Exposure and Experience
Check with individual schools whether they recognize Advanced Placement (AP) as college-earned credit. Not all do. It is better to view any earned credits as qualifying to enroll in upper division courses rather than as “testing out” of prerequisites.
Access to Classes
High demand exists for upper-division courses, especially in the sciences. Many departments grant enrollment priority to students declared in specific majors over those seeking enrollment for professional school purposes. Registration access procedures for impacted courses can change, and departments generally provide updates via their websites and email notifications, or by checking with the department’s program coordinator.
When you repeat a course, only your most recent grade is used when Western calculates your GPA. However, the class still shows up on your transcript. Although some students think that repeating a course will help them get into professional schools, this is almost always untrue. Professional schools will take into account all college-level coursework when performing their own calculation of your GPA, and this will include any courses you have repeated at Western. Still, in some circumstances it may be appropriate to repeat a course so talk to an advisor to be sure. Also, dropping a course can have an impact on eligibility for financial aid, scholarships, and athletic participation so consider your options carefully and speak with an advisor before making a decision.
Students should gain shadowing experience with a nurse, and will likely need an RN to write a letter of recommendation. Discuss your shadowing options with Health Professions Advisors.
The more experience you have working with people in a healthcare setting the stronger your application will be (some programs require it). Becoming certified as a Nursing Assistant (CNA) is one way to show your commitment to nursing and allows you to work with patients before applying to nursing school. Both Whatcom Community College and Bellingham Technical College offer CNA programs, and some skilled nursing or long term care facilities offer “on the job” CNA training that is free as long as you guarantee to work there for a specified length of time.
What students pursue outside the classroom will be considered by professional programs along with what is accomplished in the classroom. Your volunteer experience does not necessarily need to be healthcare related, but should be in something you are passionate about and interested in. Find experiences that allow you to serve your community and learn more about how to relate to others different from yourself.
A list of nursing programs can be found at aacnnursing.org/Nursing-Education.
Note: The above information is for preliminary advising purposes only. We encourage students to meet with a Health Professions Advisor on a regular basis to develop an individualized plan.