During these challenging economic times, when job seekers are braving lines for hours just to submit their resume, nurses and nursing students are bound to be envied. Nurses are being courted by hospitals and other employers with sweepstakes opportunities to win new SUVs, cash bonuses, vacation time and gift cards.
As aspiring nursing students, you are in high demand by nursing school recruiters. Even the staff shortage and resulting waiting list is not enough to lessen your value as a future nurse. Chances are, if you are a qualified applicant there is a spot for you at a highly regarded ADN or BSN program somewhere.
This brings us to the all important college fair where you have the opportunity to interview nursing school admissions representatives and they get to do the same. Instead of losing sleep, look at these face to face meetings as reconnaissance missions where you can gain valuable information and increase your odds of receiving an acceptance letter.
As you flit from table to table, hopefully picking up some good “swag” (freebies with the school’s logo on it), don’t forget your mission to gather information. Here are some questions that you might bring up in conversation with nursing school representatives.
- What is the instructor to student ratio in lecture classes? Clinicals? (a great indicator of how personalized your learning experience will be; average is 10 to 1)
- What percentage of your students graduate?
- What are the highest graduate degrees held by your faculty? (MSN is minimum, some nursing instructors hold doctorates)
- Additional academic and research accomplishments coming from your school of nursing? (an emphasis on research and grants means the most cutting edge course curriculums for you)
- How has your school added value/special courses/programs to your curriculum (versus the minimum requirements for this degree)?
- What advice do you have for me in terms of applying for and preparing for your program?
It is important, as in any interview, to let the conversation flow naturally. Ask your questions but without continually cutting off the school recruiter in the process. If you become a student at their school, this may very well be the first impression you make.