Your Guide to Applying for an Advanced Nursing Degree

Your Guide to Applying for an Advanced Nursing Degree

Attending graduate school is definitely not an easy decision. Particularly if you are a nurse looking to progress into one of the countless opportunities available for advanced nursing. More and more nurses are deciding to pursue a career as a nurse practitioner; a position that is in high demand right now, pays exceptionally well. Allows you to practice with independence and autonomy in the majority of states. 

However, choosing an advanced degree program to support your journey towards becoming a nurse practitioner is not always easy. There are various different pathways to this career position and hundreds of different program options to choose from. The degree program that you select will play a significant role in shaping your future career as a nurse practitioner. Before applying to graduate school. it’s important to carefully research the options available, be clear about your needs and wants. Before making one of the most important decisions in your life, here are some important questions to ask yourself. 

Where Do You Want to Work?

As a nurse practitioner, you will have a wide range of different setting options. Where you want your career to take you will help you decide. Whether primary care or an acute care program is the best option.

On the other hand, if you see yourself working in a hospital setting, for example in the ICU, an acute care focused program might be a better choice. 

Which Patients Do You Want to Treat?

The patients that you’ll be working with as a nurse practitioner will be decide by the program . For example, if you’d rather work with children, you may consider a pediatric nurse practitioner program.

if you’d prefer to work with older adults, an adult/gerontology nurse practitioner course could be better for you. Those who want to work with babies and infants should choose a program .Focused on becoming a neonatal nurse practitioner.While family nurse practitioner programs are the ideal choice for nurses who are happy to work with patients of all ages. 

Of course, these are just the general categories of the career. Nurse practitioners are able to further specialize and focus on an area of healthcare that interests them.

How Do You Want to Study?

Becoming a nurse practitioner takes a lot of hard work and dedication There are several study options available to registered nurses who want to work as a nurse practitioner. One good choice is an online BSN to DNP from a school like Marymount, which allows registe nurses who hold a bachelor’s degree to quickly upgrade their knowledge and skills to get a doctor of nursing practice degree, qualifying them to work as a nurse practitioner in less time than would be traditionally expect. 

Do You Want to Study Online or On-Campus?

Another major consideration to make when deciding which advanced nursing degree program to choose from is whether you want to study online or on-campus. Online degree programs are a popular choice with nurses who are advancing their careers since they are more flexible and don’t require you to attend lectures and classes at a college campus. You can choose from both online and on-campus nursing programs or opt for a hybrid program that offers you the best of both worlds. 

When deciding whether to study online or on-campus, ask some questions to help you figure out which is the best choice for you. Consider your work situation and how easy it might be for you to commute to campus. Would it be easier for you to study online if you need to juggle your studies with other commitments like family? Will you rather be in charge of when you study and have a flexible, tailored, and self-led approach? Would you prefer to be able to interact with your professors and peers in person, or are you happy to do most of your interacting online?

How Likely Is It That You’ll Be Accept?

The entry requirements into an advanced nursing degree should also be something that you consider carefully before you send your application in. Consider how strong of an applicant you really are and whether there is anything extra that you can do in order to improve your chance of being offer a place in the program.

Various factors will be taken into consideration when you apply for an advanced nursing degree. Not only will your GPA and final results from your BSN and other nursing qualifications be taken into account, but you’ll also need to write an admissions essay, provide letters of reference from employers, and demonstrate your experience and dedication to being a good nurse. 

Other Admissions Requirements to Consider

Once you’ve collected a list of nurse practitioner or advanced degree programs that interest you. it’s a good idea to research the admissions requirements for each one . Admissions requirements for advanced nursing degrees can be quite high.So you might find that you need to put in some extra work to ensure that you meet them before you are able to apply. Some of the main things that are taken into account by admissions tutors are:

Your Previous Experience

As mentioned above, your previous experience as a nurse is going to hold a lot of weight. Look for advanced nursing degrees that are either general nursing or focused on a specialty. If you want to move to a different area of nursing as a nurse practitioner, it might be worth getting some more nursing experience in that specific area.

Your GPA

If your GPA isn’t great, that won’t always hold you back from becoming a registered nurse – but it could affect the decisions made by admissions tutors when you apply for an advanced nursing degree or nurse practitioner program.

If you are worry that a low GPA might hold you back from pursuing the career that you want. The good news is that you can do something about it.

Your Admissions Essay

You may be require to write one or more admissions essays as part of your application to an advanced nursing degree program.

These essays are design to help admissions tutors learn more about you and who you are, why you want to study this particular program, and what kind of nurse practitioner you hold to be.

The admissions essays are some of the most important parts of the entire application. So give yourself plenty of time to complete them and really think about how you are putting yourself across. It might be worth asking your employer or a more experienced colleague to go over your essays. Give you some pointers for improvement if needed. 


Demonstrating a keen interest in and a dedication to nursing often means that you need to be proactive.When you are taking part in activities that are not require in your job. Admissions offers will find it difficult to deny that you really love what you do.

The Interview

If your application catches the eye of the admissions tutors, you will be invite to interview with them. When it comes to this interview, it’s impossible to be too prepare.  

What Makes Advanced Nursing Degree Applicants Stand Out?

What will make you stand out from the crowd when applying for a nurse practitioner or advanced nursing degree program? Admissions tutors won’t just focus on one thing. But rather they will look at the whole picture and take a range of qualities into account. Mention anything that you have done on your application that sets you apart from the crowd.

What Mistakes Should Be Avoid When Applying?

During the admissions process, some of the most common mistakes are create with letters of reference . When attending an interview. it’s important to choose who you ask to write them carefully.

Typically, you will be required to provide 2-3 letters of reference.

If you are struggling to find somebody in your network who fits the requirements.Consider expanding your network to include professionals who meet the given criteria.Asking in your network to be introduced to people who can provide a suitable reference. Building strong working relationships with new people before asking them to write the letter. 

During the interview, some of the most common mistakes involve not doing enough research when it comes to what to expect and failing to conduct thorough enough research about the program you’re applying to and the school that offers it. 

As a nurse, getting an advanced degree is one of the best ways to become a nurse practitioner. There are several important things to take into consideration to help you make the right choice.