Graduate Degree Nursing Essay
When preparing to apply to a graduate nursing program, there are many requirements and submission guidelines to remember. The component that allows you to tell your unique story — your personal statement — is one of the most important.
Writing a compelling personal statement for an MSN program, like the Nursing@Simmons online Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program, takes time and can be challenging for some applicants. Just as a poorly written essay can hinder your chances of acceptance, a great one can set you apart from other applicants. Below are three steps to writing a personal statement that will make a positive impression on any admissions committee.
1. Plan Your Story
Very few people can sit down at a keyboard and craft the perfect personal statement without preparation. It may take several weeks of thinking about how to communicate your story, so give yourself plenty of time to plan, jot down thoughts, and make an outline as ideas come to you. Use the following tips to gather the information you’ll need to create an excellent statement.
- Consider how your work experience as a registered nurse (RN) has influenced you and shaped your goals for the future. How will an advanced education promote your professional growth and help you transition into the role of an FNP?
- Think beyond your resume. What traits, strengths, and accomplishments aren’t captured there? Consider your interests, including how they will contribute to your success in the program. Provide examples of nursing goals, leadership, mentorship, or growth you have accomplished or experienced. Write these down and keep them in mind as you begin your draft.
- Choose appropriate topics for your statement. Avoid soapbox issues, and don’t preach to your reader. This kind of statement can come across as condescending and obscure the point you’re trying to make.
- Research the program. Make sure you understand the school’s values and reputation. Do they align with yours? How so?
2. Create Your Draft
- When it is time to start putting your thoughts on paper, try to avoid overthinking your work. Strive for a natural voice. Pretend you are talking to a friend and write without fear — you can edit and polish your piece to perfection in the next stage.
- Avoid cliches and nursing generalities. Generic descriptors, such as “caring,” “compassionate,” “people person,” and “unique,” have been so often overused that they no longer carry much weight with an admissions committee. They also don’t address your personal experience in the nursing sphere. Try not to start your story with phrases like “for as long as I can remember” or your audience may stop reading.
- Show, don’t tell. Strong storytelling is grounded in personal details that illustrate who you are, both as a nurse and a person. Be specific by describing how many patients you managed, how you earned promotions, or a time when your supervisor praised your professionalism and clinical abilities. Here are examples that illustrate the difference between telling and showing:
“I perform well under pressure.”
“Although my patient arrived for a different ailment, I suspected that her symptoms were consistent with a serious infection. As a result, I was able to advocate for a care plan that prevented further damage.”
- Use specific examples when talking about your experience with direct patient care and evidence-based practice. Provide details about how your clinical experiences have demonstrated patient advocacy, leadership, communication, or confidence.
- Discuss how earning a Master of Science in Nursing aligns with your career plans and why you want to become a FNP. Explain that you understand the commitment required and that you have the skills and dedication to become an FNP. Be sure to let the admissions committee know why you are choosing their program and what makes their program stand apart from the rest. Reflect on the school and program research you did during your planning stage.
3. Edit and Perfect
Even the best writers have to edit and polish their work. Reviewing and revising your personal statement ensures that the piece is clear, organized, and free of errors.
- Once you have written your first draft, take a break and distance yourself from your work. This will allow you to return to the draft with a clear head to review objectively and spot potential issues and errors.
- Read your statement aloud. Does it sound like you? Does it reflect your best qualities and the strengths you’ll bring to a nursing program?
- Take great care to submit a statement that is free of spelling and grammatical errors. Even minor mistakes can make you look careless. Multiple errors could indicate to the admissions committee that you are disorganized or not taking the application process seriously. Here are some tools and tips to help you present a perfect piece of writing:
- Always use spell check on your essay, but be careful as it won’t catch every spelling error.
- Use a grammar editing tool, such as Grammarly.
- Ask a friend, family member, or mentor to review your statement. This is a great way to catch errors or awkward phrasing that you may have missed.
Your nursing personal statement should be a window into your life. Use it to share specific experiences that have influenced your decision to advance your nursing education. Adhering to professional standards and presenting yourself in a positive, open, and honest way will help the admissions committee determine your fit and future in an FNP program.
The Nursing School Essay: Application Tips for Accelerated Nursing Programs
By Northeastern University Nursing | Published November 5, 2014
In this two part series, Northeastern University brings you application tips for accelerated nursing programs, starting with nursing school essay advice. While not a guaranteed acceptance, following this advice is a great start to a strong application.
Part I: How to Write an Effective Nursing School Essay
When applying for accelerated nursing programs in Boston, some of the best advice for getting into accelerated nursing school we can give you is to know what to expect in the nursing program application processes. Prerequisites, fees and other procedures are included as general admissions requirements, but the application process consists of various components that look beyond academic performance summarized through transcripts and into who the student applying is and why they wish to attend the program. The admissions committee looks through the applicant’s resume, letter of recommendation and personal statement to get a closer look at an applicant. Many boston college accelerated nursing programs require a nursing school essay that the applicant includes about themselves with details like why they would like to be nurse and why they are a good candidate for the nursing program. This allows the school’s admissions committee to get to know you as a potential student and find out what drives you as an individual. It also helps the admissions committee determine whether their nursing school will be a good fit for you as a future nurse and whether you will be a fit for the school.
1. Plan Your Essay
Writing a good nursing school essay is very important to getting your application considered and accepted. To do this effectively, you should spend a good deal of time planning your accelerated nursing school application essay. Highlight the items you want to include in your essay, summarize your personal story and incorporate your qualifications. Start your essay with an attention grabbing first topic statement to start your essay out strong. You want to let the reader get an idea of who you are and what nursing means to you. So plan out what it is you want to include and elaborate from there. Create an outline to work from that includes the below items.
2. Make Yourself Stand Out
Effective nursing school essays express your personality while convincing the reader you are the right candidate for the program. A great way to do this is by sharing a story about yourself or an experience that you had that led you to the decision to apply for nursing school or launched your desire to be a nurse. You want to use your essay as a tool to show why you should go to their school, versus simply stating why you want to go there. Use personal examples to make your essay more candid and attention getting. Share your motivation for wanting to attend that program and what inspires you.
3. Share Your Dreams
Getting into a good accelerated nursing school and earning your degree is essential in making your dreams of becoming a successful nurse come true. Your personal statement should include the long-term goals you have for you career in nursing. If your goal is to help children or if you wish to advance your degree to become a specialty nurse, express this. Admissions committees are interested in hearing what your long-term goals are; goals illustrate that potential students are determined, which can lead to a better performance in school. Be as specific as you can with your goals. Check out our tips on setting education goals for your nursing degree program for some additional help.
4. Show that You Care about People
As a nurse, your job will consist of caring for people around the clock in a positive and friendly way while efficiently taking care of their healthcare needs. It takes a certain type of selfless person to become a nurse, and you want to show you that you are that kind of person. Give examples of times when you went above and beyond to care for a loved one or a stranger. Let the committee know that you are passionate about caring for others. Empathy in nursing is a great quality to have.
5. Explain Your Qualifications
Your academic and work qualifications are recorded for review on your transcripts, test scores and resume. However, those qualifications are only listed and don’t go into detail, which means the admissions committee may not understand what you took out of those experiences. Use the essay as an opportunity to go into more detail about what your education, practice and participation in volunteer opportunities or internships taught you that you can apply to your education at the nursing school. If you are looking for ways to beef up your resume and nursing application with experience, look into these volunteer opportunities in health care in Boston.
6. Tell the Admissions Committee Why You Want to go to Their School
For some applicants, simply getting into a good nursing school is the most important factor. For others, going to a specific nursing school, such as Northeastern University Bouvé College of Health Science, is very important to them. Whatever your reason for applying to that specific nursing school is, you want to include those reasons in your essay. Share stories about your mother who was a graduate of that program or a friend who suggested you go there. They will want to know why you chose them when they are deciding whether to accept you as a student.
By following these nursing school essay application tips for accelerated nursing school on how to write an exceptional nursing essay, you will be getting into the nursing school of your dreams in no time. If you have decided that you want to pursue your degree with one of the Northeastern University accelerated nursing programs, call us today at 1.866.892.3819 or send us your information so we can contact you.