Applying to a nurse practitioner program can be a daunting and stressful process. Are your grades and test scores competitive? Will a NP program accept you despite your lack of nursing experience? Will you ultimately be accepted to a program or be resigned to living in your mother-in-law’s basement for the rest of your life? Not to worry, I think it is safe to say you can come away free from basement-dwelling. There are a few ways you can make your NP program application stand out bettering your chances of success.
If you want to apply to a NP program this Spring, it’s time to start thinking about getting you application together. What steps should you take in your nurse practitioner program application process to set you above other applicants?
1. Job Shadow a Nurse Practitioner
If at all possible, shadow a practicing nurse practitioner for one or two days before applying to your NP program of choice. This differentiates you from other applicants for a few key reasons. First, you can refer to your shadowing experience in the essay portion of your application. This lets admissions staff know you are serious about your new career and have taken the time to practically explore it and commit to the nurse practitioner profession. Secondly, if you connect with your NP host, he or she can write you an exceptional recommendation. A recommendation from a practicing medical professional will make your application shine.
2. Spend Time Volunteering
Volunteering is the perfect extracurricular addition to your NP application profile. Although not required by most NP programs, students who volunteer catch the eyes of admissions officers. Find an organization serving the population with whom you intend to work as a nurse practitioner and spend a few weeks helping out. This will help you solidify your career plans and give you material for your application essays as well as land your NP program application at the top of the stack in the admissions office.
3. Personally Meet With Admissions Officers and Program Directors
Is there a nurse practitioner program you really really really want to be a part of? Take the time to set up a meeting with an admissions staff member as well as the program director of the specialty for which you are applying. This helps faculty put a face with a name making your application package more vibrant and personal. Make sure to be prepared with a few questions about the program to help the conversation flow.
4. Perfect Your Essays
One of the most dreaded parts of the NP application process, essays can be used to your advantage. Typically the only part of the NP program application that is not fill-in-the blank, essays give you a chance to let your personality shine. Have friends or family read them before you turn in your app helping to edit them to perfection.
5. Get Your App in Early
Some nurse practitioner programs accept students on a rolling basis meaning that they operate on a first-come, first-serve basis for qualified students. Applying promptly once an application session opens will increase your chances of getting a well-deserved spot in their nurse practitioner class. Even if your NP program of choice does not enroll students on a rolling basis, it never hurts to look well organized by promptly submitting your application materials.
Good luck on your nurse practitioner program applications for 2013! Where will you be applying?