The Basics

Applications for nursing programs open at various dates throughout the year. The application deadline will also vary, depending upon the program. Read the instruction manual for NursingCAS and instructions for the programs you will be applying to before beginning the application process. You should consider applying early in the cycle due to application verification and rolling admissions. Programs with rolling admissions will typically provide decisions regarding interviews and/or admissions within a month of completing the application. 

Secondary/supplemental applications or questions may be a part of the application process for programs you are applying to.  This provides you the opportunity to further discuss your interest in a specific program. You may also be required to send additional materials to the programs. It is very important to pay attention to the deadlines, as secondary/supplemental applications often require quick turnaround.

Entrance Exam

Nursing schools may require the HESI A2 or the GRE.

Personal Statement

Your personal statement is an important part of the application because it distinguishes you from other applicants. Individual nursing programs may have essay requirements in NursingCAS or through their own applications. Consider the following questions when writing your essay:

  1. Why have you selected the field of nursing?
  2. What motivates you to learn more about nursing?
  3. What do you want nursing schools to know about you that hasn’t been disclosed in other sections of the application?
  4. Reflect on the experiences you have had (student organizations, volunteering, research, clinical healthcare, study abroad). How have these experiences influenced you to become a nurse?

Your personal statement is also an area where you may address the following:

  1. Hardships, challenges or obstacles that have influenced educational choices
  2. Commentary on significant fluctuations in your academic record if it is not explained elsewhere on the application


You may list up to six evaluator names in NursingCAS. Letters may be sent electronically through a letter writer application/evaluation or through Interfolio letter service. You are responsible for determining the specific type of letters that are required by the programs you are applying to. Letters may be required from:

  1. Science Faculty (2)
  2. Non-Science Faculty (1)
  3. Faculty Advisor
  4. Employer/Supervisor
  5. Research Mentor
  6. Volunteer Manager


You will need to request transcripts from all institutions you have attended (University of Illinois, community colleges, previous institution, etc.) Repeated courses should be reported on NursingCAS. However, it is possible that a program will utilize grade replacement and calculate a new GPA.


Nursing schools may use interviews to evaluate applicants. If you are not sure what type of interview the program will be utilizing, you should contact the school for additional information. You are advised to spend time preparing for your interview.  The Career Center conducts mock interviews during the academic year. You can also schedule an appointment to discuss interview preparation.