ABSN program. Our curriculum requires most of your time and attention, so balancing a job would be difficult. Of course, if you need to work while in the program, finding a job in the health care realm or something that gives you the ability to study during downtime may be most beneficial.

13. Is nursing school worth it for me?

NDMU nursing student standing in hallway

Now that we’ve outlined the commitment nursing school requires as well as the steps you’ll need to take to enroll, it’s important to consider all you’ve learned and decide if nursing school is worth it and if it’s right for you.

A BSN empowers you to change lives and opens the door to several rewarding roles as a nurse. The NDMU ABSN program prepares you to join the workforce in as few as 15 months. We’re sure that the pride and passion you’ll hold from nursing will be enough to show you that all the dedication and energy you pour into the program is well worth it.

14. Does the program offer work placement services?

After earning your BSN and nursing licensure, you’re ready to find employment. This is why many schools offer work placement services to their students. These types of services will help you identify opportunities, finalize your resume, and assist with your application so you can put your best foot forward.

If work placement services are not available, have no fear. You will have plenty of networking opportunities throughout the nursing program for you to build professional connections. For example, clinical rotations are an excellent opportunity to meet health care professionals and make a positive impression.

15. How soon can I start?

If you’re looking for an accelerated nursing program to fast-track your nursing career, the answer to this question depends largely on how many prerequisites you need to take. If you have a bachelor’s degree in biology, for example, you may not need to complete as many prerequisite courses as someone with a Bachelor of Arts and less of an academic background in the sciences.

Additionally, some accelerated nursing programs, such as the Notre Dame of Maryland University ABSN program, offer three start dates per year, so you may be able to start earning your bachelor’s degree in nursing sooner than you think.

ABSN student standing in hallway

Of course, the most accurate answer to this question can come from a Notre Dame ABSN admissions counselor, who will work with you to determine whether our program is a match for your personal and professional goals.

Make the call to start your nursing future!

What are you waiting for? The sooner you make the call and speak to an admissions counselor, the sooner you can get started on your new career as a Notre Dame of Maryland University nurse. Now that you are prepared with questions to ask nursing school admissions, contact an admissions counselor today to get started.