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Sample LPN Entrance Essay: Why I want to be a Licensed Practical Nurse

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As a prospective Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or learner, you will require to meet the admission requirements provided by the nursing school before getting accepted into the program.

One of the most common requirement is the submission of an LPN entrance essay, also referred to as a nursing application essay or a personal nursing statement.

Aspiring LPNs become anxious about writing an exceptional LPN entrance essay. Their desire is to impress the admission committee in their preferred nursing school so that they can be accepted into nursing school.

When writing an LPN entrance essay, the key considerations include the content of the essay as well as the proper use of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and sentence structure. The following is a  sample LPN entrance essay (LPN admission essay examples), otherwise known as a 500-word essay on why I want to be a LPN or why I want to be a practical nurse essay.

Why I want to be a Licensed Practical Nurse

Introduction of an lpn entrance essay.

My late grandmother always told me to ‘choose the less traveled road.’ I am very heartbroken that she cannot see me now, choosing the tough and challenging yet fulfilling path. She was my favorite person in the world, and I have always wanted to make her proud.

Right out of high school, I took a job that paid me enough to take care of my parents. While I had comfort and stability, I realized that getting stuck in an office doing some mundane activities for the rest of my life was utterly unfulfilling.

I would have easily gotten complacent, but I chose to go back to college, which is not easy both emotionally and financially. My desire is to live my purpose and lead a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

Body of LPN Entrance Essay

I chose to enroll in your school for the nursing program to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) because I needed personal satisfaction. I am well aware that while the nursing occupation can be very stressful as it involves life-and-death scenarios, temperamental patients and doctors, and long shifts, it also presents an opportunity to care for people.

When my grandmother was battling colon cancer before her untimely death, I spent much time in the hospital. I saw how the nurses always greeted her with her smile and spoke so much life in her. They provided not only medical care but also spiritual nourishment and ensured that she was in my best mental state .

I saw how much my grandmother adored them as they made a difference in her life during her last days. I instantly knew that I wanted to be one of those people who serve others.

Therefore, I knew that becoming an LPN would provide me with a career that I can help people directly, which provides me with the utmost level of satisfaction.

  After the death of my grandmother, I took got more interested in serving my community. I volunteered at an Assisted Living community within my community. I wanted to care for older adults who were battling end-stage-cancer during their end of life period. I loved my interaction with the residents, their families, and healthcare providers.

It was rewarding to see their smiles and laughter despite the pain. I knew that I was there for someone mentally, spiritually, and physically at a moment when they needed it the most. The job was challenging, but the fulfillment and satisfaction that I got from it made it all worth it.

I also developed solid relationships with the residents and their families, and they had so much trust my skills and compassion for them. Therefore, being in a position to serve people is very rewarding for me.

I also got an opportunity to learn about the importance of teamwork and other vital skills, such as communication and problem-solving. I will need them when working as a nurse; the healthcare industry comprises of various health professionals.

Signing Off

Proper communication and coordination of care are prioritized to ensure that patients get useful, timely, and safe care. It was interesting to learn about the dynamics of the workplace . I believe that pursuing the profession of a Licensed Practical Nurse would give me to improve on the skills and enhance my performance as a nurse and a team player.

In my previous job, I was lead the market research team through the process of innovative product development and market analysis. It was an opportunity for me to demonstrate my leadership skills and got me out of my comfort zone.

I had to ensure that our company stayed innovative and aligned with the changing market trends. While it was not an easy position, it helped me to perfect my leadership skills that I would be invaluable in my future nursing career.

Concluding your Licensed Practical Nurse Entrance Essay

Pursuing the LPN profession will provide me with the utmost satisfaction of serving and caring for people. I will actively partake in health promotion and disease promotion as well as patient management.

The leadership, decision-making, teamwork, and communication skills garnered during my previous job, and voluntary work prepared me to serve in the healthcare sector effectively. I hope that I will get the opportunity to study in your institution as I seek to attain my dream of becoming a licensed practical nurse.

Consider using our service for college admission essay examples about yourself and cover letter , college application essay examples 500 words, essay for university application, college admissions essay examples, and free college essay examples.

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Nursing School Personal Statement: 5 Best Examples in

Read our top 5 sample statements.

Nursing School Personal Statement

These outstanding nursing school personal statement examples have been approved by our admission experts who have helped countless students get into their top choice nursing programs. Whether you are at the beginning stages of a nursing career looking to apply to nursing school or wanting to further your career by becoming a nurse practitioner or a clinical nurse specialist, you will probably have to write a nursing school personal statement to gain admission to your program of choice. Your nursing school personal statement is one of the best ways to stand out in a nursing school application . In this blog, we are going to guide you in the process of crafting a strong personal statement that highlights your skills as well as the characteristics you possess that make you a good fit for the program.

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Article Contents 20 min read

Nursing school personal statement examples, nursing school personal statement sample 1.

I stood there not knowing what to do and being completely sure I had made the biggest mistake of my life. My decision to travel to a remote area of the Amazon jungle in Colombia to work as an elementary school tutor felt like the right one at first, but as soon as I got there, I regretted it. Being faced with the harsh reality of a struggling community made me feel completely out of place. It was heart breaking to witness such a palpable scarcity of resources and realize that there was not much that I could do. It took a lot of determination and adaptability to overcome the shock. Eventually, I learned to navigate this new world and embrace my role in the community. I planned lessons for the children and used all my free time to teach their parents to read and write. I developed teaching materials adapting them to my students’ context in order to make them meaningful. In the end, I realized I had become part of their lives, and I was humbled to have met such an amazing group of people. This experience taught me the true meaning of altruism and the value of hard work. This, alongside the cultural sensitivity that I developed, is what I am bringing with me to this new step in my life.

Becoming a nurse has been my goal for a long time. As a child, due to an unfortunate kitchen accident, I burned my arms with hot water and had to stay in the hospital for serval days. I remember being very scared and in pain, but there was a lady in a white uniform who would come to visit me every afternoon. I always enjoyed seeing her because she spoke to me in a way that almost seemed like she was telling me a story, and that put me at ease. One day, I asked her why she always wore white, and she said she was a nurse. ‘A nurse’, I said to myself, thinking that was exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. She was kind and compassionate, and she knew how to explain things. Those traits that I learned from her are the same skills that I have been honing ever since, as I know they will be essential in my future profession.

I could see my breath crystalize in the air as I exhaled, dribbling and dodging the opposing players on my way to the goal. “I’m open,” shouted my teammate, poised right in front of the penalty box, waving his arms. Two more players stood between me and the goal. I hesitated, wondering if I should trust my teammate or try to score the winning point. Turning, I launched the ball into the air with a swift kick, and watched nervously as my teammate stopped it and sent it soaring above the goalie’s head. As the crowd erupted in celebratory cheers, the game time buzzer rang out across the field and I knew I had done the right thing. Every team victory that season was a personal victory, sparking a feeling of elation that I seek to replicate as a member of whichever health care team I have the privilege of joining.

My biggest soccer fan was always my grandmother, who even brought orange slices for the team to practices, claiming, “The little things are the most important!” Several winters ago, my grandmother unknowingly exposed me to nursing when she was hospitalized with pneumonia so severe that we were unsure if she would survive. Though her whole care team was dedicated, her nurse, Jackie, always went above and beyond to make sure my grandmother was comfortable and happy. Every day, Jackie would pop her head into the room and say “How’s my girl today?” or stop what she was doing to run a cool cloth over my grandmother’s feverish forehead. Each time I had to leave the hospital was gut-wrenching, but I felt better knowing that nurse Jackie treated my grandmother with such empathy. I remember being in awe of her kindness when I found out she left my grandmother sticky notes filled with encouraging messages while she was sleeping. When my grandmother asked her why she spent so much time on such little things when she had so many patients to attend to, Jackie winked and whispered, “The little things are the most important!” While I did not know I wanted to be a nurse in that moment, observing the profound impact Jackie made on my grandmother sparked a strong desire to explore the medical field.

Inspired by Jackie’s compassion for patients like my grandmother, I aimed to make the same difference when I signed up to volunteer at Riverview Hospital. With lofty goals of becoming a physician, I threw myself into my volunteering efforts, often coming in early or staying late to help stock supplies. Whenever I had a spare moment, I would chat with a patient, rearrange their pillows, or a myriad of other small things. One of the most striking aspects of my volunteering experience was how little time Riverview doctors were able to spend with their patients due to the sheer number of people to whom they had to attend. Nurses, on the other hand, had near constant interaction with longer-term patients: assisting them to the bathroom, administering medications, or changing IV fluid bags while chatting with them about how they were feeling. I was reminded of Jackie when I watched how tenderly one of the nurses changed their wincing patient’s bandages, all while trying to distract them with friendly conversation. Even aside from the comforting gestures I witnessed so frequently, it was the little things that made such a huge difference in patients’ wellbeing. Without nurses there to help execute the game play, the team would never score! Always a team-player, I knew I wanted to be a nurse.

Though my time spent on the soccer field is less and less these days, I am thrilled about the possibility of joining a new team and working hard to bring us to victory. My introduction to nursing through nurse Jackie could not have been better. Seeing the relief she brought to my grandmother in her most vulnerable state inspired me to do the same for others. Watching the nurses at Riverview Hospital expertly fulfill their duties while treating each patient as an individual cemented my desire to become a nurse who remembers that the little things are the most important. I want to be there with the assist right before the buzzer, helping my patients win, because every victory on a care team will be personal. (Word count: 719)

Nursing School Personal Statement Sample 3

“Help!” my friend Jack screamed as his faced swelled up due to an extreme allergic reaction to a candy bar he had just eaten. At the time, I did not know what to do, except to call for an ambulance. As we arrived at the hospital, I stayed by my friend’s side to offer my support. I saw the physicians and nurses swarmed around him, ready to take action. After my friend’s condition had been stabilized, he was left with the fear of another anaphylactic episode. It was his nurse that was able to calm his fears as she educated him on anaphylaxis and how to make the appropriate dietary changes. While I did not know how to respond with medical attention when my friend needed me, I gained a new purpose. I was inspired to become a nurse and to guide patients in times of uncertainty through compassion and education.  

To build my understanding of the nursing profession, I pursued experiences that would allow me to gain first-hand experience in the healthcare field. I secured a volunteer position at a children’s hospital where I was responsible for checking patients in and ensuring they were comfortable as they waited for their appointments. I was eager to practice helping calm patient nerves, just as the nurse had done for my friend Jack. Through consoling a memorable patient, named ‘Ryan,’ I learned the importance of working in a team of professionals. ‘Ryan’ was crying as he waited for his appointment since he was experiencing pain due to a broken leg. I talked to Ryan in an attempt to calm him down, but I was initially unsuccessful. To hone my approach, I asked a nurse on staff at the hospital how she approached children that are in pain. She shared with me that it is helpful to try to get their mind off the pain, for example by distracting them with an entertaining story. The next time I saw a patient crying like ‘Ryan’ had been, I was armed with funny jokes and engaging stories from my own childhood that I could share to take their mind off of the pain they were experiencing. From my time as a hospital volunteer, I learned that feedback from a team is critical to advancing professionally and providing optimal patient care. I look forward to becoming a nurse myself and working with my team of healthcare professionals to achieve this common goal. 

In my final year of university, I became involved with clinical research; as a research assistant, I approached patients in the same children’s hospital in which I had earlier been a volunteer, but now I worked to enroll patients in our research study. My purpose was to explain the goal of the study to families in the hospital, educating them on its potential impact and answering any questions they had about enrolling. This task was challenging because I was approaching families that I had not yet built a rapport with, and I needed to establish trust before asking if they wanted to enroll their child in our study. This required empathy for the hardship they were experiencing with a sick child, as well as an understanding of how to relay complex information in a way that was approachable to a variety of audiences. I learned that it is best to first ask the patient, or their family, what their understanding of a topic is to establish a baseline from which to build a conversation. In the future, as a nurse, I hope to apply what I have learned to build rapport with patients and their families for greater healthcare outcomes while ensuring that my patients are comfortable under my care. 

Since my friend Jack’s anaphylactic episode, I have taken the initiative to explore the field of nursing and to build the teamwork and communication skills needed to be a successful future nurse. I look forward to my first day of nursing school where I will be surrounded by peers that share the same vision for the future as me: to train as a nurse in order to provide outstanding care to those in distress alongside a team of dedicated professionals. (696 words)

Nursing School Personal Statement Sample 4

Nursing school personal statement sample 5.

The process of creating a strong nursing personal statement starts even before you begin writing. There is a certain amount of preparation that should take place to identify the specific information you want to include in your essay. So, make sure you take all the necessary steps before you are faced with the daunting, but fun, task of writing your first draft. Remember to give yourself between 6 to 8 weeks to write your statement. Be prepared to write several drafts as you edit and change your essay!

The Brainstorming Stage

The first step is what we call the brainstorming stage. You will need to do some soul searching and write many ideas as they come to you. Working on this step can take you anywhere between a couple of hours to a whole week. It really depends on you and how much you can actually remember from your personal history. There are two types of information that you will need to focus on at this stage: 

#1 Personal experiences

The goal behind this step is to start gathering information about your personal story and about any experiences that you have had from which you learned something valuable. The lessons you learned should relate directly to nursing or have contributed to your decision to become a nurse . You want to answer the question: “ Why do you want to be a nurse? ”

In order to do this, think about your life as a child, the characteristics of the place where you were born and raised, any meaningful experiences that may have sparked your interest in the nursing field, any contact that you had with the healthcare world, or any healthcare workers in your family that had some influence on you. Then consider your high school and teenage years and any events that may have increased your interest in becoming a nurse. How did you finalize your decision to apply to nursing school? Did you have an ‘a-ha’ moment, or was it a more gradual process? Whatever the answers to these questions may be, be sure to identify these key moments because they will be useful for addressing the thesis of your essay, which is why you decided to devote your life to a career in nursing.

Here are some examples of meaningful experiences that can potentially spark, or validate, an individual’s interest to become a nurse or what nursing means to you :

  • Being raised in a rural area with limited access to health care and wanting to do something about it in the future;
  • Growing up in an urban setting where great social disparity is evident and identifying opportunities to contribute to levelling up these differences;
  • Experiencing a personal injury or diagnosis that created opportunities to interact with nurses in a clinical setting;
  • Watching the illness of a loved one and seeing the impact that nurses have on a patient’s journey;
  • Volunteering at something related to the health sciences or an unrelated field with plenty of opportunities for helping others and interacting with them;
  • Conducting research in something related to the field;
  • Being involved in extracurricular activities that can lead to reaching a high level of compassion or maturity

Remember to always follow show, don’t tell in any personal statement you write:

#2 Nursing school research

Gather as much information as you can about the program so you can identify the specific things you like about it. It is very important to know the reason, or reasons, why you want to apply to a specific program.

In order to do this, you can look at the program’s website and pinpoint two or three specific aspects that interest you. Do you like the program’s curriculum? If so, what do you like about it? Do you like the research lab? Why do you like it? Have you done research in the past? Has this prepared you to make good use of this lab and contribute to whatever research they do here? Do you like the extracurricular initiatives the program offers? Do these align with any extracurricular activities you did in the past? Do you like the opportunities for patient interaction that the program provides? Why? Have you had patient interactions before? What did you learn from them that you can use moving forward? Knowing the specific reasons why you have chosen this program in particular is essential to write a strong essay later on.

Remember that besides telling universities what you hope to get from them, you will also need to show how you can complement their program. Showing what you can bring to the table, by referencing specific experiences you have had in these areas of interest, is the best way for programs to know that you will be successful if you are admitted. 

Look at these skills that are essential in the nursing field, and which are highly valued by nursing schools. You have probably already developed many of these throughout your life and through your experiences. Try to match these values and traits directly to your personal experiences in your essay.

As previously mentioned, the main goal of the brainstorming stage is to identify your reason for wanting to become a nurse as well as the relevant personal experiences that you can reference to support this decision. We suggest you make a list of five to seven experiences that you could potentially include in your essay. This list is going to be significantly reduced later to one or two, but it is good to have a good amount to start with.

As soon as you identify these meaningful experiences, be sure to also identify what you learned from them; that is, the skills you developed, the characteristics you refined, or any learning that resulted from going through these events in your life. Think about this carefully and select those skills that align with the ones your program of choice values. The information collected here is going to be essential later on when you start writing your essay.

Like any other academic essay, your nursing school personal statement should follow an academic structure and be organized in three major sections: introduction, body, and conclusion. See below for information on what each of these sections should include:

1. Introduction

This is your opening paragraph and, as such, it is the first impression you are going to cause on your readers; that is, the members of the admission committee. The purpose of an introduction is to act as a road map that allows the reader to understand where your story is going.

Important to remember here is the fact that an introduction can make or break your essay, so you need to come up with a very good opening sentence. This is the one that will draw the reader in and make them want to keep reading. Your opening sentence can be a quote, an anecdote, an event, or any idea that is captivating and enticing.

For example:

  • “It was three in the morning, and I was sitting in an empty room trying to think how my life had come to this.”
  • “He did not need to say anything; I knew something was wrong just by looking at him.”

Sentences such as these ones will leave the reader wanting to know more. There is a reason opening sentences are also called ‘hook’ sentences. Can you think of a good hook sentence to open your essay with? 

2. Body Paragraphs

The body of your essay is where you elaborate on the ideas introduced in your opening by providing personal examples. Remember all the brainstorming we asked you to do? This is where that information comes in handy. Your body paragraphs should include information about those meaningful experiences that you have gone through that have sparked and solidified you interest in pursuing a career in nursing.

Depending on the word limit required by your program, you will decide how many of these experiences to include. We asked you to come up with five to seven during the brainstorming stage of the writing process. Now, since our recommendation is quality over quantity, you should plan to include maximum two or three experiences and present one experience in each paragraph. Of course, one experience per paragraph is not all it takes. Besides presenting the experience, you need to include what skills or characteristics you developed because of this event and how you will be able to apply these skills moving forward in your nursing profession.

In case the program provided a specific question or prompt to be addressed, add a fourth paragraph where you answer this question. It is important to tell the program what they want to know, so do not forget to include this information as part of your body paragraphs.

Mention how your skills can be drawn upon in the future in order to give the admissions committee a glimpse of the type of nurse and professional you are going to be. Remember some of the essential skills in the nursing profession that we mentioned above and see how they connect to your past experiences. 

3. Conclusion

The same way we place great importance on the introduction of a nursing school personal statement, we also want to emphasize the big role that your concluding paragraph has on your entire text. The most important thing we can tell you is that a conclusion should not be a summary. It should, instead, be a place to emphasize some of the major ideas you previously discussed and, when possible, it should circle back to the introduction.

Conclusions have to be insightful and captivating. They should convey a sense of closure and an invitation to keep reflecting on the ideas that were presented in the essay. Think that this is the very last thing that the admissions committee will read from you. What is the last impression that you want to leave on these people? Be creative! 

Here are some more nursing school personal statement examples to help you!

Here are some other aspects about drafting your personal statement to be considered:

Besides all the information that you brainstormed from your own personal history and from the programs\u2019 websites regarding the areas that interest you, there is something else that should be part of the content of your essay, and that is the prompt. You need to be aware of the prompt of the essay provided to you by the program, and you always want to address it. Some programs will ask for a general essay describing your motivations to become a nurse, in which case the information you gathered during the brainstorming stage will suffice, while others will give you a specific question to answer, in which case one paragraph of your essay should be devoted to answering said question.  ","label":"Content","title":"Content"}]' code='tab1' template='BlogArticle'>

No matter how much effort and time you put in writing your personal statement, there is a high probability that the committee members will not spend too much time reading it. Do not take this personally. They go through many application documents from many applicants like you and do not want to waste too much time reading one single essay, especially if it is not interesting enough. They want, instead, to be able to identify in a few minutes whether you are the person they are looking for.

This, of course, creates the need for applicants to write essays that have great content, great structure, and that have that ‘it’ factor that will make them stand out in a nursing school application . Your essay should be easy to read and have a great narrative. It should not read like a nursing school application resume or list every single experience you have had in chronological order. As we mentioned before, quality is better than quantity, and your nursing school personal essay should have precisely that: quality.

What experiences should end up in your body paragraphs? That is up to you. What we can suggest is that you diversify the content by highlighting experiences from different dimensions of your life. Having one of the paragraphs address a personal experience, the second address a research or academic experience, and the third address a volunteering or extracurricular activity is much better than including three experiences related to only research, for instance. Be strategic in how you showcase your skills!

Follow these steps to start drafting you essay: 

  • Remember all the information you brainstormed earlier? The first thing you need to do is identify the top three experiences from your life that you want to include. 
  • Once you have them, write them in bullet points. Create one bullet point for each that mentions what the experience is. 
  • Then, expand each bullet point into sentences and these sentences into paragraphs. 
  • As we mentioned above, each paragraph should have three essential elements: what the experience was (i.e., the meaningful experience), the main takeaways you got from it (i.e., skills you developed, characteristics you enhanced, etc.), and future applications (i.e., how you can apply this learning moving forward). 
  • Once you have your paragraphs ready to go, make sure you start each one of them with a good opening sentence. Each paragraph should follow the same structure of the general essay. This will create flow and cohesion between ideas.
  • You can look at sample medical school personal statements and think how these medical school essays could be applied to the nursing field.

Ok, so you finished writing your first draft. Good job! However, this is only the beginning. Once you are happy with your first draft, you will need to receive expert feedback on it. Having a professional like a nursing school admissions consulting service look at your essay and suggest changes to enhance what you have written is vital to create a strong product. You will see that, more often than not, these experts will be able to identify weak areas and ineffective ideas that you will not perceive.

Once someone else looks at your essay, be sure to incorporate their suggestions, work on editing and polishing up your document, and do another revision. Crafting the perfect essay that will grant you admission to your dream program is a process that should be done carefully and conscientiously. That means multiple revisions and edits are essential. In general, writing a strong competitive essay does not happen overnight. The whole process can take several weeks. So, be prepared to put in the effort and remember to do some happy writing!

The nursing school personal statement should highlight some of your most meaningful personal experiences and the skills you gained through them that will make you a great nursing professional. It should provide a good narrative that will help the admissions committee know more about you as a person and about your chance to be successful in their program. By showing that you possess certain skills that are important in the nursing profession, the committee members will see that you are a good fit.

Writing your personal essay is not an easy task and should not be taken lightly, but when you finally finish writing and look at the amazing essay you have created, you will feel satisfied with the job you did and will be able to show your program of choice why they need to have you.

No. Essays may or may not be required, depending on the program. You can check this portal and this portal to learn more.

No. There are a few steps that you wan to follow before you actually start writing. One of those is the brainstorming stage, and it will help you come up with all the ideas and information that you will need to write a good essay.

Personal information and information about the program or the areas that interest you.

Personal experiences that have been meaningful enough and that have allowed you to develop different skills that are important in the nursing field.

You need to identify the two or three areas of the program that attract you the most and see how those relate to your own experiences.

To identify the reasons that have led you to pursue a career in nursing.

It should have an academic structure and include an introduction, three or four body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Yes, it is! You need to stay within the limit in order to show that you can be concise and also follow instructions.

Then you make sure you address it. Do not leave this information out, as it is essential to provide the program with the information they want to know.

Because it is the first impression that you are going to have on your readers.

It should begin with a captivating opening sentence in the introduction. A statement, quote, or anecdote that is creative and that sparks curiosity on the reader.

You want to describe one meaningful experience per paragraph (i.e., personal example), include the main takeaways from this experience, and how this learning can be applied in the future.

You need to have an expert give you feedback on it. You may think it is already perfect, but personal essays usually require lots of revisions before they can be at the competitive stage.

It depends on the writer, but it is usually something that does not happen overnight. It usually takes several weeks. It depends on how much access you have to professionals who can provide good feedback and how much time you devote to incorporating their suggestions.

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10 Tips on Writing a Nursing School Admission Essay

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typing on a laptop

Your essay is a crucial part of your application, as it allows the admissions committee to learn more about you, your passion for nursing, and your goals.

In this article, I’ll share some of my best tips on writing a standout nursing school admission essay.

Tips for Writing a Nursing School Admission Essay

1. understand the prompt.

man trying thinking

Before you start writing, make sure you understand the essay prompt or question. Take the time to read and analyze it carefully to know exactly what the admissions committee is looking for in your essay.

The prompt may ask you to discuss your reasons for choosing nursing as a career. It may ask you about your experiences and accomplishments that have prepared you for nursing school. Maybe your future goals as a nurse.

To fully grasp the prompt, break it down into smaller components and consider each part separately.

For example, if the prompt asks you to describe a challenging situation you’ve faced and how you overcame it, think about what the admissions committee wants to learn about you through this question.

They might be interested in your problem-solving skills, your resilience, or your ability to learn from difficult experiences. Understanding the underlying purpose of the prompt will help you craft a more focused and relevant response.

Additionally, research the nursing school you’re applying to, as this can provide valuable context for your essay. Learn about the school’s mission, values, and the qualities they seek in their students.

This information can help you tailor your essay to align with the nursing program’s expectations and showcase your fit for the school.

2. Plan and outline your essay

student reviewing and thinking

Creating an outline for your essay is a crucial step in writing. Organizing your thoughts and ideas into a logical structure helps ensure your essay flows smoothly and stays focused on the main topic.

An outline can also save you time and prevent writer’s block by giving you a roadmap to follow as you write your essay.

Start by brainstorming the main points you want to cover in your essay. Think about how these points relate to the prompt and how they support your overall message. Once you have a list of ideas, prioritize them based on their importance and relevance to the prompt.

Next, organize your ideas into a logical order. An essay typically has an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

In the introduction, you’ll want to capture the reader’s attention and introduce your main point or thesis statement.

The body paragraphs will expand on your main point, providing evidence and examples to support your argument.

Finally, the conclusion will summarize your main points and provide a closing thought.

Create a subheading or bullet point for each body paragraph in your outline.

Underneath each subheading, jot down a few notes or key phrases you’ll expand upon in the paragraph.

This will give you a clear structure to follow as you write, ensuring that each paragraph stays focused on a single topic and contributes to your overall message.

Remember that your outline is a flexible tool. As you write, you may need to adjust your outline to better fit your ideas or to more effectively address the essay prompt.

Don’t be afraid to revise your outline as needed to create the strongest essay possible.

3. Start with a strong introduction

writing on a laptop

Your introduction should grab the reader’s attention and set the tone for the rest of your essay.

It’s essential to make a strong first impression, as the introduction will shape the reader’s perception of your essay and determine whether they continue reading with interest or not.

To create a captivating introduction, consider starting with a compelling anecdote, a thought-provoking question, or a powerful statement that relates to your main point or thesis.

This “hook” should engage your audience and make them want to read more.

For example, you might share a personal story about a meaningful experience that inspired your passion for nursing or ask a question that challenges common misconceptions about the nursing profession.

Once you’ve captured the reader’s attention, provide some context for your essay and introduce your main point or thesis statement.

This statement should clearly and concisely convey the central idea you’ll explore throughout your essay.

It serves as a roadmap for your reader, guiding them through the main points you’ll cover in your essay and helping them understand your overall argument.

4. Be authentic

When writing your nursing school admission essay, your storytelling must be authentic and genuine. The admissions committee wants to learn about the real you, not just a polished, idealized version of yourself.

Being honest about your experiences, goals, and aspirations will create a more compelling and memorable essay that stands out from the competition.

Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable ( within reason, of course ) and share your personal story, including any challenges or obstacles you’ve faced along the way.

This can demonstrate your resilience, perseverance, and growth as an individual. Remember that nobody’s perfect, and the admissions committee isn’t expecting you to be either.

They want to see your passion for nursing and your commitment to overcoming adversity in pursuit of your goals.

Also, avoid using cliches or generic statements that could apply to any nursing school applicant. Instead, focus on what makes you unique and why you’re an excellent fit for the nursing program you’re applying to.

This might include your background, personal experiences, specific nursing interests, or long-term career aspirations.

5. Show, don’t tell

One of the most effective ways to make your essay engaging and memorable is to use descriptive language and vivid examples to illustrate your points.

This technique, known as “showing, not telling,” allows the reader to visualize your experiences and emotions, making your essay more compelling and personal.

For example, instead of simply stating that you’re compassionate and empathetic, show the reader how you’ve demonstrated these qualities in your life.

You might describe a specific situation where you provided emotional support to a friend going through a difficult time or volunteered at a nursing home, connecting with residents on a personal level.

When using examples, be specific and focus on the details that will help the reader understand and relate to your experiences.

This will not only make your essay more engaging but also provide evidence that supports your claims about your personal qualities and experiences.

6. Stay focused

thinking student

It’s essential to keep your essay focused on the prompt and avoid going off on unrelated tangents.

Including irrelevant information or anecdotes can distract the reader and weaken your overall message.

To maintain focus, continually refer back to the essay prompt as you write and ensure that each paragraph contributes to your main point or thesis statement.

When writing your essay, resist the temptation to include every detail about your life or accomplishments.

Instead, select the most relevant and impactful experiences that directly relates to the prompt and showcase your suitability for the nursing program.

By staying focused and concise, you’ll demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively, a crucial skill for nursing professionals.

7. Be concise

Adhering to the word limit for your essay and being concise in your writing are important aspects of crafting a strong nursing school admission essay.

Admissions committees review many essays, so keeping yours clear, focused, and easy to read is essential.

To be concise, focus on presenting your ideas and experiences clearly and straightforwardly.

Avoid using overly complex language, jargon, or unnecessary filler words. Instead, choose words and phrases that accurately convey your message without being overly verbose.

When editing your essay, look for areas where you can eliminate repetition or condense your ideas without losing the overall meaning.

This may involve rephrasing sentences, removing redundant words, or combining ideas into a single, cohesive statement.

Being concise will make it easier for the admissions committee to understand and appreciate your essay, increasing your chances of making a positive impression.

8. Edit and proofread


Carefully editing and proofreading your essay is essential to making a strong impression on the admissions committee.

A polished, well-written essay demonstrates your attention to detail and commitment to excellence.

First, take a break after completing your initial draft to give yourself some distance from your work. This will make it easier to approach your essay with fresh eyes and a more objective perspective.

When you’re ready to begin editing, read your essay out loud to yourself or have someone else read it to you. This can help you identify awkward phrasing, unclear sentences, and areas that need improvement.

As you edit, focus on your essay’s overall structure, coherence, and flow.

Make sure your paragraphs transition smoothly from one idea to the next, and ensure that your evidence and examples effectively support your main points.

Remove any repetitive or irrelevant content, and revise vague or confusing sentences.

Once you’ve made revisions to the content and organization of your essay, proofread it carefully for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors.

You can use an online grammar checker like Grammarly, but don’t rely solely on these tools.

They can miss errors or suggest incorrect changes, so it’s essential to review your essay carefully yourself or enlist the help of someone with strong writing skills.

9. Get feedback

Seeking feedback on your essay from trusted friends, family members, or mentors can provide valuable insights and suggestions for improvement.

When you’re immersed in the writing process, it’s easy to overlook issues or become attached to certain ideas. Getting an outside perspective can help you identify areas that need clarification or revision.

When you ask for feedback, be specific about the type of input you’re looking for.

For example, you might ask your reviewer to focus on the clarity of your main point, the effectiveness of your examples, or the overall organization of your essay.

Encourage them to provide honest constructive criticism and be open to their suggestions.

Take the time to thoughtfully consider the feedback you receive and decide which suggestions to incorporate into your essay.

10. Give yourself time

Article Image - time

Avoid waiting until the last minute to write your essay.

Giving yourself plenty of time to brainstorm, write, edit, and revise will help you submit the best possible essay with your nursing school application.

Rushing through the process can lead to mistakes, missed opportunities, and an essay that doesn’t effectively showcase your passion and potential as a future nurse.

Create a timeline for your essay-writing process that includes deadlines for brainstorming, outlining, writing, revising, and proofreading deadlines.

This will help you stay on track and ensure that you’re dedicating the necessary time and effort to each stage of the writing process.

Additionally, giving yourself ample time allows for breaks, which can help you maintain your focus and motivation as you work on your essay.

Be Successful in Nursing School

Writing a standout nursing school admission essay is a critical step in your journey to becoming a nurse, but it’s not the last step. Once you get in, you’ll want to have the right tools to be successful.

Have You Read These Yet?

  • How to Go to Nursing School and Work Full Time
  • How to Apply to Nursing School
  • How to Become a Nurse Right After High School
  • What Math Classes Are Required For Nursing School?

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About the Author

Nurse Money Talk is a career and lifestyle blog for nurses and nursing students. Our goal is to help nursing students become nurses and nurses excel in their nurse career and nurse life.


Tips for Writing a Nursing School Entrance Essay

Tips for Writing a Nursing School Entrance Essay

As a prospective Licensed Practical Nurse, or LPN, student, you need to meet various nursing school entrance requirements before you are accepted into an LPN program. For many schools, one of these requirements involves submitting a nursing school entrance essay, also known as a nursing personal statement or a nursing application essay. Unfortunately, this requirement is a source of anxiety for many aspiring LPNs.

The good news is that you do not need to be a professional writer to write an appealing essay for nursing school. Of course, spelling, punctuation, and grammar should not be completely ignored; however, it is the content of your essay that really matters. The following tips should help you write a nursing school essay that is sure to secure you a seat in the LPN program of your choice.

Highlight Your Good Qualities

One of the best tips for writing nursing school essays is to be sure to highlight your good personal qualities. There are certain qualities that make for great LPN students, and there are specific qualities that employed LPNs possess . Typically, some of the personal qualities that nursing schools look for include:

  • Dedication and Competence
  • Ability to Manage Time
  • Compassion and Empathy
  • Hard Working and Emotionally Stable
  • Ability to Manage Stress
  • Willing to Work as a Team Member
  • Excellent People and Communication Skills

Include Relative Volunteer Experience

Volunteer work can certainly go a long way in showing your compassion and empathy for others. This type of work can involve volunteering your time at a large variety of facilities including local nursing homes, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, or food drives. If you have not performed any volunteer work, you may want to consider doing so before applying to the nursing school of your choice.

Write About What Inspired You

Another useful tip for writing an outstanding nursing school essay is to write about what inspired you to become a nurse. Did you get your inspiration from the death of someone close to you? Or maybe you were inspired by a favorite teacher in high school. When writing about what inspired you, you can also incorporate some of your personal qualities into your story.

Share Your Goals for the Future

After telling your story, it is a good idea to share your goals for the future. For example, is your goal to help sick and injured children? Do you want to help make hospice care patients more comfortable? Would you like to become part of a team that helps improve the lives of geriatric patients?

If you have specific academic or employment goals, you can share them as well. Think about where you want to be professionally in the future. Will you be happy with a permanent LPN position, or would you like to go on to a career as a registered nurse? Additionally, will you be happy in a general practice LPN position, or do you want to specialize?

Carefully Proofread Your Rough Draft

Although content is the most important aspect of a nursing school entrance essay, you will want to pay some attention to your spelling, punctuation, and grammar too. While a few errors may be ignored by most nursing schools, too many errors can make you appear unprofessional. Just make sure that you look over your rough draft carefully before making a final copy and submitting it to the LPN program director.

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How to write a personal statement for nursing school.

essay for lpn entrance

Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 6/19/23

Writing a personal statement for nursing school can be a daunting task, but we’re here to help! Here’s everything you need to know about writing a personal statement for nursing school.

Writing your personal statement is a nerve-wracking experience, no matter what program you’re applying for . You may be wondering: “what are nursing schools looking for in a personal statement?” or, “how can I make my personal statement for nursing school stand out?” Lucky for you, we’ve got some answers. 

Here we’ll cover everything you need to know about writing a personal statement for nursing school. We’ve included a breakdown of the components to include, examples of nursing school personal statements, and tips to improve your own. 

Let’s get started!

Students practicing to write a personal statement for nursing school

Get The Ultimate Guide on Writing an Unforgettable Personal Statement

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What Is a Nursing School Personal Statement?

When applying to nursing schools , you’ll most likely notice that most applications require a personal statement. A personal statement is a short essay, typically no longer than two pages, that tells your target schools a little bit about who you are. 

Each school has different expectations for the length and contents of your personal statement, so make sure to check the specific requirements of your target schools. Some common topics include your personal goals for nursing school and why you want to become a nurse.

Nursing School Personal Statement Format

Before writing your personal statement for nursing school, you should plan out what you want to include. If your school does not ask you to answer a specific question with your essay, here is a list of what you should include in your nursing school personal statement.

An Introduction

The introductory paragraph should focus on what brought you to this point. Your school primarily wants to get to know you as a candidate through your personal statement. Your intro should include things like:

  • How you first became interested in nursing
  • What inspires you about becoming a nurse
  • What you intend to achieve through a nursing degree

In this paragraph, your main goal is to introduce yourself and give the admissions committee a bit of background on your passion for nursing. Perhaps you have a family member who inspired you to pursue nursing, you grew up near a hospital, or you’ve struggled with health issues yourself - these are all great examples of an origin story. 

Think to yourself: “If my journey into nursing school was a movie, how would it begin?”

Body Paragraph(s)

In the body paragraph(s) of your nursing school personal statement, you can include a bit about your achievements. However, this isn’t the place to simply list your achievements. 

Think about how your experiences helped you to develop skills for nursing school . Include things like:

  • How you’ve furthered your interest in nursing through experience (both in and out of school)
  • How your achievements make you a good fit for the program
  • Specific things about the program that interests you

The body portion of your essay should contain the majority of the information you want to include. Make sure to only include accomplishments if they help to explain how you’ll contribute to the program. Your CV will list any other achievements that don’t come into play here.

A Strong Conclusion

Your personal statement should end on a positive note. Think about summarizing your statement by looking toward the future. Include things like:

  • Your future ambitions following nursing school
  • What you’ll be able to contribute to the program 

The end of your body paragraph(s) should mention what you hope to achieve in the future with your nursing degree and lead into your conclusion. The final sentences of your personal statement should further state your passion for your program and how you’ll be a great fit at your target school. 

What Not to Write in a Personal Statement for Nursing School

Before getting into our tips and examples, let’s go over what not to include in your personal statement for nursing school. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when crafting your personal statement. 

Keep it Simple

Your personal statement should be authentic and genuine, but make sure to keep the brief in mind while you’re writing. As mentioned above, a personal statement is typically no longer than two pages in length. 

You should absolutely include some personal anecdotes; in fact, we encourage it! Just make sure to stick to the relevant parts of your story and not to elaborate too much on areas that are not relevant to your application. 

Do Not Reiterate Your CV

Your personal statement is an essay, not a resume. Keep in mind that your application already contains all of your achievements on your CV, transcripts, and other application materials. 

Your personal statement is about understanding your passion and motivations. You can use examples from your CV to further assert your interest in the program, but only if you can elaborate on how they’ve specifically helped you on your journey to nursing school. 

Tips for Writing a Stellar Nursing Personal Statement

Let’s go over a few tips on how you can improve your personal statement. Using these tips can help to make your personal statement and essays for your nursing school application stand out while remaining authentic and genuine. 

Create A Timeline

When writing your personal statement, your focus should be on telling your story. Creating a clear timeline of events can help to effectively tell the story of how you decided to apply for nursing. 

Start with how you became interested in nursing, develop your story with experiences that have cultivated your knowledge, and conclude by talking about your program and your future goals. A timeline will make your essay easy to read and give the admissions committee a good idea of your journey so far.

Stick To the Brief

If your target school(s) give you a specific prompt for your personal statement, make sure to refer back to the prompt while writing your essay to ensure you’re staying on track. 

For example, if your prompt asks you a question, be sure to answer the question at the beginning, the end, and throughout your essay. Your personal statement shouldn’t be vague or veer too far off course. 

Speak From the Heart

It is crucial in your nursing personal statement to share what makes you unique . This is your chance to show the admissions committee why you’d be a perfect fit in their program and demonstrate what you bring to the table. 

Include genuine experiences that have pushed you toward nursing throughout your life. Conveying your passions and motivations is critical in your personal statement for nursing school.

Do Your Research 

One great way to make your nursing personal statement stand out is to do thorough research on your program and include it in your piece. Showing your passion for the specific program. you’re applying to can give you an edge over others and impress the admissions committee. 

When you include your research, be sure to add it organically into your writing. Use your research as a way to connect your personal experiences to the program rather than simply listing information.

Nursing School Personal Statement Examples

Here are two nursing personal statement examples that were written successfully. We’ve also included explanations of how they are good examples to help you improve your own personal statement. 

*Important note: Do not use our samples in your nursing school application. These examples are meant to serve as a guide when crafting your own original personal statement for nursing school. 

Example #1: Indeed ’s Nursing School Personal Statement Sample

“I walked backward down the hill, my arms supporting the weight of the wheelchair as its wheels rolled slowly in reverse. Sunlight danced through the trees around us and shone in my grandmother's hair as she sat inside the wheelchair. I couldn't see my grandmother's face from that angle, but I could hear her laughing with joy as she enjoyed the outdoors for the first time in weeks. My grandmother came to live with my family two years ago after breaking her hip. Although she completed much of her recovery at our home, Nurse George came by every day to perform my grandmother's personal care tasks, monitor her vital signs and assist with her physical therapy exercises. George also taught me some basic patient care practices, such as how to support a wheelchair correctly while going downhill. I had never considered a career in nursing before, but George helped me see the rewards of helping people with their medical conditions and injuries. I am excited by this opportunity to apply to Fern Hill's College of Nursing because I appreciate your program's specialization in rehabilitation nursing. Being a part of my grandmother's recovery team has inspired me to pursue a nursing career that helps patients recover from injuries or medical conditions. I believe that your school's emphasis on assisting patients in regaining their independent skills can help me achieve these professional aspirations. Since realizing that I want to become a nurse, I have become a regular volunteer at Jefferson Rehabilitation Center. I mentor young people struggling with drug addictions and provide childcare for the children of rehabilitation patients. There is no feeling comparable to when a mentee or outgoing patient offers you a sincere "thank you." I can no longer imagine pursuing a career where I do not get to help people overcome their challenges and navigate their way to recovery. My experiences helping my grandmother and patients at Jefferson have taught me the value of empathy and communication. Frequently, my mentees simply want someone to listen to them. I do my best to give them a judgment-free space in which to share their stories. Whether the medical issue is emotional or physical, patients appreciate working with flexible and considerate people. I believe I embody these qualities by actively listening and letting patients talk at their own pace. I am ready to pursue a nursing career and learn about helping patients in a more professional and technical capacity. Fern Hill's College of Nursing is the ideal place to prepare for my future nursing career.”

Why this is a good example: In this example, the writer has done an excellent job of telling the story of how they became interested in nursing. They also develop a clear timeline of events from when they first thought about nursing to how they began developing their skills through volunteering. 

Most importantly, the candidate mentions specific reasons why they’re interested in the program and how they feel they can contribute to the school and field. 

Example #2: Johns Hopkins University Nursing Personal Statement Sample

“I grew up close to a hospital, where I watched patients go through the double doors for a variety of ailments. From a young age, this drove me to develop a strong interest in the field of medicine. I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in the future that would allow me to take care of those in need. Through my courses in the natural sciences as well as social studies, I have continued to develop my knowledge in the field in order to be ready to continue my education. Now, I am ready to take the next step in my education by applying for the Nursing program at Johns Hopkins University.  Three years ago I completed a nursing shadowing internship that opened my eyes to many of the daily struggles of being a nurse. During my time in the clinic and on the wards, I had the opportunity to work In the critical care and trauma ward as well as In obstetrics and geriatrics. These various experiences showed me the diverse role that nurses play in a healthcare setting, and emphasized the importance of empathy and dedication to patient care.  Johns Hopkins University Is known worldwide for its focus on patient wellness and medical research. As a nursing student at Hopkins, I hope to not only further the institution's goal of providing exceptional patient care, but also to assist with the many clinical trials ongoing at the hospital that pave the way for new treatments. Through hands-on training with knowledgeable staff, I know that I will be able to make the most of my nursing training at Johns Hopkins and become a nursing professional that is capable of enhancing patient wellness in a healthcare setting.”

Why this is a good example: In this example, the writer develops a clear timeline and clearly defines their relevant information. The writer covers when they first became interested in nursing, courses they’ve taken, and what experiences have made them get serious about the profession. 

Finally, they include why they are specifically interested in the program at Johns Hopkins and conclude by adding what they will add to the program as a student.

FAQs: How to Write a Personal Statement for Nursing School

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about nursing school personal statements. 

1. Do All Nursing Schools Require A Personal Statement?

Almost all nursing schools require a personal statement, which can typically be described as a short essay (2 pages or less) that explains who you are and why you want to attend the school’s nursing program.

2. Is a Personal Statement for Nursing School an Essay?

Yes, a personal statement is a short essay that briefly describes your past, present, and future experiences in relation to nursing.

3. How Long Should A Nursing Personal Statement Be?

Each nursing school has different length requirements, which can typically be found in the prompt. If no length is specified, two pages or less is recommended. 

4. What Should I Include In My Nursing School Personal Statement?

Your nursing personal statement should include:

  • Why you want to become a nurse
  • What inspires you about nursing
  • Elaborate on the experiences you’ve had that have taught you about nursing
  • Program-specific reasons for your interest in the school
  • How you intend to contribute to the program and the field of nursing

If your school’s personal statement asks a specific question, that question should be answered throughout your essay. 

5. Does Nursing Require Essays?

Yes, most nursing program applications require personal statement essays, and some require secondary (or supplemental) essays as well.

6. When Should I Write My Personal Statement for Nursing School?

You should begin writing your personal statement(s) for nursing school as soon as you receive the prompt. Make sure to give yourself an adequate amount of time to complete all sections of your application before the deadline.

7. How do you Start a Personal Statement for Nursing School?

To start a compelling nursing personal statement, there are a few different writing techniques you can use. You can start by introducing yourself, start by talking about how you became interested in nursing, or you can start “in the action” by cutting right into your story. 

Final Thoughts

Your personal statement for nursing school should be genuine, heartfelt, and express how you will make an excellent addition to your target school’s nursing program through a series of examples. 

Each personal statement you write should be adjusted to suit the individual program you are applying for. Sending a general personal statement with every application you submit is impersonal and not recommended. Make sure to follow your brief closely and map out your essay before writing it to ensure you include all of the relevant information. 

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essay for lpn entrance

How to Write an Admission Essay for Nursing School

essay for lpn entrance

The nursing school admission process is rigorous. One of the critical requirements for new applicants is an application essay, and writing a compelling nursing essay will give you a major head start over other nursing school candidates.

Once you have figured out why you want to be a nurse, all your memories, accomplishments, ambitions, and goals will align. Therefore, writing an essay on why you are interested in becoming a nurse and selecting a specific nursing college or university allows the admissions team to understand why they should choose you over other candidates.

A well-written, organized, and polished nursing school essay automatically increases your chances of acceptance. With thousands of applications destined for assessment and judgment by the admissions committee, you would want to make your application essay for the nursing school admission stand out.

We have admission essay-writing experts and consultants who, luckily, have compiled this intensive guide to help you write an intentional, focused, and perfect essay for nursing school.

Note: If you are in a hurry or you need direct assistance in writing your nursing college essay, please place an order and let our expert essay writers craft for you an original, engaging, and compelling nursing essay!

What Is a Nursing School Essay?

A nursing school essay is a written piece that demonstrates your interest in a nursing career and elaborates why you are the perfect fit for a specific nursing program.

Most nursing schools (colleges and universities) require aspiring students to write an application essay for nursing school admission. It is a personal essay submitted as part of the application process, which the admission officers review to determine if you can be accepted.

A good nursing school essay shows your interest in the nursing field, your chosen career path, why you want to pursue your nursing education through a specific nursing school program, and why you believe you should be accepted into the institution. It has to show why the entire process is crucial to you and why you are a worthy candidate to select for the nursing school program.

Sometimes, it is the only hope one has left, especially if the competition is stiff. Imagine a situation where the application materials such as grades, resumes, test scores, or recommendation letters are all qualified; a nursing school essay will be the only means to select the best out of the rest fairly.

Writing a perfect nursing essay will demonstrate that you are ready to go down the thorny path of training to become a nurse. Nursing education entails research and writing assignments, and a well-written essay demonstrates your readiness.

Helpful Information to Include in a Nursing Admission Essay

You are probably wondering what goes into an application essay for nursing school admission. Well, your nursing essay will answer an essay prompt from the university. Most colleges will specify the essay questions for college of nursing applicants for various levels of study (MSN, DNP, BSN, Ph.D., or ADN).

Below are some examples of what might be expected:

  • Your goals and ambitions for a successful nursing career
  • How do you plan to achieve your academic goals
  • The specific reasons why you want to join the nursing field
  • Reasons you are selecting the particular nursing school or program
  • Personal accomplishments that set you apart as the right candidate
  • Experiences and encounters that make you love nursing career
  • Plans for the future once accepted
  • Experience with medical training or patient care
  • Character traits aligned to being a nurse
  • How you are prepared to become a successful nurse
  • Academic, personal, and career interests
  • Any other reasons to convince the admissions committee to approve your admission

In some quarters, a nursing school application essay might be a statement of purpose, personal essay, or letter of intent. It is a chance to plead with the admissions committee to accept you into your dream nursing college or program. Having looked at what goes into it, it is also essential to cover the steps to writing a perfect and comprehensive admission essay for nursing school.

Structure of a Nursing School Essay

A nursing essay for admission into a nursing program or school follows the typical format of an academic essay. It is organized into three main sections: introduction, body, and conclusion.


  • This is the opening paragraph that has to impress your readers (admissions officers)
  • It can make or break your admission essay or personal statement
  • It should be direct to the point
  • It is a roadmap that helps the readers to know what to expect as your story grows.
  • Open it using an enticing quote, event, anecdote, or statement
  • You are allowed to use personal pronouns such as I in the introduction and the rest of the essay
  • It has 2- 3 and sometimes five paragraphs
  • Elaborates the introduction
  • Every paragraph has a unique opening sentence that is a mini-thesis statement.
  • Bears the best ideas yielded in your brainstorming session
  • It can be as long as your word limit allows but contributes to at least 70-80% of the word count
  • Focuses on quality over quantity
  • Has one idea or experience per paragraph
  • You should mention the skills you intend to develop and how they will help you become a successful nurse
  • Connect the skills and experiences to the program and your future career
  • Summarize and emphasize the main ideas
  • It should be captivating and insightful
  • Conveys a sense of closure to the readers
  • Invites the readers to reflect on the ideas in your essay
  • Creates one last lasting impression on the readers

Outline for a Nursing School Essay

A good nursing school essay outline should give you directions that help you visualize what the essay will look like in its final draft.

If you are writing a nursing essay, having the outline is the first thing you do after brainstorming (as shown in the steps).

It helps you to figure out how to arrange the ideas and points in the essay for a better flow. You can develop each section independently, regardless of the sequence, and still have a quality essay. 

In most cases, the outline is meant for personal consumption, especially when writing a personal statement. However, if you are writing a nursing essay on a given nursing topic , you might be required to write an outline, annotated bibliography , and the nursing essay , and each will be graded separately.

Given the structure, you can outline your nursing school essay as follows:

    Introduction paragraph

  • Hook (quote, statement, or anecdote)
  • Background information
  • Thesis statement
  • Transition sentence

    Body paragraph 1

  • Topic sentence
  • Evidence, data, and facts
  • Transition to the second body paragraph

    Body paragraph 2

  • Transition to the third body paragraph

    Body paragraph 3

  • Transition to the conclusion


  • Summary of the main ideas
  • Restate the thesis statement
  • Last impression (call to action to the admissions committee)

Steps for Writing a Nursing School Essay

Optimizing your application essay increases your chance of getting accepted into the nursing program or nursing school. The essay should elaborate on your person (who you are as an individual) by providing a comprehensive perspective of your career ambitions, goals, and plans related to your passion for nursing. You should elaborate to the admissions committee why you are a good fit for their nursing program. Students at the ADN, BSN, ABSN (Accelerated BSN), MSN, DNP, or Ph.D. might be required to write an admission or personal essay, and here are the five steps to make it successful.

  • Read the prompt
  • Brainstorm for ideas
  • Plan your essay
  • Write the first draft
  • Edit and Polish your Essay

Let's explore all these steps before delving into the tips to help you write the essay better.

Read the Prompt

If you are considering applying to a specific nursing school, you need to begin by researching the application process to know when you will be expected to submit your application essay.

In most cases, the nursing schools have essay prompts and instructions for the potential nursing candidates published on their websites. The prompts might vary depending on the programs you are interested in pursuing and the institutional preferences. Therefore, it is vital to begin by locating the nursing school essay guidelines. A quick search online can help, or you will also find it enclosed in the email sent to you by the school's admissions committee.

Read the instructions thoroughly with a specific focus on the essay question, word limit, and topics you must cover. If you apply to many nursing schools, you should locate and read each prompt before moving to the next steps.

Reading and understanding the instructions is the first step in writing an excellent application essay. Besides, it helps you to customize the essay to the requirements and not the other way around.

Brainstorm for Ideas

Now that you know what is expected of you, you need to decide what to include in your nursing essay to make it stand out. For this, get into an idea-generation marathon where you brainstorm ideas based on the prompt and the requirements.

Give every idea a thoughtful consideration and make shorthand notes so that you have all the ideas condensed. Consider your ambitions, accomplishments, drive, passion, preferences, strengths, weaknesses, character traits, and other attributes that might relate to your urge to pursue nursing as a career.

Also, research the nursing program and relate it to your personal ambitions and desires. Such information will help you spot the specific things you like about it. You can then tailor your experiences and encounters to the requirements. Look at the program's website and examine 2-3 aspects that stand out. This will help you focus on what you have that makes you the best pick for the program. You can also reference experiences, events, or traits related to the program.

Consider the environment and people around you and relate them to your desire to become a nurse.

Experiences, encounters, and events can inspire ideas to pen into your nursing school essay.

You can also research some well-written examples of nursing personal statements and essays to get inspired when brainstorming ideas for yours. Besides, you can also ask people in your network, such as family, friends, or peers, for ideas that can stand out and then choose the best.

To get the most robust ideas, rate them depending on how best they answer the prompt; this is the fodder for the entire application essay. Choose 3-5 strongest points and make them the central focus of your essay.

Plan your Essay

As a nurse, planning is everything, even when it comes to clinical decision-making. And because you are destined for this noble career, planning your personal essay won't hurt. Instead, it helps you know what to put and where to engage the admission officers from the beginning to the end of your nursing school essay.

With the ideas in mind, create a rough outline and adjust it until you are fully satisfied that your thoughts, facts, and opinions are well-organized. The outline will help you to structure your essay, avoid derailing it, and write a draft that bears all the quality ideas.

A good step is to organize the essay into paragraphs that align with the word count (often given as the minimum or maximum number of words, exact number of words, or characters).

Include an introduction to give your readers a clear understanding of the focus of your essay. Yes, a good nursing essay has a thesis statement that shows your central claim or the main idea you are focusing on the entire essay.

You should include the body paragraphs, each with a topic sentence supporting the thesis and a series of supporting facts such as examples, evidence, and illustration.

Finally, include a conclusion as the last paragraph that reverberates the thesis, summarizes the essay, and has a call to action to the admissions committee.

Write the First Draft

After the outline, you must begin writing your essay sentence by sentence and paragraph after paragraph. Whatever approach you take, ensure that every detail covered in the outline ends up in your essay as long as it is valid.

Write the introduction paragraph by giving a hook or attention grabber. You can begin with a quote from a famous nurse or a scholarly nursing article. You can also state facts or give statistics if they matter to your application. You should also elaborate on your selected topic, especially if the prompt provides options. End your first paragraph with a thesis statement that describes the focus of your nursing school essay. The introduction should account for 10-15% of the word count.

Each body paragraph has a unique, unmistakable, and concise topic sentence followed by supporting details and a concluding sentence that transitions to the next paragraph. Ensure that you have at least two body paragraphs considering that you can write either a three-paragraph or a five-paragraph nursing essay. Collectively, the body section should be 70-80% of the essay's word count. The body paragraphs should outline your encounters, experiences, and events and how they relate to the specific nursing program.

The final part is the conclusion, where you summarize the main ideas in the essay. for this, avoid the clich� conclusion starters such as "in conclusion," "to sum up," or "in summary." Instead, use conclusion opening sentences that demonstrate to your reader that the essay has ended � it gives the best closure and helps close the information loop in your essay. Rephrase your thesis and summarize the main ideas before appealing to the admissions committee to accept you into their nursing program. It should be 10-15% of the word count, like the introduction paragraph.

Edit and Polish the Essay

Now that you are done with your first draft, it is only the beginning, and you are far from being done. You need to take a break to cool down your frustrations, anxiety, and adrenaline developed when writing. It is a chance to establish an objective mind to look at things from a broader perspective when you settle for editing and proofreading.

If you are not good with editing and proofreading, you can hire a professional proofreading and editing expert to look at your essay and suggest changes to make. You can also use friends and family as a second and third eye to see what you cannot see. Using their feedback will help you optimize the essay for better results. You can incorporate the suggestions and proceed to editing and proofreading.

As for editing and proofreading, you can take advantage of tools such as Grammarly, Ginger, Hemingway Editor, and other editing and proofreading tools available by students and professionals. Revise the essay until it meets the requirements and addresses the prompt. If anything, do not be afraid to do away with an entire paragraph or a few paragraphs that don't make sense.

It is better to start over again than submit a subpar nursing school essay that will be a laughingstock of the admissions committee. The only way to entertain the admissions officers is to write an outstanding nursing school essay that will automatically dial you into the nursing program of your choice. Best of luck!

Example of Nursing School Essay Prompts

  • Discuss your interest and understanding of the clinical nurse leader role. What's your story? And what experiences have contributed to your interest?
  • The DNP program aims to prepare nurse leaders at the highest level of nursing practice to improve patient outcomes and translate research into practice. Describe experiences that exhibit your formal leadership role or informal leadership skills.
  • How will the program help you achieve your academic and career goals?
  • What experiences have influenced your interest in pursuing a clinical specialty you have chosen?
  • The DNP program aims to prepare nurse leaders at the highest level of nursing practice to improve patient outcomes and translate research into practice. Describe experiences that exhibit your leadership skills.
  • Why have you chosen to pursue a nursing research doctorate?
  • How does becoming a nurse fulfill your ambitions?
  • What does becoming a nurse mean to you?
  • What drives you to become a nurse?
  • Why do you want to become a nurse?
  • What is your nursing philosophy?
  • What was your reason for choosing nursing as a career? Do you have any additional information that you would like the admissions committee to know about you that has not been previously considered in the application?
  • What are your professional goals? How will this accelerated nursing program help you materialize those goals?
  • Discuss a specific leadership position (e.g., manager, director, associate dean) you wish to attain within three to five years after completing the DNP program.

Note: Some of these prompts have been rephrased from the Rush University Website . They keep changing depending on the preferences of the admissions committee. Inquire with your university or college of nursing to get specific directions on the most current prompts and instructions.

Related Reading: Ideas for a nursing capstone project.

Tips for Writing an Effective Nursing School Admission Essay

When grades, test scores, and other material entries don't count , a nursing school essay, referred to as a personal statement, suffices. In this case, a great nursing school can only be your hope for getting into nursing school. If you want to get ahead of the competition, these proven tips will significantly help you.

1. Plan Well

To pen an excellent nursing school essay that gets you accepted, you need to plan the essay.

Read the instructions, brainstorm as you take notes, research widely, and create an outline.

And even when done, the purpose is to have a reverse outline to help you score the essay against the requirements. Planning helps you to know what attention-grabbing statement to begin the essay with, the sequence of the body paragraph ideas for a logical flow, and what specifics to include in the conclusion.

Having an outline will help you save time when writing the first draft and help you to stay focused when writing.

2. Show, Don't Tell!

All effective nursing school essays express your personality, experiences, and encounters while convincing the admissions officers that you are the best fit for the program.

You should not focus on telling your story alone. Instead, show how your account relates to the prompt.

Discuss experiences, encounters, and events but show how they have impacted your choice of the program and desire to become a nurse.

If you are applying to a specific program, enlighten your readers on why you are specifically interested in the program and what that means.

It could be the hybrid learning model that entails both online and classroom learning or the history or reputation the school has, parental preferences (if they were a graduate), mentor recommendation, etc.

3. Choose Information Wisely

Ensure that every idea or information in your essay is unique, authentic, and original. Don't just write fictitiously.

If you have no past experiences directly related to nursing, you can introduce them and twist them to fit the context.

Impress the admissions committee with your wits, not just a summary of what others have written online.

Standing out in your presentation of facts will always carry the day. Genuinely share your story about what made you want to become a nurse.

4. Avoid Excuses

Even if you don't have appealing past encounters with medicine, hospitals, or anything related to nursing, tell your story as it is.

Do not excuse yourself for telling the truth. After all, you are on your journey to becoming a nurse; all you are seeking is training to develop the knowledge and skills.

If you have cared for your family members at home, babysat your siblings, or have compassion for the suffering, these are the most authentic stories you have, and they can spell meaning on your ambition. Therefore, prove your strong candidature by stating things as they are without clutching at things that do not matter.

5. Let it Flow!

Instead of forcing things such as humor or stories, write plainly about your experiences, encounters, and past events that made you want to become a nurse.

Most "why I want to be a nurse" essays don't have to have any humor. If it clicks well and is good, if it doesn't, don't force it.

As well, avoid exaggerating things when writing your nursing school essay. You should focus on making it as interesting, engaging, and convincing as can be but be truthful.

Avoid mixing up stories. A good way is to focus each paragraph on the main point that relates to your thesis.

6. Show you care about People and Yourself

Nursing is a noble career that entails caring for oneself as you care for others. Your full-time attention and job will be to care for people to help them achieve better health outcomes.

You must show empathy, selflessness, and determination to be a nurse. You can bring examples of when you took care of others and yourself.

Let the committee know that even when training as a nurse, you understand self-care as much as you understand caring for others.

7. Bring in Current Issues

If there is a chance that you can introduce nursing concepts or ideas from current events, it will beef up your nursing school essays.

Get facts from well-established nursing organization websites such as the American Nurses Association, National League of Nursing, Emergency Nurses Association, Sigma Theta Tau, or National Black Nurses Association, etc.

Intrigue your readers by understanding the challenges and opportunities in the nursing field.

You can relate your application to nursing shortages, medical errors, nursing burnout, continuing education, evidence-based practice, etc.

8. Briefly Explain your Qualifications

Since you have already provided material such as transcripts, resumes, and test scores, it is imperative to briefly expound on the qualifications without going into details. Tell them about your experiences, your education, and how you have set yourself up for success in nursing school . For instance, elaborate on how volunteering and internships helped you develop a sense of becoming a nurse or how they developed skills you will apply in nursing school.

9. Share your plans

Everybody has plans. You have short, medium, and long-term goals as you prepare to enter nursing school. You should include them in your essay and demonstrate how the program or school will help you achieve them. Admission officers are always wowed by hearing about goals, especially if they relate to their schools or programs. As you do this, be very specific with the goals and how you intend to achieve them.

All set, but before You Go �

As you contemplate entering nursing school, you must understand that it will never be a walk in the park. There is so much to learn within the specified time frame, and you must show your preparedness. A nursing school personal essay is one of the ways to do so.

Related Article:

  • Writing a nursing philosophy ( a student's guide)
  • Writing a nursing student resume (a guide)

Lucky for you, our nursing admission essay writers have shared insights, tips, and steps that can help you write an exceptional application essay for any nursing school or program. If you follow them, you will write a seamless admission essay that increases your chances of getting into the nursing school of your dreams.

We wish you luck in your endeavors and promise that were available in case you need a well-written, organized, and plagiarism-free admission essay tailored to your experiences and the specific nursing school or program requirements.

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Write a Winning Nursing Application Essay

Nursing May 23, 2018

essay for lpn entrance

Not everyone dreads the nursing application assay. Some consider writing a strong suit. But others definitely do not. If you fall within the latter category, take heart; submitting a well-crafted, winning essay is not as difficult as it may seem.

It may help to keep in mind that a bad essay probably will not ruin your chances of becoming a nurse. But a good one could mean the difference between getting accepted into a program of your choice, at a time of your choosing, or not. That is because admissions personnel often turn to the application essay to differentiate among candidates who might otherwise seem equivalent. A good application essay can set you apart from the pack and help your application stand out.

Of course, if writing were your passion, you would probably be pursuing a different career. Admissions staff understand this. In addition to giving you a chance to reveal a bit about yourself, and your motivation for becoming a nurse, admissions personnel view the essay as a way to assess skills that go beyond writing ability. It is a quick way to assess whether you are capable of following instructions carefully, for instance.

Follow Instructions Carefully

The essay is a sort of screening tool. Applicants who fail to follow instructions properly are easily weeded out of the pile. This makes sense when you consider the ultimate importance of following instructions and staying on task in nursing school.

And make no mistake, it will be crucial to your success that you always stay on top of your workload, meet expectations, and faithfully meet deadlines. It is far too easy to fall behind—and never catch back up—if you do not keep up with your workload during nursing school.

If the expected length of your essay is not spelled out, assume that you should submit no more than two pages of text. If you are assigned a specific topic, be sure to address it, even if you only use it as a springboard to launch your essay in a new direction.

Do Not Procrastinate

Writing a strong essay may take more time than you realize. Accordingly, it makes sense to allow plenty of time to complete your essay. Unless you are already an accomplished writer, assume that crafting a polished essay will take time, thought, drafting, editing, and rewriting.

It may be helpful to create an outline first. But do not overthink it. Frankly, writing that comes from the heart—not the head—is often some of the most compelling writing there is. But even heartfelt sentiments require a bit of effort to shine on the page. Clear phrasing and attention to detail matter.

Do Not Be Intimidated

The idea of making an outline, and writing drafts, sounds daunting. But it need not be. A rough draft is simply a bunch of words strung together that capture your stream of consciousness. Do not worry about grammar, structure, transitions, or any of those other technical details when writing a draft.

It is called a rough draft for a reason. The point is to gather your thoughts, ideas, and even feelings, and give them voice. Once you have done this, you will find that making corrections, fixing grammar or spelling, and eliminating unclear, unnecessary, or inappropriate words or phrases comes easily. Writers used to do this by hand. Today’s technology makes it remarkably easy to edit on the fly, with minimal effort.

One thing technology cannot do is to make bad writing good, though.

Make It Yours

Avoid the obvious, the expected, or the banal. Recognize that there are certain sentiments that virtually every applicant will be tempted to express. Try to avoid the expected and do something a little different. That does not mean you should be different for the sake of being different. But there is great value in sharing something that 100 other writers will not have said already.

Attempt to craft a strong, compelling opening sentence or paragraph. It is the single most important sentence or two in any piece of writing. You must hook your reader early for optimal impact.

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Tips on Writing a Nursing School Admission Essay

When it comes to getting into nursing school, a good admission essay is at the center of the decision. An admission essay can help or hurt students who wish to get into nursing school. The essay is not only about the content but about other important components that let the admission board know that students are serious about entering their programs and that they will be valuable assets as well. It is important for potential nursing students to know that there are important elements needed to write the perfect admission essay to get into nursing school.

How to Write a Nursing School Application Essay

The application essay is a requirement that applicants must complete as a part of the admission packet. Some call this essay the personal essay, letter of intent, or statements of purpose. In essence, the application essay is the applicant’s chance to plea with the admission board for admission into their nursing program. Applicants explain their reasons for becoming nurses and explain why this program can help them achieve their dreams.

It is important to know what elements are needed to write a successful application essay. One of the most important things that applicants need to remember is to plan the essay carefully. Making an outline of important items to include is very important to the success of the essay. It is important to adhere to the length of the essay so that the board does not throw it out. If the application says 500 to 1000 words, it means just that and nothing more or less. The applicant should include information about accomplishments in the applicant’s life and the hopeful accomplishments for the future.

Applicants should only include a short personal statement about them and reserve the majority of the essay for information about experiences that have shaped them. They should use other parts of the application to cover information that does not make the applicant stand out from other applicants. Remember, admission officers read numerous essays so it is important to stand out from other applicants.

Provide a structurally sound application. Make sure that the application essay has the proper spelling, format, and grammatical structure before turning in the finished product. An essay with errors will make the officers believe that the applicant may not be a desirable nurse. Keep the paragraphs short so that they are easy to read for the officers.

What to Include in a Nursing School Essay

A nursing school applicant should include the following in the nursing school essay:

  • Things that interest the applicant about the nursing industry
  • Reasons for choosing the specific nursing program
  • A clear view of the future vision of the applicant
  • Previous preparation to become a successful nurse
  • Superior personal accomplishments and standouts (test scores, transcripts, etc.)
  • Experience with medical training and patient care (volunteer opportunities, internships, etc.)
  • Academic interests
  • Character traits that focus on desires and strengths to become a nurse
  • Reasons the officers should accept the application

Tips on How to Write a Nursing School Application Essay

The purpose of the admissions essay is to prove that the application is a worthy selection for the nursing program. Applicants are only allowed a few words to tell their personal stories, but their rejection or acceptance depends on it. The following tips will help applicants write a successful nursing school application essay:

  • Choose information wisely. Make sure that the information included paints a vivid picture of past and future accomplishments so that the admissions officers are impressed.
  • Select a strong essay topic. Applicants want to be remembered for their essay well after the officers have read it. Make sure to stay on the topic and provide strong supporting information within the paragraphs.
  • Provide a glimpse of the applicant’s life. The admissions officers do not want to be bored with the mundane details but rather the important things that make the applicant unique.
  • Intrigue the reading in the first few lines. Capture the essay reader within the first few lines so that they want to continue reading.
  • Make sure the essay has structure. The essay should include an introduction, body, and conclusion that is easy to read and understand. Make sure to add a memorable statement to the conclusion so that the essay readers do not forget the essay.

The application essay is a very important aspect of the nursing school application process. It can make or break the chance that an applicant gets into nursing school. The applicant should plan accordingly before writing the essay and make sure that it is rich with intriguing information. It is important to make sure that the essay is error free. This is the only chance that an applicant has to impress the admission board.

Thinking about going to Nursing School?

Are you contemplating going to nursing school, or are you actually in nursing school right now? Nursing school can be challenging, especially if you do not know what to expect. Here is a great guide by S. L. Page BSN, RN called “ How to Pass Nursing School “. This book gives you detailed information about how to pass nursing school from beginning to end. S.L. Page, the creator of this website, complied all the information students what to know about nursing school into one easy to read guide. She gives in depth information on how to succeed in nursing school.

S.L. Page graduated from nursing school with honors and passed the NCLEX-RN on her first try. In this ebook, she reveals the strategies she used to help her succeed.

Here is what the book looks like:


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  • The Reason to be a Licensed Practical Nurse

The Reason to be a Licensed Practical Nurse - Admission/Application Essay Example

The Reason to be a Licensed Practical Nurse

  • Subject: Nursing
  • Type: Admission/Application Essay
  • Level: Masters
  • Pages: 1 (250 words)
  • Downloads: 26
  • Author: vhamill

Extract of sample "The Reason to be a Licensed Practical Nurse"

I chose your school of nursing because it is an award-winning school and I believe that it would assist me in the development of my comprehension of the basic principles of nursing. I understand that the program that the school presents is planned to meet the swiftly growing requirement for competent nurses in our country. The school’s high-tech facilities, faculty as well as other professional resources will also be invaluable during my study.I have always had a particular interest in studying science and I have excelled in my grades.

Moreover, I am an open-minded, hard-working, dynamic, and sociable individual who possesses great interpersonal and networking skills. I am also excellent in the team playing and I have other traits such as attention to detail, readiness to learn, and the ability to work with minimal supervision. These would be invaluable as I pursue my dream. Moreover, I believe that pursuing the profession of a Licensed Practical Nurse would grant me the opportunity of improving these skills, which would make me even better.

Pursuing this profession will also endow me with exceptional support and training, over and above giving me the opportunity to interact with the infamous nursing professionals in your institution.Once I become a Licensed Practical Nurse, I aim to take part actively in the promotion as well as the provision of health care services to the best of my capability. I am genuinely concerned about people’s health, and I would love to work in hospitals, private homes settings, extended care facilities, nursing homes among other settings where there is a need to serve humanity by improving their life quality.

I hope that you will give the opportunity to study in your institution to assist me to fulfill my desire and to develop my full potential

  • Interpersonal Attraction
  • Cited: 13 times
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Analysis of registered nurse versus licensed practical nurse, technology transfer, nursing leadership: unlicensed assistive personnel, scenario medication management, regulatory and accreditation body in nursing education paper, the issue of career transformation of nurses, delivery of healthcare in the usa and the impact on licensed practical/ vocational nursing, what nurses need to know about license.

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Why I Want to Get my BSN: Tips to Help With Your Entrance Essay

Nursing is more a calling than a profession. If you feel called to help and care for others, then nursing school may be a smart move. But nursing school can be difficult to get into, typically requiring an entrance essay, among other things. Nursing educational programs select BSN applicants based on their academic excellence and essay response. If you're concerned your written communication skills aren't up to par, read on for our nursing school entrance essay tips. 

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Tips on How to Write a Nursing School Admission Essay

For you to enter nursing school, you will need a good admission essay. The essay is much more than the content, and there are some key points that the admission board will consider. Ideally, your essay should answer the question “Why Do I want to get my BSN?” Some of the things that you should include in your nursing essay are:

  • Why nursing interests you
  • Why you chose the specific nursing school and program
  • Your preparedness to become a great nurse
  • Your personal vision and goals
  • Personal accomplishments like outstanding test scores and transcripts
  • Describe your academic interests
  • Your experience with patient care and medical experiences
  • Reasons why the board should consider your application

While you will only be required to write a few words about your personal life, your acceptance or rejection could depend on these words--so choose each carefully. Keep in mind that the admission essay is an essential part of the selection program. To write a successful essay, follow these simple but important tips:

Select a strong topic for your essay: You want to be remembered for your essay even after the admissions officers have read it. Therefore, ensure that you choose a strong topic and are able to back it up with supporting information. Making an outline of all the points you want to cover can help. While editing (yes, you MUST proofread and edit), compare your essay to your outline to ensure they match and support your overall message.

Choose the information you include wisely: Ensure that the information you include helps paint a positive and accurate portrait of your past and what you intend to accomplish, so that you can impress the admission board. It may be helpful to have others in your life review your essay. Those who know you best can help you paint yourself in the best light.

Provide a glimpse about your life: Don’t bore the admissions officers by including mundane details in your essay. Instead, include vital information that makes you unique from the rest of the applicants. Such information should be interesting while still relevant. 

Structure your essay: Your essay should have an introduction, body, and a conclusion that is easy to read and comprehend. Remember, your introduction and conclusion should support one another--it may even be helpful to write the conclusion first. The last paragraph and sentence should really drive home your point, and stick in the heads of the admission board.

Captivate your readers in the first few lines:  Your first sentence should be strong. It should introduce your topic and 'hook' your audience, enticing them to keep reading. The job of your first sentence is to spark curiosity and interest--no matter what you're writing or to whom. 

Simple is strong: If you're not confident in your skills as a writer, that's ok. You're looking to become a nurse, not a novelist. Your essay is important because it shows who you are, in your own words. When in doubt, keep them short, sweet, and to the point. Flowery language won't get you as far as clear communication.

Why I Want to Get my BSN: Essay Starting Points to Help You Move from RN to BSN

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LPN Application Essay

Students LPN/LVN Students

Published Jun 4, 2014

  • by JosephRAdam

"Why I want to become a Nurse"

Ever since my father experienced medical complications I was introduced the medical field, directly nursing. As a young child I found a fascination that the nurses, and other medical professionals were so knowledgeable with the treatments they were performing. As I aged I began researching different careers in the medical field and became interested in anesthesiology, followed by radiology and lastly, nursing. Fortunately, and unfortunately I was exposed to all three fields I was interested in throughout my childhood; allowing me to get a better understand of each.

The reason I decided to go from anesthesiology, to radiology, and finally nursing is the enhanced ability to provided direct patient care. Nurses are afforded the opportunity to enrich the patients experience both on a medical aspect, as well a emotional aspect. The ability to provide quality care on both addendums appeals to me; as a medical professional the goal is to nurture your patients back to health. However, if you are for example a surgeon or similar type of professional you will not be granted the opportunity.

Graduating from an approved Pennsylvania nurse aide program, I have been employed by a leading long term care skilled nursing facility. I have been afforded the opportunity to help enrich patients lives one at a time; perhaps more so than nurses may. Despite making an emotional difference, I would like to provide care via the medical aspect as well. I believe continuing education is the best way to improve the care you can offer.

As cliché as it sounds, I wish to help people. By becoming a nurse I would be able to help them in both a medical and emotional need. I want to posses as much knowledge as possible to become a excellent nurse, providing quality patient care. As I have already experienced I know there will be moments that will be tough for the patient, their families as well as I; your patients become your family as you familiarize yourself with them.

I believe nurses are in a unique position as they have knowledge in the medical side of patient care, as well as the opportunity to assist patients in their emotional needs. Doctors, Anesthesiologists and other medical professionals do not always have the opportunity. Therefore, becoming a nurse would be a perfect fit as I wish to provide both types of care. Becoming a nurse is full of opportunity from a patient care point of view, as well as a medical point of view. The opportunities in becoming a nurse are endless.

  • + Add a Comment


TheCommuter, BSN, RN

176 Articles; 27,610 Posts

Did you post your essay so the membership could comment on it? If so, I have noticed that it does have a handful of minor grammatical/usage errors that could be corrected.



Your heart shines through this letter and I think you could benefit by correcting a few minor grammar and stylistic errors so that nothing will detract from your message.

Best of luck!

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Graduate Application Guide for Nurses

portrait of NurseJournal Staff

NurseJournal Staff

Contributing Writer

Learn about our editorial process .

Updated April 26, 2022

After finding the right graduate program, prospective students can begin the application process. Learn how to successfully apply to graduate nursing programs.

Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Earning a graduate degree in nursing allows nurses to apply for higher leadership positions, earn higher salaries, and further specialize in nursing. If a nurse wants to become a nurse practitioner or researcher, they need more experience and skills to provide the best care to patients.

Aspiring or prospective nursing students should know exactly what's required when applying for graduate programs. This guide covers graduate program admission requirements and what applicants should expect to provide with the applications.

Learn what really matters when applying to nursing graduate programs and the requirements for application.

Nursing Graduate Program Prerequisites

While these prerequisites apply to most graduate schools, keep in mind that different schools have different requirements. You can find graduate nursing school requirements on your preferred school's website or talk to the school's graduate admissions counselors.

Do I Need a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing to Earn a Nursing Graduate Degree?

While some graduate programs require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree in nursing, other programs are designed for RNs without a bachelor's degree. Many graduate nursing schools also offer accelerated or bridge programs for those who have a bachelor's degree in a discipline other than nursing.

An RN-to-MSN program offers a pathway for nurses who have an associate degree in nursing rather than a bachelor's degree. Some schools may also offer a direct-entry MSN which is designed for students with a bachelor’s degree in a discipline other than nursing.

Since bridge programs take longer to complete than BSN-to-MSN programs and are only offered by some schools, a BSN can reduce the amount of time spent in graduate school.

What Prerequisite Classes are Required for Graduate Nursing Programs?

Nursing graduate students must complete certain prerequisites to prepare for graduate-level coursework.

Prerequisites typically include:

  • Undergraduate degree in nursing
  • In some cases, at least one year of recent RN experience
  • Microbiology

Students who have completed these courses at accredited schools can typically transfer the credits into their graduate program. Private, for-profit schools sometimes do not hold accreditation or hold national rather than regional accreditation.

Students who attended an undergraduate school without regional accreditation should research the transfer policy of their prospective graduate school to ensure the institution will accept their degree and credits. If the graduate program does not offer the required prerequisite courses and the student either has not completed the courses previously or cannot transfer them, the learner may be able to complete prerequisites through another accredited college.

Is Work Experience a Prerequisite to a Nursing Graduate Program?

Nursing is a complicated and ever-changing field. Even after years of school and clinical, graduates sometimes need more time to become comfortable in their roles. That's why many programs require applicants to submit a resume with their nursing graduate school application and may require a certain amount of relevant experience.

These programs are designed for nurses who want to specialize in a certain area. Applicants to RN-to-MSN programs , which do not require a bachelor's degree, may need additional experience. Students with professional experience closely related to their field of study are often the most competitive applicants. For example, applicants to a nurse anesthetist program may benefit from experience working in the operating room or ICU. Students who plan to pursue graduate education directly after earning their bachelor's degree should look for programs that do not require work experience.

Do I Have to Take the GRE or the MAT to Apply to Nursing School?

Many institutions require applicants to submit GRE or MAT scores. If a school accepts scores from either entrance exam , the applicant should choose the exam that best suits their unique situation, considering the subjects, costs, dates, and locations of each test.

The GRE tests students on analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning. The mathematical section is high-school level and below, and all sections require critical-thinking skills. The MAT comprises 100 semantic analogy questions, which assess the test-taker's understanding of a variety of topics.

The GRE takes four hours to complete, and the MAT only takes one hour. The GRE costs $205, and students may incur additional fees for registering late or sending scores after the test. The cost of the MAT varies by location, with most testing centers charging about $100. Some schools require no entrance exam, while others waive the requirement for certain students.

MAT/GRE Waiver

Some students get nervous at the very thought of taking an entrance exam because they know they do not test well. Working nurses may also not have the time to study for an exam like this. Applicants with these concerns may be able to skip the tests with waivers.

Higher learning institutions may waive the requirement for GRE or MAT scores if a student has:

  • High enough undergraduate GPA
  • Specified number of years of experience or
  • Previous graduate degree in any subject

Many schools make these exceptions because applicants with those qualifications have already proven they can excel at the graduate level or in nursing. To apply for a waiver, candidates should contact the admissions offices at their chosen schools. Each school has a different process, but they all require waiver candidates to fill out applications and provide proof of their eligibility.

Breakdown of MAT Scores

Pearson, the organization that oversees the MAT, scores each test digitally . Test-takers receive unofficial results immediately after completing the exam. Pearson sends official scores to each student's choice of three institutions. Test-takers also receive official scores, including scaled scores and percentiles.

To calculate a scaled score, Pearson begins with the student's raw score, which represents the number of questions missed, then uses statistical analysis to account for variations between tests. Each scaled score is between 200 and 600. The percentile illustrates how well the student performed compared to other test-takers. Students receive a percentile score between one and 99, which represents the percentage of learners who earned the same score or lower. For example, a student who scores in the 80th percentile did as well as or better than 80% of all MAT test-takers.

Nursing graduate schools evaluate exam scores differently. Many programs have a minimum score requirement of about 410. However, some universities have no minimum requirement and use the applicant's MAT score in context with the rest of the application when making admissions decisions.

Sometimes a test-taker recognizes a poor performance before completing the exam. When that happens, the student can take advantage of Pearson's no score option. The test-taker selects "do not process this score" on screen, and although the student does not receive a refund, Pearson will not send the suboptimal score to institutions.

Breakdown of GRE Scores

GREs have three sections: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. Scoring is fairly straightforward . The verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning sections are multiple choice and scores range from 130-170 with one-point increments.

The analytical writing section is scored from 0-6, with half-point increments. This section comprises two essay questions. Two readers will score your entrance essay for the nursing program, and if their responses vary by more than one point, a third reader will also score your results. You receive the average of the scores.

The average/mean scores for each section are:

150.37 Verbal Reasoning

153.66 Quantitative Reasoning

3.6 Analytical Writing

In addition to your raw score, you receive a report that indicates your percentile, as described below.

GRE Scores and Percentiles

Percentiles indicate how your scores compare to other test-takers' scores. The tables below show how raw scores convert into percentiles. For example, a scaled score of 170 on the verbal reasoning section means that you scored in the 99th percentile. In other words, you scored higher than 99% of all other test-takers. A 170 for quantitative reasoning means you scored higher than 96% of all test-takers.

Nursing School Application Requirements

Graduate nursing school requirements ensure you can succeed in the program and as a nurse. This is why they include measurements of your academic achievements, such as your GPA for nursing school or other undergraduate degree, as well as letters of recommendation and a personal essay or statement. These indicate whether you have the personal characteristics required for nursing.


Almost all nursing master's programs require applicants to submit undergraduate transcripts, which must be official and unopened. In most cases, the undergraduate institution sends these official documents directly to the graduate school.

Admissions boards use transcripts to ensure the applicant holds the required degree, typically an ADN or BSN. Transcripts also reveal whether the applicant has taken prerequisite courses and provide insight into the academic areas in which the applicant excels. Many schools consider each applicant's overall GPA and nursing GPA separately.

Some schools have no minimum GPA, except for applicants who wish to waive the GRE or MAT requirement. Most schools that set minimum GPAs require at least a 3.0 GPA, but some selective universities require a minimum 3.5 GPA.

Test Scores

When submitting a nursing graduate school application, a strong resume is important, especially if the program requires professional experience.

Resumes should be concise and easy to read. Students should accurately describe each of their previous positions while emphasizing skills applicable to advanced nursing practice. Important items to include are:

  • Education and training
  • Licensure and Certification
  • Awards and accomplishments
  • Volunteer work

Applicants who lack experience or who have gaps in their work history can strengthen their resume by adding volunteer or clinical experience. Applicants should be ready to explain any gaps in employment during an interview if required.

Essays and Personal Statements

Graduate nursing school applicants may need to submit a personal statement, an essay, or both. For applicants, understanding how to write a personal statement for nursing school can provide you with an important advantage.

Because the essay or personal statement is an opportunity to explain or compensate for gaps or issues in the rest of the application, students should devote significant time and energy to this piece of writing. Applicants should ensure the essay is free of grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. While a few misplaced commas may not result in a rejection, incoherent writing can ruin an application.

Each institution provides different prompts, but most essays focus on the applicant's strengths and future plans to illustrate why the school should accept them. Admissions officials look for essays and statements conveying the applicant's ambitions and motivations. Perhaps most importantly, the essay should be authentic and reflect the applicant's true feelings about the nursing profession .

Letters of Recommendation

While the essay or personal statement allows applicants to explain themselves, letters of recommendation provide the perspective of the candidate's colleagues and mentors. Recommenders should have experience with the applicant in an academic or professional setting. Some schools also ask applicants to provide letters of recommendation that speak to the student's moral character.

Candidates should avoid choosing family members as recommenders and instead ask current or previous professors and employers. Applicants should approach potential recommenders early and give them plenty of time to write letters, ideally a few months.

Near the beginning of the letter, the writer should clearly state their intention to endorse the applicant. The writers should then highlight the applicant's professional or academic prowess, dedication to nursing, and achievements. Like in essays, admissions boards prefer specific examples in letters of recommendation. UC Berkeley provides an example of an effective letter of recommendation.

English Proficiency Tests

International applicants from non-English-speaking countries must typically complete an English proficiency exam. These standardized tests demonstrate an applicant's ability to understand English-speaking teachers and succeed in courses taught in English.

Many schools will not issue the required visa documentation without English proficiency scores. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) are both commonly accepted. Students should check with their prospective institution to learn about score requirements and which exams the school accepts.

Background Check and Drug Screening

How do you apply to nursing graduate school.

Nurses can advance their careers by applying to graduate school, but because the application process can take a year or longer, prospective students should begin researching early. Candidates should apply as soon as the documents are ready and the desired schools are accepting applications. Waiting until a week or two before the application deadline can be stressful, and even a minor setback can ruin the student's chances of acceptance.

The steps for applying to graduate nursing school are:

  • Complete required prerequisites for nursing school
  • Collect necessary applications materials
  • Prepare for and take the GRE or MAT
  • Apply to programs
  • Prepare for nursing program interviews
  • Receive acceptance or rejection letters

NursingCAS provides a simple application process for students applying to participating schools. The system is operated by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and allows students to apply to many schools at once. NursingCAS charges graduate students $70 for the first school and $40 for each additional institution to which they apply; this fee is comparable to individual schools' application fees. Both NursingCAS and individual schools may waive these fees for applicants who demonstrate financial need.

Rolling Admissions

Some graduate schools have a rolling admissions policy, which means they have no firm application deadline. Instead, they accept applications all year. Online schools often provide rolling admissions because of their scheduling flexibility. Prospective students who meet graduate school requirements can apply immediately. The school places applications in line for review as soon as they receive them and immediately notifies the student upon reaching a decision.

Because these schools process applications on a first-come, first-served basis, candidates can benefit from applying during less competitive seasons. The time between acceptance and enrollment depends on the number of available spots. The earlier students apply, the sooner they typically begin classes. The start date also depends on the program format. Students attending traditional universities generally wait until the end of the semester. Accelerated programs may offer classes lasting 5-8 weeks and usually offer more start dates per year.

Rounds Admissions

Some nursing programs may provide rounds admissions in order to better accommodate clinical schedules. Schools with this type of admissions policy have application deadlines throughout the year. Most schools offer deadlines in the fall, spring, and summer. Each deadline corresponds with a start date. For example, students who apply by September of 2021 may begin courses in January or August of 2022.

While undergraduate students may benefit from applying for spring and summer start dates, which often have less competition, this is not necessarily true for nursing graduate programs. Because many applicants are current professionals and are not on an academic schedule, some nursing graduate schools may receive applications throughout the year. Instead of waiting for a time with less competition, candidates should apply at a time that fits their schedule.

Waiting for Acceptance Letters

After applying, students should receive a confirmation that the university has received the application. Since most candidates submit online, this confirmation often comes in the form of an email containing instructions on how to check the status of the application and how long the applicant should expect to wait for a decision. Long wait times do not indicate acceptance or rejection. After waiting, applicants receive a letter with an acceptance, rejection, or placement on a waitlist.

Students who are admitted to more than one program should carefully evaluate their options before enrolling. Learners should consider cost, time, distance, and available specialties. Those who are placed on a waitlist may be admitted when accepted students choose other schools. Candidates who receive rejection letters can review their applications and talk to admissions specialists. After improving their applications, they may apply again and receive an acceptance.

Frequently Asked Questions About Applying to Graduate Nursing School

What gpa do you need for nursing grad school.

Graduate nursing schools typically require a 2.75 GPA, and highly competitive schools require a 3.5 GPA minimum. With this in mind, other factors determine acceptance or rejection. A graduate program takes all of a student's test scores, letters of recommendation, and leadership roles into account. GPA is just one indicator of how well a student would fit into the nursing program.

Does nursing require graduate school?

Not all nursing jobs require a graduate degree to apply. However, nurses that earn an MSN benefit from higher salaries , more job opportunities, and better experience to help care for patients. Some graduate programs even prefer applicants that have already worked in the nursing field.

Is it hard to get into nursing grad school?

Some of the most rigorous nursing graduate programs require high test scores and various top-ranking qualifications, but not every program fits each student's goals. Each program varies and suits the needs of their respective nursing students.

How long does it take to get an MSN?

The fastest way to earn an MSN is to enroll in an accelerated BSN-to-MSN program that turns the typical six years of undergraduate and graduate classes into 4-5 years.

NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Whether you’re looking to get your pre-licensure degree or taking the next step in your career, the education you need could be more affordable than you think. Find the right nursing program for you.

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Free Admission Essay About LPN program

Type of paper: Admission Essay

Topic: Nursing , Patient , Health , Patient Care , Medicine , Education , Time , Team

Published: 07/13/2021


Throughout the LPN program, I was afforded the opportunity to enter into a patient care internship. Many cringe at this opportunity, but I found it to be one of the most enlightening experiences of my life. Not only did it highlight many of my strengths in the medical field, but it showed me many of the things I needed to work on. I am now proficient in working in a team, delegating tasks, multitasking, advocating for the patient, accepting responsibility when asked, and many other important assignments. My time caring for patients also showed me the importance of teamwork between the medical staff and the patient, which allowed me to set my sights on new goals for myself, and my education. I realize now I need to learn more about promoting wellness, preventing wellness, facilitating coping, and restoring health so that I may best serve the patients, and allow them the best chance at leaving any facility happy and healthy. Patient care showed me it is possible for a patient to regain health, thrive, and never return. I would like to enter the medical community as an RN to continue having this type of impact on other patients after I have continued me education and learned enough to be of better use to them as a caregiver.

My name is (fill in here). I am twenty-nine years old. Currently I am an LPN; I graduated in October of 2014. I have never worked as an LPN, but during my internship I was fortunate enough to provide patient care for several patients, many of whom I witnessed thrive and gain better health. Many people in the nursing field enter it hoping to help manage a patient’s ailments until they leave the hospital, or until they die. My experience in patient care, however, inspired me to move forward with my education, showing me with the right attitude and adequate care, many patients can leave the facility healthier than when they arrived.

The LPN program, specifically my time in patient care, inspired me in several ways, giving me new goals I plan to follow throughout my education. For example, I want to promote wellness wherever I go, especially when I am working. It is important to me that I learn more about health and caregiving in order to promote wellness to the best of my abilities. Continuing my education will also help me to prevent illness, and to facilitate coping in the workplace. I learned this was also a very large part of pain management and recovery during my time in patient care. Preventing further illnesses and helping them cope with the struggle they are going through allows them to focus more of their efforts on a single recovery. Finally, furthering my education will help me learn how to restore the health of my patients. While I was giving patient care, restoring health was the obvious deciding factor between the patients who succeeded and those who failed. Patients and the medical staff often worked as a team during recover, but it often started with the medical staff, and I would like to be the biggest part of the team I can be; continuing my education will allow for this.

My time in patient care was spent well. I learned many things about my practice and myself. Most importantly, I learned how to become an effective caregiver. I also became aware of how important it is to sometimes educate fellow staff and patients on conditions and how to manage them. I began to work better in a team, as well. Working in patient care taught me the basics of being a patient’s advocate, which is very important for the medical field, and I have learned how to manage crises of different varieties. The experience contributed to many different skills that will be beneficial to me throughout my future education. I am able to complete assigned responsibilities within my healthcare team in order to help the patient maintain health, and avoid disability or illness. I also have improved my planning skills; it is one of my strengths. The implementation and evaluation of for a sick individual or a group is also a strength of mine. I remain professional under any circumstance in the work setting thanks to my experiences in patient care, and have learned to multi-task, but also delegate tasks when absolutely necessary. Furthermore, patient care has strengthened my technical skills, i.e. taking vital signs, working with medical records, invasive procedures, and aseptic techniques.

While I understand that many others will have a desire to continue their education, they will not have the same goals or the same qualifications as I do. I am prepared to do everything I can in the RN bridge program to re-enter the medical field, helping the patient to the best of my ability. My soul purpose is to ensure the safety and health of patients. I owe this determination to my time in patient care throughout the LPN program, and I would like to continue my commitment to my work by continuing my education, strengthening my skills, and helping everybody I am able to help.


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I Have a Simple Solution to the College Essay Problem

Time to end this charade, once and for all..

Every year more than a million students use the Common Application, a standardized electronic form accepted by more than 1,000 colleges, to apply to college. And every year since 1976, the Common App, as it’s known, has asked teenagers to write an essay where they reflect on who they are and what they want to be. Now is a good time for college admissions offices to reflect on who they are and what they want the application essay to be.

Some people who work in college admissions are very concerned about students using ChatGPT to write their essays, but colleges should treat this challenge not as an obstacle but as an opportunity to, as the Common App puts it, “ learn from the experience .” Colleges should make the admissions process a lot more straightforward and a little bit fairer by asking students better questions, requiring simpler, shorter answers, and dumping the personal essay

While the intention behind the creation of the personal essay might have been to give students a chance to shine, it took less than a decade for it to congeal into a genre thick with clichés and conventions. By 1986, admissions officers at a national convention were already complaining “about dull essays piling up all around them ” and saying that “if things didn’t liven up, the essay could soon disappear altogether as an admissions tool.” The essay did not disappear, but it also did not liven up.

If anything, essays grew duller. Guidebooks, English teachers, and private college consultants have increasingly taught students to follow a formula that goes something like this: Start with an arresting sentence that leads into an anecdote about some experience that shaped your character. Make sure the story leads to a lesson learned. And do it in 650 words.

It’s a “really difficult” exercise, as a dean of admissions at Princeton University once admitted , “where students are asked to write what makes them unique. No adult is ever asked to do that.” Pretty much no college student is either. The application essay is a one-off that bears little connection to the kind of writing people do at work or in college. Sure, applicants to graduate school usually write a statement of purpose, and job applicants need to write cover letters, but they do not need to tell their “story,” as people—just in relationship to the opportunity at hand.

That’s a phrase you hear often inside the college admissions industrial complex —the essay is your chance to tell “your story.” But perhaps at the age of 17 “your story” is not over yet, and you cannot be reduced to a character in a narrative. One of the worst ideas in college admissions right now is the notion that colleges should be taking character into account in the admissions process. I’m sure that’s going to be wonderful for students, telling them they got rejected on the basis of their character instead of their grades.

This idea that people need to tell their story has become all too familiar from social media and brand marketing, where consultants and business school professors are always telling companies they need a story in order to sell their product. What makes this exercise even worse with the personal essay is that students don’t have a product to sell. They are being told to think of themselves as the product.

Colleges might think that essays help open up opportunities for students, but the opposite could be true. A new study by Taylor K. Odle, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Preston Magouirk, a data scientist at the District of Columbia College Access Program, looked at the nearly 300,000 students who started but never submitted an application through the Common App. They wanted to see if there were any patterns that would explain why a quarter of the people who started an application never sent one to a college. The element most commonly associated with starting but not completing an application—more common than being a first-generation student or living in a low-income neighborhood—was the failure to write an essay.

To be fair, there is something of a chicken and egg thing going on here. Does a student not bother to write an essay because they have decided not to submit an application, or does having to write an essay push them not to submit an application? Odle and Magouirk’s research cannot answer that question, and they are careful to say that they are making no causal claims about the correlations they identified.

It is not hard to imagine that at least some of the students who bailed on the Common Application did so because of the essay. Writing the essay is hard, so it’s no wonder that so many teenagers turn to tired formulas for writing essays and that many of them will likely be turning to ChatGPT this fall to write something like this.

In the midst of a sunny middle school afternoon, I find myself embroiled in a Pokémon battle tournament with my closest friends. The vibrant trading cards sprawl before us, and the excitement in the air is palpable. We’ve all gathered in my backyard, our youthful enthusiasm infusing life into the colorful creatures on our cards. The Pokémon craze has consumed our lives, and today, we’ve decided to settle, once and for all, who among us is the true Pokémon Master. The rules are straightforward: We’ll take turns battling each other, and the winner will claim the illustrious title.

The lessons learned?

As the sun sets on that memorable afternoon, our friendships have weathered a severe test. This middle school Pokémon challenge, marked by cheating and redemption, has left an indelible mark on our lives. It serves as a poignant reminder that honesty, communication, and fair play are guiding principles that continue to shape our journey through the complexities of life.

It’s not great, but it’s not terrible. Which means it’s like almost all college application essays, which do an applicant neither harm nor good in the college admissions process. That’s a fact missed by those who thought that dropping test requirements would give the wealthy a greater advantage in the admissions process by making essays more important . The reality is that researchers and admissions deans have acknowledged that the essay does little to help assess an applicant’s ability to succeed at an institution. The essay’s role in admissions committees’ decisionmaking reflects that common knowledge. A Penn admissions dean once admitted that “maybe one in eight” essays played a role in an admissions decision. A University of Virginia dean put the number at 5 percent, with a majority of those having a negative effect.

Hiring an expensive college consultant , some of whom charge $15,000 or more to help with applications , is one way to make your essay stand out, assuming that the consultant is good at their job. Although companies that outright write the essay in exchange for cash do exist, most college consultants take the ethics of their work very seriously and limit themselves to assisting with identifying topics and editing drafts. Even so—and I say this as a person who has been paid to help students with their application essays—it is very hard to keep a clean line between helping a student with their essay and shaping that essay. In the real world, of course, editors often significantly contribute to a writer’s work. Great writing is often collaborative, but the college application encourages an illusory notion that writing is a product of a single person working in total isolation.

What is most irritating about all the hand-wringing over ChatGPT’s threat to the integrity of the admissions essay is that it assumes the essay ever had much integrity or value. It has always been possible to pay for help on college essays, but as long as the cheating was mostly limited to the rich, it seemed to have been cool with admissions officers.

It’s an idea that lines up with what the writer Emi Nietfeld has suggested is the ulterior motive of the college essay, namely to prop up the mythology of elite universities with stories of individual triumph. “ This narrative of overcoming is especially dangerous because it’s used to justify certain institutions having all of this power ,” Nietfeld says. “It’s used to justify being in such an unequal world.” It allows colleges to believe that they are “solving issues of structural inequality, rather than perpetuating them.”

College applications’ reliance on stories and characters reinforces a fundamental human tendency, known as correspondence bias , which attributes a person’s condition and actions to their character rather than to the situation in which they act. That means a student born with a slew of advantages might look more accomplished than someone who had much more to overcome but doesn’t have the chance to shadow her aunt in the oncology unit or the opportunity to co-author a paper during a summer internship.

Some applicants, especially people of color or those from low-income households, feel compelled to compartmentalize their experience in a story that foregrounds the adversity they have faced and “ put their pain on display ,” as the scholar Aya M. Waller-Bey puts it. For many students, that pain is likely raw and real, but for others it might be largely tactical. “The basic strategy,” one Harvard student bravely confessed , “was to highlight the worst parts of your life to distract admissions officers from the reality that, on the whole, you are very privileged.”

These trauma narratives are likely to become more common as a result of the Students for Fair Admissions decision . While the Supreme Court effectively banned the consideration of racial identity in admissions decisions in June, Chief Justice John Roberts also wrote, “Nothing in this opinion should be construed as prohibiting universities from considering an applicant’s discussion of how race affected his or her life, be it through discrimination, inspiration, or otherwise.” It is hard not to interpret that comment as an invitation, if not a demand, to students of color to center their personal essay around their racial identity. Some students will want to do that; only students of color will feel compelled to do that, even if they might prefer to write about punk rock or kombucha . Privilege means getting to write whatever you want, while other students have to think carefully about how they perform their identity.

Some colleges that formerly considered race as one element in their admissions process have found a way around this problem by adding a short question to their application about an applicant’s identity, experiences, and/or communities. Harvard, for example, gives applicants 200 words to answer their new supplemental question: “Harvard has long recognized the importance of enrolling a diverse student body. How will the life experiences that shape who you are today enable you to contribute to Harvard?” While it may be a net win that students are still allowed to talk about how race and identity has shaped them, this question puts the burden for diversity on the shoulders of students of color, who are pressured to present themselves in a way that lets Harvard acknowledge how their racial identity has shaped their experience, even as admissions officers cannot take that identity itself into account.

Figuring out how to answer the diversity question is no small thing to ask a 17-year-old to do. It’s made worse by the fact that Harvard and other highly rejective colleges have done so little themselves to mitigate the harm the Supreme Court decision will do to diversity on campus. They continue to cling to admissions practices , such as legacy preferences, athletic recruitment, and heavy reliance on students from expensive private high schools , that primarily benefit wealthy white applicants. Maybe Harvard needs to explain how it is contributing to diversity.

Add to all these problems the fact that more than 90 percent of undergraduates attend an institution that admits most of its applicants . Why do a million high school students have to go through this painful exercise when it probably will not matter in the end? If everybody can now get a bot to write the essay, and admissions readers at even the most selective colleges do not get much value out of it regardless, why not scrap it altogether?

I have advocated for that position in the past, but conversations with people who work in admission have convinced me that abolition is not the answer. While most essays have little impact on an applicant’s getting into a college, there is that minority for whom it makes a difference. What makes a difference is not really in the story or the writing, however; it’s the revelation of something about an applicant that doesn’t show up anywhere else in the application. Rich students pay consultants to help them write an essay that will impress, but what colleges want are essays that inform.

So here is the very simple answer to all the problems with the admissions essay: stop asking teenagers to tell stories. Get rid of the personal essay and just ask them more straightforward questions that speak to what a college is looking for in a class of students. Limit their answers to 150 words or even less, so there is no room for anecdotes or evocative quotations from F. Scott Fitzgerald or Travis Scott. And make it clear that how applicants express themselves does not matter. If a college cannot come up with these kinds of questions, then it should not ask any.

Lots of colleges already ask more straightforward questions on the Common App, in what are called “supplemental questions,” that tend to ask for factual information rather than narratives. Many colleges use a version of this question from Occidental, which is perfectly fair to ask an applicant: “Why are you applying to Occidental? Why do you think Occidental is the right place for you to pursue your interests?”

Also common is this style of question from Emory, which asks students what they want to study and why: “What academic areas are you interested in exploring at Emory University and why?” You do not need ChatGPT or a consultant to answer that question.

Even better, Emory also asks students to fill out a checklist of the resources they used in the application process, including paid college consultants and essay coaches. All highly selective colleges should be moving in this direction, asking for important contextual information, including whether someone paid for a test prep or academic tutor in high school, in a yes/no format. They could even give applicants space to provide some context on their answers, if they liked.

If colleges limit themselves to asking questions requiring short, factual answers, ChatGPT loses its power, since it does not know a single thing about an applicant. So, too, do expensive college essay consultants, who make most of their money working on essays with students. If an application just asks questions that—perish the thought—students are already prepared to answer, why bother to spend thousands of dollars on an independent educational consultant? With very little effort, highly selective colleges could wipe out one of the most corrupt elements in the admissions process and make it a little bit more fair.

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