#041 Nursing Program Admissions

Show Notes


Nursing program admission is highly competitive which is reason enough to investigate closely before applying to college so your teen is making informed decisions. In this episode, you’ll learn about the different pathways to becoming a nurse, and what your family can be doing right now to secure a spot in this highly competitive and rigorous field of study.


Interest in nursing is sky-high, and as a result, institutions have become more and more selective in admitting students into their nursing programs. In this episode, Jon Rice shares the different pathways available to students who may be interested in pursuing a degree in this field.

Jon works in admissions at the University of San Francisco, and he has a wealth of information on the ins and outs of what it takes to get into their coveted direct-entry program as well as other programs throughout the US. I really appreciated his take on the direct entry approach. I’ll admit, I’ve often thought these types of programs seemed unnecessarily restrictive. But after hearing Jon’s perspective, I can see how they actually help set students up for success right from the start. If your high school teen is confident that they want to pursue nursing, and they’re already meeting the qualifications that these programs require, direct entry can be an excellent way to guarantee their success.

But a direct entry program isn’t the only path to a nursing career. Your student may choose to complete a pre-nursing program before entering an upper-division program. Or they may transfer credit from a community college or other four-year school to a nursing program. Jon gives us detailed insight into the pros and cons of several different approaches and paths to nursing.

There’s no denying that nursing studies are academically rigorous, and if your student is interested in this field, they will need to qualify in many different areas in order to get their foot in the door. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from pressing forward. If your teen is on the path to becoming a nurse, this episode will give you the tools you need to start planning well in advance, so that they will be able to choose the right path for them when the time comes.


  • A peek behind the curtain of what programs are looking for in nursing students they admit
  • Differences between various types of nursing programs and how they admit students
  • The role of science classes and testing for nursing students
  • Pathways to becoming a nurse – it’s not just a BSN degree

Meet Our Guest

Jon Rice is the Director of Transfer Admission at the University of San Francisco, a mid-size Jesuit university in the heart of the City by the Bay and the most ethnically diverse college in the nation.

Jon directs all aspects of transfer student outreach and selection at USF, including the University’s nursing program, is the admission counselor for first-year applicants from the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia, and serves on the Office of Undergraduate Admission’s leadership team and admission committee.

Jon has 10+ years of experience in college admission and communications and is a sought-after speaker on higher education. Outside of USF, he has served as a communications consultant to the United Nations Foundation and reviewed applications for the highly selective Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship.

A former Fulbright Fellow to South Korea, Jon received his Master’s from the University of San Francisco and Bachelor’s from Pitzer College in Claremont, California.

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Links mentioned in this episode

Launch Career Clarity Course

Launch College and Career Clarity Facebook Community

List of Accredited Nursing Programs

First-Year Nursing Admission at USF

Email Jon


[3:10] Although direct entry is required at many schools, it’s not intended to be restrictive. 

[8:34] Pros and cons of pre-nursing versus direct entry nursing programs. 

[12:52] Schools want to hear from prospective students directly, and not parents. 

[14:02] Nursing is not a lottery, and you do need to be academically eligible in order to qualify.

[16:16] Qualifications for the ideal nursing student.

[20:55] Transferring as a pathway to nursing.

[24:30] Many schools are offering MSN programs for students who majored in something other than nursing. 

[25:54] The importance of standardized testing for a nursing major.

Access the episode transcript here.