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How can I get accepted into nursing school straight from high school?

Hello, I am currently a rising junior in high school. I am very interested in nursing, and becoming an RN. I want to obtain a BSN, and later my masters because I want to specialize in sports medicine or orthopedics. I am currently interning at a rehab facility, and want to find some volunteer opportunities, too (Covid is making it hard to do so). healthcare registered-nurses nurse nursing medicine

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Subject: Career question for you


4 answers

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Suzanne’s Answer

Hi Erin,

This is Sue and I'm a retired registered nurse. It's been awhile since I applied (LOL), so I looked up some basic information for you. The first answer has some very helpful guidances. I want to elaborate to ensure you have even more information to help you on your way. I also want to add that there is going to be an enormous nursing shortage in just a few years making nursing a highly desirable career. Great choice!

First: I would like for you to work with your high school guidance counselor to make sure you are taking all required college prerequisite courses. Attempt to get great scores and now is the time to develop and keep excellent study practices.

Second: go to your local Red Cross and earn your CPR and First Aid certifications and always keep these current:

Third: Start looking now at possible nursing schools. Keep a notebook. Write down what is required to apply, application dates and other notable items. You will most likely need to apply to more than one school. I would like you to also review each school's NCLEX pass rate which is a good indicator of that institution's success and teaching quality.

Fourth: volunteering during the pandemic; you are correct. This might be tricky. I would call your local hospital (Regional Medical Center) and ask if they are accepting junior volunteers at this time. Here is their information.

Also, you may want to check with your local Red Cross:

Fifth: consider joining the National Student Nurses Association:

Now, here I am going to give you serious advice. Please earn your Bachelor's of Science in Nursing rather than an Associates Degree. Most hospitals now are requiring a Bachelor's for employment. Make sure that you take a NCLEX prep course prior to taking the licensing exam. I would also suggest working at least one full year in an acute care hospital. After that, you will have the experience and insight to select your nursing specialty and pursue any advanced education you might want.

Here are some additional links with good information:

Nursing was the best choice I made in life. I was able to specialize and go on to help thousands of patients. The nursing process and life skills have served me well every step of my life. Learning how to think critically has allowed me to see the world clearly. Practicing nursing with care and compassion have given me real fulfillment. I hope the same for you.


Thank you for going out of your way to research this topic for me, Sue! It was extremely helpful. I will check out the links for sure :) Athena R.
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Prashanth’s Answer

Hi Athena,

I hope you’re doing well & wish you have a great week ahead.

A high school diploma is typically required in order to enter a basic nursing school. After high school, an aspiring nurse can go on to earn a nursing diploma, an associate degree, a bachelor's degree or a master's degree, depending on his or her career goals

Since you are from California, I am adding information related to California for your query

Steps to Become a Registered Nurse
1. Take college prep classes in high school.
2. Choose the type of nursing school you want to attend.
3. Select a college and apply for admission.
4. Apply for financial aid.
5. Obtain an RN license. Take college prep classes in high school.

1. Take college prep classes in high school
• In addition to a U.S. high school education or the equivalent as described in Section 1412 of the Board's regulations to become a registered
nurse (RN), you should take the following classes in high school and you will have a head start on your nursing class prerequisites at college:
English - 4 years
o Math - 3-4 years (including algebra and geometry)
o Science - 2-4 years (including biology and chemistry; physics and computer science are recommended)
o Social Studies - 3-4 years
o Foreign Language - 2 years
• Check out nursing prerequisites at colleges you are considering.
• Individual nursing schools vary in their nursing course prerequisites.

2. Choose the type of nursing school you want to attend
In California, there are three types of pre-licensure nursing programs, and two alternative routes to become a registered nurse:
• Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
Takes 2-3 years. Offered at many community colleges. Prepares you to provide registered nursing care in numerous settings.
• Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
Takes 4 years. Also referred to as Baccalaureate degree. Offered at many California State Universities and some private colleges. Prepares
you to provide registered nursing care in numerous settings and to move to administrative and leadership positions.
• Entry Level Masters Program in Nursing (ELM)
Designed for adults who have a baccalaureate degree in another field and wish to become registered nurses. Takes 1-2 years depending on
how many nursing course prerequisites you have already completed. Graduate receives a masters degree.
• LVN 30 Unit Option
Designed as a career ladder for California Licensed Vocational Nurses wishing to become registered nurses. Takes approximately 18-24
months. No degree is granted upon completion. Most other states do not recognize California's LVN 30 Unit Option and will not issue RN
licenses to these LVNs. Some LVNs prefer to complete an ADN program in order to obtain a degree and to have the flexibility to get an RN
license in other states. Most ADN programs will give LVNs credit for some of the coursework they completed to become an LVN.
• Military Corpsmen
California law permits military corpsmen to take the national exam for RN licensure if they have completed RN level education and clinical

3. Select a college and apply for admission
• Visit the websites and campuses of the colleges in the geographic areas of interest to you. You can choose from over 140 California nursing schools
• Find out which entry exams are required at the colleges you are considering.
• Apply at more than one college to give yourself options. Many colleges have limited space for nursing students.
4. Apply for financial aid
Opportunities abound for scholarships, loans, and loan forgiveness programs
5. Obtain an RN license
To practice as an RN in California, you must be licensed by the California Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). You must meet educational requirements, pass a criminal background check, and pass the national licensing examination. To apply for licensure:
• Apply online or obtain an application packet and detailed instructions from the BRN website.
• Send your application to the BRN at least 6-8 weeks before graduation.
• Have your school send your transcripts to the BRN.
• Complete a fingerprint background check.
• Take and pass the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX). The exam is computerized and given continuously 6 days a week.
(New graduates are advised to take the exam soon after graduation because research has shown that there is a higher success rate for
early test takers compared with those who wait several months.)
• Apply for an Interim Permit if you wish to work in a supervised nursing capacity while awaiting the results of your examination.

I hope this information will help with your query,
Good Luck 😊

Prashanth TM
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Belinda’s Answer

Prior to graduation, do some homework on which colleges offer nursing programs. Some community colleges offer a two year program to where you can obtain an Associates Degree in Nursing, while Universities and major colleges offer a 4 year program , receiving a Bachelor's degree in Nursing. Both will result with you obtaining your RN degree but depending on what you want to do in nursing , will depend on how much time you want to dedicate to school. Good luck!
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Erin’s Answer

To increase your chances of getting right into a nursing program out of high school, it's important to focus on science courses: Chemistry, Physics and Biology and work really hard to get great grades. It's even better if you are taking Advanced Placement courses. Receive your CPR/First Aid training. Hospitals and Nursing Homes are always looking for volunteers so spend your weekends volunteering or shadowing different professionals. Contact the schools you may be interested in to learn about wait lists. Become a member of the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA). Also, start preparing for the SAT and ACT.
Thank you, Erin! This was very helpful. Athena R.