What to Expect in Your First Year of Nursing School: Back to School

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.

You decided that a nursing career could be the right fit for you, but starting something brand new is scary. When you don’t know what to expect, it can be even scarier. We put together this guide to help you better understand what to expect in your first year of nursing school.

What to Expect in your First Year of Nursing School

Work with an Admissions Advisor

Before starting on your Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Northeastern University, you have to be accepted into the program. Our admissions advisors are with you every step of the way to ensure that you are accepted and are successful.

The admission requirements to our ABSN program are:

  • A Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • A GPA of 3.0 or better
  • Three letters of recommendation from professional references, one of which must be from an academic reference
  • Goal statement regarding interest in nursing and future plans
  • Competition of prerequisites with a minimum grade of C or higher

We've heard all your concerns

  • “What if my GPA isn’t a 3.0?”
  • “What prerequisites do I have to complete?”
  • “Who do I ask to write my professional recommendations?”

Your admissions advisor knows that you are more than your GPA and will work with you to ensure that your application will be the best it can. Use your admissions advisor as a resource for your parents too, who, undoubtedly, have even more questions. Feel free to share your admission counselor’s contact information with them.

The overall goals of our accelerated BSN program are to prepare you to take (and ace) the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and become the best nurse you can. The way we help you accomplish this goal is through our unique learning program. Here’s how you’ll be learning and what to expect in your first year of nursing school.

What to Expect in Your First Year of Nursing School

Online Learning

Many students are afraid of learning online. “How will I stay on track?” “What if I fall behind?” “Will I ever be able to talk or interact with my fellow students?” Our interactive online learning platform allows our students to view presentations and demonstrations and put what they’ve learned into practice through learning application activities.

If you miss a class in a traditional classroom - due to a conflict or an illness - you’re at the mercy of your fellow students and their note-taking abilities. With our online learning program, you can restart any presentation, demonstration, or activity and watch or interact with it as many times as you need. These experiential learning activities are essential to committing the knowledge you’re learning to memory.

“I really like online because I hate sitting through lectures in class. Plus it works for my schedule better.” – Accelerated BSN Student

Our students enjoy learning online and know how important it is to stay organized and motivated. You may be thinking, “What if I fall behind?” If a student starts to fall behind, has questions, or needs help of any kind, our dedicated student advisor is available to help.

Skills Lab

Advantages of a BSN Degree

Online learning is just one component of our accelerated BSN program. Our on-campus skills lab in Massachusetts puts what students are learning online into practice on our state-of-the-art mannikins. These fascinating medical mannikins mimic real human functions and allow students to gain the confidence they need to be comfortable working with real life patients.

In skills lab, students learn from our expert faculty about caring not only for illness, but also caring for the patient. Our students enjoy skills lab because they become self-assured in their nursing abilities and they get to learn and socialize with their peers.

Clinical Practice

Clinical practice is the final component of our accelerated BSN program. In clinical practice, students work onsite at hospitals and healthcare facilities where they observe and work with current registered nurses (RN). In clinical practice, students get to experience hands-on patient care and see what nursing is all about.

Students love clinical practice because it allows them to explore what unit or area of nursing they want to pursue. Want to know what it’s like to work with children? See what it’s like to become a pediatric registered nurse or a labor and delivery nurse. Want to work in a fast-paced environment? Your rotations in the critical care unit can provide great insight into that area.

Clinical practice allows students to seek out what area of nursing is the best fit for them! During clinical practice students can see how nurses work in the following areas:

  1. Emergency
  2. Critical Care
  3. Pediatric Endocrinology
  4. Cardiac Care
  5. Ambulatory Care
  6. Labor and Delivery
  7. Anesthesia
  8. Neonatal Intensive Care
  9. Neuroscience
  10. Pediatric Care
  11. Oncology
  12. Pediatric Intensive Care

The above list is just a snapshot of the various areas our nursing students can explore. Clinical practice allows students to work with RNs and find their fit in the nursing field.


Our unique experiential learning accelerated nursing program is designed to teach you what you need to know to become a successful nurse. Our program equips you with the knowledge to take and successfully pass the NCLEX and pursue your passion for nursing and helping others. Our faculty, staff, and advisors are dedicated to seeing you successfully complete the program and become the best nurse you can be.

By now you know what to expect in your first year of nursing school, but there’s more! For more information and a full breakdown of the program from start to finish, download our guide on What to Expect in Accelerated BSN Nursing School. In this free guide you can see the program come to life through pictures and a semester-by-semester break down. Download your free guide today!

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