How to Prepare for Nursing School: 7 Steps to Take

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Curious about how to prepare for nursing school? Before starting nursing school, you’ll need to get up to date on vaccinations, get your finances in order and work on building healthy self-care habits. You’ll also need excellent time management skills.

iPad, stethoscope, notebook and pen with red background

Starting nursing school will be a significant transition in your life. It’s exciting to work toward a new career, but it also takes a lot of hard work. Here, you can learn how to prepare for nursing school to optimize your success. If you’ve chosen to apply to the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program at Northeastern University, you’ll receive lots of support along the way.

As a prospective Northeastern ABSN student, you’re assigned a dedicated admissions counselor who provides highly personalized support and guidance throughout the entire admissions process.

Your admissions counselor may start with a review of the program requirements.

1. Know the Program Requirements

Our ABSN program near Boston is for students who have a bachelor’s degree in another field of study. Our ABSN program in Charlotte requires a minimum of 62 college credits. The program builds on this education so that it’s possible to earn a BSN in as few as 16 months. You may also need to complete some prerequisites, and you can expect to submit letters of reference and a personal statement.

2. Work with Your Admissions Counselor

Your admissions counselor doesn’t make decisions about who gets into the ABSN program. Rather, their job is to help you submit the most competitive application possible. Because of this, it’s important to be fully transparent with your admissions counselor about your academic and life circumstances.

smiling nurse portrait

For example, if there are discrepancies with your transcripts, tell your counselor at the beginning of the admissions process. These discrepancies will eventually come up in conversation, so it’s best to tackle them head-on, allowing your counselor time to create a plan for addressing these hiccups.

Your counselor may also ask you about personal situations that can affect your nursing education, such as whether you have sufficient support to get through the program. For example, if you have children, are you able to arrange reliable childcare?

Throughout the admissions process, it’s important to keep your counselor updated about your progress and any issues that may pop up.

Northeastern ABSN student working in sim lab

How hard is nursing school? Learn more about what to expect here.

3. Figure Out Your Finances

Most ABSN students rely on both federal and private loans to finance their nursing education. You’ll need to fill out a FAFSA form to access federal aid, which includes grants and federal loans. It’s also a good idea to research scholarship possibilities before applying for private loans.

Remember that tuition will not be your only expense. Part of preparing for nursing school involves purchasing items like a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff. You’ll also need to pay your living expenses while you’re a full-time student.

Closeup of stethoscope and calculator

Read this guide to financial aid for second-degree students to learn more about your options for financing nursing school.

4. Plan Your Schedule

Talk to your admissions counselor about how to succeed in nursing school on an accelerated timeline. In general, students may need to commit up to 60 hours per week to their education. Succeeding in an accelerated program requires a significant commitment, as well as excellent time management skills and a strong work ethic.

As soon as you start the program, you should develop a workable schedule of classes, labs and study time. One time management method to try is to create a “reverse to-do list.”

For a few days, write down everything you do and how long it takes you to do it. Then, review your lists and identify areas of improvement. Can you cut out certain activities or limit time for others in order to free up more time for your studies?

Northeastern ABSN student studying

5. Get Up to Date on Vaccinations Before Starting Nursing School

Healthcare workers are required to be up to date on their vaccinations, as are nursing students. When preparing for nursing school, be sure to ask your admissions counselor about the required vaccines. Then, find your immunization records and schedule any necessary appointments at your local pharmacy or doctor’s office.

6. Start Healthier Habits

Any comprehensive discussion of how to prepare for nursing school demands a look at healthy habits. Nursing school is intensive—even more so when it’s an accelerated program. You’ll need to be mindful of your physical and emotional well-being. Consider the following:

  • Eat well: Food fuels your brain and maintains your energy levels. You’ll need to try to maintain healthy eating habits while in nursing school. Before your first day of classes, it can be helpful to find some healthy, but very quick-to-prepare recipes to avoid the temptation to rely on fast food.
  • Follow good sleep hygiene: One of the most important rules of sleep hygiene is to follow a set schedule. As you look ahead to nursing school, work on getting to bed and waking up at the same times each day. In addition, consider investing in blackout curtains and a white noise machine.
  • Identify quick fitness routines: Exercise is crucial for body and mind, but it can be hard to work in hours-long workouts during nursing school. Start learning some high-intensity interval training (HIIT) routines to maximize your workout time.

7. Improve Your Time Management

northeastern student studying on laptop

Time management is crucial when you’re starting nursing school. You’ll want to eliminate unnecessary activities to create more time for your studies. However, it’s also important to make the most of the time you have. Try these time management tips:

  • Avoid distractions by finding a quiet study space where you won’t be interrupted.
  • Consider taking a social media break during nursing school.
  • Use the Pomodoro Technique for better productivity.
  • Use a day planner or a scheduling app to keep track of your tasks.
  • Tackle your tasks in order of priority.

If you find yourself getting overwhelmed by everything you need to do, stop, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Figure out what’s most important and urgent and tackle that first. You can only do one thing at a time. It’s also a good idea to talk to your instructors and other members of your cohort. They may have some good tips to share.

Following all of these tips can help you prepare effectively for nursing school and tackle the challenges along the way. Remember to keep your mind on your goal: becoming a nurse so that you can help others.

Ready to Succeed in Nursing School?

The admissions counselors at Northeastern University are ready and waiting to help you begin your path toward a meaningful career in nursing. Contact us today to discuss how you could earn your nursing degree in as few as 16 months!

Once you take the first step, you’ll be matched with a friendly admissions counselor who will be here to assist you throughout the admissions process. We can’t wait to see you succeed.

Get Your Free ABSN Program Guide

Our ABSN program guide includes everything you need to know about the accelerated path to nursing.

Northeastern University ABSN program guide