So - You've made the call, spoken to your nursing college of choice and have made an appointment to visit with the Admissions team. Congratulations! The good news? The hard part is over and you’re one step closer to starting your nursing career! The other news is that there’s still a lot of work to do before you’re actually enrolled in nursing courses. The most daunting part of the college admissions process can simply be uncertainty; not knowing what to expect can make you feel overwhelmed by all of the information you’ll begin to receive. We want to help rein in all of the pieces and simplify this process for nursing hopefuls so you can hit the ground running and earn your nursing degree.
Face the PAX: The Entrance Exam
Some people are just naturally great test takers (and yes, us anxious test takers are envious), while for others, just the idea of taking a test causes a cold, clammy panic. Either way, we’ve noticed that many people tend to either greatly over, or greatly underestimate the NLN PAX (National League for Nursing Pre-Admission Examination), which is the standardized entrance exam for nursing program students. But you can pass this test! First, determine the best learning style for you. We like this short quiz at EducationPlanner.org to get you started. Do you respond best to visual aids, audio, graphs, or by doing? What’s the best way for you to study?
More often than not, the test fee is non-refundable, so don’t schedule the test unless you are serious about taking it. (Note: You have up to a year to take it, so don’t worry if you’ve just got cold feet!)
Next up - Remember to breathe. You can do this! Hit the books and begin studying right away; there’s no use in prolonging the inevitable. Create a time line and stick to it, plain and simple. Most importantly, ask for help if you need it, and take advantage of ALL of the study guides and practice tests. It really can make all the difference. We recommend the following PAX study guides:
- Review Guide for RN Pre-Entrance Exam, 3rd Edition ISBN: 9780763762711 Author: National League for Nursing
- Review Guide for LPN/LVN Pre-Entrance Exam, 3rd Edition ISBN: 9780763762704 Author: National League for Nursing
This is major. We are all guilty of overestimating how much available “free” time we really have. Think about it and honestly tally up the hours of each day that are not spent working, commuting, taking care of personal and family responsibilities, or sleeping. Until we find a way to add more hours into each day, we’re going to have to work with the 24 we’ve got. Nursing students must be willing to make temporary lifestyle changes in order to earn their degrees and pass boards. There are many hours where you'll need to be physically and mentally present; in class, clinicals, and study time, in addition to life’s other demands. The key is to be honest with yourself and make sacrifices you can live with for a year or two, knowing that you can reevaluate at the next step. And no matter what, hold on tight to some of that precious “me time” because you’ll need it to recharge and stay healthy (and sane!). Last but not least, make sure you have a support network of reliable friends and family who will be able to step in to help when you’re thrown the occasional curveball. Always have a Plan B, and while you’re in nursing school - might as well have a Plan C and D just to be safe.
If you have questions about specific transfer credits, you’re not alone. Your best bet to get a quick answer to those questions is to bring your Official (unopened) Transcripts from any previous college coursework to your information session. Also, make sure to bring your photo ID and high school diploma or GED (even if you’ve already completed a college degree). You’ll be taking in a lot of information, so bring a list of questions or concerns you’ve written out beforehand to help you stay on track. Get a head start and researching information on financial aid. Check out different types of loans and repayment plans, and have an idea of how you’ll be paying for school. Get a step ahead and fill out a FAFSA here. If you have questions, just give the Financial Aid department a call and they'll walk you through it.
Most of all - Believe in yourself! Deciding on a career path is a huge decision and a pivotal moment in life. You should take great pride in joining the elite ranks of Florence Nightingale! We’re happy to help get you in a classroom seat and on your way to becoming the amazing nurse you were always meant to be.