How to Get Into Nursing School at Northeastern

Summary: Want to know how to get into nursing school at Northeastern University? This post takes a deep dive into the admissions process for our 16-month ABSN program. You’ll discover how we can enroll a high number of students per year, what we look for in applicants, and what makes for a competitive nursing school application. Also, you’ll learn what it’s like to be an ABSN student and how we prepare you for nurse licensure.

Northeastern ABSN student smiling with text 'get ready to apply yourself'

It’s not easy to get into nursing school these days, with colleges and universities seeing more applications coming in and fewer acceptance letters going out. Even the most qualified applicants run the risk of rejection—but it’s nothing personal. Many nursing schools simply don’t have the resources to effectively accommodate an influx of students.

There are, however, some things you can do to increase your chances of getting into nursing school. It starts by applying to our 16-month Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program. Keep in mind that’s not to say we’re an easy nursing school to get into—we’re far from it. We just have the room and resources available to enroll a high number of qualified students per year.

The Northeastern Difference

So how do we stack the odds in your favor? Here are the top three ways:

1. Multiple Start Dates and Locations

Our ABSN program can handle a higher influx of applicants than most. We have enrollment locations in Burlington, Massachusetts, and Charlotte, North Carolina—with each site offering three start dates a year. In other words, you have six opportunities to apply to our School of Nursing.

2. Diverse Clinical Placements

Many nursing schools have difficulty securing clinical placements for their students. But that’s not the case with Northeastern. Because we maintain strong clinical partnerships with top healthcare facilities in Massachusetts and North Carolina, you’ll have access to quality clinical placements in diverse areas of nursing practice, from pediatrics to public health.

3. Personalized Admissions Support

We have a team of admissions counselors who only work with ABSN program applicants. Thereby, you’ll receive a high level of personalized support and guidance throughout the admissions process. Not to mention, our counselors are willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to champion your entry into nursing school.

What Do Nursing Schools Look for in Applicants?

Nursing schools have always screened their applicants carefully. But given today’s extremely competitive educational landscape, they need to be more selective than ever. After all, many applicants share the same academic qualifications. Thereby, schools must also pay close attention to an applicant’s personality traits and past experiences to help gauge who is more likely to graduate and build a successful nursing career.

At Northeastern University, we look for the best and brightest upcoming nurses in the field. This means we seek out individuals who we believe can continue our tradition of nursing excellence. So as we review applications, we look at everything from GPA to personality to volunteer experience.

Academic Success

At the very minimum, you need a non-nursing bachelor’s degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 to enroll in our ABSN program. We also want you to have a solid grasp of math and science because you’ll need it to succeed in nursing school and the profession. This is why we require applicants to satisfy a series of ABSN prerequisites.  

Learning Commitment

Our ABSN program is extremely rigorous, so we want to see that you’re dedicated to your education as well as willing and able to commit to full-time nursing study. Not to mention, we want to make sure you have the right resources in place to see you through nursing school.

Passionate Personality

Just as important as good grades, we want to make sure you are passionate about the profession and dedicated to helping those you plan to serve. The best nurses are those who can show compassion and empathy to each and every patient no matter his/her beliefs, values, or lifestyle.

Collaborative Mindset

Teamwork in nursing is critical, so we need a sense of how well you’re able to effectively communicate and collaborate with others. After all, effective collaboration between nurses and other healthcare providers often leads to better patient outcomes.

Leadership Qualities

We help our students develop the intellectual skills and entrepreneurial mindset necessary to advance in the nursing profession. So it’s important to present your leadership qualities when applying to our program.  

Northeastern University ABSN Requirements

Every nursing school has a different set of admissions requirements. Our 16-month ABSN program requires that you have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 to begin the admissions process. But that’s only the beginning.

As a condition of enrollment, you must also satisfy eight prerequisite requirements, which includes earning a grade of “C” or higher in the following courses:

  • Microbiology + Lab
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology I + Lab
  • Human Anatomy & Physiology II + Lab
  • Introduction to Chemistry + Lab
  • Statistics (inferential stats and hypothesis testing)
  • Social/Behavioral Sciences (100 level or above)
  • Developmental Psychology (lifespan)
  • Nutrition

Why are these prerequisites important? These courses lay the foundation for your success in the ABSN program, while also being key to nursing career preparedness.

If your previous degree was science-related, you may have already satisfied some of these prerequisite requirements. So be sure to talk to your admissions counselor about credit transfers. But whether you need to complete one or all of these ABSN prerequisites, you can do so through our university. 

Did you know that you can apply to our ABSN program with your final two prerequisites in progress? You sure can, but with the caveat that you complete these courses two weeks before the start of your program term. See what else you need to know about Northeastern nursing prerequisites.

Ways to Pay for Accelerated Nursing School

Before applying to our ABSN program, you’ll want to see if you qualify for a federal loan, private loan, or third-party scholarship. Our Student Financial Services team can help you identify the best options for financing your Northeastern nursing education.

Federal Direct Loans

Given the various low-interest loan options available through the U.S. Department of Education, you should apply for financial aid by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Private Loans

Federal student aid typically doesn’t cover the total cost of attending an ABSN program. So be sure to check out banks and credit unions that offer private loans with low interest and good terms.

Third-Party Scholarships

National scholarships are available to qualified students pursuing an undergraduate degree in nursing. Learn about them on websites such as the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Nurse Corps Scholarship Program, and FastWeb. Additionally, Northeastern University participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, a provision of the Post-9/11 GI Bill that can help former military members attend private schools at little or no cost to themselves.

Income Share Agreement (ISA)

As a Northeastern ABSN student, you may be eligible for ISA funding. If so, once admitted into our program, you’ll receive a certain amount of money to cover your educational expenses. Then, after you graduate and get a job, you pledge to pay a predetermined percentage of your income to the financier over a set period of time. Generally speaking, ISA funding is unregulated, so it may not offer the same advantages as student loans, such as hardship deferments and forbearance.

Northeastern Nursing Application Process

Once you’ve satisfied all of our ABSN admissions requirements, you can start putting your application together, targeting a program start date in January, May, or September.

To begin your online application, you must create an account with NursingCAS using the information provided by your admissions counselor. As part of your application, you must upload the following materials:

  • College Transcripts
  • Recommendation Letters
  • Current Resume
  • Goal Statement
  • Video Essay

You may work on your application materials over several online sessions, but you can only submit your application once. After we’ve received your application, you can expect an admissions decision from us within a few weeks.

There are several things our admissions team wants you to know before starting nursing school, including the fact that it’s not your counselor’s job to determine whether you get into the ABSN program. It’s his/her job to make sure you submit the most competitive application possible.

College Transcripts

We don’t require you to show us your official college transcripts at the beginning of the admissions process. However, you do need to submit your official transcripts as part of your nursing school application. It’s a good idea to request your official transcripts early in the admissions process. It’s a task you don’t want to have to worry about when you’re knee-deep in other things.

Recommendation Letters

When it comes to your letters of recommendation, it’s best to contact your three references sooner rather than later. And don’t be shy about giving them a deadline to write and submit their letters. You don’t want to risk missing the application deadline.

Your references must include:

  • One letter from an academic reference
  • One letter from a professional reference
  • One letter from an academic or professional reference

Each letter must be on official letterhead and signed by the individual. Be sure to list their email addresses in your application, so we can send them instructions on how to upload their letters to your online application.

Helpful Hint

When choosing between an academic and a professional reference for your third letter, it helps to know that academic references speak more to our School of Nursing.

Current Resume

When it comes to your resume, you should include any skills, experiences, and/or certifications that position you as a standout ABSN student.

It helps to consider the qualities that every great nurse possesses. The best nurses are competent, compassionate, committed, and confident, so tell us how you embody these traits concerning your past experiences.

Whether you shadowed a healthcare professional on the job, helped care for an ailing family member, or volunteered at a nursing home, be sure to tell us about it.

Erin - Northeastern ABSN 2019 graduate

When I started getting my application materials together, my counselor called me at least once a month. This was really helpful in terms of keeping me on track.

—Erin, ABSN Program Graduate

Goal Statement

When it comes to your goal statement, we want to get a better sense of who you are as a person, as well as understand your passion and drive for helping others.

Your goal statement must be at least two pages long, using a standard, double-spaced paragraph format and 12-point font. When writing your statement, we expect you to address the following points:

  • Why do you want to transition into the nursing profession?
  • How will your past experiences help you transition into nursing?
  • What makes you a good fit for the nursing profession?
  • What leadership qualities do you possess? How have you applied these skills?
  • How will you succeed in a full-time, fast-paced nursing program?

As you sit down to tell us what makes you an ideal candidate for our program and the nursing profession, here are some points worth pondering:

  • Be organized by outlining your statement.
  • Be memorable by describing what inspired you to become a nurse.
  • Be passionate by explaining your commitment to the profession.
  • Be direct by using clear, concise language that gets to the point.
  • Be real by writing from the heart when describing your motivation.
  • Be detailed by checking every sentence for grammar errors.

Helpful Hint

If you received a poor grade or had to retake any courses while pursuing your first undergraduate degree, your application might not be as competitive as others. Should this be the case, you must recount what happened in your goal statement, explaining how you were able to become a better student as a result.

Video Essay

Your video essay is an extension of your goal statement. We want to see how well you present yourself when describing what makes you a good candidate for our ABSN program.

We encourage you to film your two-minute video essay with a smartphone—a professionally produced piece isn’t necessary. Just be sure to wear professional attire, face the camera the entire time, and film under suitable lighting.

Upload your video essay to YouTube and include the link in your written goal statement. If you’re not sure how to upload your video, your admissions counselor can provide you with instructions. Please note that you’re not expected to post your video publicly.

Northeastern ABSN student - Shaelyn

Given the support I received from my admissions counselor, I was confident I took all of the right steps for getting into the ABSN program.

 —Shaelyn, ABSN Program Graduate

Infographic walking through the process of applying to nursing school

ABSN Program Overview

Comprising 67 credit hours, our full-time 16-month ABSN program blends online coursework with hands-on labs and in-person clinical rotations. This hybrid-based curriculum provides the academic foundation and clinical preparedness required to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN®) with confidence.  

As an ABSN student, your cohort will most likely include individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Some students might be recent college graduates, while others might be making a career change. But what you’ll find is that everyone is in the same boat when it comes to the rigors of nursing school. So more often than not, a genuine camaraderie develops amongst those in the program.

Northeastern ABSN student rachel

I definitely felt like my classmates were my second family. We just all clicked with one another.

—Rachel, ABSN Program Graduate

By the time you and your classmates graduate from our ABSN program, you’ll know how to:

  • Deliver competent, compassionate care to diverse patient populations.
  • Provide care that meets the unique faith and cultural needs of patients.
  • Collaborate with other healthcare professions to improve patient outcomes.
  • Demonstrate clinical judgment within evidence-based practice.
  • Apply leadership skills in the provision of patient-centered care.

Online ABSN Courses

Delivered via an intuitive e-Learning platform, our online ABSN courses set the foundation for your nursing education. While instructor deadlines still apply, these courses allow you to study at your own pace and attend “class” whenever it best fits into your daily schedule.

Take note that online coursework requires a lot of self-discipline. It’s very easy to get behind or distracted because you have the freedom to choose when and where you complete your assignments and lectures. To help keep you on track, stick to a regular study routine. 

Hands-On Nursing Labs

As an ABSN student, you’ll regularly attend on-site skills and simulation labs at our facility. During these hands-on activities, instructors teach you how to safely and effectively put the core concepts you learned online into practice. Labs also help remove the fear of the unknown, making it easier to transition into clinicals.

Be aware that it’s okay to make mistakes during your labs. Our instructors view errors as valuable learning opportunities. Just be sure to take advantage of our open lab hours to practice and hone your nursing skills.

In-Person Clinical Rotations

Our ABSN program has you complete a total of six clinical rotations, introducing you to a variety of clinical settings across the healthcare continuum. Your first rotation takes place in the first semester and focuses on women and families. Each of the six rotations yields 72 hours of real-world clinical experience.

During these rotations, you can expect to perform health assessments, develop care plans, take vitals, and the like—all under the watchful eye of an instructor. It’s important to understand that clinical experiences are the luck of the draw. Some of what you’ll see and do comes from being in the right place at the right time.

Let’s say, for example, your cohort is studying women and families. Unbeknownst to us, you might get to experience an emergency C-section at your clinical placement location, whereas a classmate at another hospital may not.   

Furthermore, we can’t guarantee your placement in a specific healthcare facility. When scheduling rotations for our students, several factors are at play, especially on the part of our clinical partners. Where we place you depends on a variety of things, such as staff nurse availability and patient acuity.

In addition to the six rotations, you’ll complete a role transition experience during your fourth semester. Referred to as your comprehensive practicum, you’ll work under the supervision of a preceptor in a concentrated area of nursing practice.

Northeastern ABSN student Megan

I learned a lot during my preceptorship. I worked a dozen, 12-hour shifts and took patients by myself.

—Megan, ABSN Program Graduate

ABSN NCLEX Preparation

After earning your BSN from Northeastern, you’re eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. Every nursing graduate must pass this exam to legally practice as a registered nurse.

Administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), the NCLEX helps ensure that every nursing graduate has the knowledge and skills to deliver safe, effective patient care at the entry-level.

Different from any college exam you’ve taken before, the NCLEX asks complex multiple-choice questions to gauge how well you apply your critical thinking skills when making clinical judgments. You’ll come across questions where every answer is correct, and you have to identify the most correct one.

To help you get ready for the exam, we:

  • Integrate NCLEX preparation into our curriculum.
  • Feature NCLEX-style questions in all of our exams.
  • Provide three days of Kaplan test prep.

Ready to Get Into Nursing School?

If you think you have what it takes to get into our 16-month ABSN program, we encourage you to contact our admissions team. The counselor you speak with can verify your eligibility and help you determine whether the accelerated path to nursing is a good fit for you.

When it comes to our ABSN program, we have site locations in Burlington, Massachusetts, and Charlotte, North Carolina, each one offering three start dates a year. No matter which location you choose, you’ll receive the same accredited nursing education that stands out with healthcare employers.

Get Started Today

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