The Emotional Stages of Applying to Nursing School

By ThriveAP Intern and Soon-to-Be Nursing Student Ashley Prince

Let’s be honest- applying to nursing programs, especially graduate or second degree programs, is stressful. Juggling different deadlines, pre-requisites and essay questions is enough to push anyone over the edge, but as I recently learned is nothing compared to the anxiety you experience after hitting “submit” on your online nursing school application.

If you ask me, the emotions of applying to a nursing program are as follows.

Immediately after submitting your app: Excitement and feelings of accomplishment. Oh yeah, I finished an application! I navigated a prooly laid out website, translated application jargon, and memorized the thesaurus writing this essay. I think I’ll take the day off and have a drink. I’m so proud of myself.

1 week after submitting your app: Doubt. I read my essay and decided that if I had rephrased three sentences, it would have been much better. But, maybe the original was good enough? How long exactly is the review process? Also, why is my head throbbing incessantly?!

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2 weeks after submitting your app: Nervousness. Ok, I got an e-mail saying the school received my transcripts, letters, and application together and it is entering the review process. I should have a decision in a few weeks. It would probably take admissions faculty less time to review my app if I had just rephrased those few sentences in my essay. Or, if I met with my advisor to send in my transcript earlier, this process would be completed more quickly. What exactly does ‘a few weeks’ mean, anyway? Two? Three? Six? Man, my head hurts.

4 weeks after submitting your app: Intense anxiety. So, technically it’s been a few weeks, right? Is there a way I can check online for the status? Oh, Wait! There’s a big envelope in my mailbox. I can’t remember if a big envelope means acceptance or rejection. I don’t want to open it. I’m just going to set it on the table and forget about it. Now it’s staring at me. I know I’ve been freaking out for a while now, but I swear I really don’t want to know.

After opening the envelope: OH MY GOSH I GOT INTO MY FIRST NURSING PROGRAM!!!!!! SURE, IT’S MY SAFETY SCHOOL, BUT I GOT ACCEPTED SOMEWHERE!! They like me, they really like me!

2-6 hours after opening the envelope: Panic. Oh my gosh. I got accepted. I can go to grad school and have the career I’ve always wanted. This is actually happening.

I’m sure I will go through this cycle many more times as I apply to more nursing schools and find the best fit. Starting this new chapter is both exciting and nerve wracking, but I can’t wait to see how it turns out! In the meantime, I’m going to become Excedrin’s number one customer.


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2 thoughts on “The Emotional Stages of Applying to Nursing School”

  1. That’s exactly how I felt! The anxiousness of getting a response and then sitting it on the table and not even opening it! Lol. We’ve all been there! Good luck.

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