You’re destined to become a nurse, and you’ve worked hard to get to this point. You took all the right classes, studied tirelessly to ace each course, and now you’ve come to the final obstacle on your road to nursing school: the admissions interview. Each year, thousands of students apply to nursing programs across the country, and much like you, they look great on paper. But even the most qualified applicants with impressive CVs can’t make up for a less-than-stellar interview. So with hundreds of students rejected every year, how do you put your best foot forward for success? Learn what you need to know about nursing school admissions interviews, from understanding the basics to gaining expert insight on how to answer every type of question with success.
Nursing School Interview 101: Understanding the Basics
There are a few foundational aspects of the interview process that should be among the first things you consider as you prepare. The most beneficial way to spend your time in preparation of your interview is organizing your expectations, getting to know the unique characteristics of the program, and learning expected interview etiquette. Let’s take a closer look.
Each interview process is a little different, and it’s impossible to predict exactly what’s awaiting you inside the interview room. Depending on the specific school, your interviewer, or interviewers, will hold different positions in the school. They might be faculty members, current students, alumni, or admissions counselors. The interview may be a one-on-one format or in front of a panel of multiple interviewers. Additionally, be aware that some interviewers will have access to your application materials and know a bit about you while others may not. With this in mind, it’s best to come prepared for all possible scenarios.
There are some things that go for all types of professional and academic interviews. First, be sure to arrive early. You’ll want to give yourself some leeway to account for traffic or public transportation hold-ups. Second, dress professionally. When in doubt, avoid wearing jeans, clothes with holes or signs of wear, outdoor workwear, workout clothes, and tennis shoes. Third, be sure to make good eye contact and act respectfully toward everyone you meet as soon as you enter the building. You’ll also be expected to turn off your cell phone and arrive with printed copies of your transcripts and resume.
Know Your Program
Every program takes pride in the unique things it can offer its students. It’s important to thoroughly research each specific nursing program you’re interviewing for. Your interviewer may ask you questions that apply specifically to their particular program and you want to be prepared to answer them thoughtfully and accurately. Before your interview, be sure to research important faculty members, program highlights, and course curriculum. If it comes off as though you know nothing about the program you’re interviewing for, the interviewers may think that the spot in their class would be better filled by someone more eager and passionate about their school.
What to Expect: The 5 Question Categories
As you’re preparing for your nursing school interview, there are five main types of interview questions that you should expect to be asked. Think through each category of question ahead of time and prepare loose, general talking points for each based on your experience and professional characteristics. Let’s take a closer look at some of these likely questions.
Five Ways to Put Your Best Foot Forward
Putting your best foot forward in your nursing school admissions interview requires critical thinking and an attention to detail. Here’s a list of things to keep in mind as you begin to prepare.
Expert Insight on Nursing School Admissions
Allison Spain is a Registered Nurse with over 10 years of nursing experience; she holds a BA in psychology and a BSN and MSN in nursing. Besides her nursing experience her other experience includes oncology and med-surg patient care. She has filled administrative positions, care coordination roles, and has authored health care policies impacting patient care, reimbursement, and Medicaid expansion.
ATI Nursing Education, “15 Interview Questions All Nursing Students Should Prepare For” This extensive blog provides practice interview questions and a variety of articles for new nurses.
BeMo Academic Consulting YouTube Channel, “10 Difficult Nursing School Interview Questions and Expert Responses”: This video walks you through some tough questions that may arise during your interview and how to handle them.
BeMo Academic Consulting, “100 Nursing School Interview Questions”: This recently published list of nursing admissions school interview questions makes sure you’re prepared to answer questions in a dozen critical categories.
Indeed.com’s “10 Nursing Interview Questions and Answers”: A popular job search engine and informative site for interviewees and job-seekers, Indeed offers a list of common interview questions with appropriate answers for your consideration. There are also additional tips on body language and etiquette that applies for most types of interviews.
InterviewSteps.com, “How to Prepare for the Nursing School Interview”: This site offers a good list of things to expect in your interview, as well as tips on how to prepare questions for interviewers and coaching on how to formulate good answers.
Linfield College, “Nursing Interview Success Packet”: This step-by-step guide walks you through the preparation for and execution of the interview process for nursing students, including a helpful section on structured behavioral interviewing techniques that you may encounter.
The Muse, “The Ultimate Interview Guide: 30 Prep Tips for Job Interview Success”: While your nursing school admissions interview is not actually a job interview, these tips can help you think about professionalism and body language that’s critical in all types of interview scenarios.
Rasmussen College, “How to Ace Your Nursing School Interview”: Rasmussen offers some quick tips on preparing for the interview, including formulating a five-year plan that you can discuss with interviewers.
Vault.com: 11 Tips for Video Interview Success: Do you need to participate in your interview remotely? Here’s some tips on the video interview format.