Congratulations if you have decided to take the first step to launch your nursing career! Choosing to enter nursing school is a big decision and making sure you pick a school you’ll love is part of the process.

What makes a good nursing school? Besides the real big issues like accreditation, the best nursing school is the one that’s going to be the best fit for you. Just as people have different ideas about great restaurants, fantastic movies, and the ideal career, not everyone is going to see a school the same way.

Finding the school that’s right for you is a different story. You can rely on advice from your guidance counselor, family, friends, and professionals in the industry, but you also have to determine what’s most important to you.

Are You a City or Country Fan?

Some students thrive in the city while others find a rural setting more productive. What do you like? If you aren’t sure, visit several schools in your area to get a feeling of what it’s like to go to an urban, suburban, or rural school.

Size Matters

When you’re touring schools to find out what kind of setting makes you comfortable, pay close attention to how many students attend the school. There’s a big difference in large, medium, and small schools, and each has pros and cons. Where do you feel most comfortable?

How Quickly Can You Get to Class After Oversleeping?

How long does it take you to cross campus? On a tour, that’s not a big deal, but when you’re attending school and criss-crossing campus for classes, events, meals, labs, and visits with friends, you want it to be comfortable. Do you like to get your exercise by doing a lot of walking? A larger campus might be just your thing. Do you have any kind of health or mobility issues where that could be a problem? That’s something to consider.

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How Many Students Per Square Inch?

Student diversity is vastly different from campus to campus, even within the same region. Are you hoping for a college experience rich with culturally diverse student experiences and viewpoints? Admissions offices can give you a breakdown of diversity on campus to give you a better idea of a good match.

What About My Ballroom Dance Hobby?

Schools offer a wildly diverse range of student groups, clubs, and activities. If you have one passion that’s really important to you, look for a school that supports that. Check out the student groups online and see what they have to offer. No real passion except nursing? Take a look anyhow – you might find a school that offers something you’ve always wanted to try.

How Far from Home Am I?

Some students can’t wait to get a little space away from home, but others still want to be within driving distance. How close do you want to be? A short car ride? A few hours by car? Does a plane ride away not concern you? Or are you looking for an online degree? Don’t spend time, effort, or money applying to a school that doesn’t meet your distance criteria.

What’s Your Gut?

Sometimes a school just feels right, and sometimes a school just makes you feel out of place. Trust your instincts, even if you can’t explain the reasoning. You’re going to be at the school for a long time – it has to feel like a good place for you.

In the end, you might never find a school that meets all your ideal criteria. But the closer you get to what you want, it’s more likely you’ll have a great experience.

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Julia Quinn-Szcesuil
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