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.
When it comes to getting into nursing school, a good admission essay is at the center of the decision. An admission essay can help or hurt students who wish to get into nursing school. The essay is not only about the content but about other important components that let the admission board know that students are serious about entering their programs and that they will be valuable assets as well. It is important for potential nursing students to know that there are important elements needed to write the perfect admission essay to get into nursing school.
How to Write a Nursing School Application Essay
The application essay is a requirement that applicants must complete as a part of the admission packet. Some call this essay the personal essay, letter of intent, or statements of purpose. In essence, the application essay is the applicant’s chance to plea with the admission board for admission into their nursing program. Applicants explain their reasons for becoming nurses and explain why this program can help them achieve their dreams.
It is important to know what elements are needed to write a successful application essay. One of the most important things that applicants need to remember is to plan the essay carefully. Making an outline of important items to include is very important to the success of the essay. It is important to adhere to the length of the essay so that the board does not throw it out. If the application says 500 to 1000 words, it means just that and nothing more or less. The applicant should include information about accomplishments in the applicant’s life and the hopeful accomplishments for the future.
Applicants should only include a short personal statement about them and reserve the majority of the essay for information about experiences that have shaped them. They should use other parts of the application to cover information that does not make the applicant stand out from other applicants. Remember, admission officers read numerous essays so it is important to stand out from other applicants.
Provide a structurally sound application. Make sure that the application essay has the proper spelling, format, and grammatical structure before turning in the finished product. An essay with errors will make the officers believe that the applicant may not be a desirable nurse. Keep the paragraphs short so that they are easy to read for the officers.
What to Include in a Nursing School Essay
A nursing school applicant should include the following in the nursing school essay:
- Things that interest the applicant about the nursing industry
- Reasons for choosing the specific nursing program
- A clear view of the future vision of the applicant
- Previous preparation to become a successful nurse
- Superior personal accomplishments and standouts (test scores, transcripts, etc.)
- Experience with medical training and patient care (volunteer opportunities, internships, etc.)
- Academic interests
- Character traits that focus on desires and strengths to become a nurse
- Reasons the officers should accept the application
Tips on How to Write a Nursing School Application Essay
The purpose of the admissions essay is to prove that the application is a worthy selection for the nursing program. Applicants are only allowed a few words to tell their personal stories, but their rejection or acceptance depends on it. The following tips will help applicants write a successful nursing school application essay:
- Choose information wisely. Make sure that the information included paints a vivid picture of past and future accomplishments so that the admissions officers are impressed.
- Select a strong essay topic. Applicants want to be remembered for their essay well after the officers have read it. Make sure to stay on the topic and provide strong supporting information within the paragraphs.
- Provide a glimpse of the applicant’s life. The admissions officers do not want to be bored with the mundane details but rather the important things that make the applicant unique.
- Intrigue the reading in the first few lines. Capture the essay reader within the first few lines so that they want to continue reading.
- Make sure the essay has structure. The essay should include an introduction, body, and conclusion that is easy to read and understand. Make sure to add a memorable statement to the conclusion so that the essay readers do not forget the essay.
The application essay is a very important aspect of the nursing school application process. It can make or break the chance that an applicant gets into nursing school. The applicant should plan accordingly before writing the essay and make sure that it is rich with intriguing information. It is important to make sure that the essay is error free. This is the only chance that an applicant has to impress the admission board.
Thinking about going to Nursing School?
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