10 Tips to Write an Effective Nursing School Essay

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) 892-3819.

The nursing school essay is crucial to your application. It’s an opportunity to convince the nursing school admissions committee to accept you. First, articulate why you want to be a nurse. Then, develop an outline, write a compelling intro and carefully proofread the completed document.

woman on couch with notebook and laptop

When applying for an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, some of the best advice to follow is to optimize your ABSN application to increase your chances of getting accepted. While the application process requires considering prerequisites, GPA and other general admissions requirements, several factors go beyond hard data.

Writing an excellent nursing school essay is one of the most important factors. Many accelerated nursing programs require a nursing school essay that outlines why you’d like to be a nurse and why you are a good candidate for the nursing program.

The essay shows who you are, providing a more well-rounded perspective of your career goals and passion for nursing. This will help the nursing school admissions committee see whether you are a good fit for their program.

Learning how to craft a compelling nursing school essay can yield excellent results when applying for nursing school. Follow these 10 nursing school tips for a more impactful essay.

1. Read the Essay Guidelines Thoroughly

Following the directions is essential, as every nursing school establishes its own nursing school essay policies, topics and procedures. For example, you may need to write within a minimum or maximum word count range, and you’ll likely need to address a specific essay prompt. Always follow the directions carefully to avoid disqualification.

nursing student writing on clipboard

2. Plan Your Nursing School Essay

Writing a good nursing school essay is essential to getting your application accepted for enrollment. To do this effectively, spend some time planning your essay. Highlight the items you want to include in your essay, summarize your personal story and remember to incorporate your qualifications. (You don’t need prior nursing experience or education to enroll in an ABSN program. Your qualifications might include soft skills, a passion for helping others and perhaps volunteer experience at a healthcare facility.)

Start your essay with an attention-grabbing topic statement to draw the reader in. You want to let the reader know who you are and what nursing means to you. Plan your main reasons for choosing nursing and elaborate by following your outline. Your outline can help you stay focused and cohesive throughout the essay.

iPad, stethoscope, notebook and pen with red background

Wondering how to prepare for nursing school? Check out these top 7 tips.

3. Make Yourself Stand Out

An effective nursing school essay expresses your personality while convincing the reader you are the right candidate for the program. A great way to do this is by sharing a story about yourself. For example, you could discuss an experience that led you to apply for nursing school or sparked your desire to be a nurse.

You want to use your essay to show why you should go to their school rather than tell them why you want to go there. Use personal examples to make your writing more candid and intriguing. Share your motivation for wanting to attend that program and what inspires you.

4. Share Your Dreams

Getting into a good accelerated nursing school and earning your degree is essential for making your dreams of becoming a successful nurse come true. Your personal statement should include your long-term goals for your nursing career. For instance, you might discuss how your goal is to help children or that you wish to advance your education and become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN).

Nursing school admissions committees are interested in hearing about your long-term goals; goals illustrate that potential students are determined, which can lead to a better performance in school. Be as specific as you can with your goals.

When you’re ready for a new field, follow these 6 steps to making a career change to nursing.

Nurse smiling at camera

5. Show That You Care About People

As a nurse, your job will center on caring for people in a positive and friendly way while efficiently caring for their healthcare needs. It takes a specific type of selfless person to become a nurse, and you want to show that you are that person.

Give examples of times when you went above and beyond to care for a loved one or a stranger. Let the committee know about your passion for caring for others. Empathy in nursing is an excellent quality to have.

6. Explain Your Qualifications

Your academic and work qualifications are recorded for review on your transcripts, test scores and resume. However, those qualifications are only listed and don’t go into detail, which means the nursing school admissions committee may not understand what you gained from those experiences.

nurse in front of logo

The ABSN admissions requirements at Northeastern include a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or at least 62 non-nursing college credits, plus a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. You’ll also need to complete several prerequisite courses, including:

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

Use the nursing school essay as an opportunity to go into more detail about your education and how you’ve set yourself up academically to succeed in nursing school. You can also show how your volunteer opportunities or internships taught you lessons you can apply to your education at the nursing school. If you are looking for ways to beef up your resume and nursing application with experience, look into these volunteer opportunities in healthcare.

7. Tell Nursing School Admissions Why You Want to Go to Their School

Getting into a good nursing school is the most important factor for some applicants. For others, going to a specific nursing school, such as Northeastern University Bouvé College of Health Science, is very important to them. Whatever your reasons for applying to that nursing school are, you want to include those reasons in your essay.

For example, if you’re aiming to attend Northeastern, you could talk about how the hybrid online learning model appeals to you, or you could talk about how earning a degree in as few as 16 months will help you start your new career sooner. You could share how attending a school with such a quality reputation will set you up for your future career. Share stories about your mother, an alumna, or a friend who suggested you go there.

Telling the nursing school admissions committee why you chose their school will help them understand your motivation and make it easier when deciding whether to accept you as a student.

8. Set Your Essay Aside and Reread with Fresh Eyes Later

Once you’ve followed these nursing school tips and crafted your essay, the next step is to do nothing. Setting your essay aside for at least a few days is best. Then, reread it with fresh eyes and make edits as needed.

northeastern student studying on laptop

If you edit too quickly after writing, your eyes will see what you expect to see. If you give yourself a waiting period, you can edit with greater clarity and likely detect careless mistakes or omissions you might have missed.

9. Have a Friend Edit Your Essay

After you’ve put your nursing school essay through at least one round of editing, consider asking a trusted friend or relative to proofread for you. After all, even the best writers make mistakes and miss things when writing. By having another person review your essay, they’ll pick up on errors and point out areas of confusion. Choose an editor who will be honest and provide good feedback, such as a family member, friend or even a past teacher.

When having a second pair of eyes review your work, receive their feedback openly. After all, you want to hear an objective opinion about your writing, which will help you improve it.

10. Give the Essay a Final Proofread

After your friend or relative has handed your essay back to you with suggestions and corrections, make the changes as needed. Then, set your essay aside for another day or two before giving it a final proofread. You should also use a grammar app to check for careless language-related mistakes.

Ready to Begin Your Nursing School Journey at Northeastern?

Northeastern nursing student standing in hall smiling

By following these nursing school tips on making your essay stand out, you may increase your chances of getting into the nursing school of your dreams.

If you’re interested in pursuing your degree with Northeastern University through our accelerated nursing program near Boston, MA, or in Charlotte, NC, complete our online form so we can contact you. Now is the time to take the first step toward a rewarding nursing career!

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