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Admission Factors

Nursing programs generally consider the following factors when deciding who to admit.

Academic Ability

  • Successful completion of prerequisite coursework, usually with C grade or above (note: some programs like Johns Hopkins require a B or above but they are also fine with accepting community college coursework for pre-reqs)
  • Average GPAs for accepted applicants are in the 3.0 – 3.5 and higher range
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores for Master’s level nursing programs; although some Masters program will waive the GRE if an applicant’s GPA is high enough.

Clinical Experience 

  • Volunteer or paid experience working with patients in healthcare setting is required by many schools and encouraged by all.
  • Patient-related experience allows applicants to test their career decision and be confident that it is a good fit.
  • Applicants who have researched and gained direct exposure to the profession will be better prepared to write a compelling application and respond to the interview questions.
  • Many hospitals and community clinics may offer volunteer experiences.
  • Review Explore Opportunities section for possible volunteer opportunities.

Letters of Recommendation

  • Many nursing degree programs require letters of recommendation.
  • Schools may require letters from particular individuals, such as a nurse, professor, or academic advisor. 
  • Applicants will need to check the schools’ specific directions regarding letters.
  • Nursing program applicants should use the electronic letter of recommendation system provided through NursingCAS or follow direct application instructions for sending letters of recommendation directly to non-NursingCAS programs.


Be prepared to discuss why you are pursuing a career in the nursing and how you perceive the role of the nurse in health care.

You may be rated on:

  • Your knowledge of the profession.
  • Your motivation to pursue a career in nursing.
  • How you present yourself and interact in a group.
  • Interpersonal attributes related to the care of patients (see above section “Is Nursing A Possible Career For You”).