How to Write an Admission Essay for Nursing School

Written by Brandon L.
August 17, 202315 min read

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:

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.




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

    Body paragraph 1

    Body paragraph 2

    Body paragraph 3


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.

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

  1. Discuss your interest and understanding of the clinical nurse leader role. What's your story? And what experiences have contributed to your interest?
  2. 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.
  3. How will the program help you achieve your academic and career goals?
  4. What experiences have influenced your interest in pursuing a clinical specialty you have chosen?
  5. 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.
  6. Why have you chosen to pursue a nursing research doctorate?
  7. How does becoming a nurse fulfill your ambitions?
  8. What does becoming a nurse mean to you?
  9. What drives you to become a nurse?
  10. Why do you want to become a nurse?
  11. What is your nursing philosophy?
  12. 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?
  13. What are your professional goals? How will this accelerated nursing program help you materialize those goals?
  14. 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:

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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