Dr. Robert Anders – What Do I Need to Enroll in Nursing School?

NursingJune 12, 2013

I’m often asked, “What do I need to get into nursing school? Do I have to take a test?” Well, the first thing you need is an accredited high school diploma or a GED (general education degree). As for the second part of the question, the answer is: most of the time…yes. 

Most nursing schools require an assessment of English grammar and reading comprehension, along with some math skills. There are two common tests that schools typically use to determine that – the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) and the Health Information Systems, Inc. (HESI) A2 test. The score needed for admission will vary depending upon the type of nursing program you seek, and how many other candidates are competing for the available slots. Some programs also may ask you to write an essay about why you are interested in attending nursing school, or a similar topic. 

Additionally, they may require a personal interview. Since both of those elements can be highly subjective, I encourage you to ask the admissions representative how the essay and/or interview will be scored. While not all will actually provide specific evaluation criteria, it can be useful to understand how the school’s admissions committee uses this information to evaluate your application. 

Many public college and university programs attract more applicants than the available spaces they have and may use a variety of these evaluations to rank applicants. In that case, you and other prospective students would be admitted in the order of your ranking. Private, for-profit schools typically have three or four class starts each year so they usually don’t have waiting lists. 

If your goal is to obtain your nursing license in a relatively short period of time, the for-profit route could be right for you. If you’d like to learn more about your options, you can start by visiting

Experienced with diverse minority groups, Dr. Anders is a funded researcher by the National Institute of Health in minority health disparities.

Tags: nursing