Applying to nursing school can be stressful. We understand. But with a solid plan and a little help from NursingCAS, you’ll be on your way to enrolling at your dream school in no time. These 5 ways to ensure a successful application will, if followed, set you up for success and make the application process a breeze.
We know that you’ve probably heard this one before, but there is probably a good reason for that. Starting your application early helps ensure that the finished product is polished, error-free, and most importantly, submitted on time! Nothing is more frustrating than an 11:59PM technology glitch resulting in a late application – potentially wasting weeks of time and effort.
Get organized by breaking the application down into bite-sized tasks. Work backwards from the application deadline to determine your personal deadline for each task. We suggest taking the first steps on your application (see #2) at least 5 to 6 weeks before the deadline. See our How to Apply page for more helpful information.
Your first order of business should be requesting your official academic transcripts. Transcripts can be one of the most anxiety-inducing parts of the application because you have so little control over the process. Once you request your transcripts, a few things need to happen. First, your school needs to send the transcript to NursingCAS (e-transcripts from a few providers are acceptable). Once your transcript is received, many programs require that it be put through the verification process. Verification can take up to four weeks during the busiest times of the year. Additionally, unforeseen circumstances can interfere, contributing to processing delays. This is why you should request your transcripts as early as you can – at least 5 to 6 weeks before the application deadline. If you choose to take advantage of Professional Transcript Entry (PTE), you’ll also need to keep an eye out for notifications from NursingCAS (see #4).
Please note that not all programs require official transcripts or verification of coursework entry – so please be sure to check the Academic History section of your application and/or the program directory to confirm your requirements.
After you request your transcripts, your next step should be to request references. Not every program will want references, or even the same number of references, so it is a good idea to be clear on the expectations for each program early in your application process. Check the Program Materials section of NursingCAS and/or the program directory to confirm your requirements). As with transcripts, earlier is better. You want to give your reference writer(s) plenty of time to do their part. Requesting early is also a positive reflection on your planning skills – always a plus no matter the situation!
As a reminder, reference writers submit their recommendation on your behalf electronically directly via NursingCAS and will receive instructions on how to do so when you enter their information in your application.
This may be one of the most crucial things to keep in mind for a successful application. NursingCAS and your selected schools will contact you by email for a variety of reasons.
For example, if you opt to use the Professional Transcript Entry (PTE) service, paying attention to your inbox is very important. After NursingCAS enters your transcript data, you will receive a notification stating that you must log into the application and approve the entered transcript information. If you fail to complete this step, your application will not show as “Complete” and your chosen program(s) will not be able to review your application.
To make sure you will receive notifications from NursingCAS, you should turn off your email’s spam/junk filters for the duration of the application cycle. If you’re not able to do this, add firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, NursingCASemail@nursingcas.org and the @sendgrid.me domain to your allowed email address list. Also, please check your spam or junk mail folders periodically throughout the cycle and check the “My Messages” section of your application frequently.
Congratulations! You’ve requested transcripts and references, you’ve submitted your application, and now you get to play the waiting game. There is nothing left to do now, right? Wrong! While you’re waiting to hear from your program(s), you should frequently check your application status in the “Check Status” tab of the application. This is where action items will appear.
Applying to nursing programs is the first step on the path to becoming a healthcare professional or advancing your career in nursing. By planning ahead and following these steps, you will set yourself up for a successful transition into the next phase of your career. And as always, if you have questions along the way, NursingCAS staff are here to help.