12 Questions to Ask Nursing School Admissions Counselors

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Nursing student studying and smiling with text "12 Questions to Ask Nursing School Admissions"

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, 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. He or she 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.

If the school you’re considering is not approved by its state board of nursing, you may not meet the eligibility requirement to sit for the exam. Without the ability to take (and pass) the NCLEX, you won’t receive your nursing license.

You can rest assured knowing Notre Dame of Maryland University is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), while our BSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and approved by the Maryland Board of Nursing.

Nursing student working with another student in class

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 mix of online or classroom-based coursework (depending upon which program option you choose), skills and simulation labs, 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.

When evaluating a nursing school’s first-time NCLEX pass rates as a measure of a school’s commitment to academic quality, it’s important to remember that your success in passing the NCLEX ultimately depends on YOU. If you find yourself struggling with coursework material or test prep, develop new study habits or meet with your professors (see the answer to our next question for more information on how the Notre Dame ABSN program supports students academically).

4. What academic support resources are available for students?

Your research of accelerated nursing programs may have led you to the conclusion that they are a major undertaking, both in time commitment and in academic rigor. What you’ve read and heard is true — nursing school is challenging, and this is especially true of accelerated nursing programs. That said, don’t let this stop you from pursuing your dream profession.

If the difficulty of nursing school is a concern, it’s a great idea to ask your admissions counselor about the academic support the program offers. Especially for any online-based program you may be considering, 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.

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. Should I relocate for this program?

Another great question to ask yourself is whether you’re comfortable relocating for your nursing education. Could you see yourself living in the program’s location for 15-24 months? Is the environment conducive to your learning preferences? For example, if you’re extroverted and thrive on being in a city, or love the white noise of people hustling and busting around you, is the ABSN location somewhere that has that energy? On the flip side, if you’re someone who needs minimal distractions and a quiet space to learn, how will you do in the ABSN location?

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

6. 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.

The rigorous nursing courses included in your curriculum will require you to forego events and social plans you would usually attend in favor of studying or completing assignments. While nursing school is a worthy endeavor, it can be hard to make these kinds of sacrifices over a long period.

Luckily, the Notre Dame of Maryland ABSN program can be completed in as few as 15 months. Typical on-campus programs can range from two to four years, which can be tough to manage. 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.

7. 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.

Clinical placements allow nursing students to “try on” different nursing roles and discover which specialties they may be interested in. It’s also a time to network and get the feel of the day-to-day responsibilities of a working nurse.

There’s no better place to complete your clinical rotations than Baltimore — and our ABSN program provides you the knowledge and skills to go confidently into your clinical placements.

Luckily, Notre Dame is in close proximity to some of the 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.

While we can’t guarantee specific clinical placement locations, the following clinical sites local to the Baltimore metro area could be where you step into your role as a nursing student:

  • Anne Arundel Medical Center
  • Franklin Square Hospital
  • GBMC
  • Howard General Hospital
  • Johns Hopkins Bayview
  • Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital
  • MedStar Harbor Hospital
  • MedStar Union Hospital
  • Mercy Medical Center
  • Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital
  • Sinai Hospital
  • St. Agnes Hospital
  • UMMC Midtown Campus
  • University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC)
  • University of Maryland St. Joseph’s Medical Center

8. 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 nursing school questions to ask.

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.

9. 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.

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.

Once you’re squared away and ready to apply, you’ll need to submit the following materials:

  • Official college transcript(s) from all previous institutions
  • Current resume
  • Personal statement focused on why you are pursuing nursing. If relevant, this statement may also explain reasons behind a lower than accepted GPA.

10. 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 that you work during your time in the ABSN program. Our curriculum requires most of your time and attention, so balancing a job would be very 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.

11. Is nursing school worth it for me?

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.

Student wearing scrubs practicing on a manikin

12. 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.

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. Contact an admissions counselor today to get started.