The more I learn about the nursing school application process, the more convinced I become that your chances of admission have as much to do with luck as they do with any qualifications you might possess. I have met fellow applicants via forums and blogs who have incredible stories to tell, killer GPAs and GRE scores and more volunteer experience than any sane person could accomplish, and yet… no luck with admission to nursing school.

I know thousands of highly qualified potential nurses are turned away from the hallowed halls of nursing schools across the country because there is a dearth of nursing faculty. Without teachers, it doesn’t matter how many of us want to be nurses. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing just released stats for 2007, revealing that despite a resurgence of interest in the profession, schools everywhere are filled to capacity and enrollment has actually decreased.

What does this have to do with my nursing school interview yesterday? I guess you could say it’s me trying not to get ahead of myself. I felt REALLY good about the interview – I connected with my interviewer, I felt prepared for his questions and I could tell that he was impressed with my background and qualifications (as well as the questions I asked him – I have learned that asking good questions is key to any successful interview).

And yet, and yet… I know my chances are still slim. The school’s website reminds applicants that they receive over a thousand inquiries a year for their program. For less than 30 spots in the class. Ouch. So let’s say only 50% of those who inquired ended up actually applying – that would be about 500. They didn’t tell us how many of those folks actually were granted an interview. But if you look at the total number of applicants, their admission rate is less than 5%. Those are worse odds than the best Ivy League university in the country.

Am I confident? Yes and no. I believe that I’m just as qualified as the next person for these programs. But there are a lot of us and most are in the same boat: Deserving of a spot, possessing enormous potential, but at the mercy of a nursing shortage that has led to a faculty shortage that has led to a long line of disgruntled would-be, deserving potential nursing students.

So if it comes down to being a crapshoot, we’ll just have to cross our fingers, knock on wood, hold our breath and say a little prayer.

At least the punishing wait will be over soon. They meet this week to go over final applications and my interviewer said we will know “very shortly”, definitely before Christmas. Probably around the same time I get a letter from UCSF about my interview status.

I think I have an ulcer.

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