How to Get into Nursing School at Northeastern

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.

Are you curious about how to get into nursing school? If you have a prior college education, you can apply to an accelerated program by completing prerequisites and submitting an application. A nursing school application may require a goal statement, official transcripts and letters of recommendation.

nursing student and instructor in sim lab

It’s not easy to get into nursing school, as colleges must ensure they only accept qualified applicants who are up for the challenging curriculum. Even the most qualified applicants risk rejection — but it’s nothing personal. Many nursing schools don’t have the resources to accommodate an influx of students effectively.

There are, however, some things you can do to increase your chances of getting into nursing school. It starts by applying to the 16-month Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program at Northeastern University.

However, unlike many other schools, we have the room and resources available to enroll many qualified students each year. Here, we’ll look closer at how to get into nursing school and answer common questions, such as, “What do nursing schools look for in applicants?”

How to Get into Nursing School

Getting into nursing school may be challenging, but it’s not complicated. At Northeastern, we’ve developed a straightforward admission process that begins with calling the admissions counseling team. Let’s take a closer look:

  1. Contact the school. When you call, you’ll be assigned a dedicated admissions counselor to walk you through each step of the admission process. Your counselor will review your eligibility and discuss the next steps.
  2. Develop a plan. Your counselor will develop a personalized plan for you to follow, which will be based on the requirements you need to meet.
  3. Complete the prerequisites. Aspiring nursing students often need to complete prerequisites before officially beginning the ABSN program. These prerequisites help you prepare for the nursing curriculum.
  4. Complete and submit your application. At Northeastern, you can complete your application online via NursingCAS. Your admissions counselor will provide the necessary information to log into the system.

Before submitting your application, it’s essential to proofread everything carefully. In addition, ensure that every part of your application package is complete and that you have correctly submitted your official transcripts and letters of recommendation. If something seems out of place, follow up with your admissions counselor to ensure everything is loaded into the shared site.

Our school has a rolling admission process, which means we review all applications as they are submitted. You won’t have to wait months for an admission decision. Plus, we offer three start dates each year (January, May and September), so accepted applicants can begin the program soon.

Of all these steps for getting into nursing school, the application process often generates the most questions from our applicants. Below, you can look at our how-to guide for completing your application.

northeastern student studying on laptop

How to Complete the Nursing School Application at Northeastern

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

  • College transcripts
  • Recommendation letters
  • Current resume
  • Goal statement

You may work on your application materials over several online sessions, but you can only submit your application once. Ensure you complete your application fully to your satisfaction before submitting it.

Request Your Official College Transcripts

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

Ask for Recommendation Letters

We require two letters of recommendation from academic or professional references. The people who submit them cannot be your family members. Instead, you will need to ask former or current supervisors or professors to provide recommendations for you.

It’s best to contact your two 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.

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 uploading their letters to your online application.

Put Together a Current Resume

Regarding your resume, you should include any skills, experiences and certifications that position you as a standout ABSN student.

It helps to consider the qualities every great nurse possesses. The best nurses are competent, compassionate, committed and confident, so tell us how you embraced these traits during 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, tell us about it.

Write an Impactful Goal Statement

We request a goal statement because we want a better sense of who you are and to understand your passion and drive for helping others.

woman sitting at desk typing on a computer

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 questions:

  • 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 tell us what makes you an ideal candidate for our program and the nursing profession, consider these points:

  • 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 spelling mistakes or grammatical errors.

How to Pay for Accelerated Nursing School

Before applying to our ABSN program, 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.

Northeastern nursing student standing in hall smiling

Working while in nursing school: Is it possible? Explore this common question here.

Apply for 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).

Consider 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 offering low-interest and good terms private loans.

Look for 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.

Explore an 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 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. ISA funding is unregulated, so it may not offer the same advantages as student loans, such as hardship deferments and forbearance.

What Do Nursing Schools Look for in Applicants?

Nursing schools have always screened their applicants carefully. But given today’s highly competitive educational landscape, they must be more selective than ever. After all, many applicants share the same academic qualifications. 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.

smiling northeastern nurse portrait

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

Academic Success

You need a non-nursing bachelor’s degree or at least 62 non-nursing credits 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 highly rigorous, so we want to see your dedication to your education and willingness and ability to commit to full-time nursing study. Not to mention, we want to ensure you have the right resources to see you through nursing school.

Passionate Personality

As important as good grades are, we want to ensure you are passionate about the profession and dedicated to helping those you plan to serve. The best nurses can show compassion and empathy to every patient, regardless of their beliefs, values or lifestyle.

Northeastern nursing students posing and smiling

There are lots of different types of nurses. What kind of nurse do you aspire to become?

Collaborative Mindset

Teamwork in nursing is critical, so we need a sense of how well you can communicate and collaborate with others effectively. 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. It’s important to present your leadership qualities when applying to our program.


It is important to present yourself in a professional manner from application to graduation. Starting with your publicly facing social media presence and carrying through to your interactions with the admissions team, your mannerisms during each step of the application process reflect your demeanor and character. Be on time for appointments, call if you are lost or running late, dress appropriately and be courteous to everyone you talk to.

If you're unsure how to conduct yourself in a certain situation, reach out to your admissions counselor. We are here to help.

Northeastern University ABSN Requirements

Every nursing school has a different set of admissions requirements. Our 16-month ABSN program requires at least 62 non-nursing credits or a bachelor’s degree and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 to begin the admissions process. But that’s only the beginning. You’ll also need to complete the prerequisites.

Northeastern nursing student in sim lab

How to Get into Nursing School without Prerequisites

If you’re wondering how to get into nursing school without prerequisites, the simple answer is that you can’t. You must have completed the prerequisite courses, either during your previous undergraduate program or in preparation for entering nursing school.

You’ll need to earn 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

Transfer students must also complete a few prerequisites in addition to the ones listed above, with one exception. Instead of completing a Social/Behavioral Sciences (100 level or above) course, transfer students must instead complete Introduction to Sociology. The other additional prerequisites include:

  • Introduction to Psychology (100 level or above)
  • Mathematical Thinking or Calculus
  • College Composition
  • Additional Elective

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 education was science-related, you may have already satisfied some of these prerequisite requirements, so 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.

ABSN Program Overview: The Northeastern Difference

Northeastern ABSN student smiling

Comprising 67 credit hours or 71 credit hours for transfer students, 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. More often than not, a genuine camaraderie develops amongst those in the program.

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 professionals to improve patient outcomes.
  • Demonstrate clinical judgment within evidence-based practice.
  • Apply leadership skills in the provision of patient-centered care.

What makes our nursing school different? Take a look:

Personalized Admissions Support

We have a team of admissions counselors who only work with ABSN program applicants. 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.

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.

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 work toward your degree on your schedule.

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.

neu nursing student practicing on manikin

In-Person Clinical Rotations

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.

iPad, stethoscope, notebook and pen with red background

Getting ready to start nursing school soon? Learn how to prepare for nursing school here.

ABSN NCLEX Preparation

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

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 must identify the most appropriate 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?

nurse in front of logo

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 admissions 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.