Nurse Practitioner Programs: How Many Applications Should You Submit?

Every prospective nurse practitioner encounters the same problem, "Where should I go to school?".  Future NP's consider cost, program length and reputation as well as which specialties are offered.  Once you narrow down your options, how many applications should you submit?  The answer?  It depends.

Ultimately, you should of course only apply to nurse practitioner programs tailored to your specific situation in life.  Maybe your significant other's career has you rooted to a specific location.  Perhaps your grades disqualify you from certain nurse practitioner programs.  Some prospective NP's want to attend only prestigious university's for their education.  If you are seeking to study a more specialized nurse practitioner field, your program options will immediately become more limited. 

The first step in determining how many nurse practitioner program applications you should submit is based on these personal circumstances and desires.  Narrow down your list of nurse practitioner programs of interest once you have identified these specifications for you future education.  This will give you a list of nurse practitioner programs that work for you, providing practical options for your NP education.

Once you have identified and selected a group of schools based on inflexible, personal circumstances categorize these schools into three groups based on your likelihood of acceptance.  Which schools are more popular or prestigious?  You may have a decreased chance of being accepted to these programs.  Place these schools into the first group.  Are their other nurse practitioner programs meeting your requirements that seem to have lower admissions standards?  Group these programs into the last group.  Then, place the NP programs in the middle of these categories into their own group.

Ideally, if you want to ensure acceptance into a nurse practitioner program you should apply to anywhere between three to six schools, provided that enough programs meet your personal needs as a student.  Pick one to two schools from each group on your list.  For example, apply to your favorite one or two NP programs from the most selective group of prospective programs, one to two schools from the in-between list of potential NP programs and one to two schools from your list of less selective nurse practitioner programs.

By applying to a range of NP programs, you ensure that you have applied to a few 'safety' schools, programs to which your admission is likely.  You have applied to programs that may be your favorites but have still ensured your admission to another nurse practitioner program even if it isn't your top pick.  

If you are on the fast-track to becoming a nurse practitioner and want to start a nurse practitioner program as soon as possible, this method of school selection will help make sure you get into a program that both meets your needs and maximizes your chance of admission.  Which nurse practitioner programs are you considering?  Questions about the application process?  Let us know by commenting below!


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